People who don’t live in Minneapolis-St.Paul share a common description of the winters here: cold. Our short answer to that is simply to dress warm when temps begin to drop. Sure, it gets chilly, but hey, this is the North, and we’re all in this together. And because of that, we want to help you get well-versed on all the things you should know, starting with weather conditions that go beyond the the term cold.
In MSP, you’ll hear phrases such as wind chill advisory, wintery mix, and sleet. What is this stuff, anyway? Click here to learn the common terms and phrases you should know so that you can nod along to meteorologists and forecasts like a pro and prepare accordingly. You’ve got this!
Come winter, bundling up isn’t just a style, it’s a way of life. Sure, you’ll probably observe an occasional die-hard neighbor snow-blowing his driveway in a pair of shorts, or a runner wearing a t-shirt in November, but we recommend covering up during colder temps. Layers can include long-underwear, fleece, comfy sweaters, vests, and puffy coats. Mittens, hats, scarves, and wool socks are a must. Don’t worry, you’ll blend right in. Feel free to mix and match colors and accessories. Just remember, you’re in the North and anything goes...Did we mention this is the birthplace of Zubaz?
If you’re looking for ways to bring some fashion to all those layers of function, check out these links to discover great tips and trendy outfitters where winter goods abound. Winter Style Tips + Askov Finlayson + Northmade + Love Your Melon + Red Wing Boots + Cold Weather Gear for Kids
Just like most sports, Minneapolis-Saint Paul winters require essential gear. The good news is that you can stock up at your local Target. The basics for your home include canned goods, a can opener, and warm blankets. If you have a fireplace, might as well grab a pack of skewers, marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate, too. As with any standard emergency list, candles, flashlights and batteries are always good to have on hand.
As for the outdoors, a shovel will be key. You may not need or want a snowblower, but when snow rapidly accumulates, firing it up will definitely clear your driveway faster and with less effort than a shovel.
As far as essentials for your vehicle, be sure to keep your gas tank and windshield washer fluid in check. Car scrapers are a must. Part of the magic of the season is its unpredictability, so while the forecast may say clear skies, you might come out to a car covered in sleet or snow. So, make sure to purchase a car scraper for every car in your household and travel with them all winter long.
Winter may slow folks down from time to time for safety reasons, but it rarely stops us from getting where we want to go. In fact, there are even bicyclists who keep their wheels spinning all year round. But it’s our state’s great infrastructure that allows the masses to keep moving.
Minneapolis-Saint Paul was ranked #1 in the country for public transportation, and our airports are top-rated in service, despite occasional winter travel advisories. If you’re on the go in downtown Minneapolis, the skyway system is composed of 8 miles of enclosed pathways that connect 80 city blocks. The downtown Saint Paul skyway system is massive as well. Just one more way to get around. Of course, if you’re dressed in layers, stepping outside and getting some fresh air is always an option when making your way around the city.
Commuting options include public transportation and good old fashioned driving. If you choose to drive, you can speed up your commute with an MNPass which allows you to use Express Lanes. Services such as Uber and Lyft are also available in MSP and surrounding areas, as are carpool options.
From walking to commuting to parking, more helpful tips can be found within these links. Winter Driving Safety Tips + Winter Parking - Minneapolis + Minneapolis Skyways + Sign up for Emergency Updates from Minneapolis + Winter Storm Bus Route Detours + Winter Parking - Saint Paul + Saint Paul Skyways + Learn how to walk on Ice
Home to dozens of James Beard nominated chefs and restaurants stirring up all kinds of goodness, it’s no wonder Minneapolis-Saint Paul was rated one of Zagat’s most exciting food cities in America in 2017.
But it’s not all fine dining. As you can explore in our MSP Neighborhood Guide, the region is known for its diverse and vibrant neighborhoods, each with its own hidden gems, casual dining spots, and dives. Winter provides the perfect time to cozy up in any one of them. The Nordic culture and seasonal produce it embraces is among the region’s well-known distinctions, while thriving communities of more recent immigrants are experimenting with new standards.
But one of the best parts of winter food is the comfort around it, and sometimes that means making mouth-watering eats in your own home. From hot dish recipes to perhaps something more adventurous , nothing says comfort like a warm plate of food or a warm, cozy cocktail.
Food and drinks bring people together, so no matter what’s for dinner, food is a yummy excuse to spend some time with family and friends.
Feast your eyes on these delicious links.
Best Comfort Food Spots + More Comfort Food + Modern Comfort Food + 68 Crock Pot Recipes + 200 Classic Comfort Food Recipes + MN HotDish Recipes + MN's Nordic Roots + Midtown Global Market + Seasonal Produce + Winter Farmers Market + Land of 10K Drinks Map + Hot Chocolate Tips
According to the state’s art board, more than half of local residents not only take in the arts, they participate in them, too. That might explain why Minnesota invests so much in them—more than 10 times per capita as Colorado, California and Washington, for example.
From stunning museums, history centers, theaters, and best-in-class music venues, to outdoor art festivals and quirky places that will get your creative juices flowing, there are a number of ways to immerse yourself in the arts all season long.
The Art Shanty Projects is a perfect example of quirky art. Exploring ways that unregulated public spaces can become new artistic environments, the project aims to push the notion of what art can be. It’s an interactive experience that invites you to dive right into the culture.
Here are a few links to inspire your next artistic outing.
Explore the Arts + Heritage Arts + Minnesota Theaters + Concerts in Twin Cities + Best Music Venues + Secrets of the City + Can Can Wonderland
In Minneapolis-Saint Paul, winter doesn’t stop people from doing the things they love to do. But, as with any relocation, you might wonder how to meet people, and where to find events and activities happening near you. That’s why MSP HELLO puts on monthly events designed for people to make connections! You can also check out Break the Bubble and Bumble BFF to make new acquaintances.
Volunteering is another way to meet people and become part of the community. In MSP, opportunities to help others are abound. If you’re into specific hobbies, you can search for clubs or gatherings within those interests, knowing what they all have in common is gathering at cozy spots throughout the season.
And of course, there are many off-the-cuff ways to meet people, too. One example is 612 Sauna Society ; a membership-based group that enjoys the benefits of a mobile sauna at different local business and organizations during winter.
Check out these friendly links for more ideas.
Minneapolis Community and Recreation Centers Family Fun + Start a Conversation + Mix it up at the Ice Bar + Brush Studio + Cheers Pablo + Wine & Canvas + The Paint Pub
The festivities don’t stop when the snow flies. In fact, that’s when some celebrations come to life. Though there are activities, events and festivals happening all over the city throughout the winter, there are a handful of quintessential experiences that only happen right here in Minneapolis-Saint Paul. So, mark your calendars and let the outdoor adventures begin.
The Great Northern Festival celebrates life in the North. From snow and ice sculptures to a winter parade to a luminary cross-country skiing event, this is one for the books, demonstrating that no one embraces the cold like people do here. The Holidazzle is another local classic, bringing friends and families together in Loring Park to ring in the holidays with a spectacular parade. If you’re into beer, The Winter Beer Dabbler, a massive outdoor beer festival in Minnesota, was crafted just for you.
Want more winter fun? Local resident and world-renowned chef, Andrew Zimmern, shares a few of his favorite winter festivities.
Some enjoy the sidelines while others want to dive right in. For the latter, winter is the perfect time to seize the cold and enjoy some of our most beloved recreations. From sledding and ice fishing to skijoring and fat biking, some sports are more common than others, but all are embraced in Minneapolis-Saint Paul.
If you’re up for exploring the wilderness, rent a pair of snowshoes or cross-country skis from your local outdoor retailer and hit one of the many trails in the region. As for downhill sports, there are a number of places to go skiing and snowboarding. If you don’t want to click your feet into skis or a board, there are a number of places to enjoy some good old fashioned sledding and tubing. Up for spinning your wheels? Fat biking continues to grow in popularity. Looking for speed? Hop on a snowmobile and explore more than 22,000 miles of trails in Minnesota.
Once you get comfortable with your nearby surroundings, perhaps it’s time to venture further out. But, you don’t need to go far to find adventure. Head to Cook County and capture a mesmerizing glimpse of the Northern Lights. Or, take a trip to Walker to experience the International Eelpout Festival. Eelpout not your thing? Check out Ice Fest in Breezy Point. And, if you’re feeling really adventurous, drive all the way to International Falls to check out Icebox Days.
That, or you could head south and discover new landscapes, shopping, breweries, wineries and more in New Ulm, Winona, Red Wing or Rochester. As always, if you’re not up for venturing too far out, you can always find activities closer to home at one of Minnesota’s many State Parks.
Winter isn’t a time to shut down and hibernate, it’s a time for our minds to fire up. Minneapolis-Saint Paul is home to a myriad of start-ups, inventions, and innovations. Building the supercomputer, performing the first open-heart surgery, inventing everything from snowmobiles and Rollerblades to hula hoops and post-it notes. These, and so many more firsts, were initiated right here.
We are makers and artists of all kinds, and celebrate those around us at local galleries and through groups such as Twin Cities Maker, and Nordeast Maker. Artists and writers often gather at places such as the Loft Literary Center and Open Book.
Want to learn about the latest and greatest happenings in the start-up scene? Check out the Twin Cities Startup Week event to make new connections and feel endlessly inspired. To connect with the startup scene year-round, get plugged in at the Forge North website.
Bottom line, this region is full of creative and innovative minds that welcome new ideas and bold creativity.
Minnesotans revel in endless winter traditions. From meat raffles and lutefisk festivals, to warm cabins and long goodbyes, to knitting scarves and sharing the secrets of a family hot dish, the only thing we love more than our traditions, is sharing them with others. Many of these northern traditions can be summed up by the word Hygge. Pronounced “hue-guh”, the Danish word is used to describe a moment or feeling that, whether spent alone or shared with friends, is considered to be charming or special. The very essence of Hygge can be discovered at the Danish American Center and at places like Hygga.
MSP is alive with rich heritages and cultures that are constantly changing, from the country’s largest Somali and Hmong communities to thriving corridors of African-American, Latinx, East African, Asian, and Indigenous cultures. The Minnesota History Center is a great place to learn about various cultures and thriving populations. And you won’t want to miss the Swedish Institute’s Nordic, annual celebration of Winter Solstice bursting with music, crafts, live performances, and more. Want more inspiration on embracing culture? Read this article.
612 SAUNA SOCIETY