Twin Cities Things To Do In January (Sorted By Age)

In January Family Fun Twin Cities bundles up and heads (mostly) outdoors to discover the best ways to embrace a Minnesota winter! (We’ll admit, we can only handle so much freeze, so there’s plenty to do indoors among these ideas, too.) From babies in arms to high school grads we understand how important it is to be able to find activities the whole family can enjoy together. For more ideas for family fun in January, check out our:

In January, skip to activities:

Things To Do With Toddlers & Preschoolers in the Twin Cities – January

Caregivers with kids between the ages of 1 and 5, these events and activities are designed with your family in mind. You know your child best, so we encourage you to consult our full Family Fun Calendar to browse the all-ages events listed, but we publish here a quick list of toddler activities and pre-school family fun ideas.

Twin Cities Toddler and Preschool Events This Week

When the park is buried in snow…hit up an indoor playground

We all know the realities of raising kids in the Minnesota extremities: there’s got to be a place to go were we can escape the elements and still keep the kids active, allowing them a place to release their excess energy. Enter our Twin Cities Indoor Playgrounds and Play Areas list. This guide includes all the best places in the Twin Cities to find indoor play structures, indoor bounce houses and indoor trampoline centers – all organized by region of the Minneapolis-St Paul metro area. 

Top North Metro Pick: Tropical Adventure Indoor Playground

4580 Victoria St N, Shoreview, MN 55126
Out of the frozen tundra and into the jungle: at Tropical Adventures kids an climb and slide through “wild” play apparatus. Only kids up to age 12 are allowed in the indoor playground, making it a good choice for younger kids. Big winter bonus – make a day of visiting the SHOREVIEW COMMUNITY CENTER by hitting TROPICS INDOOR WATERPARK. There are interactive water features to suit every age: slides, sprinklers, water sports and a zero-depth entry pool. One family pass is all you need for all-day play.

Top South Metro Pick: Good Times Park

3265 Northwood Cir #100, Eagan, MN 55121
The unique outdoor feel of the facility with its jungle gyms, basketball court and open turf for family games helps combat cabin fever during the winter. Good Times is a self-use park, meaning guests purchase day passes online (or at the kiosk inside the park entrance) and receive a code to enter the building.

Top East Metro Pick: Sky Zone Trampoline Park

595 Hale Ave N, Oakdale, MN 55128
SkyZone is a blast (and a great workout!) at any age. It boasts wall-to-wall trampolines for the kids with boundless energy, a bouncy basketball court, and a fly-in foam pit. Activities vary at each location.

Top West Metro Pick: Adventure Peak

7700 York Ave S, Edina, MN 55435
Adventure Peak has the luring advantage of being located within the lush indoor landscaping of Edinborough Park. You’ll forget all about shoveling and windchills as you get an awesome workout trying to keep up with your kids in the 37-foot structure. They’ll be entertained for hours running back and forth between that and an activity room filled with balls, scooters and a bounce house.

Edinborough Park - Adventure Peak Indoor Playground

Splash around indoors in January

Swimming at these Twin Cities indoor waterparks and pools can be a wonderful way to squeeze in a workout during the frigid winter month of January. Not to mention all that activity is guaranteed to wear out your most stir-crazy child! We’ve rounded up a list of the best indoor swim spots around the Twin Cities where you can splash away the cold weather blues. And just for your toddlers and preschoolers, we highlight special tot swim hours where littles need not fear the splashes of the big kids:

  • EDEN PRAIRIE AQUATICS CENTER: Open Tot Swim – days of the week can vary (so you’ll always want to check the most recent schedule), but the hours of 9-11:50am do not. $7-$9/pp or $25/family. Under age 2 are free.
  • GREAT RIVER WATER PARK: Children’s pool only hours are Mon/Wed/Fri from 9-10am. $7/pp or $25/family. Ages 2 & under free.
  • SHAKOPEE AQUATIC CENTER: Tot Time – kids ages 0-6 can swim Thurs & Fri, 9:30-10am and weekends 9:30-11am. $6-$11/child, adults free.

Twin Cities Indoor Waterparks and Pools

Tons of trains for tots

We tend to think any month is a good month to trainspot in the Twin Cities, but we’ve picked January to highlight a few limited-time opportunities. (For more reasons why Minneapolis & St Paul are a train lover’s destination, jump over here.)

Twin City Model Railroad Museum: Night Trains

668 Transfer Road STE 8, St Paul MN
The special holiday Night Trains runs Saturdays through January & February 2024. Model train displays are set up for a special winter theme. Tickets: $15/pp.

Hennepin Overland Railway Society: Trains After Dark

Overland Railway Historical Society, 2501 East 38th Street, Minneapolis
The model trains run every weekend in January from 1-4pm. Special is the second Saturday of the month when light levels are reduced to simulate night operation. January 13, 2024, 6-9pm. $10/person $25/family.

Jackson Street Roundhouse: Tots & Trains

Jackson Street Roundhouse, 193 Pennsylvania Ave, St. Paul, MN, 55130
All aboard! Held the first and third Wednesday of each month and geared towards preschoolers, kids can enjoy the museum, tinker with the train tables and interactive train exhibits, make a craft and hear a story. $45/family. or $15/adult & $9/child. January 3 & 17, 2024, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. 

Girl by train car at the Minnesota Transportation Museum in Saint Paul, MN
Minnesota Transportation Museum – Jackson Street Roundhouse

Things To Do With School-Aged Kids in the Twin Cities – January

Twin Cities Kids Events This Week

The best free outdoor ice skating rinks

As this is Minnesota we’re covering here, you can’t go far in your hood during winter without sliding into an outdoor ice skating spot. Be they neighborhood frozen puddles or fancy refrigerated rinks, the Twin Cities teems with places to strap on your skates. Here’s a few ideas for skating with a pretty backdrop; use our ice skating rink-finder to locate more:

  • CENTENNIAL LAKES PARK, EDINA: Ice skate for free ($10 rentals available if needed) around the ponds and the pretty canals that connect them. Warm up with hot cocoa at the pavilion’s concession stand. This is our favorite place to ice skate outdoors in the winter.
  • MAPLE GROVE CENTRAL PARK: Skate the park’s free, leisurely serpentine ice loop illuminated at night and in close proximity to a roaring indoor fireplace. Skating is free; bring your own skates or rent from the pavilion ($7.50).

Super chill winter festivals in January

Us Minnesotans don’t find the cold any reason to close up shop on our community festivals; on the contrary, we embrace the weather and theme our winter bashes around it. You’ll find week after week in January filled with skating, sledding and sleighrides. Plan for loads of fun with your big kids in our 2024 TWIN CITIES WINTER FESTIVAL CALENDAR. (Organized by region of the Metro to make it easy to find one near you.) Embrrr-ace the season!

One of our favorite winter festivals in the Minneapolis-St Paul area is the quirky ART SHANTY PROJECTS, held semi-annually, most recently on frozen LAKE HARRIET. The creative little spaces on the frozen lake combined with an attitude of embracing winter make for an event worth checking out. Great for families with kids. Weekends only starting January 27-February 18, 2024. 10am-4pm. FREE admission.

Three tips to keep in mind you should consider bringing younger kids out:

  • Bring a sled to pull the little ones on! The collection of themed ice shanties are about 500 feet 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.

Overhead view of the Art Shanty Project in Minnesota

Yes, more ice – but a castle!

Ice Castles

More ice, you say? If you can bear with us, we have the scoop on further icy events worth checking out in the month of January. The Ice Castles are springing back up in Maple Grove this year and will amaze with frozen tunnels, slides and illuminated chambers. Make sure you bundle up in all your layers so that you can safely spend lots of time at the icy palace to get the best value for the ticket price. This event will particularly delight your favorite Frozen fans. Get your tickets online and save, even more if you can make it out on a weeknight. January 24-February 18, 2024. Pricing: $11-$16/child & $16-$23/adult. Get our review of Ice Castles here.

Explore Magical Ice Castles - Family Fun Twin Cities

Dr Martin Luther King, Jr long weekend

In 2024, Martin Luther King Day falls on MondayJanuary 15th. Schools are out and there’s a long weekend to fill for school-aged kids. Minneapolis traditionally does this holiday up right with free events at community recreation centers. A highlight to keep on the radar:

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, art activities, lunch and giveaways. January 15, 2024, 10am-2pm. FREE event.

For more things to do over Martin Luther King, Jr weekend jump over to our Weekend Guide.

Family Fun Twin Cities Martin Luther King Day Guide: Family Events & Activities

Things To Do With Teens & Tweens in the Twin Cities – January

Things to do with your biggest kids – the ones that are typically hardest to please in terms of a “family outing”. It isn’t even a sure bet they have time to fit us in between their pressing commitments – but it’s oh so worthwhile when they do. 

Twin Cities Teen & Tween Events This Week

St Paul Winter Carnival family activities

The coolest carnival in town arrives in downtown St Paul January and it’s packed with fun and free activities for the family. Here’s a rundown of our top suggestions, many of which your tweens and teens might not roll their eyes at:


snowy st paul

The best sledding & snow tubing in the Twin Cities

Tis the season for throwing yourself down snowy hills of all shapes and sizes in the name of winter fun. Plus, with few exceptions, an afternoon sledding is going to be easy on the pocketbook. Likely you have a favorite neighborhood spot to take the kids and sleds, but perhaps you’re looking for a change of pace? We came up with an option for each corner of the Twin Cities metro area where a wide range of ages can play together:

Twin Cities Central Metro sledding & tubing

COLUMBIA GOLF CLUB, Minneapolis: Dares you with one of the tallest hills in NE Minneapolis. There is no charge to sled. Also in the area, THEODORE WIRTH PARK with free sledding available on the tenth fairway of the golf course  – the large hill next to the Chalet. Tubing at Theodore Wirth Park is $17 for a 2-hr session, which is about average for the area.

Twin Cities North Metro sledding & tubing

ELM CREEK PARK RESERVE, Maple Grove: As of December 22, 2022, the snow tubing hill is open. There are lifts and lighted hills for snow tubing ($17/2 hrs pp plus tax) in addition to a free, ungroomed sledding hill.

Twin Cities East Metro sledding & tubing

BADLANDS SNOW PARK, Hudson WI: Runs the gamut from the Bunny Hill to the TURBO slope. My tween recently took the latter and heaped praise upon it. Oh, and thank goodness for tow ropes. $21/pp will get you a pass to snow tube.

Twin Cities South Metro sledding & tubing

HYLAND LAKE PARK RESERVE, Bloomington: The groomed, sledding-only hill is near the Richardson Nature Center, a great spot to warm up for an hour or so. There is no charge unless you need to rent a sled

Twin Cities West Metro sledding & tubing

STARING LAKE PARK, Eden Prairie: There’s an exciting, 700-foot free sledding hill and a warming house for breaks.

For more winter fun ideas, check our TWIN CITIES SLEDDING HILLS GUIDE.

Snowshoeing – take a winter hike with the kids

Scenic hikes with the kids don’t have to halt with the snowfall. Try strapping on a pair of snowshoes and exploring a new park by navigating atop the packed powder. Our guide to snowshoeing in the Twin Cities will tell you exactly where to find the best trails and rentals in sizes ranging from kids-to-adult. Here’s our quick list:

girl with snowshoes
Sure the temperatures could go subzero at any time and sure we can barely move in all our layers, but we’re Minnesotans. We love all kinds of weather!

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