We’re braving Minnesota in the winter. Why? Silly question. The question should be why not – the Twin Cities have been touted as one of the top 10 winter vacation spots. To make the most of it, we’re staying in Roseville, who is hosting my family for the trip. Roseville give us easy access to attractions in Minneapolis and St. Paul while staying in a more affordable area (with free parking, a commodity in these parts).
I’ve got more things on my bucket list than time allows, but isn’t that the fun thing about bucket lists? Dream big. If there’s something you think is a must-do or must-see while we’re there, please let me know in the comments section!
Roseville & Twin Cities Winter Bucket List
Play & Learn Indoors
Indoor activities will be a necessity during a winter visit. Some of our favorite places to visit on vacations are children’s museums and science centers, so we’re in luck with this part of Minnesota.
There’s Minnesota Children’s Museum, which just opened after a major expansion and renovation, and the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul. For pure fun, there’s also Can Can Wonderland (think a fantastical world of indoor mini golf, arcade games, and more).
Other options include Minnesota Transportation Museum at Jackson Street Roundhouse, a former steam engine maintenance facility-turned historic gem which provides a unique opportunity for kids of all ages to experience railroading.
Shop Pop-Ups & The Mall of America
This one’s more for me than anyone else. There are holiday pop-up shops throughout Minneapolis, not to mention the granddaddy of all shopping experiences, Mall of America. If we’re being truthful, if I go to Mall of America, it’d be more for the experiences than shopping though.
I’ll save the shopping for local vendors at the pop-ups and then hit the big mall for things like Nickelodeon Universe and the giant ropes course (and zip line).
Since we’re there in the winter, why not go to a hockey game? The Wild plays in Minneapolis and there’s a game the weekend we’re there!
We want to head to downtown Minneapolis to see Holidazzle, a FREE spectacle held Thursdays through Sundays from mid-November to Christmas Eve. Holidazzle events include outdoor movies, skating, an illuminated art installation, fireworks, Santa, Kid Zone, and more.
Take In A Live Show
Minneapolis boasts a fantastic theater scene. Since we’re there during the holiday season, shouldn’t we take in a show like “A Christmas Carol”? It’s playing at the Guthrie Theater.
American Swedish Institute‘s Christmas market, Julmarknad, is the largest holiday weekend at the historic Turnblad Mansion. First off, this mansion looks like a castle, so it already is going to be a hit with my son.
Additionally, there is a ton happening at the market, including performances, kids crafts, Swedish foods for purchase, and a lot of vendors. I’m hoping this times out with our weekend visit.
Related post: We went there! See what my family’s experience was like at Julmarknad, the Christmas market at American Swedish Institute.
Holy buckets, if this is open when we’re visiting this winter, I want to be there! Go look at pictures, the Ice Castles look amazing. website
Eat All The Good Food
If you know me, I usually plan trips around food. On my list, Hen House Eatery (word is they have a great kids’ pre-meal entertainment pack), The News Room (read headlines in newsprint-inspired decor), ice cream at Sebastian Joe’s in Minneapolis or Grand Ole Creamery in St. Paul, Midtown Global Market (on Fridays, they have Family Fridays activities), World Street Cafe, Hazel’s Northeast, Snuffy’s Malt Shop, Smalley’s Caribbean Barbeque and Pirate Bar in Stillwater (this has been featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” – plus I have a pirate fan in the family), and Mickey’s Diner (featured on the Food Network series “Unwrapped,” “Roker on the Road,” Rachel Rays’ “Tasty Travels,” and Alton Browns’ “Feasting on Asphalt”).
Inspiration for my Eat All The Good Food list came from bloggers (like Dining With Alice, who shared family-friendly tap rooms!, and others like Food + Wine, and Star Tribune’s best restaurants with kid-friendly menus.
What? A waterfall in winter? At southern Minneapolis’ Minnehaha Park, hikers stop at overlooks to see the Mississippi River, limestone bluffs and 53-foot-tall Minnehaha Falls. I’ve seen pictures of the falls frozen in the winter, maybe we’ll have luck? website
Wabasha Street Caves
This St. Paul site has me intrigued. website
Como Park Zoo
I happen to know from experience, zoos are great to visit in the winter. Tip from Working Mom’s Travels about Como is that it’s easy to visit in the winter since buildings are close together. Santa is at the Minnesota Zoo on Saturdays in December!
The Marjorie McNeely Conservatory is a part of Como Park Zoo, and looks delightfully decorated during the holidays. Como Park Zoo & Conservatory are FREE (voluntary donations are accepted).
Saint Paul Winter Carnival
OK, this one doesn’t fit into our travel timeline, but if only. It looks fun! Saint Paul Winter Carnival starts in January, though.
Winter Photo Opps
We might just swing by the Walker Art Center so the kids can get the iconic picture in front of “Spoonbridge and Cherry” at Walker Art Center.
I want YOUR help. Help me plan our trip! Tell me your favorite things to do, places to eat, and all the other must-see things in Roseville and the Twin Cities! Suggestions don’t have to be for specifically kid-friendly things, but that is greatly appreciated.