MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest

Winter festivals 2021


  • (Jan. 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.

  • (Jan. 16 – 17)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.

  • (Jan. 16 – 17)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.

  • (Jan. 30 – 31)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.


  • (Feb. 5 – 6)Knickerbocker Ice Festival

    Lake Mills, WI

    The festival in this town east of Madison includes such events as a fish toss, snowball-eating contest, dad-sled race, chili cook-off and Iceberg Open golf tournament. There's ice carving and ice wine, too.

  • (Feb. 6 – 7)Winterfest Sled Dog Race

    Merrill, WI

    More than 100 mushers compete, and there will also be skijoring, children's and celebrity races.

  • (Feb. 13 – 14)Sky Circus on Ice

    Delavan, WI

    This free kite festival hosted by Lake Lawn Resort features flying lessons, a kite-making workshop, an aerial candy drop, a snow slide, indoor and outdoor kite-flying performances, a snow-carving class and snow and ice sculptures on Delavan Lake and downtown.

  • (Feb. 13)Free Entrance Day at Minnesota state parks

    All state parks, MN

    Entrance to all 75 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas is free today, as well as April 24, June 12 and Nov. 26.

  • (Feb. 13 – 14)Grand Marais Winter Carnival

    Grand Marais, MI

    On the east end of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, this Lake Superior town offers a poker run, a snowman contest, cardboard-sled races, dog-sled rides and music.

  • (Feb. 13)Ice Lantern Festival

    Mineral Point, WI

    See ice lanterns created by artists and students in this arty southwest Wisconsin town and visit the cupcake/cookie/hot chocolate bar as well as the ice bar.

  • (Feb. 20 – 21)Silver Mine Ski Jumping Championships

    Eau Claire, WI

    Watch top skiers from North America and Europe compete at Silver Mine Hill, above the Chippewa River on the southwest edge of town.

  • (Feb. 25 – 28)Winterfest

    Stillwater, MN

    In this St. Croix River town, there will be a parka pub crawl, ice maze, stein-holding and beard contests, axe-throwing, ice carving, ice bowling, a snow labyrinth, bubble-wrap races, an ice-cream social and a fire and ice bar.


  • (Feb. 27 – Mar 5)Virtual International Festival

    Madison, WI

    Dancers, musicians, storytellers and puppeteers representing traditions from around the world converge on the Overture Center for the Arts on State Street for this free festival. 

    This year, the festival is virtual.

  • (Feb. 27)Chili Ice Walk

    Racine, WI

    Between noon and 4 p.m., walk downtown to see ice sculpting, sample chili from eight restaurants and go on a scavenger hunt in shop windows.


  • (Mar. 19 – Apr 4)Restaurant Week

    Chicago, IL

    Time to pack on the calories: More than 370 restaurants offer three-course prix-fixe menus for $25 at brunch or lunch and $39 or $55 at dinner.

  • (Mar. 27 – 28)Soar With Eagles

    Wabasha, MN

    The National Eagle Center holds live-bird programs and nature presentations weekends in March, when bald eagles migrate northward along the Mississippi.

    This year, it's offering a different online program each weekend to families, $10, free to members.



  • (Dec. 11 – 12)Burlington Ice Festival

    Burlington, WI

    Ice carvers compete in Wehmhoff Square Park in the Wisconsin Ice Carving Competition, with the sculptures lit at dusk. There will also be a Kris Kringle market, choir music, reindeer and horse-drawn wagon rides.

  • (Dec. 27 – 31)Carp Fest

    Prairie du Chien, WI

    During the last week of the year, the parks department in this Mississippi River town offers lighted sledding, a torchlight ski/hike, a skating party, ice fishing and snow football.