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Warm Up at Minnesota Spas & Saunas

By Brian Fanelli

Little Box Sauna in Minneapolis

The Little Box Sauna travels to different locations in and around Minneapolis / Paul Vincent

As snowflakes flutter softly to the ground outside, there’s no better time to drape a fuzzy robe across your shoulders, slow down and engage in some much-needed relaxation. This winter, embrace the season’s slower pace and spirit of rejuvenation with a trip to the sauna or spa.

Saunas were first introduced to Minnesota by Finnish immigrants who moved here in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Since then, they’ve become as Minnesotan as walleye and wild rice, although finding one you don’t need to build yourself is easier said than done.

But not impossible.

Where to Sauna

Sitting atop the Hewing Hotel in Minneapolis’ North Loop, the posh rooftop sauna is the cherry on top of a relaxation sundae. After your steam, take in the incredible skyline view from the rooftop’s outdoor, all-season hot tub, and treat yourself to a drink from the ice bar.

Hewing Hotel awning

Treat yourself to a stay at Hewing Hotel in Minneapolis's trendy North Loop neighborhood / rau+barber, courtesy Hewing Hotel and Meet Minneapolis

In northern Minnesota, take a group rejuvenation retreat to Buckhorn on Caribou Lake Resort, where the three largest log cabins have private saunas. Or head to Ely and check out the oldest public sauna in Minnesota, the Ely Steam Bath—open since 1915.

Cedar + Stone Nordic Sauna in Duluth offers guided sauna experiences with a panoramic view of Lake Superior. Whether you're seeking a mid-week social sauna, a women-only Sunday steam or a private group experience, all Cedar + Stone visits are led by an expert "sauna meister" and conclude with a perfectly steeped mug of local tea. 

You can also find portable saunas in the Twin Cities and Duluth that travel to different parks and events throughout the winter. Find out where they’ll be next by searching for 612 Sauna SocietyLittle Box Sauna and Hiki Hut.

Couples massage room at Copper Door Spa

Copper Door Spa at Chase on the Lake, Walker

Relax at the Spa

Spa retreats are another great way to relax and restore your mind and body, whether as part of a girlfriends getaway, romantic weekend or some much needed “me” time.

After a long day on the slopes at Lutsen Mountains, recuperate with a custom massage from LutZen Reflections at The Mountain Inn. Also on the North Shore, Waves of Superior Spa at Bluefin Bay features a special Hungarian thermal mud wrap that’s just what your winter skin deserves.

Darling Reflections Spa at Arrowwood Resort in Alexandria focuses on exfoliation and moisturizing in winter, offering Minnesota-inspired treatments rather than tropical themes.

For a relaxing weekend getaway, the Aveda Copper Door Spa at Chase on the Lake in Walker offers couples retreat and girls weekend packages. Ideal treatments for winter include the signature hydrating body wrap and hot stone massage.

Whether you’re retreating at a spa or steaming in a sauna, be sure to treat yourself right this winter. You deserve it.

Brian Fanelli

Brian Fanelli is a writer and editor for Explore Minnesota. When he isn't writing about life in The North, you'll find him browsing the sci-fi shelves in a local bookstore, biking one of Minnesota's spectacular trails or walking his Chihuahua around Minneapolis.