Visiting family in Minnesota over the holidays can be an adventure. Although it is reasonably cold during the holiday season, Minnesota offers a ton of activities and outings to keep everyone entertained, even beyond the must-see headlining Twin Cities holiday events like Holidazzle in Minneapolis and the St. Paul Christmas Market. From tourist attractions to shopping venues, visitors are sure to find something fun and adventurous in Minnesota to write home about. Check out any of these hot spots for a fun visit to a surprisingly fun state.

Bentleyville Tour of Lights

Bentleyville Tour of Lights
Bayfront Festival Park
700 Railroad St.
Duluth, MN 55802
(218) 740-3535

Up north in Duluth, Minnesota, the Bentleyville Tour of Lights is one of the best holiday traditions in the entire state. Experience an entire park filled with a walk-through lighted Christmas display that includes fun and entertainment for all ages. Enjoy walking or driving around the area that gets bigger and more spectacular each year. Fire pits are located throughout for warming up and toasting marshmallows, and Santa is often present to grant Christmas wishes. Listen to music, enjoy treats and get in the Christmas spirit at the Bentleyville Tour of Lights.

Hyland Ski And Snowboard Area
8800 Chalet Road
Bloomington, MN 55438
(763) 694-7800

One of the best places to enjoy the Minnesota winter during the holidays is at a winter recreation area. Hyland Ski and Snowboard Area is the perfect place to be outdoors but still inside the metro area. There is a large area for cross country skiing as well as nine downhill runs that vary from easy to difficult. Hyland can keep any outdoor enthusiast happy all day. A chalet is located on-site for warming up and a terrain park is available for snowboarding traffic. Take a daily lesson to brush up if you want, the park is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on most days.

St. Paul Winter Carnival

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

If you will be in town until the end of January, the St. Paul Winter Carnival is an event you cannot afford to miss. One of the largest and most fun activities during the cold season, the carnival provides Minnesotans with a celebration in the middle of the long winter. There are ice sculptures on display outdoors in the center of downtown St. Paul, as well as parades, sledding and skating activities, and the world’s largest snowball fight for overgrown children to enjoy. Listen to music, take in a parade and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate while you wander around the winter wonderland.

Related: Best Winter And Holiday Activities

Minnesota Wild
Xcel Energy Center
199 W Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55102
(651) 265-55102

Minnesota is often referred to as the state of hockey. With so many professional hockey players coming from Minnesota and a building enthusiasm for the sport among the state, professional hockey games are among the favorite activities of most Minnesotans. The games are filled with energy and amazing hockey talent inside the fantastic venue of the Xcel Energy Center. Any visitor would be crazy to pass up the opportunity to see a Wild game while visiting Minnesota over the holidays.

Snowmobile Racing

National Straightline Snowmobile Racing And Ice Kahana
Chain of Lakes Yacht Club
405 Interlaken Road
Fairmont, MN 56031
(507) 235-8585

Professional snowmobile racing and winter four-wheeling come to Minnesota in January 2015 for the National Straightline Snowmobile Race. Families can watch snowmobiles go top speed over the lakes of southern Minnesota and share the excitement of the sport. This year, there will be a track for anyone to race on, separate from the professional track. Other vehicles, specially designed for winter racing, will also be on display at the races and Ice Kahana.

RelatedBest Winter Road Trip Destinations Near The Twin Cities

Andrea Wodele is a freelance writer who has lived in the Twin Cities for eight years. She loves covering all things Minnesota and her work can be found on