|Explore Minnesota Shares Seasonal Statewide Travel Tips|
|ST. PAUL, Minn. (Dec. 4, 2018) — To welcome winter, Explore Minnesota, the state’s tourism promotion office, is highlighting eight ways to enjoy the season. The North Star State is abuzz with seasonal festivals, arts, entertainment, cozy shops, outdoor adventure and more, and those who venture here embrace the season with open, down coat-covered arms. Here are some suggestions to celebrate winter like a true Minnesotan.|
|1.||Celebrate the Holiday Season
The holiday season is the unofficial kickoff to winter. Seasonal festivals and light displays are in full force through 2018, including Holidazzle in Minneapolis, Kiwanis Tour of Lights in Mankato, Bentleyville Tour of Lights in Duluth and the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train, which will visit dozens of Minnesota towns Dec. 5-14 on its annual ride through the northern U.S. The halls of Minnesota’s historic homes are also decked for the holidays, including 25 decorated trees at Glensheen in Duluth, and several holiday productions running through the New Year.
|2.||Explore the Trails
Minnesota is home to thousands of miles of trails for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, snowmobiling and winter biking. In fact, Minnesota’s cross-country ski trails offer more miles of skiing than a trek from St. Paul to Los Angeles, and there are 22,000 miles of groomed trails for snowmobiling. Minnesota trails provide stellar views of our state’s wilderness, lakes and rivers. Visitors can plan ahead with Explore Minnesota’s weekly winter trail reports.
|3.||Attend a Winter Festival
Hundreds of winter events across the state are full of frozen fun, including the iconic Saint Paul Winter Carnival, held in the capital city annually since 1886 and now one of three legacy traditions celebrated during the 10-day Great Northern festival (along with the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships and City of Lakes Loppet Ski Festival in Minneapolis). Or take a swing at golf on ice at the Wayzata Chili Open or Gull Lake Frozen Fore. Visitors can sign up for weekly event updates at exploreminnesota.com/events.
|4.||Fish the Land of 10,000 (Frozen) Lakes
Fishing doesn’t slow down in the winter. With lots of fun to be had at some of some of the world’s largest ice fishing contests and festivals, it’s an activity that goes beyond the sport. Ice houses, bars and bombardiers turn the state’s frozen lakes into pop-up towns December to March. Visitors can rent a simple or luxurious icehouse complete with TVs, stoves, couches and beds and hire an expert fishing guide. Popular ice fishing lakes include Leech, Gull, Mille Lacs, Lake of the Woods, Waconia and more.
|5.||Learn to Hygge
Minnesota takes many cues from Scandinavia, with charming shops, restaurants, cultural attractions and outdoor adventure galore. A recent import is the trending concept of hygge (HEW-guh), which encompasses the coziness, comradery and contentment that have long been tenets of winter in Minnesota. Basking in the glow of a fireplace at a bed-and-breakfast. Sipping hot cocoa or a craft cocktail at a cozy restaurant. Shopping local. Snowshoeing by candlelight. All these activities and more make Minnesota an ideal U.S. destination to experience hygge.
|6.||Hit the Slopes
Minnesota offers some of the highest hills in the Midwest, with machines ensuring there will always be snow. Explore Minnesota and the Minnesota Ski Areas Association offer reports on weekly ski conditions, tips for first-time skiers and more. Travelers can learn more and also enter the Minnesota Slopes Sweepstakes starting Dec. 17 for a chance to win great prizes like lift tickets, rentals or getaway packages at exploreminnesota.com/slopes.
|7.||Skate All Over the State
Whether you want to practice your Flying V or polish your toe pick, Minnesota’s outdoor ice skating rinks are the perfect surface for winter fun. From frozen lakes, ponds and rivers to refrigerated rinks–including the largest one in North America (Roseville’s Oval) and the new rink at Mall of America–there’s always a place to hit the ice.
|8.||Share Seasonal Sights on Social Media Using #OnlyinMN
Research shows people seek travel ideas from their social networks. Travelers and residents are encouraged to share photos and get real-time travel inspiration this season using the statewide travel hashtag #OnlyinMN. The popular hashtag has generated nearly 1 million uses to date, and Explore Minnesota regularly features user-generated photos tagged #OnlyinMN.
|“Minnesotans embrace winter, and this magical season is part of our state’s identity,” said John Edman, director/CEO of Explore Minnesota. “From miles of winter trails, the camaraderie of festivals, ice fishing with friends and our vibrant arts and entertainment scene, there are endless ways to enjoy the season these next few months,” added Edman.|
|Explore Minnesota can help plan trips at 888-VISITMN, or via live chat, email and online travel resources at exploreminnesota.com. A selection of winter images are available for media use only and can be downloaded here (credit information is located on image file).|
|About Explore Minnesota
Tourism is a $15.0 billion industry in Minnesota, and is a key sector of the state’s economy. Winter accounts for 24 percent of travel expenditures. The leisure and hospitality industry–a major provider of tourism services–employs more than 265,000 workers, representing 11 percent of Minnesota’s private sector employment. Leisure and hospitality also generates 18 percent of the state’s sales tax revenues. Minnesota welcomes more than 70 million domestic and international travelers annually.
|See what’s happening this season and all year round, at exploreminnesota.com, and on social media @exploreminn on Twitter, or @exploreminnesota on Instagram and Facebook, using #OnlyinMN.