Best Winter Things to Do in Stillwater, Minnesota
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Visit Stillwater in the Winter
Stillwater has a rich history and is considered the birthplace of Minnesota. In 1848 the first territorial convention that began the process of establishing Minnesota as a state was held in downtown Stillwater on Myrtle and Main Street. We’ve been able to experience Stillwater in many different seasons, and winter may be the most charming. The town of Stillwater has come together to transform this already adorable, quaint river town into a winter wonderland. The entire length of Main Street’s shopping and dining area is covered in lit up snowflakes and rooftop lights. There are also a bunch of free activities that are great for adults and children.
1. Stay at the Historic Water Street Inn
Built in 1890 as the Lumber Exchange Building, the Water Street Inn is now a gorgeous, romantic place to stay. Located in the heart of town at the foot of the historic Lift Bridge most rooms have incredible views of the St. Croix River. You can easily walk to many coffee shops, restaurants and breweries.
This hotel is absolutely gorgeous. Our room was enormous and we had an expansive view of the St. Croix River from our balcony. There is a gas fireplace, beautiful exposed brick and marble countertops in the bathroom. They also have room service for breakfast, and we had egg sandwiches and fruit delivered straight to our room. The bacon was so crispy and the fruit was sweet and ripe. This hotel oozes luxury and comfort, yet it’s affordable and in the most convenient location.
2. Get Lost in an Ice Palace Maze
Be sure to check out the ice palace maze. It’s a great event for adults and children, and we found it to be really cool. The maze is made up of 1,500 ice blocks, which create a half-mile of passages with walls that are 8 feet tall. As you walk through the maze, the ice blocks change colors and along the way you’ll see ice sculptures, including two huge chairs, a ballerina and a train.
There is an outdoor ice bar where you can buy drinks, check out more ice sculptures, sit by the fire pits to warm up and make s’mores. There are also two big slides 36 feet tall made entirely of ice! Tickets are $15/adult and $10/children. The palace is available January 22, 2021 through March 7, 2021. Check out their website for more details. If you’re looking for outdoor gear and clothing so you can stay cozy, I recommend checking out winter boots from Merrell, and warm coats, hats, and gloves from REI.
3. Walk Through the Free LED Light Show
Every night from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. there is a gorgeous and totally free LED light show right in the center of town. Walk through a lit-up tunnel, check out a 33 foot tall LED tree, and watch the lights flash and change colors in unison with the music. You’ll also find another huge ice sculpture here. This gorgeous light show is on Chestnut Street and runs from December 5, 2020, through March 31, 2021. This area can be slippery and covered in ice or snow. Check out these yaktrax on Amazon I use all the time.
Shop some of my favorite winter items
4. Ice Skate Next to the Historic Lift Bridge
Stillwater has set up an ice skating rink next to the historic Lift Bridge. There is no option to rent skates, so you will need to bring your own. When we went, there was nobody there so we had the rink all to ourselves. It’s completely free and open to the public every day 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. from January 25, 2021 through March 30, 2021. Note, the rink is closed every Thursday from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. when the local high school figure skating team practices. The rink is also closed on February 13 for the Frozen Flannel Bonspiel, an outdoor curling event.
5. Grab Tacos and Margaritas at Lolito’s
Lolito’s is right in the heart of town so it’s very easy to walk to. The ingredients are fresh and the flavors are vibrant, the food and drinks were absolutely incredible. We started off with locally brewed beer and chips with avocado and tomatillo salsa. For our entrees, we both wanted tacos so we shared Mahi, duck, and braised beef tacos with a side of rice. We also had margaritas, which were the best we’ve had in a long time! The restaurant was at 50 percent capacity and we had plenty of space between us and other tables.
Stillwater is Magical During Any Season
We love Stillwater and have been fortunate enough to experience it during many different seasons. For more information on all of the awesome winter events happening in Stillwater right now, visit Discover Stillwater’s website. For even more Stillwater inspiration, check out my post on epic things to do in Stillwater during any season here. And for recommendations on quality outdoor clothing so you can stay cozy, check out winter boots from Merrell, and warm coats, hats, and gloves from REI.
This post is sponsored by Discover Stillwater. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Hehehe Still water is such an appropriate name in the wintertime! I mean, you can’t get much more still water than ice!!
This all looks fab! The colourful ice scultures, the grub and that lovely scenery! You are so good at showing off Minnesota’s best spots!
Stillwater has done an awesome job making the town so festive!
Those ice sculptures are awesome! One of those setups is on my Bucket List to see for sure! The food looked DELICIOUS too!
The food was amazing!
That’s so great that even during the pandemic there are cool outdoor attractions that are both safe and unique! It makes winter so much more fun. Way to go, Stillwater!
I agree! Stillwater and so many other towns in Minnesota have come up with some super creative ways to get through winter.
What fun things you found to do in the winter in Stillwater. I love the ice festival with all the ice blocks and slides. It looks magical.
It’s was really unique!
Ooh I def want to head over and check out the ice skating! Thanks for sharing these fun ideas. It’s such a short drive to Stillwater from the Twin Cities!
Their rink has a great view of the St. Croix River and the Lift Bridge. It’s a great spot!
The Stillwater figure skating team is not only practicing from 5:45-6:45 on Thursdays, they put on an exhibition with a team number and individual programs too. The Water Street Inn has propane heaters on the deck and great warm drinks and food while you watch. Central Park, NY in Stillwater!!! Scenery and light display even better.
That’s awesome! Thanks for sharing.