Frozen Fun: Your Weekend Guide to Icy Adventures in Minneapolis-Saint Paul
Embrace the cold in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro region with a weekend’s worth of icy activities — sip a drink at an ice bar, admire a frozen waterfall, go ice skating, learn how to curl and try your hand at ice fishing.
Start your weekend of icy activities with a visit to Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis. The 53-foot waterfall freezes during the winter, making for an awe-inspiring sight. After you’ve admired the waterfall from all angles (and taken plenty of pics!), explore the trails in the surrounding Minnehaha Falls Regional Park.
Next, get ready to throw some rocks — it’s time to try curling, a sport where players slide large stones across a sheet of ice toward a target. Four Seasons Curling Club in Blaine offers learn-to-curl clinics that include 15-20 minutes of instruction and 90 minutes of ice time at an indoor arena.
Or if you’d prefer a low-key version of the sport, go pub curling at Brookview Golf & Lawn Bowling in Golden Valley. Played on outdoor rinks, pub curling is similar to shuffleboard and is perfect for beginners and casual curlers. After your game, cozy up with a warm beverage by the fire pit at Three One Six Bar + Grill, Brookview’s on-site restaurant.
Finish your day by getting lost in Stillwater’s Ice Palace Maze, which opens in January (weather-permitting). Made with more than 500,000 pounds of ice, the maze features a half-mile of twists and turns, ending with a 36-foot ice slide. Once you conquer the maze, celebrate with hot chocolate and s’mores by the bonfire or an adult beverage at the ice bar.
Minnesotans enjoy fishing so much, they’ve found a way to do it year-round! To ice fish, you drill a hole in the ice, drop in a fishing line and wait for the fish to bite. If you don’t want to brave the brisk temperatures, rent a fish house on Lake Waconia from In Towne Marina. The structures can accommodate four to six people and are pre-heated. Plus, the holes are already drilled so you can start fishing right away.
After a morning spent sitting on the ice, spend the afternoon skating on it at one of the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro region’s dozens of rinks. The Central Park Ice Skate Loop in Maple Grove is an 810-foot-long ice trail lined with pine trees and lights. Skate rentals are available.
Another unique ice-skating venue is Roseville’s Guidant John Rose MN OVAL. At 110,000 square feet, the OVAL is the largest outdoor refrigerated skating facility in North America, with a roughly 1,300-foot skating track. Ice skates are available to rent.
Finish your day by cheering on the home team at a hockey game. You have three options. First, the minor-league Minnesota Magicians play at Richfield Ice Arena and offer an affordable, family-friendly experience. Before the game, grab dinner at Local Roots — the menu features cuisine made with locally grown, environmentally conscious ingredients.
The second option is Minnesota’s professional women’s hockey game. The Minnesota Whitecaps play at the TRIA Rink, which is located inside the Treasure Island Center in downtown Saint Paul. After the game, head over to the Pillbox Tavern (also inside the Treasure Island Center) for a bite.
Your third option is a National Hockey League game. Head to downtown Saint Paul to watch the NHL’s Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center. Grab a treat from one the local vendors serving up their specialties at the arena, including Snuffy’s Malt Shop, Izzy’s Ice Cream and Original Hockey Mom Brownies.
Get your adrenaline going with a snowmobile ride in Lakeville, which is home to more than 63 miles of groomed snowmobile trails with breathtaking views. You can also explore the city’s seven frozen lakes by snowmobile. Parking is available at various convenient locations throughout Lakeville, including several local restaurants and bars so that you can warm up with a hot meal after your ride.
Spend some more time on the ice at Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Eagan, where you can rent snowshoes, cross-country skis or a kicksled to explore the frozen lakes. New to kicksledding? Kicksleds are driven forward by the driver standing on one runner and kicking backward with the other foot, while twisting the handlebars to steer. Since kicksleds have a seat that can accommodate a passenger, kicksledding is a great activity for families with small children.
Wrap up your icy weekend with a heartwarming holiday lights tour in Inver Grove Heights. You can plan a self-guided tour using the map of entries from the Light Up The Heights residential lights contest. Or book a guided All Is Bright Holiday Lights Tour on an open-air fun bus — it includes a driver dressed as Santa and a festive holiday music playlist.