Snow Time! Midwest Winter Festivals
Saint Paul Winter Carnival: Winter showdown
Rice Park transforms into a Christmas tree garden decked with thousands of twinkling lights. Visitors shuffle among ice sculptures shaped like unicorns, dragons and Vikings at the state fairgrounds (pictured). Kids cheer as fireballs launched from the Torchlight Parade puncture the crisp night air, and couples glide on the rink in front of the castlelike Landmark Center. The stately St. Paul Hotel lays down carpet-protecting plastic sheeting as it welcomes families eager to warm up and sip hot cocoa. Outside, bartenders sling spiced winter ales over ornately carved ice bars. On the last night, mischievous Vulcans clad in red suits and black ski goggles run through the crowd, marking black V's on visitors' cheeks, leaving them bewildered if they don't know the legend. It's just a little reminder about whose side they should be on during this annual winter showdown.
For more information: Saint Paul Convention and Visitors Authority (651) 265-4900; visitsaintpaul.com
WHAT TO DO
Saint Paul Winter Carnival Prepare to party January 23 - February 2, 2014. (651) 223-4700; winter-carnival.com
WHERE TO STAY
Saint Paul Hotel This luxurious landmark is convenient to the carnival. (800) 292-9292; saintpaulhotel.com