How you can actually enjoy the rest of winter with the ‘Hygge’ life

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Whelp. It’s still winter. All of the excitement of the Super Bowl, the celebrity spotting, the crazy events and concerts, is over. And so we’re left with the snow and cold. We’re just barely into February and knowing Minnesota weather, we’ll still be schlepping out the shovels in April.  

However, it is in this state of winter melancholy where we can take a cue from the Danish. They not only endure some of the most cold, dark, and long winters, but also somehow consistently rank as one of the happiest countries in the world. Granted, while some of Denmark’s happiness may derive from their health care and educational systems, their unyielding happiness also stems from engaging in the ‘hygge’ life.

Hygge, pronounced ‘hoo-guh’, is a Danish concept that cannot easily be translated into one word but rather, hygge embodies a feeling or moment of coziness, comfort, and contentment especially through enjoyment in the simple things in life. You can embrace the hygge lifestyle by sipping a hot cup of delicious coffee or hot chocolate, reading a good book, burrowing under a pile of blankets to watch a movie, or enjoying time with friends.  

photo by Anthony Tran

Adopting the hygge mindset can help power you through the rest of winter and the best part is, it doesn’t need to cost a thing. You don’t have to buy any special device or product to create this cozy feeling.

While hygge is more of a feeling and attitude, it certainly helps put you in the right mindset by also changing your physical environment to feel cozy and comfy. In your home, change the atmosphere by turning off the bright fluorescent lights and switching to soft lighting with some candles, lamps, or even stoking the fireplace if you have one. Break out the sweatpants, indulge in some of your favorite rich baked goods, and you’re ready for the hygge life.

photo by Joey Banks

You can also create this comforting and convivial warm feeling without hibernating in your home all winter long. Perhaps without knowing it entirely, Minnesota embraced its Scandinavian roots and has already laid the groundwork so you can easily create the hygge feeling.

Here are a few places and activities around the cities where you can fully enjoy the hygge lifestyle.

Little Box Sauna at the Walker

Completely free, the Walker Art Center is providing a toasty experience with a portable sauna set up on their front outside patio. You can go sweat it out in the sauna every Thursday night from 5-9pm through March 4th. After your schvitz you can also enjoy their winter outdoor patio lounge. Check out their website for more details and for other free winter events like moonlight snowshoeing and music and art workshops.

Mill City Winter Farmers Market

Nothing seems quite so European as walking through a winter market. Don’t worry though, you’ll still stay warm as it is an indoor market. Open on select Saturdays from 10am-1pm you can shop for fresh winter produce, listen to live folk and bluegrass music, and enjoy cuisine from vendors 3 Bear Oats, Gorkha Palace, Heritage Breads, Salty Tart, and Sift Gluten Free.

The Lobby Bar at the Saint Paul Hotel

You’ll definitely feel like you’re creating a hygge moment lounging in a plush chair next to a crackling fireplace while sipping on a Winter Spice Collins cocktail. You can have this exact experience in the cozy lobby at the Saint Paul Hotel. As a bonus, on certain Saturdays through March you can sit back at The Lobby Bar and relax listening to live jazz music performed by Erin Livingston.

Wilde Roast Cafe

Tucked in next to the Mississippi River at St. Anthony Main with a view of the historic Stone Arch Bridge and downtown Minneapolis across the water, the Wilde Roast Cafe is perfect for a meal or for a simple coffee and baked good. With dimmed, soft lighting and flowing drapes and artwork decorating the walls, you can settle in next to their fireplace with a good book or find a table to enjoy dinner with friends.