A Sparkling Minnesota

By Lavender December 5, 2007

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If you don’t feel like leaving the heat-blasted comfort of your home, cozying up next to a fire with a good book is a wintertime favorite. Although getting out and having some winter fun is necessary to avoid the seasonal blues, some good alone time—or quality time spent with a loved one—can be equally necessary. So, pick up that novel you’ve been trying to finish, and allow yourself some quality R and R.

In these times of prohibitive gas prices, airline glitches, and frigid temperatures, it is essential to fight the cold, and remain entertained. This is a guide to inexpensive and jovial activities to deter the winter blues, while staying in the area.

The Depot Ice Rink

The Depot Ice Rink. Photo by Hubert Bonnet

The Depot Ice Rink, formerly the Old Milwaukee Road Depot, is a great place to enjoy ice-skating, while escaping the cold. At Washington Avenue and Third Avenue South in Downtown Minneapolis, The Depot is lined with windows that provide an immaculate view of the city.

If you’re feeling a little chilly, the concession stand in the rink serves hot chocolate and coffee, along with various snacks. This climate-controlled rink, however, should keep you nice and toasty, while letting you enjoy the “outdoors.” The historic Depot is a perfect place to spend a cold winter evening with a loved one.

The ice rink has skate rental and free lockers to keep belongings safel. For $8, you can spend a romantic evening ice-skating in a heated rink, drinking hot chocolate, and admiring the beautiful city beyond the frosty windows. The Depot is open for skating until March 16. Visit www.thedepotminneapolis.com.

Kory Kingsbury, Sales Manager at The Depot, says, “The Depot was open for nearly seven decades as a train station where passengers would say good-bye or reunite with loved ones. Today, it stands as a monument to rail days gone by.”

Minneapolis Chambers Hotel Ice Bar. Photo Courtesy of The Chambers

Minneapolis Chambers Hotel

Not far from The Depot is the Minneapolis Chambers Hotel, a ritzy establishment with an even more glamorous bar. The ice bar is home to 12,000 pounds of ice sculpted into a full bar. Lights are frozen into the ice. When you enter the courtyard, it’s like you magically entered the North Pole. Garnished with candles and lights, this glittering seasonal bar is a great place to spend a winter evening. It’s equipped with a blazing fire, so guests are sure to stay warm.

The bar features many delicious drinks, but one that any whisky-lover must try: The Red Hot Passion—a passion fruit puree mixed with Thai chilies and whiskey—is a sure way to keep warm on a cold winter evening.

Open Tuesday and Wednesday from 5 PM until guest demand wanes, and Thursday through Saturday from 5 PM to Midnight, this enchanting escapade at the Chambers Hotel ice bar, 901 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, is a must-see that should be added to your list of winter getaways!

Macy’s Holidazzle Parade

Macy’s Holidazzle Parade is a fun winter activity for people of all ages. This 16th annual Minneapolis tradition of floats, lights, and music runs through the streets of Downtown, and lasts around a half-hour each night.

This parade is “all of your favorite nursery rhyme and storybook characters brought together in a million lights,” Minneapolis Downtown Council Marketing Manager Evan Carpenter says.

That’s right: The parade consists of more than one million lights—all of which are battery-powered. Whether you’re big or small, boy or girl; this parade is for you. It runs Thursday-Sunday nights through December 23 at 6:30 PM. So, catch it before it’s over!

Lutsen Mountain. Photo by Hubert Bonnet

Lutsen

Lutsen, near the Lake Superior shore, is Minnesota’s own little version of Colorado. If you are a fan of the snow, and feel like hitting the slopes, this is the place to go. Equipped with more than 1,000 acres of ski turf, Lutsen is a great winter getaway without having to go too far. The ski runs range from easy to expert, and are up to two miles long. Most provide fabulous views of the Lake Superior shore.

Skiing and snowboarding aren’t the only fun things Lutsen has to offer. Dog sledding, snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, sleigh rides, stage productions, and concerts are among the many other activities during a stay at Lutsen.

Lodging varies from hotels to cabins, many of which offer ski-in, ski-out access to the hills. Oftentimes, you’ll find live music in the bars, along with many festivals and celebrations throughout the winter.

Visit Lutsen.com for a lodging directory, entertainment calendar, ski packages, and more. If you feel like getting away for a weekend, Lutsen is the place to go.

Kory Kingsbury
The Depot
(712) 758-7873
kkingsbury@thedepotminneapolis.com

Jackie Hanson
Chambers Hotel
(952) 941-3949

Evan Carpenter
Holidazzle Parade
(612) 656-3819
evanc@downtownminneapolis.com

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