10 Free Things To Do In January in the Twin Cities

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We’re kicking off 2016 by offering up 10 FREE things to do in January. Happy New Year from FFTC!

Minnesota Landscape ArboretumFree Admission all January @ Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
3675 Arboretum Drive, Chaska

When: Now through January 31, 2016
Details: Explore the winter season at the Arboretum free of charge! Play outside, or warm up indoors with storytime for preschoolers in the library from 10:30-11am (ongoing Thursdays), take a stroll through the “please touch” greenhouse, and play with the kid-friendly exhibits in the Marion Andrus Learning Center. Drop into the Plant-Maker Studio weekends between noon and 4pm.

tm como lil explorersLil Explorer Thursdays @ Como Park Zoo & Conservatory
1225 Estabrook Drive, St. Paul

When: Ongoing Thursdays through April 28, 2016
Details: The hall between the Visitor Center and the Conservatory is filled with hands-on activities, manipulatives, art projects and games perfect for the 4 & under set. Explore a different theme each week through April 2016. Donations appreciated.

Urban Expedition @ Landmark Center
75 5th St, St. Paul

When: Sundays, January 10 & 24 • 1-3pm
Details: The 12th year of Urban Expeditions at Landmark kicks off in January with tours of Sweden and Haiti! Explore music, crafts, dance, food and more without leaving St. Paul.


Target Free Family Music: Start the Music! A Brass Family Bash @ St. Paul Chamber Orchestra
Historic Hamm Building, 408 St Peter St, St. Paul

When: Saturday, January 16 • concerts at 10am & 11:15am, pre-concert activities begin 45 min. prior.
Ages: Designed for kids ages 3-6
Details: This program is a wonderful way to introduce young children to classical music. I brought my three girls (then ages 3, 5, & 7) last winter and they enjoyed the short classical pieces, “meeting” the stringed instruments, and a classic children’s story set to music. Don’t miss out on the games and crafts available only before the concert. Secure your free tickets here (starting Jan. 4), then pick them up at will call.

Image Courtesy Minneapolis ParksLake Harriet Winter Kite Festival @ Lake Harriet Park
4135 W. Lake Harriet Pkwy

When: Saturday, January 16 • 12-4pm
Details: The 14th annual festival will feature a multitude of kites flying over Lake Harriet as well as experts demonstrating their flying skills, ice fishing, wagon rides snowshoeing, a medallion hunt for kids and a marshmallow roast. Bring your own kite or purchase one there.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration @ Powderhorn Park
3400 15th Ave S, Minneapolis

When: Monday, January 18 • 11am-2pm
Details: The annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration builds community by honoring the civil rights movement and Dr. King’s leadership. Lunch is prepared by Youth Farm & Market and entertainment featuring Aztec dancers, a youth choir, West African drumming, and hip-hop.  Special youth activities include a civil rights internet scavenger hunt and West African drum lessons.

Snowman-making contest & Roe Family Singers @ Silverwood Park
2500 County Rd E St. Anthony

When: Monday, January 18 • contest begins at 1pm, awards at 3:30pm, concert to follow.
Details: Bring your materials, props and creativity to construct an award-winning snow creation. Afterwards, enjoy a marshmallow roast and an indoor concert.

Art Sled Rally @ Powderhorn Park
3400 15th Ave S, Minneapolis

When: Saturday, January 30 • 2-4pm
Details: Come watch outrageously creative “art sleds” take to the sledding hill in Powderhorn Park at the 9th Annual Art Sled Rally.


Vulcan Fun Day in the Snow @ Minnesota State Fairgrounds
1265 Snelling Ave, Falcon Heights

When: Sunday, January 31 • 11am-3pm
Details: The Winter Carnival Snow Park at the Fair hosts a giant snow sculpting competition Jan. 29-31 that concludes on Vulcan Fun Day complete with prizes, firetruck rides, a mini-medallion hunt for kids and the thrilling snow slide! All activities are free with the exception of the slide – $2 per ride or $5 for 3, sleds provided. The slide is open Jan. 30-Feb. 7. Read more about a trip to the Snow Park here.

tm vulcan snow park 2

Cozy Up & Play at these 7 Twin Cities Coffee Shops/Cafes

This is an updated list of seven coffee joints around the Twin Cities that feature free play areas for children — from entire separate rooms to cozy little nooks. Get out and try a new one when the temps plummet yet you need to get out of the house!

Coffee Shop Collage

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About the author

Anne Kingston

If we left it up to Anne to write her own bio, it would never get posted. She doesn’t enjoy talking about herself, but Anne does love exploring the Twin Cities with her family and sharing her finds here. She, her husband and their four kids are lifelong residents of St. Paul.

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