Madison is known as a college town, yet it's always putting on and fun festivals and events for children. It's the perfect place to take school-age kids for a weekend in winter.
Details: See Madison for all ages.
On Minnesota's North Shore, spectacular scenery and superbly groomed trails make it a perfect place to ski and snowshoe.
Where to ski: For cross-country skiing, the Sugarbush system between Tofte and Lutsen, Norpine Trails between Lutsen and Cascade River State Park and Pincushion near Grand Marais. For alpine skiing, Lutsen Mountains.
Details: For more, see Skiing on the North Shore.
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. 2, Winter Carnival.
Details: For more, see Sightseeing in St. Paul.
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.