A favorite Minnesota pass time is debating how long winter, in fact, really is.
Whether you measure it from the official start of winter (December 21,) the first snowfall (all bets are off after September here,) or your own personal measuring stick, the fact remains that it can easily be jacket and boots weather in Minnesota from late October clear through April— see the April, 2019 snowstorm that delivered as much as 20 inches of snow to certain parts of the state.
Which means that January and February are no time to hunker and hygge. Increased daylight (two minutes per day from the solstice!) means opportunities to suit up and get moving.
Get outside and get active!
Unlock It! Events
Have you ever stood around in a park and wondered if there was more to explore but didn’t know exactly how to go about it? YMCA of The North wants you to probe every corner of the park system, with Unlock It!.
Map-based challenges allow you to walk the park, identifying scrambled letters, scavenger hunt style, that when completed form a keyword. Once you’ve completed the keyword, collect swag and prizes. Free and open to the public.
Minnesota State Fairgrounds
Our Minnesota State Fair is renowned for being the largest in the nation, and the 10-day festival of food and fun is a near-religious annual ritual for many Minnesotans.
But the 322-acre grounds stay activated all year round with a rotating calendar of events. Get outside for the Vulcan Snow Stomp (Jan 22-23), The Winter Carnival Fire & Ice Run/ Walk (Jan 30), The Annual Winter Beer Dabbler (Feb19), and more.
Outdoor Events & Activities
Jan 28 - Feb 6
The Coolest Celebration on Earth: the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, 136 years and going strong. The 10-day festival attracts over 100,000 visitors for celebrations, events, and parades celebrating winter in Minnesota. This year’s outdoor activity highlights include an Ice Fishing Tournament, Annual Snow Stomp, Ice Carving Competition, Scavenger Hunts, Snow Maze, Golf On Ice, and the crowning glory of the Torchlight Parade and Fireworks in Rice Park.
Feb 18 - Feb 21
A great adventure awaits with the Ice Sculpture Exploration! GetKnit Events and Minnesota Ice Sculptures have partnered together and are hiding 35+ ice sculptures throughout the greater Twin Cities at various local businesses, beautiful parks, and throughout iconic neighborhoods! Gather up your fellow explorers and set out on a great expedition to locate these hand-carved works of art!
The Winter Beer Dabbler is back! The Midwest's biggest and best beer festival is making its return to the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. Head over to the Mighty Midway to sample great beer from breweries all over the United States while enjoying music, food trucks, and other thrilling attractions.
Melanin in Motion
Many upcoming opportunities
With the singular goal of connecting Black people to outdoor living activities, Melanin in Motion hosts a rotating roster of events that remove barriers to entry, including expensive equipment or entry fees, and implements BIPOC instructors and leaders to make outdoor activity welcome to all.
Upcoming activities include Introduction to Fat Tire Biking, Downhill Snow Sports, Women & Girls Snowboarding, Nordic Skiing, and more.
The Great Northern Festival
Jan 22 - Feb 6
A celebration of “cold, creative winters that invigorate mind and body,” The Great Northern encourages Minnesota to think outside of our six months of finer temps, and embrace the brrrr with cool hangs and intellectual pursuits among other hip stuff.
Jovan C. Speller & Andy DuCett: Conservatory
Jan 22 - Feb 6
This conceptual art installation is designed to provide comfort and community in winter. A greenhouse garden between two buildings in a downtown St. Paul alley, flowers will fill a space that is surrounded on all sides by solid ice. The piece highlights survival, innovation and creativity in Black life.
Saint Paul alleyway
141 4th St. 55101
Learning from Place: Bdote
An immersive experience by the Minnesota Humanities Center inviting an expanded understanding of Twin Cities sites holding significance to Dakota people. Dakota people and perspectives will lead the experiences, asking participants to reconsider their relationship to this land during Learning from Place: Bdote.
Bdote is a Dakota word that generally means “where two waters come together.” The bdote where Ȟaȟáwakpa (Mississippi River) and the Mnísota Wakpá (Minnesota River) come together is central to Dakota spirituality and history.
The U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team (USMNT) vis Honduras World Cup qualifying match
The pitch at Allianz Field will be warmed to 55-60 degrees, but spectators are still not off the hook to dress for the elements to cheer on USMNT at this outdoor game. Consider a locally-made, St. Paul based soccer scarf from Talisman & Co.
Dimitri Chamblas’ Slow Show
With a frozen Como Lake as a stage, this 20-minute dance performed by 50 local participants will be inspired by strength, vivacity, trance, telepathy, and unconscious memories. In other words, very, very winter. Accompanied by samples, live electronics, and guitar by Eddie Ruscha.