What Are Winters Like In Minnesota – With beautiful snow-covered parks, seasonal festivals, and thousands of trails designed for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling, these are some of the best things to do in Minnesota in the winter.
Winter in Minnesota is a magical time filled with outdoor fun, winter carnivals and lots of holiday shopping.
What Are Winters Like In Minnesota
If you’ve ever wanted to try festive winter activities like ice skating, dog sledding, skiing or ice fishing, a trip to Minnesota in the winter will give you the perfect opportunity!
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If you think the weather is a little too cold for you, Minnesota has plenty of fun winter events that also take place indoors. You can be tasty while enjoying the winter magic.
Need help planning your Minnesota winter vacation? In this short guide, I’ve rounded up the best things to do in Minnesota in the winter. It will surely cheer you up for the holidays.
Winters in Minnesota are cold, snowy and windy. The cold season in Minnesota lasts about 3 ½ months.
Make sure you pack a really warm winter jacket. You’ll need it, as average daily temperatures range from -2°C (28.4°F) in November to -13°C (8.6°F) in January! Burr! It’s also worth noting that blizzards hit Minnesota twice every winter on average.
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If you really can’t beat the cold, read my guide to traveling in Minnesota – this was the one I did this summer, so it’s full of warm weather travel tips!
10 Best Things to Do in Minnesota in Winter Enjoy your vacation at the St. Paul Winter Carnival
One of the most popular things to do in Minnesota in the winter is to attend the St. Paul Winter Carnival. This carnival takes place between January and February and the period will be from 25 January 2024 to 3 February 2024.
It’s a fantastic experience filled with exciting, family-friendly activities such as scavenger hunts, ice fishing and even two festival parades!
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There’s enough fresh snow in Minnesota to make you go fast in a snowmobile! The Minnesota Department of National Resources also has a free snowmobile trail guide.
Many are located in beautiful Minnesota state parks such as Theodore Wirth Park and Afton State Park. If you don’t have your own snowmobile, you can rent one in cities like Minneapolis or Brainerd.
Every winter, Minnesota locals make amazing snow castles by growing their own icicles! When the ice is ready, it is harvested and then shaped into a giant ice castle with tunnels, slides and LED lights.
You don’t want to miss this fascinating event! The location of the fort changes every year, so be sure to check the location before planning your trip.
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There are so many options for a fun day of skating in Minnesota! The city of Roseville has great outdoor skating rinks, such as Rice Park in St. Paul.
But if you want a magical experience, try Centennial Lakes in Edina. The course consists of 3 ponds which are all connected by a canal system. After skating you can warm up with hot chocolate or something a little stronger!
Don’t let the cold Minnesota weather keep you indoors! All you need to do is dress appropriately for the temperature. Embrace the heat and get outside and explore Minnesota’s thousands of trails for snowshoeing, snowmobiling, fat biking and cross-country skiing. You’ll enjoy spectacular views of Minnesota’s wild and rugged landscape, including mountains, rivers, lakes and more.
If you want to enjoy an easy evening walk, Theodore Wirth Regional Park is located in the middle of Minneapolis. There you will find many easy hiking trails and other activities for family fun all year round.
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The aurora borealis, commonly known as the northern lights, shines briefly over Minnesota. Voyageurs National Park is one of the best places to capture this amazing natural phenomenon.
Forget summer, the cold winter months are actually the best chance to see the Northern Lights, as the sky darkens at this time of year. And don’t worry, you can still see something if they’re not active during your visit. Amazing places like the Milky Way, satellites, shooting stars and more!
Looking for something to do in Minnesota in the winter that is indoors? When the weather gets a little too chilly, warm up with a craft cocktail or local beer! Did you know that Minnesota has over 100 breweries and taprooms across the state?
Craft cocktail enthusiasts should check out the gorgeous tasting room at Crooked Water or the distillery tours and cocktail classes at Norseman Distillery. If you prefer a craft beer to warm you up, try Dangerous Man Brewing Company for a great selection of local beers!
The Minnesota Winter Bucket List
Winter in Minnesota is all about winter sports! In fact, Minnesota has the highest elevations in the Midwest. From Spirit Mountain in Duluth to Buck Hill where many famous skiing stars began their careers, Minnesota may not have mountains, but the state sure has some amazing slopes! If you’re just starting out, many of these places also offer introductory classes.
How does diving in a frozen lake sound? I promise it’s not as bad as it sounds! If you’re visiting Minnesota in the winter, ice skating is a once-in-a-lifetime activity that will get your heart racing.
It is held at 20 locations in Minnesota. All the money raised goes to the Special Olympics, so you’re running for a good cause! This is one of the most exciting events of the winter in Minnesota! Would you be brave enough to try it?
Before you head home from your winter vacation in Minnesota, don’t forget to try out sledding or tubing! This is a really fun, family-friendly activity that everyone can enjoy.
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There are many snow-covered hills in Minneapolis, including Adams Hill Park and Afton State Park. These are activities that bring out the big child in all of us!
Looking for a romantic winter getaway in Minnesota? Then you’ll love Good Ol’ Days Resort. It is a relaxing and rural retreat located on the shores of Lower Cullen Lake.
The resort has beautiful and well-maintained areas where you can try fun winter activities such as ice fishing and snowshoeing. Alternatively, you can cozy up in front of one of the roaring fires!
There is much to do and see in the area. Niswa town center is a short walk from the hotel. You can also try cross-country skiing and snowshoeing at the Pines Winter Recreation Center. If you are interested in skiing or snowboarding, the spectacular Skíðagat is also nearby.
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If you’re looking for a unique boutique hotel in the Twin Cities, The Chambers Hotel is a great choice. Located in the heart of the Theater District, this historic boutique hotel is close to the best restaurants, shops and nightlife in downtown Minneapolis.
The legendary Orpheum Theater is also nearby if you want to escape the cold and catch a Broadway show.
If you plan to visit Minneapolis in the winter, another great option is Graduate Minneapolis. This modern and sophisticated boutique hotel is located in the heart of UMN’s campus, just steps from Kaufman Memorial Union and Gophers Stadium.
Many of Minneapolis’ best restaurants and microbreweries are a short drive away. Enjoy brunch under the trees at Astor Cafe or enjoy specialty cocktails at Nice Bar – a local favorite!
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I hope you enjoyed my guide to the best things to do in Minnesota in the winter. During the cold winter months, Minnesota transforms into a winter wonderland, so some of these fun activities are sure to warm you up!
If you really can’t beat the cold, don’t miss my guide to our Minnesota road trip. I did this this summer so there are tons of warm weather travel tips!
My name is Chloe and I love to travel the world and share stories and memories from my travels as well as useful travel tips so you can follow in my footsteps. Not sure where you want to go? Start here or on Instagram to see where I am around the world. The first third of winter is in the book. And so far, Minnesota’s winter weather seems hostile.
Temperatures in the Twin Cities in December were 5.6 degrees above average. The mild trend is even stronger in the Red River Valley last month. Temperatures in western Minnesota have been between 7 and 10 degrees above average for the past month.
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Snowfall trends are showing some interesting patterns so far this winter. Snowfall has been above average on the Interstate 35 corridor between the Twin Cities and Duluth.
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30.5 inches of snow fell on the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport so far this season. This is 7.6 inches above average. Duluth has already recorded 47.7 inches. That’s about a foot above the average for the season so far.
Average snowfall also covers much of the Brainerd Lakes region and northern Minnesota. The snowfall is slightly below average