Join us at The Great Northern Festival, which Travel + Leisure just named “one of the world’s top winter festivals” and among the “best places in the world to travel to in January 2023”. With more than 60 events at venues throughout the Twin Cities in the last week of January and the first week of February—the coldest corner of the calendar—the festival invigorates its attendees with all the season has to offer.
With climate change at the forefront, the festival seeks to inspire action and awareness around the importance of our winters. Attendees—from near and far—will experience the beauty of winter on a cellular level, and be inspired and motivated to preserve it.
Events at The Great Northern are designed to intrigue and delight—from innovative food and drink, bold and thought-provoking speakers and ideas, immersive public art, innovative performances (including a number of world premieres), and breathtaking outdoor experiences. The events are interconnected and meant to be experienced holistically to fully represent the people, places, and activities that comprise winter culture in the North.
This year’s festival kicks off on January 25 with Chill Out, an outdoor winter village at Surly Brew Hall that will feature food, libations, art, entertainment, and even a sauna experience. Metro Transit is providing a free pass to the event to encourage guests to use sustainable modes of transportation.
Sustainability is a key theme throughout the festival, but particularly in its robust climate series. Every year The Great Northern offers a series of conversations featuring the foremost thinkers from our backyard and around the world to offer sustainable solutions to the climate crisis. This year’s Climate Solutions Series includes more than a dozen events at American Swedish Institute that investigate climate action from diverse angles.
The festival’s public art centerpiece this year is an installation that combines art, technology, and climate awareness. Our Common Home is an interactive digital art piece told in four chapters via LED monoliths that will be installed in Lowertown, Saint Paul, for the length of the festival. This project provides an opportunity to reach people who wouldn’t otherwise engage in climate programming.
Another highlight of the 2023 festival is a new Sauna Village at Malcolm Yards. The therma-curious can sign up from one of many guided experiences that touch on aromatherapy, cold plunge, and more, or they can choose an “open steam” session that allows them to explore the 18 structures. From mobile saunas to tent saunas, saunas with swings and saunas with scents, there is plenty to explore.
With concerts, dance performances, outdoor events, and special food experiences, there is truly something for everyone at this year’s festival. The Great Northern: Let the Climate Change You.