Guide to the Saint Paul Winter Carnival

Guide to the Saint Paul Winter Carnival

The famous Saint Paul Winter Carnival is going all out in 2018 with 17 days of outdoor fun. With so many snow-filled activities, it can be hard to keep track of what’s happening when. Use this guide to maximize your fun at the Twin Cities’ finest winter celebration.


The Winter Carnival is for everyone. And we mean everyone—young, old, short, tall, locals, visitors and fans of bowls that are super.


A jam-packed winter extravaganza, that’s what. We know a thing or two about the cold here in Minnesota and the Winter Carnival showcases our favorite season in all of its glory. This year’s highlights include a 70-foot Ice Palace in Rice Park, Olympic Team USA Winterfest, three parades, live ice carving competitions, an ice sculpture garden, a Minnesota Made Market and a long list of live entertainment.


Jan. 25-Feb. 10, 2018.


Sunday, Jan. 21

2018 Pioneer Press Treasure Hunt begins

Thursday, Jan. 25

Winter Carnival Kickoff

Ice Palace officially open in Rice Park

Moon Glow Parade

Vulcan Snow Park Opens

Ice Carving Competitions begin

Friday, Jan. 26

Winter Carnival Royal Coronation

Autonomous Snow Plow Competition

Saturday, Jan. 27 - Kid’s Day

King Boreas Grand Day Parade

Securian Winter Run & Kids Skyway Scamper

Sunday, Jan. 28

UCare Jazz in the Park

Thursday, Feb. 1

MN Made Market

Saturday, Feb. 3

Family Day, Olympic Team USA Winterfest

Sunday, Feb. 4

Ladies' Day

Thursday, Feb. 8

Cinco de Mayo Night

Saturday, Feb. 10

Vulcan Victory Torchlight Parade

This only scratches the surface. For a full listing of events by day, check the calendar.


Winter Carnival events take place at a variety of locations in Saint Paul, including Rice Park, the Minnesota State Fairgrounds and numerous spots Downtown.


It’s kind of a long story, actually, but it began in response to a few misguided East Coast reporters who called Minnesota "another Siberia, unfit for human habitation." You can read the full legend surrounding our mid-winter festival here or, if you've got an hour, check out TPT's episode—The Legendary Winter Saint Paul Winter Carnival

Reindeer sleigh in Minnesota


Most Winter Carnival events are free unless otherwise noted. Buy a collector’s button online or at a local retailer to register for great prizes and exclusive discounts at ticketed carnival events and other local businesses. New this year is the Family Bowl Passport—collect three or more stamps at participating locations to be eligible to win even more exciting prize packs.

Skip the hassle and reserve your parking spot in advance (and get up to 50% off drive-up costs) using SpotHero

Other Important Questions

What should I wear?

We like to bundle up in warm boots, a coat, gloves and a hat—you can always take layers off. Ultimately, it’s up to you though. Don’t be surprised if you see some true Minnesotan winter warriors rocking shorts.  

Can I bring my dog?

While pets are allowed at the outdoor events, the Carnival recommends you leave them at home to ensure the safety of your pet and other guests.

We can’t wait to see how much fun you’re having at Winter Carnival. Share with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #MYSAINTPAUL and #WinterCarnival.

Upcoming Events