Explore Minnesota This Winter

Explore Minnesota This Winter

Options for fun in the colder months are practically endless in Minnesota. Make the most of your winter by checking out these different experiences happening across our great state. Don’t hide from winter — celebrate it!

Must-See Winter Events:

Bentleyville “Tour of Lights” 

Bentleyville is a FREE walk through light show, bringing people together to create delightful memories for all!

Nov 19–Dec 26 Duluth, MN


European Christmas Market

The most authentic traditional holiday market of its kind in Minnesota, offering a unique shopping experience, family-friendly entertainment & intercultural activities.

Nov 25–Dec 18 St. Paul, MN


This year’s festivities will include food, gift vendors, Santa, interactive art exhibits, and much more.

Nov 25–Dec 18 Minneapolis, MN

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas musical

Transform your holidays with the heartwarming music of over 17 Irving Berlin classics that will have you dreaming of a white Christmas.

Nov 26–Dec 11St. Cloud, MN

Northern Lights Festival

Minnesota's newest holiday experience provides an indoor light park, wrapping stations, small business shopping and more. 

Dec 2–18 Rochester, MN

Dark Sky Festival

Every year, explorers, adventurers, artists and photographers from around the world travel to Cook County to experience the northern lights.

Dec 8–10 Grand Marais, MN

Santa and His Reindeer 

Join the Granite Falls Historical Society for a great outdoor event celebrating the history of the Volstead's daughter Laura and her husband Carl Lomen's history of reindeer herds in Alaska.

Dec 18 Granite Falls, MN

Nisswa 100 Cross-Country Snowmobile Race

The Nisswa 100 Course will be a mixture of lake, ditches, woods & fields and approximately 50 miles in length.

Jan 14–15 Nisswa, MN

World Snow Sculpting Championship

Teams from around the world will travel to Stillwater, Minnesota to create amazing snow sculptures while competing for prize money and the title of the World Champion. This will be a judged event and will include social events, activities, ceremonies, the people's choice award, and will be fun for the whole family.

Jan 18–22 Stillwater, MN

The Great Northern

The Great Northern celebrates our cold, creative winters through programming that invigorates mind and body.

Jan 26–Feb 5 Minneapolis & St Paul, MN

St. Paul Winter Carnival 

A 10-day event aimed to celebrate Minnesota in the winter, which includes: which include ice carving competitions, family-friendly artistic and educational activities, and much more!

Jan 26-Feb 5 St. Paul, MN

Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza

The Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza is the largest charitable ice fishing contest on earth. Founded in 1991, the event has been held annually ten miles north of Brainerd, Minnesota.

Jan 28 Brainerd, MN

John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon

The longest sled dog marathon in the lower 48 states, with each race requiring mushers to fend off Minnesota’s extreme winter weather and rugged terrain.

Jan 29–31 Duluth, MN

Ely Winter Festival

The Ely Winter Festival is 10 days in February celebrating winter. Activities include the amazing snow carvings in the Park, along with the Ely ArtWalk and other events.

Feb 2–12 Ely, MN

Hygge Festival

Feeling relaxed, cozy and surrounded by the warmth of family, friends, community and fire all encompass the idea of hygge. View the schedule to see how local businesses are embracing the hygge season.

Feb 4–10 Grand Marais, MN

Celebration of the Lakes

Celebrate the lakes and winter by participating in events such as: dogsled races, medallion hunt, snowmobile show, fireworks and more. 

Feb 10–13 Chisago Lakes Area 

Polar Fest

Polar Fest is a festival of frozen fun held annually in February. It is created and run by an independent, all-volunteer committee of people who have learned to embrace the northern Minnesota winters.

Feb 10–26 Detroit Lakes, MN 

Kites on Ice Festival

Kites of all shapes, sizes and colors fill the sky above Buffalo Lake in beautiful downtown Buffalo, MN. There will be a kite building workshop for kids, corn hole tournament, food/beer trucks and a view for all to enjoy!

Feb 11 Buffalo, MN

Big Turn Music Festival

2-day city-wide event that builds community through music in historic downtown Red Wing, Minnesota.

Feb 17–18 Red Wing, MN

International Eelpout Festival

Centered on what is considered the state’s ugliest fish, it grew into an annual four-day festival that has attracted national attention and thousands of visitors.

Feb 20–23 Walker, MN

Flannel and Frost Winterfest

Compete in a crazy tug o war battle on the Roseau River, run the Frosty 5K or the Run your Ice off Fun Run, show off your baking at a Frosty Bun Bake Off, Shop Winter Fashions and wrap the night up with our Redneck and Longneck Bottles Night at the local bar.

Feb 25 Roseau, MN


Read more of our stories in Issue 24 of Lake and Company.