Girlfriends’ Getaway: Your Guide to Planning a Relaxing Winter Weekend
From boutique shopping and spas to cocktail bars and 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 the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro region 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 The Woodhouse Day Spa in Maple Grove, Embury Spa at Loews Minneapolis, Juut Salon Spas throughout the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro region 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 (aka salt therapy) and 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 decor 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 The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes or The Shops at West End in St. Louis Park.
4. Tap Into Your Artistic Sides
Roll up your sleeves and get creative. From watercolor painting and sketching at Artistry, knitting at Steven Be, weaving or embellishing scarves at the Textile Center or even pottery at Northern Clay Center, 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!
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. Or learn to make truffles and French macarons while sipping heavenly drinking chocolate at L’More Chocolate in Wayzata.
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 Elvis and The Eagles, 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 from Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. Need more laughs? Catch legendary comedy at Minneapolis’ 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 Distilling’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 you’ll find both Sociable Cider Werks and Indeed Brewing Company, 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. Venture to Eagan for a Prohibition-era whiskey cocktail at The Volstead House Speakeasy & Whiskey Bar, 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 metro region has plenty of wineries nearby. Take a daytrip 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 Casino — Minnesota’s largest resort casino — located near Shakopee. 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 KISS with special guest David Lee Roth at Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Brantley Gilbert at Target Center, plus GZA, Thrice and Roddy Rich at First Avenue in Minneapolis.