Skip to Content

Art Shanties, Art Sleds, Saint Paul Winter Carnival: This Week’s Best Events

We're psyched to (theoretically) celebrate everything on ice (and snow) thanks to last week's subzero temps.

Art Shanty 2024

Welcome to Event Horizon, your weekly roundup of the best events in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and beyond. 

Minnesota Ice CastleLee Denning


Minnesota Ice Castle 

Maple Grove

Ice dams? Not cool. Black ice on sidewalks? Super un-fun. Buildings made of ice, on the other hand? Totally rad. For this epic annual ice castle, over 12,000 icicles are “grown” each day, then applied to the structure, which weighs over 20 million tons. Water will be turned into giant ice slides, magical caverns, and tunnels you can travel through. Icy wintertime things to explore include twinkling trails filled with lights, a snow tubing hill guests can zoom down, a polar pub serving up warm drinks, and ice sculptures created by artists both local and international. Find dates, times, and tickets at $16-$23. Thursdays through Mondays. 12500 82nd Ave. N., Maple Grove. Through February 14—Jessica Armbruster

The Vulcan Reveal, a very chill event at the Saint Paul Winter Carnival.


Saint Paul Winter Carnival

Various Locations 

While our hearts may lie with the Minnesota State Fair, the Saint Paul Winter Carnival might be the fest we’re best known for outside the state. That’s for good reason: Minnesotans have been freaking out the rest of the nation with our enthusiasm for subzero temps for 138 years (although this year, the forecasted temps are... very much above zero). The 2024 installment is as epic as ever, with ice and snow sculpting competitions, an ice fishing tourney, hockey games, winter runs, huge parades, and music in a heated tent in Rice Park. There will be less-traditional winter fun too, including the Saintly City Cat Show, a dog party at the Depot, a beer release party at Saint Paul Brewing, and an orchid installation at Como Conservatory. For a complete schedule of events, see Through February 3—Jessica Armbruster

The Great Northern

Various Locations

The Saint Paul Winter Carnival isn’t the only sprawling festival celebrating the coldest season. This newer kid on the block, The Great Northern, also offers a ton of things to see and do regardless of the windchill, with events spotlighting cold-weather wellness, outlining climate change causes, and celebrating Indigenous artists, makers, and minds. A few highlights: Broken Ice, a First Ave showcase of Indigenous bands; a sauna village at Malcolm Yards and a BIPOC bathing event at Watershed Spa; and an ice bar in downtown Minneapolis. Other happenings include special film screenings, gallery shows and opening receptions, dining pop-ups, and nature walks. Find the complete schedule at Through February 4—Jessica Armbruster

Minneapolis Institute of Ice

Minneapolis Institute of Art

While Winter Carnival ice artists fire up the chainsaws for an epic ice show, Mia is hosting its own collection on ice, and it sounds pretty cool. For the project, carvers will create 10 pieces inspired by works in the museum’s permanent collection. On display pretty much until they melt, the iconic sculptures recreated with frozen water will include Raffaelo Monti’s Veiled Lady, a Tatra T-87 Sedan, and a Celestial Horse from China. Check them out in the garden, and then head inside to see the original inspiration. An especially good time to visit is during the ice-themed Meet at Mia this Thursday, January 25, from from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. with hands-on printmaking activity hosted by Highpoint Center for Printmaking, tunes from DJ TaliaKnight, and food and drinks for purchase. Otherwise, see them outside during museum hours. All events are free. 2400 Third Ave. S., Minneapolis. Through February 4—Jessica Armbruster


Week 2: U.S. Pond Hockey Championships

Lake Nokomis

We got a late start on winter this year, but went subzero just in time to keep the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships on schedule—and hey, no one fell through the ice on Lake Nokomis during weekend one. So, once again, the tournament will see teams battling it out for the right to put their name on the Golden Shovel. This ain’t no rinky-dink tourney: Folks from all over the U.S. and Canada flock here for 10 days of team games in a variety of divisions. There’s a division for folks over 50, one for players who are newish to ice hockey, and one for seasoned athletes dealing with injuries. Folks are welcome to watch games, with areas for open skating, a warming tent, and a beer garden keeping the party going between matches. For complete game schedules and more info, visit Free. 5001 Lake Nokomis Parkway W., Minneapolis. January 18-28—Jessica Armbruster

Drone Not Drones

Cedar Cultural Center

Once again, it’s time to gather up your bedding and head on down to Cedar-Riverside to immerse yourself in round-the-clock experimental music. Now in its ninth year, Drone Not Drones occupies the Cedar annually for a full 28 hours as dozens of musicians, from Minnesota and elsewhere, demonstrate the range of sounds and styles that can fall under the broader label of “drone music.” Highlights this year include San Antonio ambient performer Claire Rousay, Oakland experimentalist Chuck Johnson with former Minneapolitan Cole Pulice on sax, event inspiration Alan Sparhawk of Low, and pow wow music reinterpreter Joe Rainey, who’ll be collaborating with IOSIS. As always, this event is a fundraiser for Doctors Without Borders, who sadly can really use the support right now. And of course, if you’re not in it for the long haul, you can just pop in for a bit of drone, though you might be tempted to stay longer than you planned. $35/$40. 7 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Keith Harris


The Fillmore and Target Field

Nobody whines more than me in this space about how things are much too expensive these days (see U.S. Bank Stadium “Winter Warmup” rant below). So, before my bellyaching about how TwinsFest—the annual Twins pep rally/memorabilia swap meet/kiddo autographic fest—is (you guessed it) much too expensive these days, I checked the historical record. Per a 2002 Strib article, entry to that year’s fest at the Metrodrome was $6 for adults and $3 for kids. Punch those figures into the ol’ inflation calculator, and they come out at $10.39 and $5.20, respectively—about half of what the Twins are charging this weekend! And that’s only relevant to Saturday’s so-called “Signature Saturday” at Target Field, where you’ll be able to snap photos and collect autographs with current and former players, play games, buy memorabilia, and listen to radio interviews with Twins personalities. (The first 3,000 attendees score free tickets to a '24 game; the first 2,000 also get a Twins beanie.)

Friday’s “TwinsFest Live!” (a “non-autograph event”) is the real money-grab, with the billionaire-owned organization asking $49 for folks to hobnob with players, coaches, and broadcasters. “On-stage entertainment” is promised, along with “light appetizers” ($199 VIP tickets upgrade you to “heavy appetizers,” among other perks). On one hand, TwinsFest benefits the team’s community fund, so maybe my grousing is misplaced. On the other hand, I don’t know anything about that fund and, also, baseball remains gripped by a popularity crisis—wouldn’t making this thing free payoff via potential young, new fans? Sounds like a home run idea to this former attendee of late '90s/early '00s TwinsFests. Friday-Saturday. Find more info, including a list of participating players and coaches, here.—Jay Boller  

Film Independent Spirit Awards

Walker Art Center

Every year, the Walker screens a slate of nominees from the Independent Spirit Awards, giving us hinterlanders a chance to catch up on some of the best movies of the past year—and for free (if you’re a member, that is). While some of the films, like All of Us Strangers and American Fiction, are still in theaters, others passed through all too briefly or didn’t play here at all—I’m particularly anticipating Raven Jackson’s well-reviewed All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt, which I believe only played at the Twin Cities Film Festival (and will cost you $20 on Amazon). Three of my ten favorite films from last year are screening: the sexed up Passages, the unconventional documentary Four Daughters, and May December, which is a much squirmier experience in a room full of people, rather than at home on Netflix. (Good luck making it through this Saturday’s double feature of Four Daughters and All of Us Strangers without becoming an absolute emotional wreck.) And three more of the movies (Earth Mama, Kokomo City, A Thousand and One) made my long list. Maybe I’ll even go see Past Lives again and decide if I was wrong about it. Free for members. 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis; find dates, times, and more info here. Through February 10.—Keith Harris

Powderhorn Sled Rally


Powderhorn Art Sled Rally

Powderhorn Park

While the winter carnivals go big, sometimes it’s the smaller events that really bring the fun. Enter the Powderhorn Art Sled Rally, one of the most charming neighborhood happenings in town. Each year, kids and kids-at-heart create a variety of artsy sleds that they bring to the park and send down a hill. Who will make it to the bottom? Who will fall apart? Past entrants include sleds fashioned after fly swatters, a swarm of bees, and a gingerbread house sled. No matter what the outcome, you’re gonna have a lot of fun whether you participate or simply cheer friends on. You can find updates, including sled building sessions, at Free. 2 p.m. 3400 15th Ave. S., Minneapolis.—Jessica Armbruster

Art Shanty Projects

Lake Harriet

They may be starting a week late due our winter heatwave, but once again the Art Shanty Project is taking over a frozen lake for weekends of hands-on happenings, live music and performances, and wholesome fun. And for the first time since the pandemic, people can again go inside some of the shanties, with activities taking place both inside and out. “We've got a 50/50 mix,” says artistic director Erin Lavelle. “So if you've been waiting to cozy up inside with us again, this is your year! And if you're still not comfortable with that, we got you!” Shanties include the Free Store Shanty, where you can donate a warm winter item or pick one up; Hot Box: Disco Inferno aimed to get people warmed up via dancing; and the "Time.Light.Color." installation, which works as a unique sundial. The outdoor performance stage will host a variety of entertainment, from klezmer jams to yoga classes to Ice Pirate Radio broadcasts. In total, 18 different shanties will be heading back to Lake Harriet. Find more deets at Free; $10-$20 suggested donation. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. 4135 W. Lake Harriet Parkway, Minneapolis. Through February 11—Jessica Armbruster

Kite Festival

Lake Harriet

No matter what time of year it is, there's pretty much always wind out there. Meaning, it’s always kite season. That’s one of the reasons this annual festival works well, even though it's scheduled in the dead of winter. Yet again, organizers are teaming up and sharing space with the Art Shanty Projects, which is also on the lake right now (see above). In addition to kite flying, there will also be food trucks, live music, kite sales, and free s’mores roasting by the bonfire. Be warned: Parking is a reliable nightmare for this very popular, very fun family wintertime tradition. Find more info here, including shuttle details. Free. Noon-4 p.m. 4135 W. Lake Harriet Parkway, Minneapolis.—Jessica Armbruster

Digable Planets 

Varsity Theater 

One of my great “history will prove me right” moments was preferring this spacey, jazzy hip-hop trio to conscious pop-rap chart toppers Arrested Development, and I swear, this was a choice some of us felt we had to make in the ’90s. With their trippy names (Butterfly, Doodlebug, and Ladybug), laidback flow, and cool-jazz samples, the group that released Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space) felt like they lived in a world all their own, or were at least in search of one, yet they also released what’s probably the only great pro-choice rap song. The rhymes and attitude firmed up a bit on Blowout Comb without losing any of their cool. And then that was that. Rap had no shortage of such beautiful dead ends in those days, bursts of creativity that brought forth no stylistic descendents or future echoes. Still, Ishmael “Butterfly” Butler did go on to become the prolific abstract rapper Shabazz Palaces. A nostalgia show, yes (trust, I did not pay $100 to see them in 1994) but nostalgia for a moment that’s easy for the writers of history to overlook. With Kassa Overall. $102.56. 7 p.m. 1308 SE Fourth St., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Keith Harris

Armand HammerPromo image

Armand Hammer

Fine Line

Is billy woods the absolute best at what he does right now? His rhymes are somehow both allusive and concrete, never crystalizing into a linear narrative but rarely drifting into the ether. With We Buy Diabetic Test Strips, he and his partner in Armand Hammer, Elucid, are responsible for the album title of the year (sorry, Lana), which includes song titles like “Woke Up and Asked Siri How I’m Gonna Die.” The production on a few of these tracks are a little, well, out, as they say in jazz, the rhymes tending toward the abstract, but whenever you get a bit woozy they yank you back in with a line like “Don't invite me to your house, ask me to remove my shoes and your floors ain't clean.” And yet, the Armand Hammer record is probably woods’s second-best album of the year, after maps, a collaboration with producer Kenny Segal. Damn. Recently, woods has swung through here a few times, both solo and with Armand Hammer, playing venues as varied as the Green Room and Dakota. You can’t say you haven’t had plenty of chances to catch him live. $25-$45. 9 p.m. 318 N. First Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Keith Harris


Turbo Tim’s Anything Automotive

Turbo Tim’s isn’t your everyday autobody chain (and yes, I do feel weird typing that). No, seriously, hear me out: What other car shop has a page dedicated to ranking their cats, becomes a gallery space during Art-a-Whirl, or hosts the occasional standup comedy night? One of their delightfully weird events is coming up this Saturday at their Northeast location, where 44 salvagers, trash artists, and up-cycling vendors will set up shop. Check out new-to-you clothing, jewelry made from things like melted plastic, and conversation starting home decor. Food and drink will also be for sale and, as an added bonus, you’ll probably be able to make a tune-up appointment on your way out. Noon to 6 p.m. 2823 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis.—Jessica Armbruster

Sunday 1.28

Cécile McLorin Salvant


Salvant has been all but universally acclaimed as the most inventive jazz vocalist of her generation, and her grasp of conceptual frameworks is almost as exciting as her technical ability. Her execution matches her ambition. Last year at the Walker, she collaborated with a 13-piece orchestra to perform her work Ogresse: Envisioned, which also included visuals and costumery she had a hand in designing. Also last year, she released Mélusine, a collection of originals and rearranged traditional songs, sung in French, Occitan, English, and Haitian Kreyol; it offered her twist on the old folktale of a woman who becomes half-snake once a week. $45-$40. 6 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall; find more info here.—Keith Harris

Music Mayhem Trivia

Sociable Cider Werks

Did you know Sociable hosts music trivia, where audio snippets serve as the clues, every Sunday inside its northeast Minneapolis taproom? It’s true, and it’s a blast. Your encyclopedic knowledge of Steely Dan riffs can finally be put to productive use! Grub-wise, Sociable’s intriguing house food truck, So & So’s, will be cooking from 1 to 7 p.m.; their riffs on “MN street food”—wild rice dogs, cider battered walleye, chicken wild rice soup—sound good as hell. Free. 6-8 p.m. 1500 Fillmore St. NE, Minneapolis; find more info here.—Jay Boller     

Brownbody on ice.Thai Phan-Quang


Last Call: Winter Warmup

U.S. Bank Stadium 

Back in 2020, we made a pretty convincing—though logistically slight—case for bringing back the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. The need has never been greater. Consider this column from reliably great Strib columnist Jennifer Brooks. In it, she waxes nostalgic for the era of the Rollerdome, when Twin Cities families could zip around the Dome’s ol’ concrete concourses on the cheap. A true hoot! Then, Brooks revealed the pricing for U.S. Bank Stadium’s so-called Winter Warm-Up skating/running hours—$15 fuckin’ dollars after fees! Through Ticketmaster! At the risk of editorializing, what absolute money-grubbing, deranged horseshit. Brooks notes that state and Minneapolis taxpayers collectively coughed up about half the cost to build the (already crumbling) $1 billion shrine to concussions and dead birds, which is still, somehow, laughably billed as “The People’s Stadium” by the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority. Minnesota’s all-time greatest photo proves more prophetic by the year. In any case, scooting around the stadium might be fun if you can afford it. $15. 5-9 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. 401 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here. Through January 25—Jay Boller

Double Deuce

Rosalux Gallery

When Rosalux hosted its first group show in 2002, it wasn’t planning on it becoming “a thing.” But now, 22 years later, it’s still going strong as an annual event. According to the invite, the south Minneapolis gallery has survived a lot of unexpected stuff over the years, including a meth lab explosion, multiple recessions, a global pandemic, and a driver-free car ramming into the back door. Dang! For “Double Deuce,” the enduring space will showcase its 18 members, with new pieces from Terrence Payne, Areca Roe, Laura Stack, Ute Bertog, Dan Buettner, Hend Al-Mansour, and many others. Check it out this weekend at the opening reception this Saturday, January 13, from 7 to 10 p.m. or during open hours Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. 315 W. 48th St., Minneapolis. Through January 28—Jessica Armbruster

Springboard on Ice

Springboard for the Arts

While many event organizers are waiting for the lakes to freeze, Springboard’s mini ice rink provides a sure thing. This winter, the St. Paul arts org will host a variety of events that are completely free and open to the public. Brownbody, a local performance group that showcases BIPOC ice artists, will perform at each event, followed by free ice skating lessons and open skate times. Sign the safety waiver online, bring your skates, or rent a pair for, you guessed it, free. This Saturday, Flava Cafe will be stopping by with free hot treats, and Brownbody will host a film screening and panel talk next week at 5 p.m., January 27. 1-4 p.m. Saturdays, January 20-27, plus Sunday, February 4. 262 University Ave. W., St. Paul. Through February 4—Jessica Armbruster

The Fifteenth Film Noir Series: Neo-Noir

Trylon & The Heights

Noir is a pretty expansive genre to begin with, and neo-noir can be even more capacious. The 18 films that make the Trylon’s 15th annual noir festival seem chosen to highlight this genre’s elasticity. The series began last night with William Friedkin’s To Live and Die in L.A., which continues through Tuesday, and wraps up on February 29 (oh hey, 2024 is a leap year) with the unconventional Steve Martin musical Pennies From Heaven. The other selections stretch back to 1967 for the New Hollywood jumpstarter Bonnie and Clyde and Seijun Suzuki’s avant-yakuza flick Branded to Kill; the most recent film is Bi Gan’s slow cinema landmark Long Day’s Journey Into Night. Chinatown, maybe the most perfect neo-noir of ’em all, and the Coen Brothers’ Irish gangster flick, Miller’s Crossing, will show at the Heights. Don’t miss Bob Hoskins in The Long Good Friday (British gangsters are so grubby). Or Kathryn Bigelow’s sci-fi tale of police brutality, Strange Days. Or—dammit I knew I shouldn’t have started making recommendations, now it’s hard to stop. 2820 E. 33rd St., Minneapolis; find times, dates, prices, and more info here. Through February 29—Keith Harris

Multiple Realities: Experimental Art in the Eastern Bloc, 1960s–1980s 

Walker Art Center

What does subversive art look like when the artist knows the government is watching? For a sampling of the creativity that arises under oppressive circumstances, take a cruise through “Multiple Realities,” an exhibition spanning two decades of work by artists from East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Yugoslavia. The collection, not commonly seen in the U.S., includes underground club photography, found objects turned into statements, witty scribbles, and images from performances with heavy nods to queer life, ironic humor, political dissonance, and, perhaps most important here, interpretative deniability. The exhibition opens on Friday with a Walker After Hours Party, followed by a free opening-day talk with pop-up performances in the galleries on Saturday. For a complete schedule of related events, check online. 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis. Through March 10, 2024—Jessica Armbruster

Tetsuya Yamada: Listening

Walker Art Center
This winter, as performers from around the world will be heading to the Walker for its annual Out There Series, the galleries will be staying local, showcasing the work of ceramicist Tetsuya Yamada. For this survey, the Japanese-born, Minnesota-residing U of M prof will share over 65 pieces, including drawings, notes, and many, many everyday examples of ceramics–plates, vases, coffee mugs, and more. The title of the exhibition, “Listening,” refers to the instinctual choices an artist makes along the way to creating something. “The process might take me to places I didn’t imagine initially,” he explains. “This is the fundamental of studio practice for me.” There will be an opening reception this Thursday, January 18, with free admission from 5 to 9 p.m. and an artist’s talk at 7 p.m. (Stop by the Main Lobby Desk for tickets.) ​​725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis. Through July 7Jessica Armbruster

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Viraluae