Gather Your Girlfriends for a Winter Recharge
From tribute concerts to boutique shopping, cocktail bars to art classes, find ways to laugh and let loose this winter.
Whether it’s pre-holiday get-togethers or celebrations once the hubbub has passed, 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. Here are some ideas to get you started on a girlfriends’ getaway to Minneapolis-Saint Paul:
1. Find Rejuvenation 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,” easing stress and alleviating ailments. If you’re looking for a similar outing in Stillwater, make sure to visit the Just for Me Spa Salt Cave Sanctuary.
2. Shop Till You Drop at Mall of America
Here’s a weather-proof weekend plan — an immersive shopping experience at more than 500 stores! And 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” to shop to your heart’s content. On the mall’s north side, the stately J.W. Marriott sits near high-end retailers like Hugo Boss, Burberry and Michael Kors. Look for free entertainment throughout December and clearance sales after Christmas. Most nearby hotels provide free mall shuttles, and Bloomington’s “Bold North Getaway Package” includes dining gift cards, attraction passes and a commemorative Super Bowl item to celebrate the upcoming Big Game.
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 to explore this winter. Freshen up your home’s decor at Edina’s Galleria with stores like Soft Surroundings, Roe Wolfe and Design Within Reach. Near the 50th and France neighborhood you’ll find plenty of local boutique shops; make sure to stop at the popular French bistro Salut for a food and beverage break. Find fresh looks at Saint Paul’s Grand Avenue, Maple Grove’s Shoppes at Arbor Lakes, The Shops at West End in St. Louis Park and more than 50 boutiques in Stillwater’s holiday-laced downtown. On a budget? Look for deals at Twin Cities Premium Outlets in Eagan or the newly renovated Rosedale Center in Roseville.
Looking to shop small? Enjoy unique shopping in Waconia where you’ll find antique stores, clothing boutiques, home goods and an art gallery. All within walking distance! Stop in for coffee at the Mocha Monkey, voted the best coffee shop in Minnesota, or the Lounge at Iron Tap for a specialty cocktail. You can also visit Lakeville’s historic downtown shops like Pink Door, Kaleidoscope, Pizazz and Sacks in the City.
4. Brighten Up With Floral Fun and Greenery
Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean it has to be bleak! Enjoy the colors and scents of the season with trips to local destination greenhouses. Poinsettias and azaleas fill the sunken garden at Saint Paul’s historic Como Conservatory, offering a tropical respite from winter weather. If you’re visiting before Christmas, inhale the scent of balsam and spruce, and marvel at waves of red, pink and ivory poinsettias at Gerten’s Greenhouse in Inver Grove Heights. If you visit on Wednesdays in November, enjoy “Girls’ Night Out,” featuring gifts, workshops, prizes and ideas for decorating. November 18 through December 17, head to Santa’s Workshop at Bachman’s on Lyndale where you’ll find free weekend plays starring Albert the Elf and Santa. This popular Minnesota florist also offers holiday decorating workshops at their locations throughout the Twin Cities.
5. Embrace Your DIY Side
Get the girls together, roll up your sleeves and learn something new! From crafting pastries and rustic bread at Cooks of Crocus Hill, to watercolor painting and sketching at Artistry in Bloomington, there’s truly something for everyone. Want even more hands-on how-tos? Try knitting at Steven Be or pottery at Northern Clay Center, both in Minneapolis. Looking to DIY with dinner included? Head over to Love That Olive or Nola Bistro & Lounge for cooking classes.
6. Settle in for Dinner and a Show
This winter offers concert- and theater-goers options for every taste. Groove along with tribute concerts inspired by legends like Fleetwood Mac, the Bee Gees, Everly Brothers and Neil Diamond, or holler “Hallelujah!” with the wild choir of Sister Act: The Musical at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. Make it a music-themed day with a tour of Prince’s Paisley Park studio, less than two miles away from Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. Get in the holiday spirit and visit the Yellow Theater and catch A Gone Fishin’ Christmas. Or catch a comedy show at the legendary Brave New Workshop. Want to catch some pre-theatre dining instead? Check out Seven Steakhouse & Sushi Bar for amazing rooftop views and next-level menu options.
7. Discover New Cocktails 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. They also offer tours of their historic building, mixing up drinks along the way that feature their very own handcrafted gin, rum, vodka, aquavit and more. It’s half a mile from both Sociable Cider Werks and Indeed Brewing Company and Taproom, two other great happy hour options. Even better — all three are regular spots for local food trucks, giving you an opportunity to try a delightful mix of flavors and fusions. For quirkier settings, linger for 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 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. Sip, Eat, Walk — Repeat
Sometimes a glass of red wine can be just as good as a piping mug of hot chocolate during the cold days of winter. Luckily, the Minneapolis-Saint Paul region has plenty of wineries nearby! Make a day trip to Stillwater along the St. Croix River for tours of St. Croix Vineyard, one of the state’s best-known wineries. Known for their cold-hardy Minnesota grape wines and dessert wines, this wine experience pairs perfectly with another wintery indulgence — chocolate. In downtown, take a Foodies on Foot tour for a tasty sampling of Stillwater’s best food and beverages, with a healthy dose of local history as an added bonus.
Head over to the Winery at Sovereign Estate in Waconia and the Spirit of Winter, a festive light show. Take a stroll through 10 acres of majestic illuminated grounds. After the show, 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 it to Mystic Lake, Minnesota’s largest resort casino near Shakopee on the southwestern edge of the Twin Cities. Newly renovated, the hotel/casino includes The Spa at Mystic Lake, several restaurants, one of the largest gaming floors east of Las Vegas, and upcoming shows like Jewel’s Handmade Holiday Tour, Cirque Dreams Holidaze, comedian Dane Cook and The Price Is Right Live. Roll the dice, seek the jackpot and play!
10. Celebrate Women Who Rock
Musicals and tribute concerts aren’t the only forms of entertainment available for your girls’ night out this winter. Prepare for some serious power ballads, special effects and creative costuming with world tours from P!nk and Katy Perry at Saint Paul’s Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul.
No matter how you choose to celebrate your friendships, the Minneapolis-Saint Paul region has the perfect winter adventure ready and waiting.