Our Top 19 Winter Events in MN

The best in arts, entertainment, festivals, and recreation January through February


The City of Lakes Loppet Ski Festival in Minneapolis

Photo by Todd Buchanan


Ice Castles | Through 3/2

Weather permitting, the gorgeous, towering Ice Castles should be up by Jan. 1, this year in Excelsior in the Commons park.

 

Ski Party | 1/4-5

Slay on the slopes, sit in the chalet, and jam out to killer tunes at this fourth-annual party for skiing and snowboarding—plus a music festival featuring Trampled by Turtles and Lissie—at Lutsen Mountains’ top-rated resort.

 

Land O’Lakes Dog Show | 1/4-6

St. Paul’s RiverCentre hosts the puppy party of the year. Watch the dog drama unfold, and shop the goodies from 50 vendors.

 

Sandstone Ice Festival | 1/4-6

Get your blood pumping with ice climbing and skinny skiing or soothe your soul with winter camping and snowshoeing. Adventurists gather at Robinson Park in Sandstone for chilly climbing clinics and gear demos.

 

Mankato Craft Beer Expo | 1/12

Taste beer from more than 45 local breweries at southwest Minnesota’s largest craft beer event at the Verizon Wireless Center in Mankato, plus seminars, live music, and food vendors including Natedogs and Pub 500.

 

15th Annual Polar Bear Plunge | 1/18-3/16

Fifteen years, 21 locations, more than 8,200 Special Olympics athletes, and one mission: Create an inclusive community for abled and disabled athletes of Minnesota, from Alexandria and Rochester to Duluth and Warroad.

 

Elton John | 1/24

Say your farewells to a dazzling performer during Elton John’s last-ever tour at the Target Center in Minneapolis.

 

St. Paul Winter Carnival | 1/24-2/3

More than 250,000 visitors don’t lie—with a half-marathon, 70-foot-tall ice palace, three parades, a treasure hunt, snow sculpting, and more, Kellogg Mall Park in St. Paul hosts Minnesota’s consummate winter fête.

 

U.S. Pond Hockey Championship | 1/24-27

Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis welcomes hockey enthusiasts in seven divisions based upon age and skill. Who will win the golden shovel?

 

John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon | 1/25-30

Cheer on more than 60 mushers in North America’s premier sled-dog race, which concludes at Billy’s Bar in Duluth. Or stream it live online.

 

Winter Ice Cream Social | 1/26

It’s never too cold for ice cream—especially when it’s free. Join the Stillwater community at Lowell Park for a long-standing tradition.

 

City of Lakes Loppet Ski Festival | 1/31-2/3

Glide to Theodore Wirth Regional Park in north Minneapolis for races, relays, a snow sculpture contest, beer garden, and fan-favorite Vendor Village at this urban cross-country ski festival.

 

Ely Winter Festival | 2/7-17

Take your pick from a series of events in Ely: an outdoor art walk, a snow-sculpting symposium, a museum tour, and filling up on pasta at the kick-off spaghetti dinner.

 

Benevolence | 2/12

Penumbra Theatre brings this play’s world premiere to Minneapolis, remembering the case of Emmett Till as it ignited the Civil Rights Movement.

 

Kevin Kling & the Love Show | 2/14

Kevin Kling presents his annual show about the ups and downs of love at the O’Shaughnessy in St. Paul—in the NPR-featured local storyteller’s Valentine’s Day must-see.

 

Winter Beer Dabbler | 2/23

Support Minnesota’s craft beer community at this outdoor (yes, outdoor) fest featuring more than 130 breweries and 400 brews at St. Paul’s CHS Field. –KB


Get Used to It: The Guthrie’s Celebration of Queer Artistry

It was a boldface early-’90s slogan: “We’re here. We’re queer. Get used to it.” In that spirit, the Guthrie Theater’s Level Nine Series brings three shows to Minneapolis this winter that fearlessly explore LGBTQ+ life.

Unexploded Ordnances (UXO) | 1/25-2/10

This political play borrows the doomsday setup from Stanley Kubrick’s film Dr. Strangelove, and adds feminism, aging, and homosexuality for gender-bending satire. Split Britches, a New York lesbian theater troupe, uses buried, maybe-explosive munitions (UXOs) to symbolize untapped desires.

Lashed but Not Leashed | 2/14-16

Drag queen Martha Graham Cracker stages a cabaret show about getting over loves lost. The Philadelphia legend (a.k.a. Dito van Reigersberg, an East Coast theater veteran) has been belting for more than a decade and pairs original tunes with a live band.

Hi, Are You Single? | 2/21-24

Writer-performer Ryan J. Haddad hits New York’s dating scene as a young gay man, but cerebral palsy—and his walker—put distance between him and romance. It’s a journey of highs and lows, humor, drag queens and go-go dancers. –ET

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