Big Fun beyond the Big Game

By Caitlin Rick

Super Bowl Live

All eyes will be on Minnesota when the 2018 Super Bowl takes the field at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday, Feb. 4. But the game itself is only part of the fun, with festivals and events throughout the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and beyond inviting everyone to come and experience the “Bold North.”


'Sota Pop

Sota Pop windows downtown MinneapolisThis interactive pop-up experience showcases Minnesota’s full spectrum of fun through a gallery of shareable #OnlyinMN photo ops. Curated by Explore Minnesota and created by local artists, The ‘Sota Pop demonstrates that Minnesota is more than cold; it’s cool. This experience is one of the most Instagrammable spots of the Super Bowl LII festivities. Located near Super Bowl Live attractions within steps of the Nicollet Mall light rail station.

Super Bowl Live

The newly renovated Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis will be transformed into a winter wonderland celebrating all things Minnesota for 10 days leading up to the Super Bowl. This free event will include ice skating, snowmobiling demonstrations, horse-drawn sleds, warming houses, interactive exhibits and cozy fire pits, with daily themes like Viking Fan Day and Prince Day.

Super Bowl Experience

Football fans can get the full NFL Experience at the Minneapolis Convention Center, a ticketed event that gives attendees access to the coveted Lombardi Trophy and a selection of Super Bowl rings, plus obstacle courses and agility tests to test your pigskin prowess. NFL players and ESPN personalities will also be on hand for meet and greets.

Bold North Zip Line

Soar 800 feet across the Mississippi River on this zip line suspended 100 feet in the air. The thrilling experience runs from Jan. 26-Feb. 4 in conjunction with Super Bowl Live. Tickets will be sold in daily two-hour time slots at Nicollet and 7th in downtown Minneapolis, with round-trip shuttle service included.

Nomadic Live

Before the big game, the Minneapolis Armory will be transformed into a state-of-the-art concert venue to showcase national touring acts. Past performers in other cities have included Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars and other huge stars.

The Great Northern 

This 10-day winter celebration embraces the season and encourages locals and visitors to join the frozen fun. The event has amazing winter sports like pond hockey, skijoring, and fat-tire bike racing along with ice and snow sculpture competitions. There will also be food-focused and art-centric events that celebrate the Twin Cities' thriving dining and arts scene.


Winter Carnival ice palace_Jim Hoffman_squareSaint Paul Winter Carnival

The Saint Paul Winter Carnival has been a winter tradition since 1886, and is known as the “Coolest Celebration on Earth.” There will be even more frozen fun this year because the festival will be seven days longer than usual, from Jan. 25 to Feb. 10, including an ice palace in downtown's Rice Park.

Taste of the NFL

Hosted by Andrew Zimmern, the Taste of the NFL will take place at the RiverCentre in St. Paul on Feb. 3, and is a charitable event for the hungry and homeless. That night also features a concert by Dave Matthews Band at the adjacent Xcel Energy Center. Also at the Xcel, Opening Night (Jan. 29) will give fans a first look at the Super Bowl teams and coaches as they arrive in Minnesota.

Bold North Flower Show

Take a break from the snow with this seasonal flower show starting Jan. 13 at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park, decorated with purples, silvers and whites in honor of the big game.



mall of america super bowl.jpg
photo courtesy of Mall of America

Fan Gallery, Mall of America

Media outlets from around the world, including NBC, NFL Network, ESPN, Sirius XM, FOX and CBS, will be broadcasting live from Mall of America. Fans are invited to watch live interviews of their favorite celebrities and professional athletes, all free, from Jan. 29-Feb. 2, plus game day attractions and express check-in for ticket holders on Feb. 4.

Mystic Lake

Mystic Lake Casino in Prior Lake will host acts like the Chainsmokers on Feb. 1, country duo Florida Georgia Line on Feb. 3, and Gwen Stefani taking the stage on Super Bowl night.

Illuminate South Loop

Visit Bloomington's Central Station Park for an illuminated art installation including artist performances, bonfires, warm drinks and regional fare Feb. 1-3.

Wonders of Winter

Make s'mores, play outdoor ping pong and watch the skaters on the 800-foot ice loop at this free, family-friendly event in Maple Grove's Central Park on Feb. 3. There's also a polar plunge at nearby Fish Lake Regional Park.

Otter Tail Co. On Ice

Ice fishingA celebration for the 150th anniversary of Otter Tail County, this on-ice festival on Otter Tail Lake will feature food, live music and a Super Bowl party the weekend of the big game.

Frostbite Festival

This annual event in Fergus Falls will include a Super Bowl party this year, in addition to the traditional ice fishing derby, ice skating, ice bowling and other winter fun.

Cold Front February

Celebrate winter in the beautiful port city of Duluth, with four days of fun Feb. 1-4. Activities include Duluth's largest coffee break and happy hour, free trolley rides, the city's first ice skating trail, fat biking demos and snoga (yoga in the snow).

Big Freeze Tailgate Party

On Feb. 3, the southern town of Albert Lea will celebrate the big game with a polar plunge, snowshoeing, chili cook-off and winter kiting at Edgewater Bay Pavilion, and a circus, hot dish cook-off, light show and fireworks downtown.

Ice Bocce Tournament

Also on Feb. 3, Longville in northwest Minnesota hosts its annual ice bocce tournament, in which teams of four compete in a fun combination of bowling, bocce ball and shuffleboard on top of frozen Girl Lake.

To learn more about the big game and celebrations in the Twin Cities and around the state, visit