Who doesn’t appreciate a whole lotta FREE after the holidays? Free events, free activities, free admission – January is stocked with opportunities for free family fun in the Twin Cities! For more family fun ideas, check our Family Fun Calendar and other January Guides:
Metro-wide free outdoor ice skating rinks are open daily; many have warming facilities and lighting, some have free skates to loan! Find our directory of rinks here or below on the graphic. Twin Cities sledding hills are also in abundance, and we’ve got plenty of free options for you.
Jan 3, 2020: Forever Wild Family Friday | Lebanon Hills Visitor Center, Eagan
Family games, activities and smores. 7-8:30pm.
Jan 4, 2020: First Free Saturday: Story Time | Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
Activities are geared towards kids ages 6-12, but don’t let that stop you from bringing your littler ones! Free gallery admission for the whole family. 10am-3pm.
Jan 4, 2020: Home Depot Kids Workshop: Mini Hockey Game | TC Home Depot
The first Saturday of each month kids get a kit to build, apron and pin while supplies last; adults must accompany children. 9am-noon.
Jan 7, 2020: Free Tuesday @ Washington County Parks | SE Metro
Find a listing of parks here. Explore Washington County Parks with no vehicle permit required the first Tuesday of the month (non-holiday).
Jan 8, 2020: Neighborhood Open House | American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis
Free admission to the “castle”! Come explore the family exhibits 5-8pm.
Jan 10, 2020: Friday Family Movie Night: Dora & the Lost City of Gold | Edinborough Park, Edina | 6:30pm
Jan 10, 2020: Free Open Studio – Sculpting | Minneapolis Institute of Art
Create a sculpture of your very own using clay, wire, and other materials. 1-3pm.
Jan 11, 2020: Second Saturdays at TPT | Twin Cities PBS, St Paul
Free tickets, but reserve yours quickly; they go fast. 8-11am.
Jan 11, 2020: Family Ice Fishing Days | Lake Rebecca, Hastings
Please register to ensure there’s enough equipment for all. Instruction provided by the NPS. 9am-12pm.
Jan 12, 2020: Urban Expedition: Germany | Landmark Center, St Paul
Travel the globe without hopping a plane through music, food, crafts and more. 1-3pm.
Jan 16, 2020: Skate the Garden | Millennium Garden, Plymouth Creek Center
Skate on the garden pond turned illuminated ice rink; free cocoa will be served. Bring your own equipment. 6-8pm.
Jan 18, 2020: MacPhail Free Family Music Series: Orkestar Bez Ime | MacPhail Center for Music, Minneapolis Designed for kids 8 & under, the musical open house features sample classes, crafts, snacks and live performances at 10 & 11am.
Jan 19, 2020: Target Free 3rd Sunday | Minnesota Children’s Museum, St Paul
Explore the newly renovated and expanded museum free! Keep in mind that this program is very popular and you may wait in line to be admitted. 9am-5pm.
Jan 19, 2020: Family Fun Day: Winter Arts & Animals | Carl Kroening Interpretive, Minneapolis
Drop in for naturalist-led activities and self-guided exploration of the visitor center’s interactive exhibits. 1-3pm.
Jan 19, 2020: Free Family Art Day | Rumriver Art Center, Anoka
Take a free, hour-long art class designed for kids ages 5+ with caregivers. Reservations are required and can be made by phone or online. 2 sessions: 12 & 2pm.
Jan 20, 2020: Martin Luther King, Jr Day Celebrations | Minneapolis
Powderhorn Recreation Center | 11am
Central Gym | 3pm
MLK Recreation Center | 6:30-8pm
Jan 20, 2020: Free 3rd Monday | Minnesota Landscape Arborteum, Chaska | 8am-5pm
Jan 25, 2020: Winter Ice Cream Social | Lowell Park, Stillwater
Enjoy free root beer floats and ice cream at this Stillwater winter tradition! 12-4pm.
Jan 25, 2020: Winter Fun Kids Kraft | Scott County Historical Society, Shakopee
Ages 4-8 can take in themed stories and hands-on crafts, then explore the museum. Registration required. 10:30am.
Jan 25, 2020: Music & Melody Makers | Minnesota Youth Symphonies, St. Paul
Kids ages 3-14 can try out instruments of the orchestra, ask the musicians questions, and hear a mini-concert. Registration required. 9-10:30am.
The following Twin Cities museums are FREE to visit:
- Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis – FREE daily, plus Family Day is great for all ages.
- Minnesota History Center, St Paul – lots of interactive exhibits (FREE Tuesdays after 3pm)
- Walker Art Center, Minneapolis – FREE Thursday evenings & First Saturdays of each month
- Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis – FREE daily
Jan 11, 2020: Winter Trails Day | Fort Snelling State Park
Jan 11, 2020: The Big Chill | Firemen’s Park, Chaska
Jan 12, 2020: Winter Ice Festival | Centennial Lakes Park,Edina
Jan 15-19, 2020: Arctic Fever | Excelsior, Shorewood & Tonka Bay
Jan 17, 2020: Linden Hills Winter Fest | Linden Hills Park, Minneapolis
Jan 18-Feb 9, 2020: Art Shanty Projects | Lake Harriet, Minneapolis
Jan 18, 2020: Winter Blast | Staring Lake Park, Eden Prairie
Jan 18, 2020: Winterfest | Springbrook Nature Center, Fridley
Jan 18, 2020: Winter Open House | White Bear Center for the Arts
Jan 20-27, 2020: Winter Fete | Bloomington
Jan 20, 2020: Winter Play Day | Silverwood Park, St Anthony
Jan 23-Feb 3, 2020: St Paul Winter Carnival | St Paul
Jan 25, 2020: Lake Harriet Winter Kite Festival | Lake Harriet Park, Minneapolis
Jan 25, 2020: Art Sled Rally | Powderhorn Park, Minneapolis
Jan 25, 2020: Winter Fun Day | Oak Hill Park, St Louis Park
Jan 25, 2020: WinterFest | Lake Elmo Park Reserve
Jan 25, 2020: Scandia Vinterfest
Jan 25, 2020: 20th Annual Snow Day | Wargo Nature Center, Lino Lakes
Jan 25- Feb 9, 2020: Coon Rapids Snowflake Days
Starts Jan 19, 2020: Pioneer Press Winter Carnival Treasure Hunt | Ramsey County public land sites
Jan 23-Feb 2, 2020: Rice Park Ice Sculptures | St Paul
Head down to beautiful Rice Park for a stroll through the 2020 Winter Carnival ice carvings. Watch the ice carvers in action the first Thursday – Sunday of the Carnival.
Jan 24-Feb 2, 2020: Snow Park at the State Fairgrounds | Falcon Heights
Chill out at the Fair with the following fun family-friendly events:
- Jan 18: Giant snow blocks and walls created for the annual snow sculpting contest. 9am-4pm.
- Jan 24-26: Come watch works of art whittled out of the snow during the Minnesota State Snow Sculpting Competition (Fri) and the Amateur Snow Sculpting Contest (Sat). Sculptures will be on display at the Fair through Feb 2, 9am-10pm.
- Jan 25-26 & Feb 1-2: Plummet down the Giant Snow Slide (if you dare!) A fee of $2 per ride is charged, sleds provided. 9am-9pm.
- Jan 26: Hail the Vulcs on Vulcan Fun Day with free fire truck rides, a mini-medallion hunt for kids and more. 11am-3pm.
Jan 25: King Boreas Grand Day Parade
Smith Avenue, along West 7th Street to 5th Street ending in Rice Park. 2-4pm.
Jan 30, 2020: Frozen Family Fun Night | Rice Park, St Paul
Feb 1, 2020: Winter Carnival Family Day | Rice Park & Landmark Center
10 Free Things to Do in January in the Twin Cities
Como Park Zoo & Conservatory | St Paul
Seasonal events include the Winter Flower Show (starting Jan 18) in the Conservatory’s sunken garden, storytime at noon, and animal programs throughout the day. Daily, 10am-4pm, suggested donation of $2/child & $3/adult, but all welcome whether or not you choose to donate.
Nature Rocks! Open House | Eden Prairie Outdoor Center
Enjoy free family-friendly activities such as hiking, hands-on interaction with live animals, craft projects and more. Ongoing Saturdays in Jan, 9am-noon.
Saturday Live! | George Latimer Central Library, St Paul
Fresh entertainment weekly including live music, puppetry, magicians and more. Ongoing Saturdays in Jan, 11:15am.
Open House at Pond Dakota Mission Park | Bloomington
Come by the historic Gideon Pond house in the park for tours, living history lessons and other interactive activities. Ongoing Sundays in Jan, 1:30-4pm, please check the website first. FREE, donations appreciated.
Parent/Tot Time & Preschool Open Gym | Apple Valley Community Center
Ages 5 & under w/ caregiver. Burn off some energy with other kids, develop motor skills and coordination. A special tot time for tykes ages 2 & under is held from 9-9:30am followed by open play for 5 & under until 11. Ongoing Mon/Wed/ Fri, 9:30-11am.
Wee Wednesdays | Midtown Global Market, Minneapolis
In the past, MGM has offered dance troupes, cooking lessons, and live animals to entertain kids. Stay for lunch — there are many tasty ethnic vendors to choose from, and several offer specials on Wednesdays. Park in the adjacent Midtown Exchange Ramp up to 1.5 hrs. free with validation. Ongoing Wednesdays in Jan, 10:30am – 1pm.
Lil Explorer Thursdays | Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, St Paul
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. Ongoing Thursdays through April 2020, 10am-noon.
FREE WEEKLY TWIN CITIES ACTIVITIES
Free abounds in the Twin Cities. Many local bookstores, libraries and other businesses offer free storytimes during the week. Local coffee shops & cafes serve parents with free dedicated play spaces. Nature centers are wonderful places that offer free admission and hands-on exhibits and outdoor play opportunities most days of the week. And dozens of St Paul & Minneapolis recreation centers offer free open gyms and tot times to run your littles ragged during the cooler months. Explore from our links below.
|Top Kids Storytimes in the Twin Cities||Kid-friendly Twin Cities Coffee Shops|
|Twin Cities Nature Centers||St Paul & Minneapolis Free Tot Times|
Find tons more things to do in Minneapolis & St Paul with kids!
Find fun indoor games for kids when it’s chilly outside.