In the days leading up to Super Bowl LII, tens of thousands of visitors are expected to be in Minneapolis. For some, this will be their first interaction with the area's distinct cultural traits and its unique attitude toward winter. Others will be Minnesotans looking for new ways to experience the Twin Cities. Whether you're a first-timer or a life-long Minnesota resident, here are 10 ways to have a Bold North experience:
1. 'Sota Pop
Photo ops abound in 'Sota Pop's interactive art gallery just steps away from the heart of Super Bowl LIVE action along Nicollet Mall. Check out the work of local designers who’ve transformed the ground floor of the Renaissance Building into vibrant exhibits based on iconic Minnesota characters. Jan. 26-Feb. 4, exploreminnesota.com
'Sota Pop. Photo by Robin Pfeifer
2. The Luminary Loppet
Here’s a bold statement: The Luminary Loppet single-handedly defines the magic of winter in Minnesota. See Lake of the Isles glow in the soft light of 1,200 candlelight luminaries. Ski, walk or snowshoe past ice pyramids and through an enchanted ice forest. Wrap up the evening with a live ice concert and a free pint in the Surly Beer Garden. Feb. 3, loppet.org/luminary-loppet
Luminary Loppet. Photo courtesy of BLK WLF Photography.
3. North Local Market
Nearly 40 local vendors are popping up at the North Local Market inside Minneapolis’ City Center. Meet the makers of the area’s most beloved brands, including Leather Works Minnesota, Sanborn Canoe Co., Still Kickin and Worker B. Jan. 26-Feb. 4, facebook.com/events/1429003067209912
4. The Bold North Zip Line
Only in Minnesota does the idea of soaring 800 feet over the icy waters of the Mississippi River sound so appealing. In fact, tickets for the Bold North Zip Line’s entire 10-day run sold out in two days. Witness the spectacle from the base of the launch tower located on Nicollet Island. Jan. 26-Feb. 4, mnsuperbowl.com/zipline
5. Saint Paul Super Slide
Missed the opportunity to ride the Bold North Zip Line? Snag a similar thrill on the 140-foot long, 40-foot high snow slide inside CHS Field. A $10 ticket buys unlimited rides during a one-hour time slot. Afterwards, go fishing for trout in the outfield. (It’s a real thing.) Jan. 25-Feb. 10, http://saintsbaseball.com/fun/super-slide
Saint Paul Super Slide. Photo courtesy of Visit Saint Paul.
6. Mia Ice Maze
Buried deep within the icy labyrinth of Mia’s Ice Maze are images from their upcoming exhibition, Power and Beauty in China’s Last Dynasty. Those who manage to find their way out will be rewarded with hot cocoa and a visit to one of the best gift shops in town. Feb. 1-4, new.artsmia.org/event/mia-ice-maze
7. Art Shanty Projects
Explore a temporary village of tiny structures transformed into interactive art exhibits. Participants are encouraged to swing, sing and hamster wheel their way across the frozen surface of Lake Harriet. Just try explaining this one to the people back home. Jan. 20-Feb. 11, artshantyprojects.org
Art Shanty Projects. Photo courtesy of Shine on Photos.
8. Hai Hai
Bamboo lamps, teal blue walls and lush greenery inside this new Northeast eatery offer a balmy oasis for those looking to temporarily escape from the cold. Inventive Southeast Asian fare and a sophisticated tropical cocktail list will also do wonders to combat the SADs. Be sure to ask about the inside joke behind their name. haihaimpls.com
Hai Hai. Photo courtesy of Hai Hai.
9. CRAVE’s Ice Lounge
CRAVE American Kitchen & Sushi Bar is transforming their Rooftop Patio into the hottest ice bar in town. Pull up an ice chair and sip a cup of their signature hot mulled cider. Admire intricate works of ice art. Give ice fishing a whirl. The sky’s the limit in this urban winter wonderland. Jan. 31-Feb. 4, craveicelounge.com
10. Super Bold Winter Flower Show
Those seeking a nature experience in a climate-controlled environment should visit the McNeely Conservatory in St. Paul’s Como Zoo. This year’s Winter Flower Show features the color palette of the “Bold North.” Leave the coat in the car and stroll through a sea of unfrozen plant life in shades of purple, white and silver. Jan. 13-March 11, comozooconservatory.org
Super Bold Winter Flower Show. Photo courtesy of Visit Saint Paul.
Check out more events at The Great Northern, which promotes both classic festivals such as the Saint Paul Winter Carnival (Jan. 25-Feb. 10), the Loppet Ski Festival (Feb. 2-4) and the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships (Jan. 25-28) as well as new programs (you can read more about The Great Northern in our story here.)