In winter, the wide open spaces around the northern Minnesota town of Ely are a playground for anyone who likes to move fast over snow.
Details: For more, see Winter in Ely.
In Minnesota's capital, the biggest festival of the year comes in the depths of winter, started in 1886 in response to a New York City reporter's gibe that St. Paul was "the Siberia of North America.''
Winter also is a good time to visit a museum or catch a play or concert in the compact downtown.
Events to catch: Through Feb. 3, Winter Carnival.
Details: For more, see Sightseeing in St. Paul.
There's a lot going on in Minneapolis this weekend, thanks to a bunch of creative folks and sporty types who make it fun to be outdoors.
Details: For more, see Chain of Lakes in Minneapolis.
This town in north-central Wisconsin is all about the outdoors in winter.
But in addition to a variety of snow sports that's among the best in the Midwest, Wausau has fine dining, lovely hotels and a popular art museum. Best of all, it's easy to reach from the big cities.
Details: For more, see Winter in Wausau.
In summer, tourists from all over the world make a beeline for Minnesota's Itasca State Park, where the Mississippi River starts its run for the Gulf.
But in the winter, it's very quiet . . . and very serene. It's a great time to see the park's beautiful old-growth pines under a cloak of snow.
What to do: Ski on 28 miles of trails. Snowshoe on five trails (or anywhere). Ice fish on Itasca Lake. See historical exhibits at the visitors center.
Events to catch: Jan. 12, lantern-lit skiing and snowshoeing, a concert and storytelling. Feb. 16, lantern-lit snowshoeing and a concert.
Where to stay: The rate for the Itasca Suites is reduced to $105.