Twin Cities Mom Collective

5 Fun Ways to Experience the City of Lakes Loppet Festival

Winter Festival season is upon us and that means cross-country skiing fans have their sights on the Twin Cities’ greatest festival–The City of Lakes Loppet! 

Whether the Loppet Festival is an annual event for you or this is your first time, there are plenty of ways to experience this great winter festival in new and fun ways!

First of all, what is the Loppet? Loppet is a Scandinavian term for a long-distance endurance race, or cross-country skiing event. The City of Lakes is certainly host to some incredible skiing races, but the entire event is so much more than just that. In fact, this is a festival for the entire family, regardless of experience on skis! The Loppet features ski races for all ages, skill levels, abilities, and much more. Whether you wish to participate or just experience the spirit of Loppet, you won’t want to miss Minneapolis’ greatest winter festival of sport and art alike. 

To learn the main details of the event, start here.

For a complete list of schedules and other details for participating, registering, or spectating the festival visit the City of Lakes Loppet events page.

Important Transportation Notes:

Before we get to the fun part, it’s important to know what to expect for transportation. There is limited parking at the start/finish area. Please consider neighborhood street parking and walking to the event center or arriving by bus or shuttle.

City bus lines run to and from the festival area. See metrotransit.org for the schedule.

The Loppet Foundation offers two shuttle options: 

Walker Library (2880 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55408) to Loppet Village on Saturday from 10 am to 10 pm and Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm.

Mortenson Construction parking lot off Highway 55 to Loppet Village on Saturday from 10 am to 10 pm and Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm.

Now for the fun part…

Five Fun Ways to Experience the Loppet:


Yes, it’s as simple, or as challenging, as that! There are so many options to experience skiing the loppet from short low stakes races to competitive endurance ski loops. Don’t be intimidated by those super athletic event photos. There is a speed and event for all!

Have younger skiers in the family? Next Generation Loppet is designed to inspire the next generation of Loppet skiers by providing all the fun and excitement of the longer Loppet ski events in shorter 3K, 2K, and 1K distances for younger skiers new to the sport. 

Want to take skiing to a fun new challenge? Maybe Ski-Orienteering is just right for your family! Think scavenger hunt meets ski race, where participants navigate on skis using a map and compass to find checkpoints located throughout Theodore Wirth Park. This is a great way to see the park, go at your own pace, and have fun as a family. 

Don’t like the idea of two sticks on the bottom of your feet? Maybe snowshoeing or fat-tire biking is your sport!  Registration is still open so give it a try!


There is no better way to experience the festival than to get caught up in the spirit of it all as a spectator! Pick your favorite event and cheer on the sport–whether it’s the competitive races, the young skiers, or maybe even the ski-jourers who ski with their dogs! It might even inspire you to pick up some skis and join in next year!

loppet festival


Recommended spectating sites:

Start Area – Bde Maka Ska North Beach, 2707 Lake Street West – Experience the nervous tension of that first starting mark with the morning starts. 

Finish Area – The Trailhead 1221 Theodore Wirth Parkway – celebrate with the finishers! Ski-jourers usually arrive first after 9 AM followed by skiers closer to 10:30 all the way until 3 PM. 

Theodore Wirth Park – 394 crossing/Brownie Lake – See the unique sight of hundreds of skiers, fat-tire bikers, and skijorers crossing a major interstate in the morning hours. Residential parking is available to the south while cheering on participants.

Isles Skating Rink – Skate at the historic Isles skating rink while cheering on participants in the morning. 


Experience Kubb!

Visit The Trailhead on Saturday and enjoy the world’s largest winter Kubb tournament. Kubb is a Swedish lawn game, similar to Cornhole or bocce ball in the Midwest, played with wooden blocks. Compete on a team or simply learn about the sport from observation as a break from the rest of the action surrounding the Loppet Festival. 




Whether you have a participant to cheer towards the finish or you just want to be a part of the excitement, Festival Village is the place to be. Not only is it a great place to find your participant, but you can also join in the party with a beer garden, food trucks, and more. Festival Village is located at the Trailhead finish.


Luminary Loppet!

Come out to Lake of the Isles and enjoy the Luminary Loppet where you can walk, snowshoe, or ski on the candlelit trail winding across the lake. Experience 1,200 luminaries lining the trail with unique ice features and much more – all in the heart of Uptown. The Luminary Loppet is also the Loppet Foundation’s largest fundraiser of the year – supporting their year-round programs promoting outdoor adventure for all in the Minneapolis area. (PLEASE NOTE: waves fill fast– book now!)

Luminary Loppet

Refreshments such as hot chocolate will be offered at tents across the lake. Food trucks, beer, and music are located at the Luminary Party. Participants require a ticketed wave time, so reserve your spot early!

Luminary Party – Photo by Todd Bauer | www.loppet.org


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