There’s plenty to do this winter in the Twin Cities – don’t miss out just because it’s cold. We’ll update with new additions as they come. Don’t forget to check out our list of Indoor Activities, and add a few of our “Winter Survival” posts to your reading list:
Wells Fargo Winter Skate (St. Paul): Open through February 1st | Schedule varies Skate rental is $4 per person. Receive free skate rental for you and your immediate family by showing your Wells Fargo check card or credit card. Figure skates and hockey skates are available from little tyke one-size-fits-all up to adults’ size 13. Monday – Thursday: 11am-5pm. Friday: 11am-10pm. Saturday: 11am-10pm. Sunday: 11am-9pm.
Third Thursdays at Minneapolis Institute of Arts: 3rd Thursdays | 6pm Experience MIA’s diverse art collection through unique programs, drinks, and live music.
Ice Castle (Eden Prairie): Open through March 7th | Schedule varies Sun-Thurs: 2pm-9pm. Friday: 2pm-10pm. Saturday: Noon-10pm.
U.S. Pond Hockey Championships (Lake Nokomis): January 15-18th | Schedule varies The 9th Annual U.S. Pond Hockey Tournament is always a big draw for hockey fans. Players come from all over the world to participate – this is a fun activity to watch with your kids. Bring some cocoa and watch the competition!
Lake Harriet Kite Festival: January 17th | Time TBD The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) will host the 13th Annual Lake Harriet Winter Kite Festival in January 2015. The Kite Festival will take place on the north end of Lake Harriet near the Bandshell, located at 4135 W. Lake Harriet Parkway. Kites of all shapes, sizes, colors and themes will fly over frozen Lake Harriet. FREE.
Family Fire & Ice Skating Night (Windom Northeast Park Skating Rink – Minneapolis): January 15th, 23rd & 28th | 6-8pm Enjoy a free evening skate with hot cocoa, popcorn and a fire pit for warming up and roasting s’mores. (Additional Locations – see link)
Sesame Street Live, Let’s Dance! (State Theatre – Minneapolis): January 16th-18th | Performance Times vary Characters from Sesame Street take the stage for an interactive dance experience. Tickets from $18-$25.
8th Annual Dog Days of Winter (Hiawatha School Park – Minneapolis): January 16th | 6-8:30pm Hot dogs, hot chocolate, and popcorn for all to enjoy. Best of all, we will roast marshmallows over a campfire right next to the ice. Cost is $1 per person. All ages.
Bloomington Winter Fete: January 17 – 25th | Schedule varies Kick off Winter Fete by attending Minnesota Hockey day events at Running Park. Be sure to check out the many other activities including the Pond-Dakota Winter History Festival, International Ski Jumping Competition, and other great events during this winter celebration! All Winter Fete activities are free unless otherwise noted, and fun for the whole family!
Winterfest (Linden Hills – Minneapolis): January 20th | 6:30-8:30pm Horse drawn wagon rides, ice skating, music, sledding, roasting marshmallows by the fire, warm refreshments, face painting and the exciting medallion hunt. All ages. Free.
Twins Fest: January 23rd – 25th | Schedule varies The largest annual fundraiser for the Minnesota Twins Community Fund, TwinsFest will feature numerous new interactive activities and behind-the-scenes fan experiences that celebrate Twins baseball and Target Field.
Red Bull Crashed Ice (St. Paul): January 24th | 6:45pm The season starts out in downtown St. Paul with today’s best ice cross downhill racers combine the conditioning of a hockey player, the agility of an alpine skier and the bump and grind strategy of your favorite NASCAR driver.
Frost Fest (Pearl Park – Minneapolis) January 23rd | 6-9pm Celebrate the winter season! The Kids Dance DJs will be here to get the party started with some “cool” and groovy tunes and contests. Food trucks and other vendors will offer a variety of menu options. The event features indoor and outdoor activities including reindeer sleigh rides, ice skating, carnival games, a cake walk, campfire with s’mores and door prizes.
Bundle Up! Winter Fun Day (Oak Hill Park – St. Louis Park): January 31st | Noon-4pm Enjoy the Minnesota winter weather while ice skating, taking a cross country ski tour, sledding, snowshoeing, riding on hayrides, walking the trails, toasting marshmallows on a bonfire and enjoying live music. There will be cocoa, hot apple cider, s’mores and more! Free.
St. Paul Winter Carnival: January 22nd – February 1st The 129-year-old tradition continues this month with parades, a winter run, the snow park, ice carvings and so much more. Plenty of fun activities throughout the festival to keep you busy!
City of Lakes Loppet: January 30th – February 1st | Schedule varies A festival of cross country skiing including ski and bike races, skijoring, snow sculptures, and luminaries made of ice.
Family Skating Festival (Lake of the Isles – Minneapolis): February 4th | 6-8pm Ice skating, cocoa, s’mores and bonfire. Free. All ages.
Ham Lake Snow Bowl: February 6th | 10am-3pm Head out to Ham Lake, for a day of fun in the snow. Ice fishing contest, dog sled rides, snow sculptures, medallion hunt, snow golf, free kids’ games, and more.
Hudson Hot Air Affair: February 6th-8th | Schedule varies Just over the state line in Hudson, WI, this annual festival has hundreds of hot air balloons flying, and many family-friendly events over three days.
Sweetheart Valentine’s Dance (Lynhurst – Minneapolis): February 11th | 4-6pm DJ music, food, crafts, games and family fun. Admission $5 for residents and $7.50 for non-residents. Ages 11 and under.
Cinderella Ball (Columbia Manor – Minneapolis): February 28th | 6-7:30pm This event will be held at Columbia Manor (3300 Central Ave NE). Wear your royal ball attire and dance into the fairy tale! Pose for a picture with Cinderella, or create your very own royal prince or princess crown. Registrations will be taken until February 21st or until event is full. Register early, this event fills up fast! $12 Resident, $18 Non-Resident
Kids Cheesy Bread Class (Mississippi Market – West 7th): January 13th | 6-7pm In this class you can fight the winter blues by making your own cheesy bread and then eating it! While the cheese bread cooks, you will also get to sample some cheeses from the cheese department and learn a little about each one. This class is intended for kids ages 5-12.
Snowflake (Children’s Theatre Company): January 13th-February 22nd | Show times vary New to the Children’s Theatre – follow Snowflake as everything he touches comes to life.
After-school Outdoor Adventures (Cleary Lake Regional Park – Prior Lake): January 15th, 22nd or 29th | 4:30-6pm Ages 8-12 get the opportunity to learn new winter skills, such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and building snow shelters, at these evening programs. $10/child.
Childish Films (Hennepin County Library – Minneapolis Central): January 17th | 10:30am Adventures in Music. Doors open at 10 am for seating, snacks, and hands-on activities. Live pre-show performances begin at 10:30 am. Each screening features a pre-show activity, an educational introduction, and complimentary healthy snacks. Admission is free with open seating to the public. Most films are best enjoyed by ages 3 and older, but children and people of all ages are welcome to attend.
Animals, Books and Children Weekend (Minnesota Zoo): January 17th-19th Go to the Zoo and see how the animals enjoy playing in the snow! Head inside to warm up with story time in the Bee Hive, make your own animal pop-up book, and meet some of our Close Encounter staff and animals who will be providing guests with a fun animal photo opportunity each day.
Snowshoes and Tracks (Maplewood Nature Center): January 17th | 10am-3pm Learn how to strap on and walk, run, and turn around on snowshoes. Learn about Animal Tracks and Signs from self -guiding activities. A naturalist will answer nature questions, and orient you to the nature center trails. Sleds will be available for pulling young kids. Dress in layers and wear winter boots. Hot chocolate for all attendees! Free to attend. Snowshoe rental available for ages 4-adult for $5/pair.
Apron Craft and Cookie Decoration with the Girl of the Year 2015 (American Girl – Mall of America): January 17th, 31st and February 21st | 9am Celebrate the arrival of our next Girl of the Year® with in-store fun! Your girl will get crafts to decorate and tasty treats, too – all inspired by next year’s contemporary character. Reservations required. Please call toll-free 877.247.5223. For girls ages 8 & up. $10/person.
Meal & Memories with Dad (American Girl – Mall of America): February 14th and 28th | Bistro Hours Dads, share a delightful day out with your daughter! You’ll enjoy a delicious meal, giggle over fun dice games that you can play over and over – like Story Switch-off, Roll-of-the-Dice Charades, and more – and make a colorful keepsake picture frame craft together. You’ll even get a Daddy-Daughter photo taken right at your table and printed for your one-of-a-kind frame. Tickets are $38/person. Reservations required. Call toll-free 877.247.5223. For girls ages 8 & up. $38/person
Childish Films (Hennepin County Library – Minneapolis Central): February 21st | 10:30am Feathers and Fins. Doors open at 10 am for seating, snacks, and hands-on activities. Live pre-show performances begin at 10:30 am. Each screening features a pre-show activity, an educational introduction, and complimentary healthy snacks. Admission is free with open seating to the public. Most films are best enjoyed by ages 3 and older, but children and people of all ages are welcome to attend.
Ice Skating at the Depot: Schedule Varies| See calendar It’s fun, it’s romantic, and warm in the winter. The Depot Rink is an historic Downtown Minneapolis train shed that now houses a modern-day, indoor skating rink with floor-to-ceiling glass walls providing a great view of the city skyline.
Tots Playtime Bowling (Pinstripes – Edina): Weekdays | 10am-Noon Kids bowl for $5 and parents bowl for Free! Cozy couches, wait staff is available if you need some coffee or a snack and bumpers and ball ramps abound. Limit 4 children per adult.
Story Time at Como Zoo’s Visitor Center: Daily | Noon Join the zoo for story time everyday at 12:00! The stories feature plants and animals, and occasionally involve costumed characters.
Tail Time (Wild Rumpus Bookstore): Mondays | 10:30am Story time for babies through pre-schoolers. This fills up quickly, so arrive early – its a popular outing!
Story Time with Engineer Paul (Choo Choo Bob’s Train Store): Tuesdays | 10am Sing songs, listen to train stories, and enjoy the morning at a local favorite spot for littles. Stay afterward and play with one of the many train tables set up at the back of the store.
Toddler Tuesdays (Mall of America): Tuesdays | 10am-Noon Toddler Tuesdays provides events, free entertainment and discounts especially for toddlers. Events include special character appearances, arts and crafts, story time and much more! Kids eat free with an adult meal at many restaurants. Nickelodeon Universe ride special: 5-hour toddler wristband for $11.95 + plus tax.
Free Toddler Flicks (Mall of America): Tuesdays | 11:30am Join the Theatres at Mall of America for Free Toddler Flicks every Tuesday after Toddler Tuesdays®. Enjoy a special $4 kids concession package including popcorn or a hot dog, crackers and juice pouch or water.
Science Museum Preschool Playdates (St. Paul): Tuesdays | 10am-Noon Purchase a regular priced ticket and receive a child ticket for free (ages 5 & under). Includes make and takes, theater programs and demonstrations and admission to the galleries.
Book Club (Pottery Barn Kids – Galleria): Tuesdays | 11am Head over for story time each week and join the book club. They’ll give you a book club passport on your first trip and a special gift after five trips in. Free.
Storytimes at the Red Balloon Bookshop (St. Paul): Tuesdays-Thursday | 10:30am Storytime for various ages. Tuesdays for Baby, Wednesdays for Preschoolers and Thursdays for Toddlers. Free.
Wee Wednesdays (Midtown Global Market): Wednesdays | 10:30am-1pm Wee Wednesdays showcase free educational programming, fun crafts and great meal deals each Wednesday morning at Midtown Global Market! Dance with them, experience live puppet theater, learn to cook fun items together in the kitchen, and even pet live animals from the Como Zoo. 5yrs. old and under.
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Free Thursdays (Chaska): Thursdays through March | 8:00-5:30 (or sunset, whichever is later)
Free Crafts for Kids (Lakeshore Learning): Saturdays | 11am-3pm Ages 3 and up. No reservation necessary. Locations in Maplewood and St. Louis Park.
Saturday Puppet Shows (In the Heart of the Beast Theater): Saturdays through March 14th | 10am & Noon Puppet shows, followed by make and take workshops themed for that day’s puppet show (additional $5/child, $3/adult). Workshops are a family activity offered in the classroom at 11 am each Saturday morning. $8/person or whatever you can pay.
Target Free Sundays (Minnesota Children’s Museum): Third Sunday of each month Visitors can roam the Museum free of charge, every third Sunday of each month, from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Only a certain number of visitors are allowed in each hour – expect to wait 10-20 minutes upon arrival. Due to the number of visitors on these days, we’d suggest leaving strollers at home or in the car.
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