Family Fun Twin Cities Winter Survival Guide

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Winter Survival Guide: The Best Things to do in Minneapolis-St Paul in the winter

Couldn’t we all use a little help getting through the long Minnesota winter with our kids? Our Family Fun Twin Cities Winter Survival Guide has fun things for everyone, from those brave souls who want to get out and play in the snow to those who need a cozier place to plop the kids for a few hours for everybody’s sanity.

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    Faced with a sudden snow day or temps too cool for school? In Minnesota, this is not at all uncommon. Get all your burning questions answered in our SNOW DAY SURVIVAL GUIDE including where to find school closing information, how to get groceries delivered to your home, and the details on your city’s parking restrictions.


    Keeping a list of indoor activities around town is key to making it through the winter months in our lovely but frigid state of Minnesota. Sometimes, during the coldest, darkest days we need the bright lights and bustle of a public place to be with our kids. Our outing ideas are well worth the effort to leave the house – and if you need more options, explore our FAMILY FUN CALENDAR for indoor events or our FAMILY DIRECTORY for snug and warm indoor things to do. 

    Twin Cities Indoor Playgrounds

    There are so many indoor play options around the Twin Cities that there’s no way you’ll be able to hit them all up before winter’s through. Take your pick from our master list of TWIN CITIES INDOOR PLAYGROUNDS & PLAY AREAS or search by region of the Metro. Also see our top playground picks:

    Twin Cities North Metro Indoor Playgrounds Top Picks

    Top Pick for families: 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. 

    Best For tweens and teens: Zero Gravity Trampoline Park

    2292 Woodale Dr, Mounds View, MN 55112
    Warm up big time with indoor attractions like a ninja obstacle course, laser tag, a climbing wall, wall-to-wall trampolines, and a bouncy dodgeball court. If you’re bringing little sibs along, know there’s a special area where they won’t get trampled.

    Twin Cities South Metro Indoor Playgrounds Top Picks

    Best for preschool – age 8: 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. 

    Best for tweens and teens: Sky Zone Trampoline Park (fka Rockin Jump)

    2015 Silver Bell Road, Suite 195, Eagan, MN 55122
    No winter blues here. The FFTC big kids are huge fans of the trampolines, ninja course and rock climbing tower. More heart-pounding activities are an inflatable obstacle course and dedicated play spaces for youngsters. Safety grip socks are required and can be purchased at the park.

    Kids playing at Sky Zone Trampoline Park
    Sky Zone offers challenges for teens and younger kids.

    Twin Cities East Metro Indoor Playground Top Picks

    Best for Preschool – age 8: Lookout Ridge Indoor Playground

    Central Park, 8595 Central Park Place, Woodbury, MN
    Look for a brand new Lookout Ridge in the Fall of 2025!

    Best for tweens and teens: 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 thekids with boundless energy, a bouncy basketball court, and a fly-in foam pit. Activities vary at each location.

    Twin Cities West Metro Indoor Playground Top Picks

    Best for preschoolers – age 8: 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-fooThey’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

    Find more active outings to keep your tweens and teens busy and moving!

    Winter Break Survival Guide

    Be Creative Indoors with Winter Art Activities

    Ideas for places in the Twin Cities where your kids can get super crafty with art projects (and super messy without YOU having to be on cleanup detail!)

    Color Me Mine

    Locations in Eagan, Maple Grove & Woodbury
    Studio fees include use of paints, studio space and the firing. 


    4306 Upton Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55410
    Drop-in Crafts were created to invite you to come in and get cozy and creative on your own schedule. Click on the link to see what is being currently offered.

    Winter Break Survival Guide

    At Home Cold Weather Crafts

    Our own article shares Activities to do at Home When You Don’t Want to Leave Your House. These can be as simple as cutting out paper snowflakes to making adorable gnomes out of socks.

    Sock gnome with a yellow hat and white beard.
    I didn’t have faux fur, but I had some white yarn.

    Visit a Local Museum

    Come in from the cold, hang up your boat and start exploring at any of these highly kid-friendly museums:

    Minneapolis Institute of Art

    2400 3rd Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55404
    The beauty of MIA with kids is that admission is FREE every day – meaning you can explore the art at your own pace without worrying about making a hefty investment. Read all about tips for taking a family trip to the MIA before you go.

    Minnesota History Center

    Nearly all the exhibits at the museum are hands-on and super family-friendly. Check out our top things for kids at the Minnesota History Center to find out why we keep coming back with our kids. $6-$12/pp. 

    Walker Art Center

     725 Vineland Pl, Minneapolis, MN 55403
    A trip to the Walker with older kids can spark some thoughtful conversations about art. If it’s younger kids you’re bringing, make sure you pick the first Saturday of the month – it’s FREE for all and there are museum-wide activities for all ages. Get tips for visiting with kids HERE.

    Mill City Museum

     704 S 2nd St, Minneapolis, MN 55401
    The museum was carefully designed to include exhibits that appeal to a wide range of ages. Kids will love the water play room and other activities they can get their hands on. Check our list of 10 Things for Kids at Mill City Museum beforehand. $8-$12/pp.

    Jackson Street Roundhouse

    193 Pennsylvania Ave E, St Paul, MN 55130
    Got a little trainiac in the family? Make this museum – a branch of the Minnesota Transportation Museum – a must on a cold winter day. Explore train cars and tinker with railroad exhibits. Real train rides on Saturdays are included (and they’re heated!) 

    Bell Museum

    2088 Larpenteur Ave W, St Paul, MN 55113
    The museum has an entire room dedicated to getting kids up close and personal with objects from the natural world. Every inch of the museum has been “plussed” up from its former location – including the animal dioramas and thee 120-seat planetarium. Membership to the Bell Museum would make a terrific holiday gift! We’ve added it to our running list of Memberships: The No-Clutter Gift of Time Together.

    Small wall dioramas at Bell Museum of Natural History.

    We’re always adding to our list of TWIN CITIES MUSEUMS & HISTORIC SITES – browse it for something unexpected!

    Kid-friendly Twin Cities Coffee Shops & Cafes

    Bring your little one(s) for both a cozy indoor play space and a decent cup of joe or hot chocolate. Our favorite coffee shops with a space set aside just for kids to play is SOVEREIGN GROUNDS  in Minneapolis – browse our list for more. Don’t want to leave the house? Make your coffee break and snack time into an indoor picnic on the living room floor.

    Top Preschool Storytimes in the Twin Cities

    Warm up in a cozy book shop while the snow flies outside; we’ve got a story time for each day of the week on our list of top picks. Don’t forget the library! There are tons of special winter break activities going on at metro area libraries to combat any boredom:

    Indoor Open Gyms & Tot Times

    Indoor play at an open gym can be a savior when you’ve got squirrelly kids who need a space to run off their pent-up wintertime energy. Quick! Reach for our list of TOT TIMES, OPEN GYM & SWIM SPOTS FOR TOTS IN THE TWIN CITIES – and find some relief.

    This is kind of a tiny gym, but fun for a family gym night
    Waite Park Gym

    Indoor Scavenger Hunts

    While Gianna shared ideas for creating scavenger hunts in the summer. These same suggestions can be incorporated indoors for a winter scavenger hunt. Hide things in books and under carpets, etc. Or if you do want to take it outside, check out our TWIN CITIES QUESTS, SCAVENGER & TREASURE HUNTS GUIDE for park-sponsored nature scavenger hunts and searches for medallions, gnomes, yetis and more.

    Family Game Night

    When we were all in the early years of parenting, we created a list of INDOOR GAMES FOR KIDS OF ALL AGES to keep kids occupied when we can’t get outdoors. There is something for the whole family on this list and many of these games are self-directed so kids can entertain themselves.


    Ahhh! The fresh air of winter! December brings chilly temps and that frosty blanket of snow to the ground that makes the month both so pretty and so functional for outdoor play. Just getting started taking your littles out for winter sports? With a few exceptions, TWIN CITIES SLEDDING HILLS and OUTDOOR ICE SKATING RINKS are always going to be easy to locate and gentle on the pocketbook. Most Twin Cities communities maintain free ice skating rinks throughout the winter (some simple frozen puddles, others far fancier), and free hills to throw a sled down are staples in most larger parks. If you can’t beat it, join it, right? Outdoor activities make up the second half of our winter survival guide suggestions. The more you get outside, the less you hate it. Trust us on this! If the weather cooperates, you can take advantages of these different outdoor ideas:

    Go Sledding or Snow Tubing

    Teens and tweens embrace our Minnesota winters by throwing themselves down steep slopes at top speeds. Whatever gets them outside and active works for us! TWIN CITIES SLEDDING HILLS are free and abundant and fun activities for mild thrills (find our suggestions at the link.) TWIN CITIES TUBING HILLS can be a fun family splurge.

    Winter Survival Guide

    Best Twin Cities Snow Tubing Hills

    Trapp Farm Park 

    841 Wilderness Run Rd, Eagan, MN 55123
    No tow ropes at this facility but it’s one of the best places to snow tube in the Twin Cities southeast metro. Opens mid-December, $5/pp. Tickets MUST be purchased online in advance.

    Green Acres | Lake Elmo

    Snow tubing is offered in 2 hr increments. $16/pp, under 42″ not recommended.

    Elm Creek Park Reserve | Maple Grove

    Have fun snow tubing in 2-hr increments between 10am-9pm. There’s a chalet onsite if you need to warm up! $15/pp.

    Wirth Park Winter Recreation Area | Minneapolis

    Tow ropes available Fri-Sun. Snow tube in 2-hr sessions, $17/pp or $8.50/non tow rope hours.

    Buck Hill | Burnsville

    Snow tubing for all those 6+ in 2-hr sessions. $12-24/2hr depending on time selected – online discounts.

    Trollhaugen | Dresser, WI

    At this snow tubing location, a hill for small children is not provided. $21/2hrs, save online.

    For further inspiration, try our TWIN CITIES SLEDDING HILLS GUIDE – we maintain a huge list of sledding hills in all shapes and sizes!

    Winter Survival Guide

    Go Ice Skating on An outdoor rink

    We’re sure, as hardy Minnesotans ourselves, that you’re dying to strap on your skates and hustle the kids out to the rinks! That’s why we’ve rounded up this list of local places to skate –and, as nearly all are located in city parks, there’s no charge for the skating. 

    Try Snowshoeing 

    Snowshoeing (essentially winter hiking with some footwear assistance) can be a lot of fun and good exercise! Listed are some places around the Twin Cities to go snowshoeing – all with rentals available.

    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!

    Build A Snowman 

    Get out in your backyard or a local park and build a snowman together this winter. Build a whole army and a snow fort for them to protect, if you like! While you are at it, make some snowballs for a friendly snowball fight, create a snow maze or pull out some food coloring to create snow paint.

    Or you could just pile in the car and go see the World’s Largest Snowman! Find it at 2460 Margaret Street N., North St Paul, MN 55109.

    World's Largest Snowman in North St. Paul, Minnesota
    World’s Largest Snowman in North St. Paul

    Break Out the Skis

    You don’t have to visit a ski resort to enjoy skiing in the Twin Cities. We share the best places for FAMILY SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING IN THE TWIN CITIES.

    Parent and child skiing. Text reads: "Family Skiing & Snowboarding in the Twin Cities" Family Fun Twin Cities.

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