MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest
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December 2017  January 2018 February 2018
Tue
2
-
Sat
18

Holiday Fantasy in Lights

Madison, WI

The free display in Olin Park is open from dusk to dawn.

Mon
1

Cool Kite Festival

Milwaukee, WI

In addition to kite-flying, there will be ice sculptures and free hot chocolate, coffee and snacks in the lakefront Veterans Park.

New Year's Day Parade

Egg Harbor, WI

Welcome the new year with a 1 p.m. parade.

Sat
6
-
Fri
5

Breezy Point Ice Fest

Breezy Point, MN

This Brainerd Lakes resort village celebrates with horse-drawn wagon rides, an ice slide, snow golf, ice fishing and dog-sled rides.

Sun
7
-
Fri
5

Ice Festival

Sandstone, MN

There are ice-climbing and winter camping clinics, a chili cook-off, door prizes and use of demo gear in Sandstone Ice Park.

Bald Eagle Days

Rock Island, IL

At the Quad Cities Expo Center, there's an environmental fair, with flying demonstrations by eagles, hawks and owls and many other events.

Sat
6

SISU Ski Fest

Ironwood, MI

This Finnish fest includes a 5K Fun Ski, 15km and 31km ski races, a snowshoe tour and a fat-bike demo on scenic bluffs and along the Montreal River.

Candlelight ski/snowshoe/hike

Around the region

There's nothing better than skiing (or snowshoeing or hiking) through a twinkling forest or across a luminary-lined lake. There's usually a bonfire and hot chocolate to enjoy afterward.

Bald Eagle Watch

Clinton, IA

Two Mississippi River towns host this event, with live-eagle and nature programs at Iowa's Clinton Community College and free bus service to Lock & Dam 13 in Fulton, Ill.

Foot of the Lake Synchronized Skating Classic

Fond du Lac, WI

Watch 85 synchronized-skating teams from across the nation compete at the Blue Line Family Ice Center.

Sun
7
-
Sat
6

Gunflint Mail Run sled-dog race

Gunflint Trail, MN

Mushers travel two legs of 50 miles, starting and ending at the Trail Center Lodge on the Central Gunflint Trail.

Sun
14
-
Thu
11

Back to Hack Winter Festival

Hackensack, MN

The festival in this Brainerd Lakes town on the Paul Bunyan State Trail features snow sculpting, an ice-fishing contest, penguin plunge, dog-sled rides, kids' games and Saturday fireworks.

Sat
13
-
Fri
12

Bald Eagle Watching Days

Prairie du Sac, WI

This town along the Wisconsin River, next to a hydroelectric plant, offers guided bus tours, live birds of prey programs and kids' activities.

Sat
13

Sleigh & Cutter Rally

Ashland, WI

Antique sleighs and drivers in 19th-century costumes gather at Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center and offer rides.

Jack Frost Fest

Spooner, WI

There's turkey bowling, minnow races, an antique snowmobile show and a fat-bike ride in this western Wisconsin town.

Winter Festival

La Farge, WI

Visit the Kickapoo Valley Reserve for horse-drawn wagon rides, guided snowshoe and ice-cave hikes, winter games and a sled-dog race and weight pull.

 

Sun
21
-
Thu
18

Icebox Days

International Falls, MN

In this far-north town, there will be smoosh races, frozen turkey bowling, a toilet-seat toss, boot hockey and fireworks. On Saturday, there's the annual Freeze Yer Gizzard Blizzard Run.

Sat
20
-
Fri
19

Winterfest

Mackinaw City, MI

There's a snow-sculpting competition, sleigh rides, a poker run and outhouse races.

Crashed Ice World Championship

St. Paul, MN

Red Bull Crashed Ice is returning with the extreme sport of ice cross downhill, or high-speed skating on a downhill course from the Cathedral of St. Paul.

Silver Mine Ski Jumping Championships

Eau Claire, WI

Watch top skiers from North America and Europe compete at Silver Mine Hill.

Sun
21
-
Fri
19

Hunter Ice Festival

Niles, MI

This festival in the southwest tip of the state, named for a turn-of-the-century ice-harvesting business, features more than 150 ice sculptures and a competition.

Sat
20

Bald Eagle Watch

Dubuque, IA

Live-eagle programs and free trolley rides from the Grand River Center downtown to the National Mississippi River Museum and Lock & Dam 11.

Isthmus Beer & Cheese Fest

Madison, WI

A celebration of Wisconsin's greatest products at Alliant Energy Center, with plenty to sample. Tickets sell out, so buy early.

Winter Trails Day

Minneapolis, MN

Play outdoors on the beach at Fort Snelling State Park, near the airport. Try such sports as snowshoeing, skiing, skijoring, ice-fishing, quinzee-building, ice-sculpting and more.

It's free and hosted by the Mississippi Park Connection and Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, and a vehicle sticker is required.

Sun
21
-
Sat
20

Art Shanty Projects

Minneapolis, MN

This year, frozen Lake Harriet hosts two dozen artist-designed ice houses and lots of fun art antics. Check for scheduled events and ice conditions.

 

 

Bald Eagle Appreciation Days

Keokuk, IA

There's live-eagle presentations, Native American activities, demonstrations and viewing on the river.

Eagle-watching festivals

Around the region

Town on rivers where eagles gather in winter offer live bird presentations, guided tours and cultural activities.

Wed
24

A Toast to Winter: Ice Bars

Milwaukee, WI

Enoy a cocktail for charity in the Historic Third Ward at three hand-carved ice bars, one with a Bloody Mary luge, one with an ice wall and one with a beer-serving cow. 

Sun
28
-
Thu
25

Winter Games

Lake Okoboji, IA

This resort area in northwest Iowa will offer human sled races, flag football on ice, indoor golf, snowball drop, stein-holding, horse-drawn carriage rides, a Freeze Yer Fanny Bike Ride, keg toss and fireworks.

Winterfest

Grand Haven, MI

In this Lake Michigan town, there's a human sled race, cardboard sled race, luau and snow-angel contest.

Sat
10
-
Thu
25

Winter Carnival

St. Paul, MN

See ice sculptures in Rice Park and snow sculptures at the Fairgrounds, go down the snow slide, compete in a jigsaw-puzzle contest, take a free fire-truck ride and watch barstool ski races and lawn-mower races.

Family Day is Feb. 3 at the Landmark Center, and there are three parades: the Moon Glow Pedestrian Jan. 25, Grande Day Jan. 27 and Vulcan Victory Torchlight Feb. 10, followed by fireworks.

Sat
27
-
Fri
26

Frostival

Fargo-Moorhead, MN

This festival includes snow yoga, snow golf, snow kickball and snow softball, plus s'mores and bike and cardboard-sled races.

Sun
28
-
Fri
26

Celebration of the Lakes

Center City, MN

This Chisago Lakes festival on North Center Lake includes snowmobile races, an ice-fishing tournament, sled-dog rides and a free ice-fishing clinic for kids.

Hot Air Affair

Hudson, WI

There will be a Friday night torchlight parade and fireworks plus a craft fair, smoosh boarding, morning balloon launches and evening moon glows.

Schnee Days

Elkhart Lake, WI

The Snow Days festival in this town in east-central Wisconsin includes a hunt for colored ice cubes, dog sledding and a chili cook-off.

Janboree

Waukesha, WI

The fest in this Milwaukee suburb includes Friday-night fireworks, ice sculpting, trolley rides, a penguin-egg hunt and tobogganing on the lighted run in Lowell Park. 

Sun
4
-
Fri
26

Super Bowl Live fan festival

Minneapolis, MN

The free festival on Nicollet Mall, between 6th and 12th streets, features concerts, ice sculptures, a life-size snow globe for photos and drum and dance presentations every day at 5 p.m.

There's also an 800-foot zip line across the Mississippi River. Online tickets sold out in less than 36 hours, but some walk-up tickets will be available.

Thu
8
-
Fri
26

Restaurant Week

Chicago, IL

Time to pack on the calories: More than 370 restaurants offer three-course prix-fixe menus for $22 at brunch or lunch and $33-$44 at dinner.

Sat
27

Winterfest

Amana, IA

Go on a wine walk or scavenger hunt or compete in ham-throwing, log-sawing, the Amana Freezer Run/Walk, snowshoeing or for the best beard. There will be ice sculptures, storytelling and schnitzel-sampling, too.

Art Sled Rally

Minneapolis, MN

Watch sledders or ride down a decorated hill at Powderhorn Park in your own wacky sled, which you can make at home or at free workshops at Powderhorn Park Community Center. There's also live music and hot chocolate.

Heikinpaiva

Hancock, MI

The winter festival in this Finnish town on the Keweenaw Peninsula features wife-carrying, kicksled races, a polar bear dive and an 11  a.m. parade.

Lake Harriet Kite Festival

Minneapolis, MN

In addition to kite-flying, this event on popular Lake Harriet includes horse-drawn wagon rides, kids' ice fishing, arts, music and roasted marshmallows.

Winter Fest

Wausau, WI

On the 400 Block downtown, there will be a snow slide, ice carving, ice skating, dog weight-pulling, horse-drawn wagon rides, fat-tire bike demos and a mac-and-cheese contest.

The figure-skating and nordic-skiing competitions of the Badger Winter Games also are being held in Wausau.

Sun
28
-
Sat
27

Eagle Watch Weekend

Utica, IL

There will be eagle viewing and family activities at Starved Rock State Park Visitors Center, Starved Rock Lodge and, across the river, the Illinois Waterway Visitor Center. Trolleys connect the three venues.

Norge Ski Jumping Tournament

Fox River Grove, IL

See some of the nation's best jumpers compete in this northwest Chicago suburb, which has trained much of the 2018 U.S. Olympic team.

Sun
4
-
Sat
27

City of Lakes Loppet

Minneapolis, MN

For recreational skiers, the highlight of this big cross-country ski festival is the Feb. 3 Luminary Loppet on Lake of the Isles, with glowing ice pillars and "ruins.'' Afterward, there's a tent party with music.

There are also classical and free-style races, ski games for children, a snow-sculpture contest and orienteering, ice-cycle, speedskating, snowshoeing and skijoring races, plus a beer garden and vendor village.

 

 

Sun
28

John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon

Two Harbors, MN

Watch the start of the marathon to the Gunflint Trail and the mid-distance race to Tofte.

 

WinterFest

Rochester, MN

This southern Minnesota city offers a a cardboard sled race Jan. 28; sleigh rides, art activities, frozen turkey bowling and minigolf Feb. 3; and, on the last weekend, a polar plunge, softball, candlelight ski, snow games and downtown ice bars.

Sat
3
-
Wed
31

Winter Dance Party

Clear Lake, IA

The Surf Ballroom marks the 59th anniversary of the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, with concerts, luncheons, dance lessons and crash-site tours.

Sun
4
-
Wed
31

U.S. Snow Sculpting Championship and Winterfest

Lake Geneva, WI

Watch artists shape snow into whimsical shapes, and vote on the best ones. There's also music, a human sled-dog race, children's entertainment and helicopter rides.