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The Great Northern: Minnesota's Newest Tradition

The collection of outdoor food and drink events features some of the Twin Cities' best chefs


Rice Park, St. Paul, The Great Northern
St. Paul's Rice Park

According to some, Minnesota is said to have the #1 most miserable winters in the U.S. I'd like to passively aggresively respond by saying: Thanks for the thinking of us! But dontcha know that winter is darn fun here? The Great Northern, a brand new event taking place Jan. 27–Feb. 5, proves that despite the season's not-so admirable qualities, Minnesotans can't be stopped from putting on a party...outdoors.

To complement the upcoming St. Paul Winter Carnival (Jan. 26-Feb. 5), the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships (Jan. 26-29), and the City of Lakes Loppet (Feb. 3-5), the Great Northern is enhancing the metro's winter traditions with a slew of food and drink events—from an extravagant dinner by the area's most lauded chefs, to a crayfish party featuring a sauna, to a family night with live music and food trucks.

Do whatever you need to do to stay warm (we recommenced a few of these MN-made knits) and celebrate the best of winter. See below for the official Great Northern event lineup:

Friday, Jan. 27–Sunday, Jan. 29

Hard Rock Café and Labatt Blue Blue Zone at the U.S. Pond Hockey Tournament

Fans and players at the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships can kickback at the Hard Rock Café, which is open each day during the three-day event. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Also, make sure to stop by the Labatt Blue Blue Zone, voted one of the ‘World’s Best Hockey Bars,’ for games and entertainment. 

Time: Friday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Location: Lake Nokomis
Tickets: Free, food, and beverage available for purchase

Monday, Jan. 30

A Winter Table from The Bachelor Farmer, Spoon and Stable, and Meritage

The Bachelor Farmer’s Paul Berglund and Spoon and Stable’s Gavin Kaysen will present an elegant outdoor experience in Minneapolis' hip North Loop neighborhood by serving a four-course meal, plus icy seafood towers from Russell Klein of Meritage in St. Paul, wine and cocktail pairings, custom Faribault Woolen Mill blankets, and handmade s’mores kits.

Time: 5:30 p.m.
Location: North First Street in the North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis
Tickets: $395 (includes all tax, gratuity, valet, and beverage pairings). The event is limited to 100 seats, so tickets are likely to sell out. Visit TheBachelorFarmer.com to reserve your spot.

Tuesday, Jan. 31

St. Paul Winter Carnival Frozen Family Fun Night

During the St. Paul Winter Carnival, families can enjoy live music from the comedic dance-pop duo Koo Koo Kanga Roo (billed as “the Beastie Boys meet Sesame Street"). Other activities include a visit from the St. Paul Mounted Police, Winter Carnival Junior Royalty, Elsa & Anna, food trucks, and more.

Time: 5-8 p.m.
Location: Rice Park
Tickets: Free, food and beverage available for purchase 

St. Paul Chef’s Experience from Saint Dinette, Revival, and Corner Table

Join Chef Thomas Boemer of Corner Table and Revival, and Chef Adam Eaton of Saint Dinette for a French Canadian-inspired, outdoor winter feast in the Lowertown neighborhood of St. Paul featuring skewered meats, smoked fish, toasted bread, warm maple syrup, and more. Master minds Tim Niver, Laurel Elm, and Nick Rancone will also craft chilled, warm, and spiked beverages, available a la carte.

Time: 6–9 p.m.
Location: St. Paul Farmers Market
Tickets: $30 (include entry, tax, and food), to purchase, visit: EventBrite.com/TheGreatNorthern

Wednesday, Feb. 1

Ice to Spice Boca Chica Restaurante y Cantina and El Burrito Mercado Present Cinco Night in Rice Park

Cinco de Mayo takes over Rice Park with authentic tamales, elotes, and a jalapeno eating contest. Live music from Mariachi Jalisco, playing the sound of the heart and soul of Mexico, and West Side Band, rockin’ the West Side for 35 years.

Time: 5-8 p.m.
Location: St. Paul Winter Carnival, Rice Park
Tickets: Free, food and beverage available for purchase

Surly Kraftskivan from Brewer’s Table and Heirloom, featuring 612 Sauna Society

The Swedish “Kraftskivan” party, traditionally held in summer, is getting The Great Northern treatment. Surly’s executive chef Jorge Guzman and his Brewer’s Table team join forces with Wyatt Evans of St. Paul’s Heirloom to host a winter outdoor Kraftskivan crayfish party. Revelers will also enjoy smoked sturgeon, other Scandinavian delicacies, and brews from Surly Brewing. Plus, you can sweat it out at the debut of the nation’s first community-owned mobile sauna, courtesy of 612 Sauna Society.

Time: 6–9 p.m.
Location: Surly Brewing Co. Beer Garden
Tickets: Free, food and beverage available for purchase

Thursday, Feb. 2

“Not Your Father’s” Happy Hour

Get a head start on the weekend in Rice Park for a special happy hour. Enjoy a Not Your Father’s Root Beer or Ginger Ale, beer, or glass of wine. St. Paul’s own Black Market BBQ will be serving up Not Your Father’s Root Beer glazed ribs, and live music from White Iron Band.

Time: 5-8 p.m.
Location: St. Paul Winter Carnival, Rice Park
Tickets: Free, food and beverage available for purchase

Friday, Feb. 3–Sunday, Feb. 5

Surly Beer Garden & Food Trucks

Fans and participants can enjoy a Surly Beer and grab a bite to eat from local food trucks in the Loppet Village during the three-day City of Lakes Loppet Ski Festival.

Time: Friday, 5–9 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.–10 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Location: Loppet Village Area
Tickets: Free, food and beverage available for purchase

Saturday, Feb. 4

The 8th Annual Beer Dabbler Winter Carnival

Minnesota’s biggest outdoor beer festival features craft beer from 120+ breweries, live music, gourmet meat and cheese showcase from Lunds and Byerlys, local food trucks, and a flurry of winter activities.

Time: 2:30-6:30 p.m.
Location: Minnesota State Fairgrounds
Tickets: 21+ event, to purchase tickets, visit: BeerDabbler.com


Read more:
The Ultimate 2017 To Do List: We've compiled a list of 100+ activities, shows, celebrations, and events throughout the year to help you enjoy a year's worth of Minnesota

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About This Blog

Whether you are a seasoned Twin Cities traveler or planning your first trip to Minnesota, this blog will introduce you to many new adventures to add to your itinerary. From day trips and scenic discoveries to luxurious girls weekends, travel tips, and insider scoops, our editors will give you all the information you need to enjoy your stay Up North.

Learn about the contributing writers.

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