14 Indoor Activities to Beat the Cold — and Keep Your Distance
Sick of the snow? Head inside for these activities that’ll keep you warm, cozy and safe.
Shopping and Dining
With over 520 shops and 50 restaurants, you can easily spend a whole day exploring Mall of America in Bloomington (remember there’s no sales tax on clothes and shoes!). The mall is also home to Minnesota’s largest aquarium, SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium. At Nickelodeon Universe, there are over a dozen kid-friendly and thrill rides, while Crayola Experience features interactive creative activities. Consider purchasing tickets to attractions in advance, since capacity is limited due to social distancing.
For an internationally themed dining and shopping experience, check out Minneapolis’ Midtown Global Market. With Indian street food, gourmet Mexican sandwiches, Moroccan salads, camel burgers and more, the hardest part is deciding what to order. There are also vendors selling imported gifts from places like Morocco, South America, Africa and Tibet. One hour of free parking is available at the ramp on 10th Street, and if you prefer takeout, you can get your meal to go.
Places to Play (for Kids of All Ages)
Maple Grove’s Playground Plaza is a kid-friendly oasis 365 days a year, no matter the weather outside. The climate-controlled indoor playground features slides, platforms, play panels and climbing space. There’s also an open play area with a synthetic turf surface. Advance tickets are required, and you can purchase your single-day pass online.
Wintertime pool time? It’s possible at The Grove Aquatic and Fitness Center in Inver Grove Heights — whether you want to swim laps, work on your diving skills or zoom down a waterslide. Open swim sessions include use of the lap pool, dive well and waterpark, which has two large waterslides, a floating log crossing and splash features. Reservations are required and can be made online.
Or there’s the Tropics Indoor Waterpark in Shoreview, which has a zero-depth play area, a main pool with giant floating sea creatures, a three-story waterslide and an adults-only whirlpool. Reservations are required for both the waterpark and whirlpool.
At REM5 VR Lab in St. Louis Park, you can have experiences that are literally out of this world! Battle droids as a space pirate, survive a zombie apocalypse and paint in 3-D. From passive content that lets you sit back and relax to fast-paced games, there’s a huge range of virtual experiences to choose from. Reserve your private pod online, with sessions ranging from 30 minutes to 3 hours.
Located in historic downtown Stillwater, Kari’s Create & Paint Studio is a paint-your-own pottery and canvas studio with projects for all ages. No experience is required, and you can pick from items like plates, mugs and home decor. Reservations are required, so book ahead.
At ProKART Indoor Racing in Burnsville, you can whip a specially designed racing kart around an indoor track with long straightaways and hairpin turns at speeds approaching 40 mph. No prior driving experience is required, but drivers must be at least 13 years old. Call ahead for open racing availability.
Channel your inner lumberjack at Eagan’s MN Axe, where players hurl hatchets into wooden targets. Sessions begin with a comprehensive safety training and instruction session, and an axe master is on hand throughout to ensure you have a safe, fun experience. Participants must be 14 years or older, and reservations can be made online.
For some retro fun, check out Roller Garden in St. Louis Park. The roller rink has a hardwood maple skating floor, disco lights, arcade and snack bar, and offers both family and adult-only skating times. Skates are available for rent, and admission is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Garage Bar & Bowl is a boutique, six-lane bowling alley that sits in a historic industrial building in Waconia. Pair your game of bowling with some delicious eats — the menu includes locally sourced, scratch-made food like beer-battered cheese curds, half-pound burgers and build-your-own pizzas.
At Grand Slam Sports in Burnsville, you’ll find over 30,000 square feet of indoor activities, including laser light tag, an 18-hole pirate-themed mini golf course, extreme trampolines, video games, batting cages, bumper cars and a three-story climbing obstacle course for kids. Since capacity is currently limited, call ahead to book your package.
Saint Paul’s Twin City Model Railroad Museum is home to a 3,000-square-foot operating model railroad with local landmarks and historical recreations. Through February, the lights are turned down every Saturday evening for the Night Trains exhibit, which features specially lighted model trains and miniature winter decorations. Advance tickets can be purchased online.
Learn about Minnesota’s native communities, explore WWII history and experience extreme weather at the Minnesota History Center in Saint Paul. Timed-entry tickets can be purchased in advance online or by phone.