Residents of Stillwater know one of the best winter secrets in the state of Minnesota. Considered the birthplace of Minnesota, the town of Stillwater transforms into a true winter wonderland during the colder months of the year, with many fun activities and beautiful sightseeing for locals and tourists alike. Main Street comes alive with snowflakes, rooftop decorations, and tons of free activities for both adults and children. Check out some of our can’t miss winter attractions in Stillwater below!
Where to Stay: The Historic Water Street Inn
The Water Street Inn was originally built in 1890 as the Lumber Exchange Building. Since then, it has been fully renovated as a luxurious and romantic place to get away and enjoy downtown Stillwater. The Inn is located at the foot of the historic Lift Bridge, providing remarkable views of the river and an easy walk to local restaurants and breweries.
The hotel features large rooms with balconies, fireplaces, and gorgeous interiors including exposed brick and marble countertops. Room service is available for breakfast, with a generous menu of classics. If you’re looking for a luxurious and convenient stay that won’t break the bank, the historic Water Street Inn is the perfect choice in Stillwater.
Where to Dine: Lolito’s
At the heart of downtown, Lolito’s serves up fresh ingredients with a vibrant atmosphere. With both dine-in and take-out available, you can choose from Mexican favorites like Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos, Chicken Tinga Quesadillas, Braised Beef Cheeks, and more. Start things off with one of their four guacamole options (we recommend the Bacon & Habanero Guacamole) and pair your meal with a classic margarita for an evening you are sure to enjoy.
Where to Adventure: Ice Palace Maze
One of our favorite wintertime activities in Stillwater is the ice palace maze for a bit of adventure. This year’s maze was built with over 2900 blocks of ice weighing over 800,000 pounds. The result is over half a mile of twisting and turning passages to explore. Each wall is lit with fun colors as you meander through, and you’re rewarded at the end with a huge slide made of ice.
Fun for kids and adults alike, the ice palace maze also offers hot chocolate, s’mores, and an ice bar with alcoholic drinks. Tickets are $12 for children and $20 for adults when purchased online. The ice palace maze opens on January 14th, 2022, and is open seven days a week.
Where to be Awed: Free LED Light Show
If you’re looking for something fun to do in the evening, the LED light show in the middle of downtown is the perfect option. Running every night from 5-10 pm, this light show is completely free and features multiple LED light sculptures and designs, including a tunnel to walk through, a 33-foot-tall tree, and sections of lights dancing in unison to music.
Where to Get Moving: Ice Skating Near the Lift Bridge
A classic wintertime activity, Stillwater sets up an ice skating rink near the historic Lift Bridge each season. While you’ll need to bring your own skates as there is no option to rent, access to the ice rink is completely free and open every day from 8 am to 10 pm. Enjoy the winter air with great views of the bridge as well as the St. Croix River.
These are just a few of our favorite things to do in Stillwater, MN during the magical winter season. Make sure to check out all of the other dining and shopping options downtown as well, which are great no matter what season it is when you decide to visit.