Outdoor adventure awaits robust Minnesotans this winter. Check out these five events that surely add light and spirit to the gray days ahead. To be in the know on where to go for fun in the snow, you can read an earlier article, Best Places For Outdoor Winter Activities in Minnesota.

Holidazzle Village

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Nicollet Mall from 12th Street to 10th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55402
(612) 338-3807

Dates: Now through Dec. 24, 2014

New and exciting this year, see Holidazzle on the Mall every weekend now through December. Bring your camera to Nicollet Mall to catch character sightings, live reindeer, Santa’s Workshop, bands and choirs. Story time will charm the tots and amuse parents. While you are there, shop the authentic Old World German-style Christmas Market with 30 vendors offering food, crafts and gifts. A small fee for a seasonal pass opens the door to mulled wine, brats and unique candy delicacies, glass blowing and holiday displays.

Holiday Lights and Fireworks

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Forest History Center
2609 County Road 76
Grand Rapids, MN 55744
(218) 327-4482
www.sites.mnhs.orgDate: Dec. 5-6, 2014

Celebrate choral singing as Santa lights up the fire tower to guide his flight to Minnesota followed by a brilliant winter lights fireworks display. Stay overnight to celebrate Christmas in the Logging Camp at the Forest History Center that begins the following morning. See the entire historically re-created logging camp come to life as the crew prepares its logging camp for Christmas. Enjoy sleigh rides. Sip on hot chocolate or cider, watch festive singers, storytellers and visit Santa.

Northfield’s Annual Winter Walk Event
Historic Downtown Northfield
Northfield, MN 55057
(507) 645-5604

Date: Dec. 11, 2014

Come for the Tree Lighting hosted by local dignitaries and enlivened by the Middle School Choir. Then stroll downtown enlivened by luminaries throughout, storefront displays and all of the treats and wares in stores. Catch Santa or Frosty the Snowman on your camera and enjoy caroling, strolling musicians, horse-drawn wagons, model trains and storytelling.

Checkpoint MN
Explore Minnesota
Multiple Locations

Dates: Dec. 11, 2014 through March 5, 2015

Checkpoint MN kicks off year two to encourage winter travel in Minnesota. The event will highlight 12 iconic travel destinations that can be found only in Minnesota this winter. The scavenger hunt aims to rally thousands of participants over the course of 12 weeks with $40,000+ in prizes, including winter gear, fat bikes, ski and snowboard packages, a grand prize snowmobile and more. Participants are encouraged to share their experiences on social media, using #OnlyinMN.

St. Paul Winter Carnival 2015
75 W. 5th St.
Saint Paul, MN 55102
(651) 223-7400

Dates: Jan. 22 through Feb. 1, 2015

Take part in rolling back the winter doldrums starting with the 30th Securian Winter Run. Runners line up at 6th and Jackson and finish at the same point after completing a challenging course. Take your pick between a half marathon, 10k or 5k. Races start January 24 at 9 a.m. That same day, winter revelers can cheer on the King Boreas Grande Day Paraders as they march down West 7th Street from Smith Avenue to Rice Park beginning at 2 p.m. Finish the day sampling craft beers at The Beer Dabbler in Midway Stadium from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The following Saturday will see a spellbinding Torchlight Parade along 5th Street from Union Depot to Rice Park beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Related: Making The Most Of The Snow With Winter Sports

Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from Richfield High School and then the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for Examiner.com, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at Examiner.com.