Twin Cities Guide to Family Activities This Weekend: January 8-9, 2022

Things to do in Minneapolis & St Paul this weekenD!

This January Family Weekend Guide covers the weekend of January 8-9, 2022. To find our most recent guide, click here.

Start off the new year right with a mix of fun indoor, and outdoor activities to choose from. 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

Downtown Stillwater Minnesota lit up for the Holidays 2020

All Weekend: January 8-9, 2022

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.

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.

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

Vadnais Heights Winter Shindig

Featuring hot chocolate, cookies, ice skating, snowshoeing, and more winter activities. Held at COMMUNITY PARK. Jan 8, 2022, 2-4pm, FREE.

For more frosty festival fun jump over to our Twin Cities Winter Festival Family Calendar.

Winter Festivals

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 pretty, refrigerated outdoor ice skating rinks if the community sites aren’t yet open:

Skaters warming by the firepit at the Central Park Ice Loop in Maple Grove, Minnesota

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. Saturday, Jan 8, 2022, 10-11am.

Winter Blast at Staring Lake Park

Staring Lake Park, 14800 Pioneer Trail, Eden Prairie, Minnesota 55347 
Sledding, ice skating (BYO), crafts, outdoor games, and a bonfire. Jan 8, 2022, 2-4:30pm, FREE admission.


Eden Prairie Outdoor Center | 13765 Staring Lake Parkway, Eden Prairie, Minnesota 55347
Drop in to meet the resident animals, learn about programs and events. Saturday, Jan 8, 2022, 10am-1pm. FREE.


Lake Rebecca, 415 Lock & Dam Road, Hastings, MN
Learn to ice fish with Park & Rec staff with equipment provided. Please register. Jan 8, 2022, 10-11am.

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 9, 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 BIG WILLOW 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 9, 2021, drop in between 1-4pm (see link for schedule). FREE admission.


Silverwood Park | 2500 County Rd E, St Anthony, MN 55421
Take in a puppet show followded by make-and-take nature-inspired art. Jan 9, 2022, 1-3pm.

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

Cozy indoor activities

Walker Art Center First Free Saturday 

Walker Art Center | 725 Vineland Pl, Minneapolis, MN 55403
It’s not always easy to enjoy art with little ones (or grade schoolers or tweens, for that matter), but the Walker attempts to make it a more inclusive experience during First Free Saturdays. The museum buzzes with art-making workshops, family films, scavenger hunts in the galleries and live performances that stretch young attention spans and might spark conversation about the art. Free gallery admission for the whole family. Explore the galleries with a scavenger hunt and pick up an art kit to take home. Tickets must be reserved online in advance. Jan 8, 2022, 10am-3pm.


270 N. Lexington Parkway, Saint Paul, MN 55104
Read about the splashy, kid-friendly amenities and find discount days at Great River Water Park
 here. Discount admission this weekend is offered Fri after 5pm & Sat after 4pm. Just $4/pp.

Find more indoor water park options to splash away your winter blues here.

Arm yourself for winter with kids!

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

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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