Winter is inevitable in the Twin Cities, where snowy slopes and ice crystals are usually the norm for several months of the year. But there’s no need to stay indoors when the weather turns cold. In fact, there’s a host of fun and engaging winter activities for people of all ages to enjoy right here in Minnesota.
The Urgency Room is committed to keeping you and your family healthy and happy, which is why we put together this list of our 10 favorite outdoor winter activities in Minnesota. And don’t worry, each is exciting and safe for the whole family.
Stroll along more than 1,100 acres of gardens, trees, prairies, and woods. Explore miles of trails and keep an eye out for deer, foxes, owls, bald eagles, geese, swans, and mallards. If you get too cold, venture inside and enjoy planting seeds or other activities from noon until 4 p.m. at the Learning Center.
2. Try Cross-Country Skiing
Bring your skis to the Nordic Ski Center at the University of Minnesota! The Roseville Parks & Recreation Department rents skis and snowshoes to use on their ski trails at Langton Lake Park and Cedarholm Golf Course too. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, try the ungroomed trails at Reservoir Woods. Fort Snelling also allows cross country skiing, but you’ll need to bring your own equipment for that.
3. Visit the Guidant John Rose OVAL for Ice Skating
Surround yourself with the beauty of winter at the OVAL in Roseville. It’s actually the largest outdoor refrigerated skating facility in North America. Take just one lap around it and you’ll have traveled 400 meters! Weather permitting, it’s open until mid-March. And if you get cold outside, you can always hop into their indoor rink.
If you’d like to explore a few other options first, check out this link for a list of outdoor skating rinks in the Twin Cities area.
4. Sledding Hills Throughout Minneapolis
Enjoy a bit of downhill skiing and sledding at the following ski parks:
- St. Anthony Park, Jefferson St. NE and Spring St. NE, Minneapolis
- Valley View Park, 26th Ave. N and N Theodore Wirth Pkwy., Minneapolis
- Columbia Park & Golf Club, 3300 Central Ave., NE, Minneapolis
- Lyndale Farmstead Park, 3900 Bryant Ave. S, Minneapolis
- Beard’s Plaisance, 4525 Upton Ave. S., Minneapolis
- Battle Creek Recreation Center, 75. S. Winthrop St., St. Paul
- Highland Park, 1400 Highland Pkwy., St. Paul
- Como Park, N. Chelsea St. and W. Arlington Ave., St. Paul
- French Regional, 12605 Rockford Rd., Plymouth
- Elm Creek Park, 12400 James Deane Pkwy., Maple Grove
- Theodore Wirth Winter Recreation Area, 1301 Theodore Wirth Pkwy, Minneapolis
Let Alaskan Huskies take you on a sled riding adventure through the scenic countryside! Ride along and relax or take the reins and drive the sled to your destination. You’ll receive a thorough orientation from experienced staff and meet all the dogs before you take off, so don’t worry about being untrained or unprepared. Remember to bring some very warm clothes and make sure your children are comfortable with larger dogs before you give this activity a try.
Schedule the dates from mid-January to early February onto your calendar for the nation’s oldest and largest winter festival, the Saint Paul Winter Carnival. The Saint Paul Winter Carnival originated in 1886 as a way to celebrate the winter. View colorful outdoor parades, slide down a giant snow slide, and marvel at the gargantuan snow sculptures. A great lineup of live music keeps the festivities in full swing throughout too.
Behold the legend of King Boreas and the Queen of the Snows, along with their four wind brothers, where the king bestowed a blessing on the city. Sounds pretty cool, right?
Spend the whole day downtown and take a warm-up break by visiting the Science Museum of Minnesota, Minnesota History Center, or the Children’s Museum. And be sure to check out the schedule for games and concerts at the Xcel Energy Center.
Many hockey games start in neighborhood ponds and backyards, so why not enter a team in the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships? Or maybe just go along and cheer for your favorite teams. It’s so much fun that ESPN lists it as one of the top 101 things that sports fans should experience before they die. This event is definitely worth checking out if you and your family are hockey fans.
Spend just 5 dollars to follow a moonlit trail along the scenic Minnehaha Creek. Go all the way to the Mississippi River and then roast some marshmallows and warm up around the firepit on the trip back. Bundle up, stick together, and enjoy yourselves!
Venture out to Powderhorn Park for the annual Art Sled Rally and watch talented local artists race their decorated sleds in an exciting spectacle of creativity! If sledding is your passion, you can design your own sled and sign up to race too! Just be sure to bring a helmet for everyone who’s riding.
Lebanon Hills features Trails by Candlelight on February 11, 2017. Follow two miles of hiking and snowshoeing trails and almost four miles of cross-country ski trails lit by luminarias. Be sure to get some tasty food from the concession stands and warm up by the bonfires as well.
Now that we’ve inspired you with a handful of ideas, get ready to layer on your clothing, grab some warm winter hats, boots, and gloves and enjoy the scenic wonders of our Minnesota winter. There’s a perfect dose of safe winter fun for everyone here!
Please call or message us if you have any questions or concerns involving the wellbeing of you and your loved ones. As always, we’re here for you.