The Great Northern Festival 2024

JANUARY 25, 2024 - FEBRUARY 04, 2024


Minneapolis and St. Paul light up during The Great Northern Festival, a moving celebration of all that’s cold, seasonal, and essential to fight climate change.

The Great Northern Festival is a 10-day-long reminder to be grateful for the cold weather as it brings the seasonal change our earth needs. Taking place in Minneapolis and St.Paul, the Twin Cities of Minnesota, the wide-ranging art, music, food and culture festival sheds light on the state of global climate change, coordinating educational programs that develop Earth-friendly behaviors and imagine sustainability solutions. This year, you’ll have the chance to listen to environmental scientist Jonathan Foley, who is also the executive director of Project Drawdown, as well as Katrina Spade, who you might know for her ecological death care idea of turning deceased human bodies into soil. (If you can see the bright side of this, I find it a poetic way to reunite with Mother Nature, on top of being non-polluting for the environment.)

To talk about lighter things: hosted at Malcolm Yards in Minneapolis, the Sauna Village will put you in one of 18 saunas where you can learn about different thermaculture traditions and relax in ambient light. If you prefer the outdoors and to feel the chill in your bones (you do you), then The Luminary Loppet is what you are looking for. Every year, the festival places thousands of luminaries at the Lake of the Isle to light up the trail as you walk or ski. 

The festival also embraces Indigenous traditions, with an evening dedicated to Indigenous musicians in the U.S. and Canada led by Nicholas Galanin, a member of the Tlingit and Unangax̂ tribes in Alaska. Food at The Great Northern Festival is prepared with exclusively local and seasonal products farmed with sustainable practices. At K’óoben, the yearly food event hosted by famous chefs and mixologists, you will celebrate Mexican and Latin Cuisine. Prepare your stomach for a bit of spice — certainly, a more practical way to feel the heat. 

The Specs 

  • The Great Northern Festival draws around 200,000 visitors each year. 
  • Schedule and tickets are yet to be announced at the time of this writing.
  • Here’s our Fifty Grande list of the best National Parks to visit in Winter if you (too) believe snow makes everything look more magical. And here‘s our guide to Minneapolis. 


What is the closest airport to the The Great Northern Festival?

The closest airport to get to The Great Northern Festival  is Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport.

Is the Festival family-friendly?

Yes, there will be activities and performances for all ages.

Who are the chefs and mixologists leading K’óoben?

Chefs: Gustavo Romero, José Alarcón, and Noe Lara. Mixologists: Mike Hidalgo, Daniel Guerrero, and Daniel D. Torres.

Who else is on the lineup for environmental talk at this year’s The Great Northern Festival?

Pulitzer Prize finalist Elizabeth Rush will discuss climate change and family planning; Dr. Soren Brothers will discuss museums’ roles in climate change conversations; the Audubon Society will discuss bird migration paths; and more. More speakers will be announced as the festival nears. 

BY Anna Montagner