5 Itineraries for the Perfect Holiday Outing with Friends
Whether you’d rather head to the ice-skating rink or drink hot cocoa by the fireplace, we’ve got your next outing planned in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro region.
Plan a Picture-Perfect Ice-Skating Outing
Gather your friends for a day at the rink, complete with time to unwind by the fireplace. Edina’s Centennial Lakes Park has a 10-acre lake that’s groomed daily to ensure smooth skating. The rink is made up of three main ponds connected by narrow, meandering canals for a skating experience that feels inspired by a holiday greeting card.
In addition to renting figure and hockey skates, the park also offers Norwegian ice sleds so that you can take turns pushing your pals across the ice. Warm up at the rink-side pavilion, which features three fireplaces and a concession stand serving hot chocolate and snacks.
Spend an Evening Admiring Holiday Lights
The best way to experience the season’s festive lights? Have someone else do the driving! The Minneapolis Holiday Lights Tour is a 2.5-hour motor coach tour of the city’s best lights — from streets decked out in holiday style to impressive residential displays. A tour guide is on hand to provide background on holiday traditions and local lore.
The tour’s pick-up and drop-off location is at Mall of America, which means you can end the evening by browsing over 500 stores for holiday gifts or grabbing a bite and a drink at one of the dozens of eateries, including upscale options like FireLake Grill House and Cedar + Stone, Urban Table.
Organize the Ultimate Day of Shopping and Relaxation
Make holiday shopping fun by gathering your friends and heading to the West End in St. Louis Park for a day of shopping, relaxation, dining and drinks. Added bonus? There’s heated indoor parking to take the chill out of those blustery winter days.
You can browse national retailers like Anthropologie and Evereve, as well as local boutiques like Apricot Lane.
Once you’ve finished your shopping, unwind at Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa. Massage options include Swedish, deep tissue and a signature hot stone massage that’s perfect for melting away the stress of the holiday season.
Next up? Savor a meal at one of the West End’s restaurants. Try Rojo Mexican Grill, The Loop or Andrew Zimmern’s Lucky Cricket.
Finish the evening with a round of drinks and games at Punch Bowl Social. Try boozy punches and cocktails, or pick from the long list of beer, wine and housemade sodas. Challenge your friends to a game of bowling, a few rounds of pingpong, giant Scrabble and more.
Hunt for Holiday Bargains and Then Unwind in the Great Outdoors
If you and your friends love a deal, head to Eagan’s Twin Cities Premium Outlets, the largest outlet mall in the Upper Midwest. The mall’s over 100 stores include Coach, Nike Factory Store, Kate Spade, Vera Bradley and Michael Kors. Don’t worry if it’s snowing — there are covered walkways and a food court where you can warm up and grab lunch.
Next, take a break from the hustle and bustle by heading to Lebanon Hills Regional Park. The miles of trails offer opportunities for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and kick-sledding, with equipment available for rental at the visitor center.
Wrap up your day with dinner at one of Eagan’s many local restaurants. Burgers and Bottles serves up creative burgers topped with everything from cheese curds to guacamole, plus a lineup of craft sodas made with natural sugar. Casper’s Cherokee of Eagan offers a menu of classic American fare, including their signature onion rings, steaks and salads. For Southern-inspired cuisine, check out The Yankee Tavern for fried chicken, the house specialty. If pasta is your cold-weather comfort food, Andiamo Italian Ristorante has 15 different pasta dishes, as well as meat and seafood entrees.
Map Out a Historic Holiday Getaway
Take a break from the stress of the holiday season with a trip to Stillwater’s historic downtown — either as a day trip or a friends-only weekend!
Kick off your stay by testing your detective skills at the Stillwater Escape Co., which is in a historic shoe factory. “Mr. Connolly’s Office Room” takes its cues from the building’s original function and even incorporates real historic documents into the fictional story. Work with your friends to solve a crime and escape before the guards return — you only have an hour!
Then, toast your fun friends’ getaway at The Velveteen Speakeasy. Not only does the decor hark back to a classic 1920s speakeasy, but the menu features Prohibition-era cocktails, such as the Aviation, a Side Car and Bees Knees. There are also contemporary craft cocktails and a food menu with shareable appetizers and desserts.