Top 10 Reasons to Visit Stillwater, Minnesota in the Winter

Top 10 Reasons to Visit Stillwater, Minnesota in the Winter

Winter in Stillwater, Minnesota is a serene and picturesque experience that captures the essence of small-town charm. Nestled along the banks of the scenic St. Croix River, this historic town offers a unique winter getaway. From events and activities to eating, drinking and where to stay, here are ten reasons to visit Stillwater in the winter!


1.) World Snow Sculpting Championships: January 17-21, 2024

Be part of an international winter spectacle as Stillwater hosts the World Snow Sculpting Championships. Teams travel from Turkey, Finland, France, Mexico, Ecuador, and many more places to turn snow into incredible art! Marvel at the artistic prowess of talented sculptors as they transform massive blocks of snow into intricate masterpieces. This event adds a touch of global flair to Stillwater’s winter landscape, making it a must-see for art enthusiasts and winter lovers alike and includes social events, activities, ceremonies, the people’s choice award, and will be fun for the whole family. To learn more, click here.


2.) Charming Holiday Shopping

Discover unique gifts and one-of-a-kind treasures in Stillwater’s quaint boutiques and specialty shops. The town’s historic district offers a magical setting for holiday shopping, with its historic buildings full of architectural detail. Lining the streets are festive window displays creating a cozy ambiance for finding the perfect presents. Explore Stillwater’s unique shopping scene with boutiques and shops, where you can find one-of-a-kind gifts and treasures, from books to bags, art and antiques, soaps and salad bowls, ornaments and oils, and so much more! The town’s charming boutiques and antique shops are perfect for holiday shopping. Plan your shopping adventure here.

3.) Craft Beverage Delights

With all the adventuring, you’re sure to desire a locally crafted beverage while in Stillwater! The town boasts two fantastic breweries, each providing a great selection of hops to sip and enjoy and an inviting atmosphere. Put Lift Bridge Brewing and River Siren Brewing on your list. If you prefer a craft cocktail, you can’t go wrong with Forge and Foundry and 45th Parallel. Located in downtown Stillwater, these distilleries feature exceptional spirits and hand-crafted cocktails. And no list of craft beverages would be complete without mentioning the local wineries. St. Croix Vineyards is located just west of town and is on the same site at Thor’s Hard Cider, making it a fun destination. 7 Vines Vineyards, Rustic Roots Winery, Two Silo Winery and Vineyard are a short and scenic drive out of town but will inspire you with their delicious varieties. Each one immaculately and uniquely styled, they each create a welcoming place to enjoy a glass or two! Explore local spirits here.

4.) Unique Experiences
Stillwater has a varity of fun options to fill out your itinerary. Dig deep into local lumberjack history by visiting the Washington County Heritage Center museum before trying your own ax throwing skills at the Lumberjack bar!  Puzzle solve at the Stillwater Escape room, or tap into your creative side and learn a new skill like pottery, painting, floral arranging and more! The Pole Barn will allow you to experience aerial silks or pole classes. And, Stillwater has amazing spas where you can experience a salt cave, massage, rieki, a mineral pool and acheive complete relaxation. To learn more about all of the great things to experience, click here.
5.) Outdoor Adventure

For those seeking outdoor thrills, Stillwater offers a range of winter activities. Bundle up and explore the town’s picturesque trails with cross country skiing or embark on a thrilling snowshoeing adventure through snow-covered landscapes with Wahoo Adventures. If you like Ice Skating, plan to bring your skates and enjoy the simple pleasure of ice skating at the Lowell Park Ice Rink. With the majestic St. Croix River as a backdrop, this rink offers a serene and picturesque setting for skaters of all levels. Skiing is a short drive to Afton Alps for a day on the slopes, and you can enjoy snow tubing at Green Acres Recreation Area! See ways to enjoy the great outdoors here.

 6.) Delicious Dining

Indulge in the warmth and comfort of Stillwater’s charming restaurants with a variety of delicious dining options. Stillwater has been named among the top 10 small town food scenes by USA Today, so there is something sure to wet your appetite. The town’s culinary scene invites you to relish the winter season with delightful flavors. Warm up with delicious meals at Stillwater’s cozy restaurants and pubs. Savor hearty dishes that are perfect for the season, all while enjoying the town’s inviting atmosphere. Enjoy a fondue party, margarita’s and Mexican, sushi, charcuterie, steaks to pizza and more to leave your full and satisfied.  Plan your restaurant tour here.

 7.) Winterfest Extravaganza: February 15-19th, 2024

Embrace the season’s magic at Stillwater’s Winterfest, a grand celebration that brings the community together. Enjoy a myriad of activities, including the Parka Pub Crawl, Talent Show, Bags tourney and Winterfest games, Frozen Zumba, Winterfest Market & Beer Dabbler, Caramelized Beer Poking, Winterfest Fireworks, Live Music, Designer Purse Bingo and Drag Brunch. For more information check here.

8.) Scenic St. Croix River Views

Winter adds a serene beauty to the St. Croix River, framing Stillwater in a picturesque winter landscape. Take a scenic stroll along the riverbanks, breathe in the crisp winter air, and enjoy the tranquility that blankets the town during the colder months. The St. Croix River is a breathtaking sight in the winter. Whether you’re walking along the riverfront or enjoying the views from the comfort of your cozy hotel or rental, the serene beauty of the river is a must-see.

 9.) Festive and Fun Lodging Options

Immerse yourself in the town’s welcoming hospitality by staying in one of Stillwater’s charming bed and breakfasts, historic hotels, lofts and home rentals. Many establishments deck the halls with holiday cheer, providing a cozy retreat after a day of winter exploration. Curl up by the fireplace and enjoy the snug comfort of your winter lodgings. In addition to top notch hospitality, you’ll find accommodations located downtown that are perfect for walking to attractions, Bed and Breakfasts in stately mansions of a bygone era, familiar hotels, and loft and home rentals that allow additional space. Find a complete list of lodging options here.


10.) Charming Downtown

Stillwater’s historic downtown exudes a warm and festive atmosphere during the winter months. Twinkling lights, holiday decorations, and cozy storefronts create a magical ambiance. Come visit and experience a winter wonderland of lights in downtown Stillwater on Chestnut Street during the holiday season. We welcome you to walk the riverfront lights displays set to music nightly! Embrace the tranquility of a winter wonderland as you explore Stillwater’s streets. The quiet charm of snow-dusted boutiques, art galleries, and quaint cafes is perfect for leisurely walks.