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Activities and events to check out this winter

From indoor ice rinks to outdoor ice castles.


Ice Skating and Sledding

Minneapolis Park and Recreation employees didn't expect a large crowd at its Parade Ice Garden facility – not with a winter storm warning in effect – and they were right. Only a handful of people made it to the indoor rink Tuesday, giving them just a hint of winter as snow fell for hours outdoors.

"It's a really important activity for me and it gives me kind of a sense of purpose," one skater, Vinnie, said. "Yes, there's so few people."

"This place is our treasure but we don't want everyone to know about it," another added somewhat jokingly. "Going outside is way more fun for people who want to do winter activities but if you really want to have a great skate, this is a beautiful place."

Open skating for all ages and levels is available for one hour most weekday mornings or afternoons and is free for kids under 5, $3 for youth and adults, and $2.75 for seniors. Skate rentals cost $2. Minneapolis Park and Recreation lists all of its indoor and outdoor rinks here. The Park Board also lists Theodore Worth Park, Valley View Park, and the Columbia Golf Club as places to go sledding.

Outdoor Events

The Glow Holiday Festival has already started. Through Jan. 1, more than a million lights are turned on daily at 5 p.m. at CHS Field in St. Paul. The event was previously held on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.

In Minneapolis, the annual Holidazzle festival has returned to Loring Park and will run every weekend through Dec. 18.

Then, beginning Jan. 6, the grounds around Vikings Lakes in Eagan will transform into Winter SKOLstice, with activities including the Minnesota Ice Maze. The maze is new to the event as it was housed in Stillwater for the last two years.

The Ice Castles will also be back mid-January at Long Lake Regional Park in New Brighton. For guaranteed entry and the lowest prices, you're encouraged to buy tickets online in advance.


At Mall of America, the Festival of Trees features trees decorated by various businesses and organizations. Tickets are $10 with all proceeds benefitting Special Olympics Minnesota.

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