Guide to Minneapolis Winter: How to Stay Warm and Have Fun

Minnesota winter is a winter wonderland, with endless opportunities for adventure. From gliding gracefully across frozen lakes while ice skating to carving up snowy mountains on skis, the Land of 10,000 Lakes has something special in store for everyone during the winter months.

Whether you’re a local or just visiting, don’t let the frosty reputation of Minnesota winter deter you from having an incredible time. Minneapolis comes alive during this time with exciting winter activities that cater to all tastes and ages.

In this guide, we’ll introduce you to some of the best places to visit in Minneapolis during the winter, along with some tips to stay warm and cozy. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip for Minnesota winter today!

Understanding Minnesota Winter Climate

Minnesota winters are known for being cold and snowy. The average temperature in January, the coldest month, is 12°F (-11°C). The average snowfall is 40 inches (102 cm). However, temperatures can drop much lower, and snowfall can be much heavier. The coldest temperature ever recorded in Minnesota was -60°F (-51°C).

A Closer Look at the Chilling Climate

The cold winter climate in Minnesota is due to its location in the Upper Midwest. The state is surrounded by cold air masses from Canada, and the Great Lakes also contribute to the cold weather. The prevailing winds in Minnesota are from the north, which also brings in cold air.

Average Temperatures and Seasonal Changes

The average temperature in Minnesota varies depending on the location and the time of year. The coldest temperatures are in the north and the east, where the average temperature in January is below 0°F (-18°C). The warmest temperatures are in the south and the west, where the average temperature in January is above 20°F (-6°C).

The seasons in Minnesota are also distinct. Spring begins in March and is characterized by warmer temperatures and melting snow. Summer begins in June and is the warmest time of year. Fall begins in September and is characterized by cooler temperatures and changing leaves.

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Snowfall Patterns and Precipitation

The snowfall patterns in Minnesota vary depending on the location. The heaviest snowfall occurs in the north and the east, where the average annual snowfall is over 60 inches (152 cm). The lightest snowfall occurs in the south and the west, where the average annual snowfall is less than 30 inches (76 cm).

Precipitation in Minnesota is also variable. The average annual precipitation is 30 inches (76 cm). However, the amount of precipitation can vary greatly from year to year.

Exploring Minneapolis in Winter

Winter Wonderland: The Beauty of Snow-Blanketed Landscapes

Minneapolis is a beautiful city in any season, but it is especially magical during the winter. The snow-covered trees and buildings create a winter wonderland, and the city comes alive with festive lights and activities.

There are many ways to enjoy the beauty of winter in Minneapolis. You can go for a walk or hike in one of the city’s many parks, or take a drive along the Mississippi River.

Minnesota winters transform Minneapolis into a mesmerizing wonderland. The city’s snow-covered scenery adds a magical touch to its beauty, offering numerous opportunities to relish the outdoors. 

Whether you’re visiting Minnehaha Falls, Lake Harriet Park, the Sculpture Garden, Minneapolis Farmers Market, or the Mill City Museum, dressing appropriately is key to staying cozy while exploring.

Minnehaha Falls: 

Minnehaha Falls is a popular destination in Minneapolis, and it’s even more magical in the winter. As the iconic waterfall freezes over, it transforms into a winter wonderland.

To stay warm while you’re exploring the falls, be sure to layer up with a puffer jacket, snow pants, a scarf, beanie, and gloves. You may also want to bring an ice scraper and de icer if you’re driving to the falls.

Once you’re at the falls, take some time to explore the surrounding park. There are trails to hike, bridges to cross, and plenty of places to take photos. And of course, don’t forget to take a close look at the frozen falls!

Minnehaha falls in winter by Jackson Simmer on Unsplash.

Lake Harriet Park: 

Lake Harriet Park is a popular destination for winter activities in Minneapolis. Visitors can enjoy a winter walk, snowshoeing, or skating on the frozen lake. 

To stay warm, it is important to wear warm boots and layered clothing. Layers allow you to adjust your clothing as needed, so you can stay comfortable even if the weather changes.

For a winter walk, wear a warm base layer, such as long underwear and a turtleneck, followed by a fleece or down jacket. You’ll also need a beanie, scarf, gloves, and warm socks.

For snowshoeing or skating, you’ll need to wear even warmer clothes. Wear a warm base layer, followed by a snowsuit or insulated pants and jacket. You’ll also need a hat, scarf, gloves, and waterproof boots.

If you’re planning on doing a lot of walking, you may also want to bring a pair of microspikes or crampons to help you grip the ice.

Local residents are enjoying walking over the frozen Lake Harriet – Picture by hartfordphoto on istock.

The Sculpture Garden: 

The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is a must-see for art lovers in the winter. Bundle up in a warm coat, hat, and gloves, and don’t forget your camera to capture the beauty of the outdoor sculptures.

The garden is home to over 60 sculptures, including iconic works such as Spoonbridge and Cherry and Cloud Gate. The sculptures are even more magical in the winter, when they are covered in snow and ice.

If you’re visiting the Sculpture Garden in winter, be sure to dress warmly. The temperatures can drop below freezing, and the wind can be biting. You’ll also want to wear sturdy shoes or boots, as the paths can be icy.

After you’ve explored the sculptures, be sure to warm up inside the Walker Art Center. The museum is open year-round and has a variety of exhibits to explore.

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, 2018. Photo by Peter VonDeLinde. Courtesy Walker Art Center.

Minneapolis Farmers Market: 

The Minneapolis Farmers Market is a year-round destination for fresh produce, baked goods, and local goods. But in the winter, the market takes on a special charm. 

The vendors are bundled up in warm clothes, and the produce is covered in a blanket of snow.

If you’re planning to visit the Minneapolis Farmers Market in the winter, be sure to dress in layers. You’ll want to be able to adjust your clothing as needed, depending on how cold it is. A warm base layer is essential, as is a jacket that will keep you dry. You’ll also need a hat, scarf, and gloves to protect your head, neck, and hands.

Once you’re properly bundled up, you can start exploring the market. Be sure to check out the fresh produce, which is often in season even in the winter. You can also find baked goods, meats, cheeses, and other local products.

The Minneapolis Farmers Market is a great place to spend a winter day. It’s a fun and festive way to support local farmers and businesses. And who knows, you might even find some new winter favorites.

Winter berries sold in Minneapolis farmers market. Courtesy Ig: mplsfarmmarket

The Mill City Museum:

The Mill City Museum is a fascinating place to learn about Minneapolis’ history as the “Flour Milling Capital of the World.” The museum is housed in the ruins of the Washburn A Mill, which was destroyed by fire in 1878. Visitors can explore the mill’s machinery, learn about the history of flour milling, and see exhibits on the city’s food industry.

The museum also has a fire museum, which tells the story of the fire that destroyed the Washburn A Mill. The fire museum includes a replica of the mill’s smokestack, which was the tallest structure in Minneapolis at the time of the fire.

In the winter, the museum’s lobby is a warm and inviting place to relax and warm up by the fire. There is also a gift shop where you can buy souvenirs of your visit.

Picture of the museum taken from and source: tourism media.

Seasonal Events and Festivals in the City

Minneapolis hosts a range of winter events and festivals, including:

Minneapolis Winter Light Festival: 

The Minneapolis Winter Light Festival is a magical event that transforms the city into a winter wonderland of light. From dazzling light installations to illuminated sculptures, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

The festival takes place in several locations throughout Minneapolis, including Loring Park, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Each location features its own unique light displays, so be sure to explore all that the festival has to offer.

To fully appreciate the festival, it is important to dress warmly. The winter weather in Minneapolis can be cold, so be sure to wear layers and bring a beanie, scarf, and gloves. You should also bring your camera to capture the festival’s radiant beauty.

Minneapolis winter light festival by

Ice Castles: 

Marvel at the beauty of Ice Castles, a winter wonderland of frozen art. These incredible structures are made entirely of ice, and they are constantly changing as the weather conditions fluctuate. 

Ice Castles are created by a team of artists and engineers who use a variety of techniques to shape and mold the ice. 

The process begins with harvesting ice from frozen lakes and ponds. The ice is then transported to the construction site, where it is carved and sculpted into intricate designs.

Ice Castles are open for a limited time each year, so be sure to plan your visit early. When you arrive, be sure to dress in warm clothes and wear shoes with good traction. The walkways can be slippery, so it is important to take your time and be careful.

In addition to exploring the Ice Castles, you can also enjoy other winter activities in the area, such as ice skating, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.

Ice castles, built by hand using only water. Picture courtesy: icecastles_ on Ig.

Polar Plunge: 

The Polar Plunge is a fundraising event that takes place in many cities around the world. Participants dress in costumes and jump into a frozen lake to raise money for charity.

For the brave souls taking the plunge into a frozen lake, a wetsuit and spare clothes are a must. The wetsuit will help to insulate the body and prevent hypothermia, while the spare clothes will help to keep the participant warm after they get out of the water.

Here are some specific clothing recommendations for the Polar Plunge:

A wetsuit: A wetsuit will help you stay warm in the cold water. Make sure to get a wetsuit that is the right size for you and that is made of a material that will not restrict your movement.

Spare clothes: You will need to change out of your wet clothes as soon as possible after the plunge. Bring a change of clothes that are warm and dry.

Hat, scarf, and gloves: These will help you keep your head, neck, and hands warm.

Boots: Wear boots that are waterproof and have good traction.

Towel: A towel will help you dry off after the plunge.

Polar Plunge to help support Special Olympics by team tradition. Photo courtesy:

Winter Carnival: 

The Winter Carnival is an annual festival in Minneapolis that celebrates the winter season. The festival features a variety of winter activities, including ice skating, snowshoeing, sledding, ice fishing, and more. There are also carnival rides, games, and food vendors.

To enjoy the Winter Carnival to the fullest, be sure to dress warmly. You’ll need a hat, scarf, gloves, and a coat that is rated for cold weather. You may also want to bring snow pants and boots if you plan on doing any snowshoeing or sledding.

Enjoy various winter activities, including ice skating and snowshoeing, at this festival. Dress warmly and be prepared for a fun-filled day.

Read more: What to wear 0 degree weather

St. Paul Winter Carnival: 

The St. Paul Winter Carnival is an annual festival held in St. Paul, Minnesota. The carnival features a variety of events and activities, including a biathlon, snow sculpture contest, fireworks, and more.

The biathlon is a winter sport that combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. The snow sculpture contest is a competition to see who can create the most impressive snow sculpture. The fireworks display is a dazzling display of lights and colors that lights up the night sky.

In addition to these events, the St. Paul Winter Carnival also features a variety of other activities, such as ice skating, sledding, and ice fishing. There are also many food and drink vendors, as well as live music and entertainment.

The St. Paul Winter Carnival is a great way to experience the winter weather in Minnesota. It is also a great way to have fun and celebrate the winter season.

Top Outdoor Activities for Winter Enthusiasts in Minnesota

Minnesota is a winter wonderland, with plenty of opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy the snow and cold weather. Here are a few of the top outdoor activities in Minnesota for winter enthusiasts:

Skiing and snowboarding: Minnesota is home to many ski resorts, with something to offer skiers and snowboarders of all levels. Some of the most popular ski resorts in Minnesota include Lutsen Mountains, Spirit Mountain, and Hyland Hills.

Ice skating: There are many places to go ice skating in Minnesota, from outdoor rinks to frozen lakes. Some of the most popular ice skating spots in Minnesota include Lake Harriet, Minnehaha Park, and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.

Snowshoeing and winter hiking: Snowshoeing and winter hiking are great ways to explore Minnesota’s beautiful winter landscapes. There are many trails in Minnesota that are groomed for snowshoeing and winter hiking, such as the North Shore Hiking Trail and the Superior Hiking Trail.

Ice fishing: Ice fishing is a popular winter activity in Minnesota. There are many lakes and rivers in Minnesota that are open for ice fishing, such as Lake Minnetonka and Mille Lacs Lake.

Dog sledding: Dog sledding is a unique and exciting winter activity that can be enjoyed in Minnesota. There are many dog sledding tours available in Minnesota, such as those offered by Voyageur Dog Sled Tours and Voyageurs Wolfdogs.

These are just a few of the many outdoor activities that can be enjoyed in Minnesota during the winter. With its cold weather and snow-covered landscapes, Minnesota is a great place to get away and enjoy the winter.

Indoor Delights: Cozy Escapes from the Cold

When the winter weather in Minnesota gets too cold, it’s time to head indoors for some cozy escapes. Here are a few ideas:

* Explore Minneapolis’ museums and art galleries. The Minneapolis Institute of Art has a world-renowned collection of art from around the world. The Walker Art Center is known for its contemporary art collection. And the Science Museum of Minnesota is a great place to learn about science and technology.

* Enjoy warm beverages in quaint cafes. There are many cozy cafes in Minneapolis where you can warm up with a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. Try the Birchwood Cafe for its delicious pastries and sandwiches. Or, head to the Cafe Zupas for its healthy and flavorful soups and salads.

* Relax at spas and wellness centers. There are many spas and wellness centers in Minneapolis where you can pamper yourself with a massage, facial, or other treatment. The Spa at the Four Seasons Hotel is a great option for a luxurious experience. Or, try the Elements Spa at the Minneapolis Club for a more affordable option.

These are just a few ideas for indoor delights in Minneapolis during the winter. With so many options to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect way to warm up and relax.

Culinary Adventures: Warming Your Soul

Minnesota winters are cold and long, but there’s no need to hibernate. There are plenty of delicious and warming dishes to enjoy in Minnesota, from hearty stews and soups to comforting casseroles and desserts.

Minnesota’s Winter Comfort Food Scene

Some of the most popular winter comfort foods in Minnesota include:


A casserole made with a variety of ingredients, such as ground beef, potatoes, vegetables, and cream of mushroom soup.

Chicken and wild rice soup:

A creamy and flavorful soup made with chicken, wild rice, vegetables, and herbs.

Pot roast:

A slow-cooked roast beef dish that is typically served with mashed potatoes and gravy.

Macaroni and cheese:

A classic comfort food that is always a crowd-pleaser.


A sweet and creamy drink that is popular in the Harry Potter universe. There are many different variations of butterbeer, but it is typically made with cream soda, butterscotch, and vanilla.

Must-Try Dishes for a Taste of Local Cuisine

In addition to these popular comfort foods, there are also many other dishes that you should try if you are visiting Minnesota in the winter. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Jucy Lucy: A burger with melted cheese stuffed inside the patty.

  • Walleye: A freshwater fish that is popular in Minnesota. It is typically served fried or grilled.

  • Sauerkraut balls: A fried dumpling made with sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, and spices.

  • Funnel cake: A fried dough dessert that is typically topped with powdered sugar and fruit.

Safety Tips for Navigating Minnesota Winter

Minnesota winters are known for being cold and snowy. Here are some safety tips for navigating Minnesota winter:

  • Dress for extreme cold and wind chill. Wear layers of clothing that will trap heat and keep you dry. 

Kosha Travel Wear has a variety of winter clothing options that are perfect for Minnesota winters. We have sustainable and eco-friendly winter technical wear that is good for the environment.

  • Stay safe while driving in winter conditions. Allow extra time for travel and drive slowly and carefully. Be sure to clear snow and ice from your car before driving.
  • Be prepared for sudden weather changes. The weather in Minnesota can change quickly, so it’s important to be prepared for anything. Pack an emergency kit in your car and have a plan in case you get stranded.

Dressing for Extreme Cold and Wind Chill

When dressing for extreme cold and wind chill, it is important to wear layers. This will allow you to adjust your clothing as needed to stay warm. The first layer should be a base layer that wicks away moisture. The second layer should be a fleece or wool layer that insulates your body. The third layer should be a windproof and waterproof layer to protect you from the elements.

Staying Safe While Driving in Winter Conditions

When driving in winter conditions, it is important to drive slowly and carefully. You should also leave plenty of space between you and the car in front of you. It is also important to have a full tank of gas and to check your tire pressure regularly. If you are driving in snowy or icy conditions, you should use snow tires or chains.

Being Prepared for Sudden Weather Changes

It is important to be prepared for sudden weather changes in Minnesota. This means checking the weather forecast before you go outside, and having a plan in case of a power outage or other emergency. You should also have a survival kit in your car, which should include food, water, a first-aid kit, and a flashlight.


What is the coldest month in Minnesota?

January is the coldest month in Minnesota, with an average temperature of around 10-24 degrees Fahrenheit.

How many months does it snow in Minnesota?

Typically, it snows in Minnesota from late November to mid-April, so about 5-6 months of the year.

What are the best ways to keep warm in Minnesota during winter?

The best ways to keep warm in Minnesota during winter are to dress in layers, stay inside when it’s cold out, drink warm beverages, stay active, and have fun gadgets such as heated insoles or hand warmers.

What are some fun winter activities in Minnesota?

There are many fun winter activities to enjoy in Minnesota, such as skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, snowshoeing, and sledding. You can also visit one of the many winter festivals or events that take place throughout the state.

What are the things to keep in mind when driving in Minnesota during winter?

When driving in Minnesota during winter, it is important to be prepared for icy and snowy conditions. Make sure to have a full tank of gas, working windshield wipers, and a winter survival kit in your car. You should also drive slowly and carefully, and give yourself plenty of time to brake.


Minnesota winters offer a magical experience with snow-blanketed landscapes and a host of activities to enjoy both indoors and outdoors. Whether you’re exploring frozen waterfalls or indulging in comforting local cuisine, there’s something for everyone to savor in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. 

Remember to stay safe by dressing appropriately for the cold, practicing eco-friendly travel, and being prepared for any weather changes.  Embrace the beauty and charm of Minnesota’s winter wonderland, and create lasting memories in this snowy paradise.

For any queries related to wearing thermals, base layers, or winter wear in general, visit Kosha’s store and get a free consultation! While you’re at it, check out Kosha’s website for the wide range of thermals and jackets available at Kosha.

This blog article is written by Kosha Team Member – Kauravki Bansode



Our history goes all the way back to early 50s. Prrem and Aloo Vazirani – an accomplished couple who chased after their wanderlust bug. She was a doctor, he was a businessman, and both were filled with a desire to explore the world.