MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest
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December 2020  January 2021 February 2021
Fri
1
-
Thu
19

Holiday Lights Festival

Milwaukee, WI

The season-long lights festival includes more than 500,000 lights throughout downtown's parks and streets.

 

Sun
3
-
Sat
21

ZooLights

Chicago, IL

The annual display of 2.5 million lights at the Lincoln Park Zoo is operating at 25 percent capacity this year and charging $5 per person. Tickets are available for timed slots between 4 and 9 p.m.; on Nov. 24 and Dec. 9, 17, 21 and 29, tickets are free (available at 4 p.m. the previous Sunday).

Sun
10
-
Fri
8

Vintage World Championship Snowmobile Derby

Eagle River, WI

Vintage snowmobiles race in this northeast Wisconsin town.

Sun
24
-
Fri
15

Janboree

Waukesha, WI

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.

Sat
16

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. 

This year, the festival is virtual, with some live programs and some pre-recorded.

Sun
17
-
Sat
16

Bald Eagle Appreciation Days

Keokuk, IA

In this Mississippi River town, there's live-eagle presentations, Native American activities, demonstrations and viewing on the river.

This year, all indoor activities will be virtual.

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, kids' games and Saturday fireworks.

Ice Fest

Dubuque, IA

The National Mississippi River Museum hosts this indoor-outdoor festival, which includes ice-harvest and ice-rescue demonstrations, snow sculpting, a live-raptor program and youth ice fishing.

Wisconsin Free Fishing Weekend

All over the state, WI

No license is needed for fishing in Wisconsin or on its side of the Mississippi River and lakes Superior and Michigan.

Mon
18
-
Sat
16

Take a Kid Ice Fishing Weekend

All of Minnesota, MN

Take a kid younger than 16 spear- or ice-fishing this holiday weekend, and you can fish for free.

Sat
23

Winterfest

Amana, IA

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.

Winterfest

Mackinaw City, MI

In this town on the Mackinac Straits, there's a snow-sculpting competition, sleigh rides, a poker run and outhouse races.

Sun
31
-
Thu
28

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.

Sun
7
-
Thu
28

Winter Carnival

St. Paul, MN

The feature this year is a drive-through ice- and snow-sculpture park at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. Tickets are $20 per vehicle, $35 for theme packages, and available only in advance.

There will also be three scavenger hunts, pop-up outdoor concerts, ice-fishing, softball and puzzle tournaments and Frozen Family Fun Night.

Sat
30
-
Fri
29

Lake Superior Ice Festival

Superior, WI

On Barker's Island, there's a snow slide, ice carving, Kubb games, disc golf, ice racing, kids' activities and fireworks on Saturday.

Sun
31
-
Fri
29

Schnee Days

Elkhart Lake, WI

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

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.

Fire & Ice Winter Social

Stillwater, MN

In this St. Croix river town, there will be hot-air balloons, an ice-cream social, ice sculptures, music, bags and pond-hockey tournaments and a beer tent.

Tue
2
-
Fri
29

Groundhog Days

Woodstock, IL

The 1993 movie "Groundhog Day'' was filmed in this town an hour northwest of Chicago, and it celebrates with trivia and tours of movie sites, including the 1889 Opera House, where actor Bill Murray jumped from the belfry. At 7 a.m. Tuesday, Woodstock Willie will look for his shadow.

Sat
30

Frostival

Moorhead, MN

The first Saturday, there will be a birding festival, cardboard-sled races, a Hunger Games-themed snowball fight and a skate social.

Events on the second Saturday include snow-sculpture and disc-golf competitions, games, snowga and free ski and snowshoe rentals.

Sun
31
-
Sat
30

City of Lakes Loppet

Minneapolis, MN

For recreational skiers, the highlight of this big cross-country ski festival are the nightly Luminary Loppets on Lake of the Isles, with glowing ice pillars and "ruins.'' 

There are also classical and free-style races, orienteering, fat-tire, snowshoeing and skijoring races in Theodore Wirth Park, location of most events.

 

 

 

Norge Ski Jumping Tournament

Fox River Grove, IL

See some of the nation's best jumpers compete in this northwest Chicago suburb, which has produced several Olympians.

Sun
31

John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon

Duluth, MN

From Duluth, marathon mushers travel to to Grand Portage and mid-distance racers to Tofte.

Spectators are not allowed this year but can follow the race at WDIO.com or MushingMidwest.com.