Winter in Minnesota is the perfect time of year to get together with loved ones, embrace old traditions, or even start some new ones. Here are just five of the many ways to make the most of this special season.
Plan a Winter Getaway
If you’re looking for a cozy lodge to curl up by a fireplace or a hip boutique hotel with great cocktails, you’re bound to find what’s right for you this winter. Warm up in the rooftop hot tub at Hotel Crosby in Stillwater, sip handcrafted cocktails from the on-site distillery at Cantilever just outside Voyageurs National Park, or dine in an igloo at Hotel Landing in Wayzata. Get your hygge on at Elliot Park Hotel’s Scandinavian inspired rooms just minutes from the excitement at U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis.
If you seek the charm of a bed and breakfast, head to Lanesboro — Minnesota’s “bed and breakfast capital” — or explore Wabasha, which has been compared to one of pop culture’s favorite small towns, Stars Hollow, thanks to picturesque properties like Turning Waters Bed and Breakfast. No matter where you stay, exploring a new destination and treating yourself to a relaxing getaway will break your cabin fever.
Explore a Nature Center
Many of Minnesota’s nature centers are open year-round, offering opportunities to interact with wildlife and the winter landscape. Owls are a big draw at the Agassiz Audubon Center near Thief River Falls, which documented dozens of snowy owl sightings last year in the surrounding Red River Valley.
At the International Owl Center in southeastern Minnesota, Alice the resident great horned owl is so popular that the International Festival of Owls in early March is held in conjunction with her hatch day.
At the Science Museum of Minnesota's vibrant, open space in downtown St. Paul, explore four floors of engaging exhibits on everything from dinosaurs to the human body, the Mississippi River, race, questionable medical devices and Legos. More of a moviegoer? Kids love the Science Museum’s 90-foot, giant dome screen Omnitheater. While you’re downtown, be sure to stop by Rice Park to see the ice sculptures and live entertainment as part of the Saint Paul Winter Carnival.
Paul Bunyan Water Park, inside Arrowwood Lodge in Baxter, features tube and body slides, a treehouse equipped with water cannons and an indoor/outdoor hot tub. At the Edgewater Hotel & Waterpark in Duluth, a vortex pool allows guests to swim with or against a fast-moving current.
A sure sign that spring is coming, maple syrup demonstrations and festivals start cropping up in March. On Maple Syrup Day, the Osprey Wilds Environmental Learning Center in Sandstone hosts a pancake brunch as part of its syrup celebration. Or see how the sap is gathered and turned into syrup, and get a taste of the end result, at the Wargo Nature Center in Lino Lakes.
Erica Wacker is a Midwesterner through and through, growing up in Illinois, going to college in Wisconsin, and settling down in Minnesota. She loves to run, travel with her family, and go to concerts to relive her youth.
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