Explore Minneapolis on a Winter Day

Winter is upon us in Minneapolis, and the City by Nature hasn't slowed down one bit. When the temperatures drop in Minneapolis, the excitement heats up with plenty of awesome things to do both inside and out! Here, we know how to experience winter to the fullest. So plan your perfect winter day in our city!

Day 1:

Morning

Get ready for a full day with a complete and delicious breakfast at Breaking Bread Café. Wake up to all your favorite Southern-style comfort foods in one place. Shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles, biscuits and gravy and plenty of vegetarian and vegan friendly options too. Is your mouth-watering yet?

If you're starting to feel some cabin fever, head down to Theodore Wirth Park; the ultimate spot for winter recreation. Bring the kids and snowboard, cross-country ski, snow shoe, sled and tube; whatever way you like to get down a large hill, they've go it! Didn't bring your winter gear along? Not a problem! Equipment rentals are available through the Loppet Foundation.

Afternoon

By this time all that outdoor fun has hopefully made you very hungry. For plenty of lunch options head over to the North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis. Here you'll find some of the most talked about restaurants in the city, including Black Sheep Pizza (coal-fired gourmet pizzas), Smack Shack (seafood joint know for its lobster boils and lobster rolls), Red Cow (handcrafted burgers), The Freehouse (everything from breakfast to beer), and Red Rabbit (authentic Italian). 

Eating at one of these popular spots is going to leave you full and ready to walk off what you just ate. Lucky for you Minneapolis has the largest contiguous system of enclosed second level bridges in the world, also known as the infamous skyway system. Explore the city at a whole new level by walking through these heat controlled pathways connection 80 city blocks. Do a little shopping, maybe grab a sweet treat at Candyland or Angel Food Bakery and just get lost in the hustle and bustle of skyway life.

Evening

Winter means basketball season is well under way. Catch the Minnesota Timberwolves in action at the newly renovated Target Center (also skyway connected). You can grab dinner at Cargo Food Authority, a shipping-container themed restaurant offering international street foods, or just pick something up at the many concession stands. Target Center has upped their game in the food department recently by bringing in local chefs and restaurants to their concession menu on Timberwolves and Lynx game-days. Make sure you try out the famous Parlour burger. 

After the game, swap your jersey for a bathing suit and head over to the Hewing Hotel's Rooftop Spa Pool and Sauna. This 21+ experience is the perfect end to a wintery day in Minneapolis. Stay heated in the sauna or the rooftop hot tube while enjoying breathtaking views of the downtown skyline. If you're staying at the hotel this is complimentary, if not, you can buy a $30 day pass. Book ahead though, this is a first come, first serve ticket.


Day 2:

Morning:

Step into the nostalgic 1950s era at Hi-Lo Diner. Here they are famous for their unique concoction of sweet and savory toppings atop warm, glazed fried dough, which makes it the perfect spot to start out your day. They also have a fantastic from-scratch breakfast.

Later, experience the magical views winter has to offer by heading over to Minnehaha Regional Park and seeing the frozen Minnehaha Falls. Make sure to take plenty of pictures, this is a scene not to be missed. Outdoor enthusiasts can also take advantage of the crisp fresh air by enjoying the many walking and biking trails at the park.

Afternoon

For lunch head back towards downtown into the Mill City District. There you'll find Zen Box Izakaya, where they pride themselves in creating a menu full of authentic Japanese comfort food. What better way to keep warm than with a steaming bowl of Ramen?

Afterwards, walk around the Mill City District area to take in some more iconic Minneapolis sights. Even if you've seen these spots a million times before there's something to be said about seeing them during the winter. The Stone Arch Bridge, with the backdrop view of downtown Minneapolis sets the scene of your winter adventures perfectly. The Guthrie Theater's Amber Box and Endless Bridge give you a picturesque look at snow-covered rooftops and the icy glare of the frozen river. You'll be compelled to take tons of photos and fill up your friend's Instagram feeds.

Evening:

Since you're in the neighborhood a great way to end the day is to enjoy a production at the famous Guthrie Theater. Local artists, spectators and actors come together at the Guthrie to re-create classic masterpieces as well as modern works. It's a must visit for anyone coming to Minneapolis. Connected to the Guthrie is the Sea Change restaurant, which is a great choice if you're looking for something more upscale for dinner. Or go across the street to Spoonriver for some healthy dinner options. They use organic ingredients and source locally grown food for all their unique and tasty dishes.

If there aren't any theater shows that interest you head over to one of the nearby breweries and cozy up with a beer or two. Day Block Brewing and Finnegans are only few steps away and offer some seasonal spirits that will help you thaw out. You won't go hungry either, each place has great food options that'll make sure you end your day on the right note.


Winter Events

Holidazzle: Late November - Late December

Minneapolis winter events season starts with the Holidazzle. An event celebrating lights and the fun of the holidays.

The Great Northern: End of January - Early February

During the thick of winter the city teams up with St. Paul to put on a joint winter festival. The Great Northern, is a 10-day long celebration built around 3 major events: The Loppet, U.S. Pond Hockey Championships and The Winter Carnival

Lake Harriet Kite Festival: End of January

Kites of all shapes, sizes, colors, and themes fly over frozen Lake Harriet.

Beer Dabbler: Late February

Enjoy samples of the nation's best craft brews at the biggest outdoor beer festival in Minnesota.

Skate the Star: Early December - Mid. February

Skate around the iconic star sculpture at the Mall of America®.

Well's Fargo Minneapolis Winter Skate: End of January - Mid. March

Located in Loring Park, this FREE skate runs in accordance with the Holidazzle and then continues on during the winter season with other skating events including free skating lessons with a professional ice skater, movie skates and a special Twin Cities mascot skate. Complimentary ice skates are available.