Your Minneapolis-Saint Paul Winter Weekend Bucket List
Ever tried curling? What about skijoring? Perhaps some night skiing? Follow this itinerary for an epic weekend of wintertime adventure.
Kick off your winter weekend in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro region at Bloomington’s Hyland Hills Ski Area. There are nearly a dozen downhill runs with options for beginner, intermediate and advanced skiers, plus the two freestyle terrain parks feature jumps, boxes and rails. Equipment is available to rent on a first-come, first-served basis at the chalet. If you’re a newbie or want to brush up on your skills, the Snow Sports Academy offers 90-minute private and semi-private downhill skiing and snowboarding lessons.
After your morning on the slopes, head to Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Eagan to try kicksledding. It’s a bit like dog sledding without the dogs — the driver stands on a runner with one foot and kicks backward with the other foot, pushing the sled forward. The kicksled’s chair seat can accommodate a small child, making it a fun family activity. Kicksleds are available for rent at the visitor center, with online reservations required.
Outdoor pub curling at Brookview in Golden Valley is a great way for beginning curlers to get a taste of the game. It’s a downsized version of the Olympic sport and similar to shuffleboard — players slide large stones with handles across a sheet of synthetic ice and whoever gets closest to the target scores. Call ahead to reserve your rink.
Afterward, relax with a meal at the on-site Three One Six Bar + Grill, which serves up burgers and pizza that you can eat inside or in a heated outdoor tent.
Start your day at Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis, where the 53-foot-tall frozen waterfall screams photo op. Some of the trails in the surrounding Minnehaha Regional Park are open for winter hiking.
Now that you’ve worked up an appetite, treat yourself to brunch at The Block Food + Drink in St. Louis Park. The tented, dog-friendly “paw-tio” is open year-round, and you can order something for your pup off the dedicated dog menu. For humans, there’s a great selection of biscuit sandwiches and breakfast bowls.
For an activity you can enjoy with your furry companion, try skijoring at Theodore Wirth Regional Park in Golden Valley. All you need is a dog, a pair of skis and a pulling harness — as you cross-country ski, you’ll get a power boost from your dog pulling in front. The park has five designated skijoring trails, offering panoramic views of downtown Minneapolis and Wirth Lake (keep in mind that a ski pass is required).
Finish your day at Burnsville’s Buck Hill, where the slopes are lit until 9 p.m. There are 15 ski runs for a range of abilities, as well as freestyle terrain for snowboarding. You can also try tubing — speeding down a frozen hill on an inflated inner tube. Select evenings are reserved for Northern Lights Tubing, when the tubing hill is lit with a colorful laser light show choreographed to music.
After a weekend of action-packed adventure, slow things down with a private sleigh ride at Andover’s Bunker Park Stable. There are a variety of horse-drawn sleighs to choose from depending on the size of your group, from a cozy antique sleigh to a larger bench or flatbed sleigh. Reservations are required, and you can also reserve a fire before or after your ride — remember to bring some roasting sticks and marshmallows.
Spend your last afternoon fat-tire biking at Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Park Reserve in Lino Lakes, which features nearly 2 miles of multiuse trails. The trails are also groomed for cross-country skiing, and skiers can take advantage of the nearby groomed ski trails at Chomonix Golf Course.
After your ride, relax with a beer at Forgotten Star Brew Co. in Fridley. Located in a historic WWII factory, the taproom has a heated patio with gas firepits, infrared heaters and wood-burning firepits. If you’re hungry, there’s often a food truck on hand. Reservations are required for both indoor and outdoor seating and can be made online. If you’re still feeling adventurous after your pint, enjoy a leisurely skate at the brewery’s own ice-skating rink.
Wrap up your weekend getaway to the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro region with the festive lights display in historic downtown Stillwater. Main Street is lined with illuminated snowflakes and rooftop lights, and a pedestrian area in the heart of downtown features a nightly LED light show synchronized to music. Don’t miss strolling across the St. Croix River via the historic lift bridge, which has been outlined with lights. There’s also an ice rink, an ice maze and heated outdoor dining at many local restaurants.