Twin Cities Guide to Family Activities This Weekend: January 15-16, 2022, MLK Break

This January Family Weekend Guide covers the weekend of January 15-16, 2022. To find our most recent guide, click here.

Woke up to a chill in your bones this morning? It’s official: winter is upon us in the Twin Cities. The task now is figuring out the best way to go about embracing it this weekend! Keep in mind that this is a long weekend for many kids, some with Friday & Monday off of school, to observe Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Day.

What we appreciate after the holidays have wrapped is frugal entertainment. Most of our ideas for this weekend’s list of things to do in the Twin Cities are FREE or $5/pp and under to attend. For more ideas, hop over to our JANUARY FAMILY EVENTS GUIDE or our FAMILY FUN CALENDAR. We try to keep it stocked with options to fit your family’s needs – whether you’re keeping close to home — or want a break from it.

Guide to January in the Twin Cities Minnesota. Family Fun Twin Cities. - Background of two kids at the top of a sledding hill.

Winter Festivals & Lights Displays this weekend in the twin cities

Rounded up for you here are the best of the Twin Cities’ weekend winter festivals – ways to get out and play in the elements with your family! For more frosty festival fun jump over to our Twin Cities Winter Festival Family Calendar.


Twin Cities Minnesota Festivals banner showing Rice Park in St. Paul Minnesota in the Winter - Family Fun Twin Cities

Starts this weekend! 2022 Art Shanty Projects

4135 W Lake Harriet Parkway, Minneapolis, MN 55409
Back on the ice for 2022! Not only are these unique ice houses designed by local artists, they are strongly encouraged to be interactive and fun! Great for families with kids. Weekends only starting January 15, 10am-4pm. FREE admission.

Man dressed as pirate in front of his Art Shanty, Lake Harriet, Minneapolis Minnesota
One of our favorite ice shanties from 2020!

FINAL WEEKEND! Nature Illuminated at the Minnesota Zoo 

Explore the combination of nature and art through a spectacular one-of-a-kind display. Starting Jan 6, 2022, the event is a .75-mile walking trail that you can set your own pace on. Jan 8-9, 5-9:30pm. Tickets: $14-$20/pp.

Wintertime in Stillwater

There’s extra twinkle in the city’s historic downtown district this year. Chestnut Street has a pedestrian winter wonderland area where you can enjoy a free LED light show set to music. Now through March 2022, 5-10pm nightly.

Ice Castles

The magical Ice Castles will be held in New Brighton again this year. Once inside, explore the ice palaces for as long as you’d like! Read our review of Ice Castles here. Weekend admission, $16-$22/pp.

Ice Castle Beauty - Twin Cities Winter Family Festival Calendar

Excelsior Arctic Fever

Downtown Excelsior, MN 55331
Freeman Park, 6000 Eureka Road, Shorewood, MN 55331
Manitou Park, 5418 Manitou Road, Tonka Bay, MN 55331
Outdoor activities include, sledding, sleighrides, skating and other classic winter fun, spread across three parks. Kids Coloring Contest: print, color and drop off at Excelsior Library by 1/5/22 @ 5pm. FREE admission, some activities have a fee.

Fun OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES in the Parks This Weekend

Featured here for the weekend is just a taste of all that’s going on across the incredible Twin Cities park systems. You can get more ideas on our FAMILY FUN CALENDAR or browse the links below to search for local fun events & things to do with kids this weekend in the parks.


The snow is here to stay — at least for the next few months (or so…). What better way to enjoy than hitting up one of these sledding hills (free!) or snow tubing hills (not free). Most of the sledding hills on our huge list are located within city public parks. Several free ice skating rinks across the Twin Cities are flooded and ready to go, too. Try one of these outdoor ice skating rinks with a pretty backdrop:

People skating the canals of Centennial Lakes Park in Edina, Minnesota.
Ice skating at Centennial Lakes Park, Edina

Please make sure to double check operating hours before heading out!

Featured Twin Cities  Park Events this weekend


Sunfish Lake Park & Sally Manzara Nature Center | 3554 Kelvin Ave N, Lake Elmo, MN 55042
No registration is needed, just show up to explore nature. This weekend’s theme observes International Kite Flying Day. Jan 15, 2022, 10-11am.


Eden Prairie Outdoor Center | 13765 Staring Lake Parkway, Eden Prairie, Minnesota 55347
Drop in to meet the resident animals, learn about programs and events. Jan 15, 2022, 10am-1pm. FREE.

Introduction to Ice Fishing

Bush Lake Beach, 9140 East Bush Lake Road, Bloomington, MN 55438
This activity is presented as part of Bloomington’s annual Winter Fete. Register in advance, all equipment provided. Jan 16, 2022, 12-2pm. $5/pp.

The Great Minnetonka Yeti Hunt

The City of Minnetonka presents their second annual Yeti Hunt! A stuffed Yeti will be hidden throughout several Minnetonka parks during January. Check the city’s website for more info on solving the riddle & winning a prize. This weekend head to Minnetonka’s PURGATORY PARK.

January Free Family Fun Days with Three Rivers Parks

Three Rivers Parks locations
Drop in for free nature programs at MISSISSIPPI GATEWAY REGIONAL PARK & RICHARDSON NATURE CENTER. New themes each week. January 16, 2021, drop in between 1-4pm (see link for schedule). FREE admission.


Martin Luther King, Jr Day is Monday, January 17, 2022 in the Twin Cities. Minneapolis does this holiday up right with free events at community recreation centers.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration

Powderhorn Recreation Center, 3400 15th Ave. S Minneapolis, MN 55407
Powderhorn neighborhood’s family-friendly, 2-hour artist showcase featuring storytellers, visual artists and performing artists. Register to attend in person or Zoom & Facebook live event. FREE event. 10am-12pm. Registration required

Celebrating Martin Luther King Day at Powderhorn Park

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation Center, 4055 Nicollet Ave. S, Minneapolis, MN 55409
The annual presentation of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Living the Dream award. The celebration will be emceed by Chad Jackson of the Minnesota Twins and the keynote speaker will be Adair Mosley, President and CEO of Pillsbury United Communities. This year’s entertainment will be a musical performances by “VocalEssence Singers Of This Age.” 6:30-8pm, FREE. Learn more on the Minneapolis Parks website.

more ideas for things to do this weekend in the twin cities with kids

Many families feel more comfortable with a little extra armor during the Minnesota winters. We’ve beefed up our annual Winter Break Survival Guide to help you make the most of the season whether you want to get out and play or stay in and be cozy.

Cozy Indoor activities

Urban Expedition: China – Postponed to Feb. 20th

Landmark Center, St Paul
Travel the globe without hopping a plane! A new cultural experience each month, complete with family activities, entertainment and food, through April 24. While you’re exploring Landmark Center, stop in at the Gallery of Wood Art  with its kid-friendly “Touch This!” exhibit and the Schubert Club Museum to see the instrument “cyclone”. Admission to all of these events is the bargain price of FREE! 1-3pm.

Opening in January - Twin Cities Events & Attractions

Always free to visit weekends

Find hundreds more things to do in Minneapolis & St Paul with kids!

During this cold weather, find tons of fun indoor games for kids you can play right at home.

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