The trumpeter swans have arrived in Monticello, Minn. From November through February, more than 2,000 trumpeter swans gather at a warm spot on the Mississippi River, just an hour west of the Twin Cities.
When to go: Jim Lawrence feeds the swans at 10:30 a.m. every day; get there early and watch them fly in.
Past fast plans: Dubuque's views, Fun in Itasca, Christmas in Chicago, Sampling in Iowa's Amanas, Cocooning in a cozy cabin
Winterfest in Amana, Iowa. Go on a wine walk or scavenger hunt or compete in ham-throwing, log-sawing, wreath-tossing, the Amana Freezer Run/Walk, snowshoeing or for the best beard. There will be ice sculptures, storytelling and schnitzel-sampling, too. Jan. 23.
Winterfest in Mackinaw City, Mich. In this town on the Mackinac Straits, there's a snow-sculpting competition, sleigh rides, a poker run and outhouse races. Jan. 23.
Frostival in Moorhead, Minn. The first Saturday, there will be a birding festival, cardboard-sled races and a skate social. Jan. 23.
Janboree in Waukesha, Wis. The fest in this Milwaukee suburb includes Friday-night fireworks, ice sculpting, Ojibwe snow-snake games, ice bocce, a penguin-egg hunt and tobogganing on the lighted run in Lowell Park. Through Jan. 24.
For more, see our Events Calendar.
There's a reason why winter is the favorite season of many photographers it's gorgeous.
You've seen this region's icicle-draped sea caves, volcanic Great Lakes waves and dancing northern lights on social media. Now get out there and enjoy the scenery yourselves.
Snowshoe up frozen river canyons, barrel through the woods behind a team of huskies and go to bock festivals at breweries. Learn to ice fish, track wolves and look for bald eagles.
The snow is back a lot of it.
You can whine about it and hide indoors, or you can go out and have fun. Ever thought about cross-country skiing? That's fun.
If you haven't tried the sport, here's how to get started.
It does take a while to get good at it, but it's fun right from the beginning.
In the Upper Midwest, travel can be competitive.
Many festivals are so big and so fun that everyone wants to go. If you do, too, you'll have to act fast to stay ahead of the crowds.
And sometimes, you also need to know when not to visit a certain area, so you can avoid sold-out hotels or sky-high rates.
If you do only one thing outdoors in winter, do it by candlelight.
is more magical than a forest full of flickering lights. I got hooked
when I skied in Minnesota's Mille Lacs Kathio State
A fat blue moon hung in the sky, sparkling hoarfrost made twigs as nubby as reindeer antlers and more than 400 glowing bags gave the forest a fairy-tale aura.
Before Valentines Day, and as winter drags on, everyone starts thinking about romantic getaways.
Well, we already have a story about romantic places to stay, and beyond that, who can say what romance is?
Especially since romantic often is code for expensive. We think romance has very little relationship to expenditure; weve found it in tents and camper cabins as well as luxurious inns. Its everywhere, if you look for it.
Here are 10 great Minnesota getaways for everyone, whether youre with your sweetie, your kids, your pals or just yourself.
In this chilly region, smart men are on to Victoria's Secret.
Shopping at the mall, they breeze right by the silk nighties, the gold bracelets, the dainty perfumes. Because what Victoria secretly wants for Christmas are SmartWool undies, a goose-down parka and moosehide mukluks.