Once the holidays and hockey season are over, I tend to change my tune about winter. If you’re like-minded, we’ve got plenty of free ways to hunker down inside and wait out the rest of the cold snap. Or, if you desire to be out of doors, we’ve included some frosty winter festivals and a really cool art event on White Bear Lake.
1) Winter Carnival Family Fun Day | Rice Park & Landmark Center, St Paul[Saint Paul Family Day is the perfect day to bring your family down to the Winter Carnival! Enjoy live entertainment, including excitement from the ice carving competition, and family-friendly activities throughout Rice Park and Landmark Center. Rice Park will be buzzing with activities with the MN Made Market, ice sculpture garden and live carvings, and live music. Plus, meet Olympic gold medalists and athletes at the Olympic Team USA’s Winterfest in and around Rice Park!] Feb 3, 12pm. FREE.
2) Art Shanty Projects | Lake Harriet, Minneapolis
The Art Shanty Projects is an annual pop-up exhibit mixing art with the hardiness of Minnesotans and our unique love of ice fishing. These unique icehouses, designed by local artists, are strongly encouraged to be interactive — herein lies the fun of bringing the whole family out to see them. The creative little spaces on the frozen lake combined with an attitude of embracing winter make for an event worth checking out. Runs weekends through Feb 11, 10am-4pm.
Three tips to keep in mind you should consider bringing kids out:
- Bring a sled to pull the little ones on! The collection of themed ice shanties are about 500 ft from shore and can be located a significant distance from parking.
- Visit the Art Shanty Projects website ahead of time to get an idea of which shanties would best suit the kids.
- As always in our great state, dress for the weather. You may be out for hours.
3) Family Day: Institute of Hearts | Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Bring your loved ones to celebrate Valentine’s Day at the museum. Make an arty heart, create a mixed-media valentine, take a workshop with teachers from the Children’s Theatre Company and preschoolers can take a special tour exploring feelings in art. [Also, the Ice Maze.]
4) Fire & Ice Festival | Parkers Lake Park, Plymouth
This free, fun family event includes hayrides, live entertainment, snow bowling, a bonfire and fireworks at 6:30pm. New this year is a cardboard sled contest; come show off your creation. Feb 3, 3-7pm.
5) Cozy up & play at coffee shops with free play areas
6) First Free Saturday: Off the Wall | Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
7) Family Fun Day: Under the Snow | Carl Kroening Interpretive, Minneapolis | 1-3pm | Drop in for naturalist-led activities and self-guided exploration of the visitor center’s interactive exhibits.
Free Family Concert: Melody, Harmony & Rhythm, Oh My!
@ St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Historic Hamm Bldg., 408 Saint Peter St., St. Paul
When: Saturday, Feb. 6 • tickets available for the 9:30am show only
Details: Geared for ages 6-12, these kid-sized concerts call on a full-sized chamber orchestra to teach about how melodies, harmonies and rhythms are used as building blocks of music. At this concert, several familiar selections of classical music will be stacked up, knocked down and built up again so you can hear how music is made. The concerts are popular; tickets are free, but they will go quickly. Get yours here.
Fire & Ice Festival
@ Luxton Park, 112 Williams Ave. SE, Minneapolis
When: Saturday, Feb. 6 • 5:30-8pm
Details: Winter solstice is celebrated at our Fire and Ice Festival as a time for reflection, renewal, peace, and a time for the glistening snow to purify our air and leave a clean slate. Activities will include a recreational fire, horse drawn hayrides, music, crafts, and concessions.
Valentine’s Day Skating Party
@ Lyndale Farmstead Park, 3900 Bryant Ave S, Minneapolis
When: Sunday, Feb. 14 • 1-3pm
Details: DJs will be spinning music on the ice for your skating enjoyment. Valentine-making materials will be provided in the warming house for all skaters.