Monday, January 25, 2016

The 15 Best Things To Do In Minnesota This Winter

I love Minnesota, and there is no secret about that. I grew up in Minnesota and spent the majority of my first 23 years living in the beautiful state. Even now, after having spent several years living elsewhere, a major portion of my heart will always be in Minnesota. Now, you maybe have your reasons for not wanting to visit Minnesota (mainly, let's be honest, the cold.). However, along with the cold often comes snow, which can make Minnesota even more beautiful than it is during the summer for those willing to brave it! Here are the 15 best things to do in Minnesota during the winter months!

1. Go dog sledding in Ely, Minnesota. Ely has become famous for dog-sledding. Over half a dozen companies now run dog-sledding excursions, and can transport you back in time and take you on a tour of the country like you've never been before!

2. Tour the Ice Castles in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

OK, so it wasn't totally frozen - but isn't Lake Superior beautiful in the winter?!
3. Stroll the Duluth Lakewalk along Lake Superior in Duluth, Minnesota. Each winter, as Lake Superior freezes over, ice shards and blocks crash and collide along the lakeside forming spectacular views. This is truly something you have to see to believe!

4. Check out the Mississippi Headquarters in Lake Itasca State Park, near Bemidji, Minnesota. 

5. Warm up indoors, strolling through the skywalks in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota.

At the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships in 2013
6. Take in an outdoor hockey game or two near Minneapolis, Minnesota. The U.S. Pond Hockey Championships are held on Lake Nokomis January 28-31 (just recently postponed!) and hosts teams from around the world for a fun-filled weekend of pond hockey. Alternatively, you can also nab hockey tickets to see the Minnesota Wild take on the Chicago Blackhawks at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis February 20.

7. Go cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. Cross country skiing is available throughout the state, and most counties will have designated groomed trails just for skiiers! Located just a short 15 minute drive from Minneapolis, the suburb of Maple Grove offers over 4,900 acres of parks and 12 miles of groomed ski trails. Snowshoeing is another popular favorite. If you don't have your own, often many park rental facilities throughout the state will have snowshoes you can rent by the hour or day!

8. Visit the iconic Split Rock Lighthouse in Duluth, Minnesota. While you may not be able to partake in the hiking activities as trails are closed in the winter, the stunning views of frozen Lake Superior cannot be beat!

9. Take a snowmobile trip and immerse yourself in the outdoors. My personal favorite location to snowmobile is on the trails near Bemidji, but trails can be found throughout the state. Minnesota boasts over 22,000 miles of groomed trails throughout the season, so you are never far from one! If you are looking for a fun winter activity in Minnesota, this is one that everyone can enjoy!

10. Catch a fish near Lake of the Woods, Minnesota. Lake of the Woods County is home to some of the best fishing in the state year round, and the season just continues on in the winter with ice fishing! There are over 50 resorts in Lake of the Woods County, and surely a place for everyone to explore. The ice fishing season typically runs from December through early April (pending ice levels across the state!)

11. Join in the fun at the St. Paul Winter Carnival.

12. Cruise downhill in a sled. Sledding is always a winter favorite. Anywhere you find a hill, you will be able to cruise down the hill and have some fun! This is a winter activity for the whole family - kids included!

Bentleyville City of Lights 2015
13. Visit Bentleyville City of Lights! This past year was my first experience at Bentleyville, located in Duluth, Minnesota, and it was so perfect! It reminded me a lot of European Christmas markets. The best part about Bentleyville is that it is totally family-friendly, and free!

14. Go chasing waterfalls! Throughout Minnesota in the winter, there are tons of frozen waterfalls that you can capture. Gooseberry Falls, Tettegouche, and Minnehaha are the most popular ones that come to my mind. Really, any waterfall in Minnesota will be frozen in the winter and give you an experience unlike any other!

15. Go Biking! You might think this one is crazy - but biking in the snow is actually fairly popular in Minnesota winters. Not only is it going to be a great workout, but I bet it is something not a lot of your friends have done.

Of course, these are just 15 great things to do during the winter months in Minnesota. There are so many other activities, both for singles, couples, families, friends - whoever! The cold does not have to stop you from having fun. What are your favorite things to do in the winter?

**If you liked this post, please pin the below image!**

"What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness"


  1. Oh the Great Lakes, how I love them! Do you guys have a lot of snow right now?

    1. Unfortunately not a ton :( I'm so jealous of everyone on the East Coast right now! We did get about an inch of snow this evening though - hoping for lots more soon!

  2. After the winters of 2012 and 2013, I moved to Taipei and then Arizona. Although I don't miss the cold, I felt like cold weather spurred me to work harder. And I visit occasionally during the winter. Just before moving in early 2014, I had sold my car and was biking everywhere in subzero weather. Most people do not realize the nature of Minnesota winters.


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