Welcome to our Winter Guide to Fun. This guide is perfect for adults and/or kids. You don’t need to drag a child along to have fun flying a kite, sledding, or ice skating. Bundle up and have a good time.

If you’d like to add a winter event, please email it to info@southwestvoices.news


Art Shanty Projects

A pollinators performance at the 2022 Art Shanty Projects. Photo by Max Haynes, courtesy of Art Shanty Projects

Where: The land surrounding Lake Harriet near the Lake Harriet Bandshell. Note: This year's Art Shanty Projects will not be held on the lake.

When: Saturday and Sundays January 21 - February 12, 10 a.m.  - 4 p.m.

Why you should go: Art Shanty Projects is returning to the frozen water of Lake Harriet filled with its own brand of visually dazzling, sonically satisfying, and community-engaged offerings. Walk around the ice (the ice levels are checked everyday for your safety) and visit little shanties filled with moving parts, interactive activities, and other surprises. Live music and performances pop up throughout the mini festival. There will be food trucks and warm drinks. The perfect event to wow your out-of-town guests with (if you can get them to visit us in the winter). And a can’t-be-missed event for those of us lucky to live here.

Getting there:  Art Shanty Projects encourage you to be creative in how you get to the event. Buses run along Lake Street, just east of the lake, and parking is limited. Try to be creative with how you arrive. A bike? A sled? A walk? It’s all possible.

Armatage Fire & Ice

Where: Armatage Park, 2500 W 57th St.

When: January 27, 6 - 7:30 p.m.

Why you should go: The Armatage Neighborhood Association, Armatage Park, and the Armatage Elementary School PTA hosts an annual night of ice skating, hot chocolate, and a bonfire. No registration required, just come on down! There will also be a mutual aid table for kids and adults winter gear. Bring coats, boots, snow pants, hats and mittens to donate. If your family needs winter gear, please stop by the table to pick up free items. This winter gear exchange is open to all.

The Kite Festival

Kites flying over Lake Harriet in January 2022. Photo by Charlie Rybak.

Where: The north end of Lake Harriet (look for The Art Shanty Projects area and flying kites)

When: January 28

Why you should go:  On a special day in late January, kites of all shapes, sizes, and colors will fly over Lake Harriet. This free, family outdoor event is held on the north end of the lake. The Kite Festival is organized by the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board in partnership with the Linden Hills Neighborhood Council and the East Harriet Farmstead Neighborhood Association. You can bring your own kite or buy one there. Check out the huge kites and high-flying talents of the Minnesota Kite Society. Enjoy music, ice-fishing lessons from Tips Outdoors and a free marshmallow roast. The festival is a sort of venn diagram with The Art Shanty Projects that day, so you can enjoy both events at the same time. A cute place for a date, a family outing, or a meditative moment with yourself.

Getting there: You can take a shuttle to Lake Harriet from the Executive Building parking lot on the West side of Bde Maka Ska (3033 Excelsior Blvd.). Minneapolis. There will be no parking on either side of Linden Hills Blvd. from W 43rd Street to W 40th Street on January 28.

The Palio Winter Games

Where: Lake of the Isles Ice Rink, 2500 Lake of the Isles Parkway East


Why you should go: Neighbors representing East Isles, Kenwood, and Lowry Hill compete in winter games. There are three parades that start from each neighborhood and converge at the Lake of the Isles warming house. A figure skating program featuring skaters from each neighborhood will open the games, followed by pickup hockey, arts activities, local treats, and open skating. There will be free skating lessons and rental skates for anyone who wants to join in. If you live in or want to represent a specific neighborhood, make sure to wear the right color. You can join the East Isles Blue Raccoons, Kenwood Red Egrets or Lowry Hill Green Turtles.

The Great Northern

Last year’s Great Northern included a trip out to Silverwood Park in St. Anthony to learn how to take icy cold baths outside. Photo courtesy of The Great Northern.

Where: Various Minneapolis and St. Paul locations

When: January 25 - February 5

Why you should go: The Great Northern is a winter celebration-conference-art gallery-performance extravaganza. And more. “Performances, food events, site specific art, panels and speakers, films, regional craft, commissioned writing, storytelling, partnerships with local and national institutions, and outdoor activations” will keep you busy over 12 days across the Twin Cities. Check out the long list of scheduled events to keep that wintery isolation at bay.

If your mind could use some rigor, fresh ideas, or a new way of thinking–this is the place for you. Check out a few of their events…

The U.S. Pond Hockey Championships kick off on January 19.

Magers & Quinn hosts Ashwini Ramaswamy, lead choreographer of Invisible Cities, and Will McGrath (author, Everything Lost is Found Again, Farewell Transmission) to talk about her process of adapting Italo Calvino's book as a multi-faceted dance performance on January 19.

Saint Paul-based multidisciplinary artist Seitu Jones will invite both experienced and novice ice fishers to ice fish along with him on Silverwood Lake, demonstrating the process of Gyotaku—a Japanese printmaking technique used for documenting catches on January 22.

An immersive light show planned for The Great Northern. Photo courtesy of Andrew Schneider

The Walker Art Center is hosting Andrew Schneider’s N O W I S W H E N W E A R E (the stars), an immersive light show with 4,000 reactive points of light in a giant room starting on January 26.

Check out the outdoor Secret Supper on January 28.

K’óoben, which is a collaboration between chefs Gustavo Romero (Nixta), José Alarcón (Centro, Vivir), and Noe Lara (BLVD) accompanied by mixologists Mike Hidalgo (Sonora Kitchen), Daniel Guerrero (Colita), and Daniel D. Torres (Iconos Gastro Cantina), is hosting a pop-up dinner on January 30th.

The Luminary Loppet, photo courtesy The Great Northern

The Luminary Loppet heads back to Lake of the Isles on February 18th (rescheduled from their original date to give the lake more time to freeze).

Go learn more about Bdote in an immersive experience offered by the Minnesota Humanities Center that invites participants to visit, inhabit, and expand their understanding of Twin Cities sites with deep significance to Dakota people on February 5.


The big sledding hill at Lyndale Farmstead. Photo by Melody Hoffmann

When: All winter long

Where: All over!

We have numerous parks that have solid sledding hills. Here are a few. Let us know where you like to go sledding and we will add them here.

Lyndale Farmstead Park

A massive hill on the south side of the park. Best for thrill seekers and older kids. There are smaller hills on the sides to allow for less-scary sledding.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park

A nice-sized hill on the south end of the park (next to 42nd Street).

Pearl Park

They have a small hill that is great for younger kids.

Newton Hill (on Lake Harriet Parkway, between Knox and Minnehaha)

It has its own Foursquare page and numerous people suggested it on Twitter.

Armatage Park

Look for the hill that drops into the baseball field. Great hill for all ages.

Kenny Park

Look for the hill that drops into the baseball field. Great hill for all ages.

Kenwood Park

A wide open hill on the north side of the park. You can park on Douglas or Oliver Avenues. Was once called “Suicide Hill.”

Ice skating

A night skate at Bryant Square Park. Photo by Charlie Rybak

When: All winter long, rinks are lit 4:30 - 9 p.m.

Where: Minneapolis parks (see list of rinks)

We have ice rinks at a lot of our parks. And that is really cool. Starting in January, ice rinks will start opening up across Minneapolis. Be sure to check out the Minneapolis Parks and Rec interactive ice rink status map.

Here are the rinks that are in and near Southwest:

Armatage Park

Bryant Square Park

Kenny Park

Lake of the Isles Park

Linden Hills Park

Lyndale Farmstead


Pearl Park

Thanks for perusing our Winter Guide to Fun. Be sure to send us a comment below if you have suggestions for this guide.