Heated Patios Make Winter Dining Safer & More Fun

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Unwind with a drink on Papa Charlie's patio after a big day on the slopes / Lutsen Mountains

Heated Patios Make Winter Dining Safer & More Fun

By Caitlin Hannah

In Minnesota, we pride ourselves on bundling up and finding creative ways to stay active all year round—and that mentality is especially true in our hospitality industry. Whether you're dining inside of a snow globe or sipping hot toddies on a heated patio, winter dining in Minnesota is extra hot this year.

Cozy Up on a Heated Winter Patio

We love patio season in Minnesota, so we're treating this year as an excuse to stretch out patio use all winter long. With outdoor heaters and large campfire pits, you can fully embrace patio season this winter at these spots around the state.

Winter Patios in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Although it's barely two miles outside of downtown Minneapolis, the massive winter beer garden at Utepils Brewing feels like another world altogether. It's nestled on the banks of Basset Creek and it's not uncommon to see deer grazing in the adjacent field while you enjoy one of the brewery's fabulous Bavarian-style beers. Come dressed in layers and prepare to get cozy with live music, a large fire pit, semi-covered tents and food trucks.

This winter you're invited to dine outside on the revamped patio at Smack Shack, renowned for bringing world-class lobster rolls to the Land of 10,000 Lakes. With the patio's traditional standing space heaters and a new overhead heating system, you'll stay toasty warm as you chow down. 

Housed in the oldest surviving commercial building in St. Paul, Waldmann Brewing goes above and beyond to honor its historic digs: The beer is rooted in classic styles that were common during the building's 1857 run as a German lager saloon, and the interior is filled with all manner of pre-Civil War memorabilia and engravings. The only thing that doesn't feel like it was pulled from a history book is the heated outdoor Biergarten, which uses an array of 10 highly efficient, clean-burning natural gas heaters to keep you warm all winter long. 

Located in hip Northeast Minneapolis, Sociable Cider Werks is staying outside this season with a dreamy winter patio area with more than eight firepits, smores kits and food trucks serving up soups and other hot items. 


Bundle up and enjoy a beer at the outdoor patio of Chapel Brewing in Dundas, where the taproom building dates to 1880 and like the name states, was originally one of the town's chapels. Grab a bite or a pint under the cozy café lights of Froggy Bottoms River Pub with views of the Cannon River in Northfield.

Heated Patios in Central Minnesota

Milk & Honey Ciders in St. Joseph will have the campfires hot this winter in their expansive outdoor area. Warm up by one of their campfires or stand near one of the heaters in their open-air tent. 

Crow River Winery in Hutchinson has added several outdoor heaters to their patio space to warm up diners as they sip glasses of wine or enjoy a tasting plate. Reservations are required. 

Fergus Brewing, one of the newest breweries in Fergus Falls, has installed several new fire pits for you to enjoy as you sip one of their seasonal brews this winter. While you're there, check out more things to do in Otter Tail County

Heated Patios in Northeast Minnesota

Up in Duluth, Vikre Distillery's new Winter Wunderbar is open seven days a week as long as the weather cooperates, offering several firepits, heated benches and a brand new cocktail menu to visitors in search of unique Minnesota experiences. 

Dine in an Igloo

Experience the whimsy of winter when you dine in one of these cozy domed igloos. You'll love watching the snow fall while enjoying a meal from the comfort of your private winter wonderland. 

Igloos in Minneapolis-St. Paul

The trendy, Scandinavian-inspired ninetwentyfive restaurant has several igloos for diners to reserve for lunch or dinner on weekdays, and for brunch and dinner on weekends. The restaurant is located within The Hotel Landing in Wayzata, making it an easy Twin Cities staycation for locals looking for a little levity. 

In Hastings, the Lock & Dam Eatery has four igloos available Tuesdays through Sundays for lunch and dinner. Make your reservation and kick back in style with weekly specials like the State Fair burger.

Igloos in Southern Minnesota

Next Chapter Winery in New Prague has four heated "wine globes" available for your next romantic date night or small gathering. You can choose from a variety of packages that cater to different types of outings—the date night package includes homemade chocolate truffles and Greek olives, for example—and are encouraged to bring your own food or order take-out from a nearby restaurant.

More of a beer drinker? Cozy up with a pint in one of the private igloos at Mineral Springs Brewery in Owatonna, the first brewery to open in Steele County since prohibition times. 

Igloos in Central Minnesota

Renowned for its award-winning resort, spa and golf courses, Grand View Lodge looks forward to hosting you in a heated igloo this winter. Food must be ordered in advance from one of Grand View's on-site restaurants like the Northwoods Pub or Esther's Kitchen, but servers will come by to keep the drinks flowing throughout your time in the igloo.

Caitlin Hannah

Caitlin Hannah is Explore Minnesota's social media strategist and resident Disney expert. She grew up spending summer weekends at her family's lake cabin in Detroit Lakes, and brings that "up north" attitude to everything she does. When traveling around the state, she likes trying new restaurants and taprooms, or watching Minnesota hockey.