Upcoming events to look forward to this winter

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Photo courtesy of ESPN

This seems like too good of an opportunity to pass up, so I’ll just go ahead and say it; winter is coming. Now that I got that out of my system, let’s get onto the real reason you’re here. The Twin Cities are the perfect place for anyone looking to get out of the house in the winter. Yes, you heard that right, ditch your cozy fireplace for a few hours to go out and enjoy some of the events that the winter brings us. Here are a few winter outings in the Twin Cities to mark on your calendars.

Winter Carnival: Jan. 25 – Feb. 10

The Winter Carnival in St. Paul is the oldest of its kind in the United States, and it serves as the gold-standard for winter festivities. Some important events within Winter Carnival are the Securian Winter Run, the Vulcan Snow Park, an the Ice Palace that dominates Rice Park at the foot of palatial Landmark Center (pictured below). The 33rd year of the run is always a highpoint of the carnival, and features a half marathon, 10k and 5k. The Vulcan Snow Park is fun for the whole family with snow sculpture competitions, giant snow slides, and barstool ski races. And don’t forget to bring your skates along for free ice skating as well ($4 if you need to rent skates).

Added bonus: Because Minneapolis is hosting Superbowl 52, the Winter Carnival will be running an extra week this year to coincide with the game. Stay tuned for news on added events and activities.

Photo courtesy of Winter Carnival

Beer Dabbler Winter Carnival: Feb. 24

Need I say anything else? The Beer Dabbler is a collection of over 150 breweries, serving 400+ craft beers. In it’s 9th year, the event will also feature live music and good eats. Be sure to also stop by the home brew contest, which is included in your ticket.

Photo courtesy of Visit Saint Paul

Red Bull Crashed Ice: Jan. 19 – 20

Surely you have seen the insane videos online of people wearing hockey gear and skating and racing on the downhill course that sits afront the Saint Paul Cathedral. Red Bull’s Crashed Ice is a full contact skating race that includes jumps, huge banking turns, and other obstacles that challenge the bold participants. This will mark the seventh season in St. Paul and the buzz around the bizarre sporting event continues to grow each year. Come for the races, and grab a bite to eat at Cossetta’s, Burger Moe’s, or one of the other delicious food vendors.

Photo courtesy of Red Bull

U.S. Pond Hockey Championships: Jan. 25 – 28

Of course the Championships for Pond Hockey is in Minnesota, would you expect anything less? A frozen Lake Nokomis is home to this Minnesotan masterpiece, and in it’s 12th year it has grown into a global gathering. Teams come from all over the world to compete in this tournament, and every year the fans get a great show. Come stop by for a weekend full of hockey, beer and grub, and entertainment for everyone.

Photo courtesy of ESPN

Ice Castles: Jan. 6 – Mar. 3

Our last stop takes us a bit outside of the Twin Cities, but I can assure you, it is well worth the drive. This winter extravaganza is hosted at Lowell Park, located in Stillwater. It showcases ice sculptures with long winding pathways through ice towers and archways, all complete with festive lighting. This is a great stop for the family, but any adult would be lying if they said they didn’t want to go for the miraculous winter display.

Photo courtesy of the Stillwater Gazette

So there you have it, a quick look at some of the upcoming winter events in the North Star State. So get ready to bundle up and enjoy what the area has to offer during those cold winter months. And don’t forget the hot chocolate as you return to your rightful spot by the fireplace.