The Great Northern

Get ready for The Great Northern this winter. Ten days of Frosty outdoor events and dining experiences.

Chilly days find Minnesotans rosy cheeked, bundled up and eager to enjoy the outdoors. Couch dwellers we are not. With a full line-up of winter events and some serious FOMO (fear of missing out), we make sure to get out there and experience the winter wonderland that encapsulates us for a few months out of the year. We can’t wait for the fourth year of The Great Northern festival which celebrates the beauty of the North and the excitement of winter. Built around three long-standing seasonal events, the festival features unique outdoor dining experiences, art installations, outdoor beer fests, ski races, ice carving and more.

Three big events (among many other smaller events!) bundled up in the Great Northern Festival include: 

U.S. Pond Hockey Championships
 on Lake Nokomis (January 23rd-26th, 2020)

Playing hockey the way it's meant to be played, the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships claims the title of the nation's premier outdoor hockey tournament. The tournament has grown in size and national notoriety. has listed it as one of the "101 things sports fans must experience before they die." Check out the highlight reel from last year's competition: 

US Pond Hockey Championships
U.S. Pond Hockey Championships, by BLK WLF Photography
Great Northern Pond Hockey
U.S. Pond Hockey Championships, by BLK WLF Photography

City of Lakes Loppet
 on Bde Maka Ska (January 30th-February 2nd, 2020)

A cross-country ski festival for the whole family! Ski races for all ages, skill-levels and abilities. Be sure to experience other fun events like the Minne-Loppet, skijoring, dog sledding, and don't miss out on the popular Luminary Loppet on Saturday, February 1, 2020. The evening will feature luminaries perfectly spaced around Lake of the Isles, the Ice Pyramid, Fire Dancers, the Enchanted Forest, Ice-Cropolis, Ice-Henge, and Ice-ster Island. Cheerleaders and participants can enjoy a free Surly brew at the Loppet’s REI Luminary Party. You can also grab a bite from a variety of food trucks located in Loppet Village during the festival. 

City Of Lakes Loppet
City of Lakes Loppet, by Krivit Photography
City of Lakes Loppet
City of Lakes Loppet Dog Sledding, by BLK WLF Photography

Saint Paul Winter Carnival
 (January 23rd-February 2nd, 2020)

The Saint Paul Winter Carnival is an independent 17-day celebration that attracts more than 250,000 visitors a year. It features family-friendly special events, fun activities, and more. Enjoy a number of parades, run a 5k, head to the snow park or enjoy a beverage at the ice bar. 

St. Paul Winter Carnival
St. Paul Winter Carnival, by BLK WLF Photography
The Great Northern Festival
St. Paul Winter Carnival, by BLK WLF Photography