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Minnesota Winter Fun & Festivals: Waterparks, Skiing, and More in the Twin Cities and Outstate MN

Published by Fern Groetken

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So what do people do in Minnesota during the winter? Huddle by the fire? Hibernate and live on nuts and seeds? People who don’t live in Minnesota sometimes think that life comes to a halt during the cold winter months, but it doesn’t. Minnesotans are used to the weather, and some of them wouldn’t have it any other way. (Here’s what the locals have to say about winter).

Minnesotans go about their everyday lives during the winter, and, in fact, there are quite a few indoor and outdoor winter activities that are popular in the Twin Cities metro area and in outstate Minnesota. Here are some of the best ways to enjoy the coldest months of the year.

Winter Festivals. Yes, people are willing to go outside for long periods of time and enjoy these chilly get-togethers. In fact, some of the biggest winter festivals in Minnesota are in the coldest parts of the state, like International Falls. These festivals feature snow and ice carvings, sporting events, and lots of community spirit. If you’re looking for some outdoor winter fun, bundle up and visit one of these Minnesota winter festivals, including the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, which has been going on for over 100 years and is one of the largest winter celebrations in the United States.

Skiing. No, it’s not the Rocky Mountains, but in such a snowy climate, it’s no surprise that there are plenty of ski and snowboard enthusiasts. In the Twin Cities, there are several smaller ski areas that locals enjoy when they want an afternoon on the slopes but don’t want to leave the city. Serious skiers and snowboard head out to Lutsen Mountains Ski Area. Here’s where you can find downhill skiing in Minnesota.

Indoor waterparks. This craze is all the rage in nearby Wisconsin Dells, and now it’s caught on in Minnesota as well. On a dreary January day, nothing makes you forget about winter faster than a great water side! Most waterparks are part of hotels or resorts, and they include admission to the waterpark in the price of the room. Usually people who are not staying at the hotel can purchase tickets to the waterpark if there is space available. Here’s where you can find some of the best indoor waterparks in Minnesota.

Christmas in Minnesota. When you live in Minnesota, you never have to wonder if your Christmas will be white! The biggest attraction in the area is the Holidazzle Parade in downtown Minneapolis. Read more about Christmas attractions in the Twin Cities, including the many regional performances of the Nutcracker Suite and where you can visit with Santa Claus.

Shopping. Is it any wonder that a region as cold as this one has great malls? Of course, Minnesota is best known for the Mall of America, where you can escape the cold for hours at the aquarium, the amusement park, and dozens of unique stores, but there are plenty of other Twin City area malls and shopping districts as well. And hey, there’s no sales tax on clothing in Minnesota.

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