Elm Creek Park Reserve is the largest park in Hennepin County and offers a plethora of outdoor activities year round.

Best Ways to Capitalize on the Cold in Minneapolis Northwest

As the temperature drops, Minneapolis Northwest heats up with festivals, shows and plenty of exhilarating winter activities. From skijoring with your dog to making ice sculptures and strolling the beautifully lit, snow-covered streets, here are ways to celebrate and rejoice in the cold weather here.


Outdoor Activities to Embrace the Cold


Winter sports at Elm Creek Park Reserve

Bring your family and skis and get ready to travel downhill with glee at Elm Creek Park Reserve. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the newest craze—fat tire biking— and ride along the park’s 13 miles of snow-covered trails with ease. If you don’t own a fat tire bike, you can rent one from Maple Grove Cycling. The park’s chalet offers equipment rentals, concessions with hot cocoa and a fireplace for you to warm up after an adventurous day outside.

12400 James Deane Parkway, Maple Grove


Ice skating at the Maple Grove Ice Loop

Tired of going around in circles at the skating rink? Try the ice-skating trail at Maple Grove’s Central Park instead, and take in the picturesque park views from the meandering 800-foot loop. The Central Park ice-skating trail is the first of its kind in Minnesota, and is one of the few in North America—it really is a sight to see and experience! Entrance is free, and skates are available to rent.

12000 Central Park Way, Maple Grove

Skijoring at Eagle Lake Regional Park

If you’ve done dog sledding, you might know what skijoring is—but if not— it’s not as difficult as it sounds. Grab your Nordic skis and your leash for your dog and you’re halfway there! Add some harnesses and arctic grade bungees, and you are all set. If you’re apprehensive about trying out the sport, don’t worry; Skijoring Basic classes are offered at Three Rivers Park District. In addition to skijoring, you can also go cross-country skiing and snowshoeing at the 230-acre Eagle Lake Regional Park.

11000 Bass Lake Road, Plymouth


Celebrate winter at the Saint Paul Winter Carnival

During the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, which takes place from Jan. 25 to Feb. 10, 2018, Saint Paul’s Rice Park transforms into an icy wonderland, full of elaborate illuminated ice sculptures, created by local artists. Sit on the Royal Throne of ice; view the Ice Castle Sponsor Wall; and bask in the merry ambience as live music fills the crisp winter air. As you stroll through the carnival, sip on a glass of wine from Cannon River Winery, or go for a Summit Beer at the ice bar. At the Frozen Family Fun Night, you and the kids will have a blast exploring the ice carvings and dancing and ice skating at the Wells Fargo WinterSkate.

109 W 4th St, St. Paul


Experience urban cross-country skiing at the City of Lakes Loppet Ski Festival

Nothing says “fun in the snow” like a little friendly competition at the City of Lakes Loppet Ski Festival, Jan. 27-Feb. 4. Join the excitement and compete in events such as cross-country skiing, speed skating, skijoring, fat tire biking and snowshoeing. Anyone can participate, since the festival has races for all ages. When you’re not competing or cheering from the sidelines, you’ll want to take a stroll to admire the luminary trail that lights up at night. The festival will also have a beer garden, tasty food from various food trucks and a free sculpture contest.

Lake of the Isles Area, Minneapolis


Indoor Activities to Keep You Warm


Cozy up with a good book at Brooklyn Park Library

Sometimes you just need to relax, grab a good book, cozy up in a warm atmosphere and enjoy the day. And in a space as stunning as the Hennepin County Library in Brooklyn Park, escaping the cold has never sounded—or looked—so good. This new location, which opened in 2016, is twice the size of its previous location and has floor-to-ceiling windows that offer an abundance of natural light. With plenty of space to stretch out and lose yourself in a good book, Brooklyn Park Library will be your home away from home this winter. Even kids will find something to keep them busy here; the children’s section is filled with books, games and has plenty of seating.

8500 W Broadway Ave., Brooklyn Park


Catch a movie at AMC Theatres Arbor Lakes 16

Forget Netflix and venture out to AMC Theatres Arbor Lakes 16 to watch the newest movie. The theater has 16 screens, including IMAX and RealD 3D screens, which are perfect for seeing the latest superhero flick or Disney release. Grab some popcorn, sit back and get ready to be transported into different worlds as the snow falls outside.

12575 Elm Creek Blvd. North, Maple Grove


Go gaming at Bowlero

Channel your inner child at Bowlero, a premier gaming center with 48 bowling lanes, billiards, darts, a laser tag arena, a gaming arcade, bumper cars, and a pro shop. Book a birthday party or invite your friends for a night out—because there’s more than just games here; there’s also a full-length sports bar that serves food, too.

7545 Brooklyn Blvd., Brooklyn Park


Warm up with a drink at Tii Cup

The weather outside might be frightful, but you’ll find delight and comfort from a warm cup of tea, especially if it’s from Tii Cup bubble tea and espresso bar. This family owned business, in Brooklyn Park, uses the best quality ingredients and offers unique drinks like golden milk tea (jasmine and royal Thai tea) and honey milk tea (jasmine green tea with longan honey).

7958 Brooklyn Blvd., Brooklyn Park


Learn something new at the Science Museum of Minnesota

Fossils, artifacts and interactive exhibits await you at the Science Museum of Minnesota. The whole family will enjoy the nine-story-high IMAX Omnitheater. Currently, the theater is showing the film “Rocky Mountain Express,” which takes you on a timeless journey through the rugged Canadian wilderness. If you’re a fan of “Stranger Things,” you’ll want to snag your own Science Museum of Minnesota sweatshirt featuring a brontosaurus skeleton worn by Dustin Henderson in the show.

120 West Kellogg Blvd., Saint Paul


Explore fascinating art at Minneapolis Institute of Art

From ancient sculptures to contemporary photography, Minneapolis Institute of Art has a world-class collection of art and offers free one-hour guided tours. During the Third Thursday events, you can enjoy a variety of unique programs like pop-up poetry readings, creative writing classes and live music. Check out the “Martin Luther: Art and the Reformation” exhibit, which is on display until Jan. 24. The exhibit features more than 100 objects that have never before traveled to America.

2400 Third Ave. South, Minneapolis


Create your own work of art at The Paint Pub

You don’t have to be Picasso to excel in painting, and The Paint Pub gives you a chance to channel your creative side. Invite your friends to unwind over a glass of wine and paint the night away. The studio provides blank canvases, supplies, snacks and of course, wine! Paint a tropical landscape, cupcakes or a floral arrangement, all with the help of a talented instructor.

13607 Grove Drive, Maple Grove


Chilling Shows


The Phantom of the Opera

Cameron Mackintosh’s spectacular production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s, The Phantom of the Opera is returning to the Orpheum Theatre, Dec. 13-31. This production boasts impressive special effects, including the legendary chandelier and new scenic designs and choreography. Songs like “Music of the Night,” “All I Ask Of You,” and “Masquerade” will be performed by a cast and orchestra of 52, making this one of the largest productions on tour.

910 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis


Blithe Spirit

Whether or not you believe in the paranormal, you’ll find Blithe Spirit amusing. From Nov. 25 to Jan. 14, at the Guthrie Theater, you’ll get goose bumps watching this supernatural journey as Charles Condomine and his wife, Ruth, host a séance that ends up conjuring Charles’ deceased first wife—who has no plans of leaving.

818 S 2nd St., Minneapolis


Whether you want to hit the trails with your dog, play arcade games, create an ice sculpture, paint or watch a movie, Minneapolis Northwest has something for everyone this winter! Looking for more winter fun? Check out our blog on skijoring or great restaurants to visit after a day of shopping at The Shoppes of Arbor Lakes!

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