Gather Your Girlfriends for a Winter Getaway
From boutique shopping to spas, cocktail bars to art classes, here are 10 ways to bond with your best pals this winter.
Winter gives friends a chance to downshift and have fun. It’s the perfect time to get cozy, raise a glass, catch up and make memories. So get the group text going and plan a girlfriends’ getaway to Minneapolis-Saint Paul with these tips:
1. Rejuvenate in Spas and Salt Caves
Beat back the winter cold with a cozy, colorful and aromatic afternoon of pampering. Schedule a manicure, pedicure or massage at Woodhouse Day Spa in Maple Grove, Embury Spa at Loews Minneapolis, Juut SalonSpas in Edina or the Minneapolis Aveda Institute. For a different twist on therapeutic relaxation, settle into Minnesota’s first salt cave, a unique spa experience that features halotherapy, which is said to ease stress and alleviate ailments. Stillwater’s Just for Me Spa also includes a Himalayan Salt Cave Sanctuary. Pro tip: You can rent one of the city’s charming turn-of-the-century houses to serve as your home base for the weekend.
2. Shop ’Til You All Drop at Mall of America
Here’s a weather-proof weekend plan — an immersive shopping experience at more than 500 stores. Trust us, you can certainly spend a full weekend at Bloomington’s Mall of America®. In fact, the attached Radisson Blu hotel offers a Mall of America Shopping Package accommodation option so you can stay close by. On the mall’s north side, the stately JW Marriott hotel sits near high-end retailers like Kendra Scott, Burberry and Michael Kors. If you’re staying at another hotel, don’t worry — most provide free mall shuttles.
3. Beat the Winter Blues at Local Boutiques
If mainstream labels and big-box stores aren’t your style, there are plenty of small boutiques you and your crew can explore this winter. Head to Edina’s Galleria for home décor stores like Soft Surroundings, Roe Wolfe and Design Within Reach. Near the 50th and France neighborhood, you’ll find plenty of local boutiques. Just make sure you stop at the popular French bistro Salut for a food and beverage break. If you’re looking for a new look, you’ll find plenty of options at Saint Paul’s Grand Avenue, Maple Grove’s Shoppes at Arbor Lakes or The Shops at West End in St. Louis Park. For an unforgettable retail and culinary experience, be sure to check out Saint Paul’s Keg & Case West 7th Market that includes a combination of chef-driven restaurants, craft beer and a uniquely curated market brimming with an eclectic mix of regional goods. Plus, it just won Best New Food Hall by USA Today 10best!
4. Tap into Your Artistic Side
A girls’ trip is the perfect time to roll up your sleeves and get creative. From watercolor painting and sketching at Artistry in Bloomington, knitting at Steven Be, weaving or embellishing scarves at the Textile Center or even pottery at Northern Clay Center or Fired Up Studios, you’re bound to find something that fits your group’s vibe. Looking for something even more hands-on? Try fusing and glass-blowing at Foci or Skylab Glass Arts!
5. Get Cooking (and Eating!)
Looking to DIY with dinner included? Cooks of Crocus Hill, with locations in Minneapolis, Saint Paul and Stillwater, guides you through everything from crafting pastries and rustic breads to homemade pastas and global cuisine. Settle in for food and mixology classes at Osseo’s NOLA Bistro & Lounge, or learn to make truffles, French macarons and sip heavenly drinking chocolate at Wayzata’s L’More Chocolat.
6. Do Dinner and a Show
This winter, there are concert and theater options for every taste. Get grooving with tribute concerts inspired by legends like Barbra Streisand, Fleetwood Mac and the Beatles, laugh along with Stevie Ray’s Comedy Cabaret or catch the lively production of Mamma Mia! at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. Make it a music-themed day with a tour of Prince’s Paisley Park studio, which is less than two miles away from Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. Need more laughs? Catch legendary comedy at Minneapolis’s Brave New Workshop.
7. Raise a Glass at Happy Hour Hotspots
Cheers to quality friend time! In northeast Minneapolis, it’s easy to find quirky cocktail events. Take Tattersall Distillery’s Yoga + Cocktail sessions, for example. The distillery also offers tours of its historic building, mixing up drinks along the way that feature its own handcrafted gin, rum, vodka, aquavit and more. And just half a mile away sits both Sociable Cider Werks and Indeed Brewing Company and Taproom, two other great happy hour options. To make it even better, all three are regular spots for local food trucks, giving you an opportunity to try a mix of flavors and fusions.
Looking for something quirkier? Linger over dinner and tiki-themed drinks at Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge or take a bite out of some Tex-Mex at Betty Danger’s Country Club, where an outdoor Ferris wheel hints at the trippy vibe inside. Venture to Eagan for a Prohibition-era whiskey cocktail at Volstead House, or do a tour and tasting at St. Louis Park’s Copperwing Distillery. Drop into Lakeville Brewing Company on a Sunday and take advantage of their all-day happy hour prices.
8. Get a Taste of the Area
Sometimes, a glass of red wine can be just as good as a mug of hot chocolate during the cold days of winter. Luckily, the Minneapolis-Saint Paul region has plenty of wineries nearby. Take a day trip to Stillwater along the river for a tour of St. Croix Vineyard, which is well known for its cold-hardy Minnesota grape wines and dessert wines. Or take a downtown Foodies on Foot tour for a tasty sampling of Stillwater’s best food and beverages, with a healthy dose of local history thrown in. Cap things off by heading over to The Winery at Sovereign Estate in Waconia to enjoy wine on the patio surrounded by the warmth of the fireplace.
9. Test Your Luck at Mystic Lake
Every friend group has a lucky charm, so make sure to bring yours to Mystic Lake, Minnesota’s largest resort casino near Shakopee on the southwestern edge of the Twin Cities. Newly renovated, the hotel and casino includes a spa, several restaurants and one of the largest gaming floors east of Las Vegas.
10. Dance and Sing with the Stars
Your favorite superstars are coming to town. Look for Kelly Clarkson and Blake Shelton at Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Eric Church and Elton John at Target Center, plus Kacey Musgraves at First Avenue in Minneapolis.
If you want a night out without the loud music, the former First Lady comes to Saint Paul for An Intimate Conversation with Michelle Obama.