Find Lots of Winter Fun at These Minnesota Festivals

By Explore Minnesota

Sledding at the State Fairgrounds in St. Paul during The Great Northern
Sledding at the State Fairgrounds in St. Paul during The Great Northern

From frozen turkey bowling to ice bars and golf on ice, at Minnesota winter festivals we don't hide from the weather, we celebrate it! Bundle up, grab family and friends and check out the many ways to play in winter.

An annual tradition since 1886, the Saint Paul Winter Carnival brings thousands of revelers to downtown St. Paul for events including ice sculpture carving, a winter run, snowplow competition, parades and fireworks, as well as indoor family activities at the Landmark Center. There's also an outdoor beer festival, snow sculpting competition and snow-centric activities for kids at the State Fairgrounds. The Saint Paul Winter Carnival is part of The Great Northern.

In Crosslake, WinterFest features pond skating, horse-drawn wagon rides, a snowman-building contest and the annual SoupFest tasting. Also in early February is the Frostbite Festival in Fergus Falls, which has tournaments of all kinds, from bunco to bowling to ice fishing, as well as ice skating and a chili cook-off.

Near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, the Ely Winter Festival showcases the unique history, tradition and artistic flair behind the town of Ely. In northwest Minnesota, Polar Fest in Detroit Lakes features 10 days of fun, including skiing, ice sculpting, a fishing derby and frozen fireworks on the beach.

More Winter Festivals

Smoosh races during IceBox Days in International Falls
Smoosh races during IceBox Days in International Falls

Northeast Minnesota

IceBox Days, International Falls
IceBox Days is known for its crazy games and wacky activities such as frozen turkey bowling, the infamous "Gizzard" runs and locally-invented smoosh racing, garnering a lot of national attention over the years!

Hygge Festival, Grand Marais
Hygge (the Danish ritual of embracing life’s simple pleasures) is especially meaningful in wintertime. Enjoy cozy surroundings, the warmth of family and friends, and fun activities such as Fondue nights, Cozy Couple dinners, bonfires, talented musicians, dog sled tours, snowshoe hikes and much more.

Winter fireworks at Polar Fest in Detroit Lakes
Winter fireworks at Polar Fest in Detroit Lakes

Northwest Minnesota

Back to HackHackensack
Back to Hack celebrates winter with quirky events and festivities including the Frostbite Your Fanny 5K Race, Paul Bunyan Family Fishing Contest, Penguin Plunge, Fabulous Fireworks on Birch Lake, frozen pancake toss and other children's games.

Pond hockey during Ice Fest in Breezy Point; courtesy of Breezy Point Resort
Pond hockey during Ice Fest in Breezy Point; courtesy of Breezy Point Resort

Central Minnesota

Ice FestBreezy Point
Ice Fest delivers a myriad of activities on ice such as pond hockey, ice fishing, curling, snow golf, bag toss games and dancing to live music under a tent! Off the ice, take horse-drawn hay rides, ski by candlelight and warm by a bonfire. Area pubs and restaurants offer specials, deals and discounts.

Otter Tail Co - On Ice!, Ottertail
Embrace winter with abundant events and entertainment on Otter Tail Lake. The whole family will delight in dog sledding demonstrations, ice fishing, snowmobile trail rides, curling bonspiel, numerous live music acts and much more. Set up your ice house on Otter Tail Lake for a fun-filled weekend.

Winter JubileeNisswa
Winter Jubilee activities include snow sculpture building, the Jubilee Parade, a wood-splitting contest, smoosh racing, medallion hunt, live music, dancing and an ice fishing contest on Nisswa Lake.

Elvis impersonators on Lake Minnetonka during the Chilly Open
Elvis impersonators on Lake Minnetonka during Chilly Open

Minneapolis-St. Paul Area

Chilly Open, Wayzata
Minnesota Golf in February? You Betcha! Imagine three 9-hole courses plowed out on Lake Minnetonka and over 1,700 golfers with their hockey sticks and golf clubs hitting and putting tennis balls! Players and onlookers will also enjoy free food, Snowga (yoga), snowkiting (kite skiing), dog sled rides and the 19th Hole Tent.

Ham Lake Snowbowl, Ham Lake
Snowbowl is an outdoor party showcasing a variety of fun winter activities such as snow sculpting, ice fishing, sledding, broomball, and snowmobile and fat tire bike races. A vendor expo, craft fair, food and refreshments, medallion hunt and contests will also be offered.

Shiver Elk RiverElk River
While the breathtaking Shiver Plunge is the highlight of Shiver Elk River, there are many other fun outdoor events including an outdoor hockey tournament, 5K and 10K run/walk, bean bag tournament, medallion hunt, special family activities, as well as live music, craft beer garden and bingo.

Bock Beer Fest in New Ulm
Bock Fest revelers in New Ulm

Southern Minnesota

Bock Fest, New Ulm
Beckon warmer weather with a mug full of Bock beer, live music, hot brats and bonfires. Seven Bocks of Winter are hiding around the Schell's Brewery grounds, waiting to be found. Armed with completely useless clues and Bock beer, hunters search for these elusive bocks. Human St. Bernards, with kegs of beer on their backs, are ready to assist weary hunters.

Bold & Cold, Owatonna
Be bold and embrace “cold noses and warm hearts” during the week-long Bold & Cold celebration. Highlights include a medallion hunt, ice fishing, candlelight ski, fat tire bike races, snow sculpture competition and more.

Winterfest, St. Peter
This fun-filled festival includes a Winterfest Opening Ceremony Party, free hot chocolate and s'mores, medallion and mini-medallion hunts, Levee Park Luminary Loppet, Polar Plunge, Snow Day in the Park, A Night at the Museum, Hairy Legs competition, Poker Walk, Commander's Chilifest, and winter demolition derby.

Sleigh & Cutter Festival, Waseca
The Sleigh & Cutter Parade is the highlight of the Sleigh and Cutter Festival, featuring horses representing a variety of breeds and only animal-powered units. The festival also boasts more than 30 activities including snowmobile drag races, entertainment by the Jesse James Gang and Cannon Old West Society, live music, dancing, silent and live auctions, ice-tundra golf, ice curling, family movie night, fat tire bike ride, cross-country skiing, medallion hunt and children's art projects.

Social ICE, Rochester
Experience uniquely designed and themed ice bars, each with signature drinks, as well as full-scale ice sculptures illuminated with special lighting effects and live DJ entertainment nightly.

Find even more winter fun in our extensive events calendar.