Twin Cities Mom Collective

Twin Cities Winter Bucket List

winter bucket list

Twin Cities Winter Bucket List

In Minnesota, we love our summers. We put this beloved season on a pedestal and fit as much as we can into these precious days. On the other hand, winter doesn’t get nearly as much love. Most of us – myself included – accept this season begrudgingly, counting down the days until the spring thaw.

But winter in Minnesota can be long, and it seems short-sighted to wish this time away. So this year, I’m creating a winter bucket list to help my family embrace Minnesota’s colder months. Unlike a summer bucket list, I feel less pressure to make the most of every weekend. Instead, I’m finding myself focusing more on discovery, creativity, and having fun together as a family.

If you’re ready to embrace winter and all it has to offer, here are 75 ideas to help you make your winter bucket list. Minnesota winter, here we come!

Outdoor Activities

  1. Ice skate or play boot hockey at an outdoor rink
  2. Go sledding on a hill in your neighborhood. For a list of great spots, check out the Twin Cities Mom Collective’s Sledding Hills Guide
  3. See a frozen waterfall. Visit Minnehaha Falls locally or take a road trip to see a waterfall outside the cities
  4. Stay in a yurt at Afton State Park, Glendalough State Park or Cuyuna Country State Recreation
  5. Try curling
  6. Go ice fishing
  7. Walk, ski or snowshoe on a candlelit trail at the Luminary Loppet

    Luminary Loppet
  8. Go tubing at Buck Hill (Burnsville), Elm Creek Park Reserve (Maple Grove), Green Acres (Lake Elmo) or Wild Mountain (Taylors Falls). Some of these locations even have nighttime laser tubing
  9. Visit Como Park Zoo or the Minnesota Zoo. The animals are often more active in the cold weather and the crowds can be smaller too
  10. Attend the St. Paul Winter Carnival
  11. Enjoy a meal or hot beverage on an outdoor patio. Fire pits, pop-up igloos and heaters will keep you toasty. Check out this list of local spots for igloo and heated patio dining.
  12. Go on a winter scavenger hunt in your neighborhood. Here are some ideas to get started.
  13. Take a winter hike as a family, or a moonlight/ luminary hike
  14. Build a snow fort or tunnel in your backyard
  15. Shovel your neighbor’s driveway. Doing good for others warms the soul!
  16. Visit the Ice Castles

    ice castles promo code
    Ice Castles – located in Maple Grove in 2024
  17. Hide Easter eggs in the snow and dig for buried treasure
  18. Cheer on teams at the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships
  19. Attend the Kites on Ice Festival in Buffalo
  20. Visit Winter SKOLstice at Viking Lakes
  21. Play at your favorite playground. Snow combined with the padding of winter gear makes for extra fun
  22. Use balloons to make colorful frozen ice globes
  23. Go downhill skiing or snowboarding
  24. Try kick sledding. Rentals are available at many regional parks
  25. Enjoy art and creativity at the Art Shanty Projects multi-weekend event on Lake Harriet

ski passportIndoor Activities

  1. Immerse yourself in art at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Institute of Art, or Weisman Art Museum
  2. Go to an indoor playground. For ideas of top spots, check out the Twin Cities Mom Collective’s Indoor Play Area Guide
  3. Have an underwater adventure at SeaQuest in the Roseville Mall or SEA LIFE in the Mall of America
  4. Escape the cold at an indoor water park
  5. Make a ceramic creation at Color Me Mine
  6. Visit one of the Twin Cities lesser-known museums like the Bell Museum (with planetarium for space enthusiasts), Bakken Museum (innovation and STEAM), Minnesota History Center or Mill City Museum (take the Grain Elevator up 8 stories!)

    family memberships
    The. Bell Museum | photo courtesy of The Bell Museum
  7. Experience art and culture during Sundays at Landmark event series
  8. Race go-karts at ProKART Indoors in Maple Grove or Burnsville
  9. Watch a movie at the 1950s-style Riverview Theater in Minneapolis
  10. See a family-friendly improv show at ComedySportz
  11. Scale an indoor climbing wall at Vertical Endeavors in Bloomington, Minneapolis, or St. Paul
  12. Visit a trampoline park and get those wiggles out. Sky Zone has 5 metro area parks!
  13. Soak in the peace and beauty of the Cathedral of Saint Paul or the Basilica of Saint Mary
  14. Tour the State Capitol– guided tours are free and offered Mondays through Saturdays
  15. See a play that kids are sure to love at the Children’s Theater Company, Stages Theatre Company, a community theater, or your local high school
  16. Visit the Minnesota Children’s Museum
  17. Learn something new at the Science Museum of Minnesota or The Works Museum
  18. Organize a family donut crawl and discover the Twin Cities’ amazing bakeries. Consult Twin Cities Mom Collective’s Donut Shop Guide to create your route
  19. Put on your conductor hat and visit the Twin City Model Railroad Museum or the Jackson Street Roundhouse–  both perfect for train enthusiasts.

    Night Trains Twin City Model Railroad Museum
    photo copyright Twin City Model Railroad Museum
  20. Attend an event at your local library
  21. Cozy up with a book or attend a storytime at one of our favorite Twin Cities independent bookstores
  22. Enjoy food, goods, music, and cultural performances from around the world at the Midtown Global Market
  23. Visit one of the cities’ family-friendly breweries. Check out this list of favorite Twin Cities area breweries
  24. Explore and learn something new at a nature center near you
  25. Get up close to all kinds of animals at the Sustainable Safari in the Maplewood Mall

At-Home Activities

  1. Make frozen bubbles
  2. Host a chili cook off with friends or neighbors
  3. Get competitive with a family board game tournament. Need some new games in your mix? Check out this list of favorite family games.group of children playing games for kids and family
  4. Have a movie marathon. Watch a series, choose a movie theme, or pick films featuring your favorite actors. Here’s some fun ideas to make movie night extra-special.
  5. Build a blanket fort. Bonus points if you add twinkly lights
  6. Make your own snow globe
  7. Dress up, use the nice dishes and have a family dinner by candlelight
  8. Build a Lego masterpiece
  9. Make homemade bread or cinnamon rolls
  10. Grab flashlights and play hide and seek in the dark
  11. Host a family painting contest using the Bob Ross YouTube channel as your guide
  12. Make fancy hot chocolate by adding whipped cream, crushed candy canes or chocolate bars, drizzled caramel or chocolate sauce, and sprinkles
  13. Have an indoor picnic! Lay out a blanket and eat in the living room or kids’ bedroom. Make it exciting by creating a tent or blanket fort above your picnic.
  14. Make snow ice cream. Your kids will likely eat the snow outside anyway…
  15. Bake treats for local first responders
  16. Create a family time capsule
  17. Look through family photos and videos, and tell them stories of when they were born, funny things they did as babies and toddlers, and stories of loved ones
  18. Host a waffle or pancake party
  19. Roast hot dogs and s’mores over a bonfire
  20. Create a stop motion video
  21. Have a family dance party. For extra fun, add a disco bulb, glow sticks, or put up holiday or rope lights.
  22. Get artistic with snow paint
  23. Create an at-home escape room experience. Check Etsy or Pinterest for printable kits.
  24. Build an obstacle course and see who can get the fastest time
  25. Brighten your backyard with a DIY flower icicle
For more great ideas, check out these posts of at-home activities for kids and tweens.


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1 comment

Caree December 5, 2022 at 8:36 AM

Ah yes, CURLING! Can you really call yourself Minnesotan if you haven’t at least TRIED it? Get your whole family involved with adult and youth leagues. Every curling club in the Twin Cities has adult and youth (some starting a young as 6) Learn to Curl classes. They will have all equipment needed to try, might need helmets for the kiddos and everyone brings clean shoes. Then to continue your curling journey, and so you can sound like you know what you are talking about when the next Winter Olympics comes around, sign up for an Instructional or Novice League, which is low-pressure, everyone is still learning league.



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