In its 138th year, the Saint Paul Winter Carnival will once more bring snow-bound festivities to downtown for 10 days. Aiming to capture the essence of all things classically Minnesotan, the Winter Carnival is steeped in tradition. On February 3, King Borelis will be crowned as the streets of downtown become packed for the King Borealis Day Parade. But his reign shall be short. Just the next day, The Vulcans—a community organization committed to serving St. Paul in the winter—will hold their annual Victory Parade, in which they light the streets of St. Paul in an effort to overthrow King Borealis. That evening, in front of James J. Hill Library, the Vulcans send the King packing and bring summer back to the city. Except, since it’s Minnesota, it just may take a month or two (or three or four) before spring melts through the ice.
While parts of the carnival may feel like the inventions of bored and cabin-fevered forefathers, rest assured. There are plenty of less mythic events to be held, including a family and kids day, a medallion hunt, a puzzle contest, tobogganing and live music. Holiday lights will fill Rice Park during the carnival’s kick-off event, while ice sculptors start carving their statues for competition. It’s the ideal place to snag some winter-themed selfies around a wood-fire, hot chocolate in hand. Along the way you just might learn a thing or two about the history of one of America’s most beloved cities.
- Hundreds of thousands usually attend across the 10 days.
- All Winter Carnival events are free to the public. Find the list of events here.
- While you’re in the area, check out Fifty Grande’s Guide to Minneapolis
What is the closest airport to the Saint Paul Winter Carnival?
St. Paul Downtown Airport is right across the river from Rice Park.
Is the festival ADA accessible?
While the Winter Carnival encourages all to attend, there is no specific information regarding accessibility.
Is there lodging nearby?
Downtown St. Paul and Minneapolis have a wide variety of hotel options to stay in.