Winter Activities

There’s snow place like Greater Mankato!

During the long winter months, we do not take time to hibernate, and you shouldn’t either! This season is filled with fun events and activities throughout the area. Just like snowflakes, every winter adventure is different! Greater Mankato has plenty of outdoor adventures, frozen family fun as well as fun indoor activities. Whether you want to go out with your friends, spend time with the kids or find a romantic weekend getaway, you’ve come to the right place!

Snow Adventures

Whether it’s hitting the trails on a snow bike, cruising down Mount Kato on a tube, or playing hockey on one of our many skating rinks, get ready for a winter you won’t soon forget.
Cross Country Skiing

Groomed pathways in an extensive trail system surrounding Mankato bring cross country skiers through Indian Lake Park, Williams Nature Center, Bray Park, Daly Park, Land of Memories Park as well as Red Jacket Valley Park. Each location presents an exciting journey for a beginner or experienced cross-country skier.  Check out the Kato Nordic Skiing Club group page for information updates and trail conditions.

Downhill Skiing

Downhill skiers find that  Mount Kato remains a hub for fast action and short lines. With 19 groomed trails and four terrain parks for skiing and snowboarding, you’ll never run out of things to do. Getting cold? Head inside the cozy ski lodge for relaxation and dining. What’s new in 2023? Mount Kato is now part of the Indy Pass which provides two days each at 100+ independent resorts.

Ice Skating at Chankaska Creek Ranch Winery Distillery Forest
Ice Skating

Stay outside and skate in one of Mankato’s 11 parks with outdoor skating rinks. Too cold? All Seasons Arena offers an indoor skating rink with affordable skate rentals. Skate for fun or challenge your friends to a game of hockey, there’s plenty to do on the rink. 

Ice Fishing

Ice fishing is a beloved pastime during the winter for many anglers on Greater Mankato’s area lakes, ponds and rivers when conditions are  favorable.

Tubing at Mount Kato

Grab a sled or tube and head to the legendary  Sibley Parkor  Spring Lake Park  hill for downhill sledding. Don’t have a tube? No problem. Downhill tubing action at Mount Kato provides large tubes for a smoother ride with just as much thrill.

Fat Tire Biking - Snow Biking

Fat Tire Bikes are best experienced along packed trails. Head to  Seven Mile Creek Park, Kiwanis Recreation Area, or Indian Lake Conservation Area to try it yourself. Be sure to check out Mankato Area Mountain Bikers (MAMB) trail conditions. Want to ride with a group? Visit  Nicollet Bike & Ski Shop  to learn more. 


There are 160 miles of trails for snowmobilers in Blue Earth County. Snowmobilers should visit theMinnesota Department of Natural Resources website to find detailed maps of available snowmobile routes. 


Looking for a unique experience in our parks and on our trails this winter? Give snowshoeing a try! This activity allows you to experience winter in all its wonder. Rent snowshoes from Nicollet Bike & Skior book a tour with Minnesota State University, Mankato Campus Recreation.  Looking for a snowshoe and winery combo? Tour around the scenic landscapes home to our unique wineries, such as Chankaska Creek Ranch and Winery. After exploring the snow-covered vineyards, enjoy the warmth of a cozy atmosphere and taste of select cheeses and local vino.

Winter Warm Up

Grab the kids and head to Mankato for some winter fun! Plan your own special itinerary or avoid the stress and check out our package deals at the bottom of the page. We offer plenty of indoor and outdoor activities that the whole family will love at a price that can’t be beat!

Watch an exhilarating Minnesota State University, Mankato  Maverick Hockey  game at the Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center in Mankato’s City Center.  Join in the excitement of supporting our hometown, Division I team. Afterwards stick around the City Center for lively nightlife and a local brew. 

The  Wow!Zoneis a huge family entertainment center has something for the whole family, with 24 state-of-the-art bowling lanes, a two-level laser tag arena, black light mini golf, a full arcade, snack bar, and sports bar and restaurant. 

The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota offers much more than just everyday play. They host or organize birthday parties, summer camps, group visits, and a variety of fresh and exciting activities to keep you excited and engaged. 

Come to Mankato to climb the largest indoor rock wall in Southern Minnesota! Climb out of your comfort zone and check out the  Maverick Adventures

Take your kids back in time in the world of Betsy-Tacy. Mankato is the childhood home of  Maud Hart Lovelace, beloved author of the famed Betsy-Tacy series of children’s books. As you are visiting the many significant Betsy-Tacy sites try to erase the view of modern advances and imagine a simpler time of the early 1900s.  

We all know a little retail therapy goes a long way and we are happy to say Greater Mankato serves as a retail destination for southern Minnesota. We offer hundreds of stores ranging from large national retailers to quant local shops. Check out the adorable shops and boutiques along Riverfront Drive such as  Bumbelou  and  Graif Clothing. Head on over to the indoor River Hills Mallwhere popular retail chains and smaller boutique shops are all under one roof. 

Spend the day at the  Mankato Family YMCA. Kids will love to run in the gyms, play in the Kid’s Gym, swim in the Taylor Family Aquatic Center and Pool or relax in the YMCA’s Pepsi Cube that has foosball, a climbing wall, video games and more.  

Are you a Pickleball fan?  Did you know that there are ONLY a handful of professional pickleball facilities in the country … and one of those facilities is located right here in Mankato? Don’t miss your chance to play America’s fastest growing sport at the Picklebarn! 

Decompress from the busyness of everyday life and enjoy one of Mankato’s many unique salons and spas. Get a small group together and book a session in the salt room at  Body Concepts  located along Mankato’s Riverfront Drive. Get pampered with a wide variety of custom treatments and therapy options at  Liv Aveda Salon and Spa  with everything from hair, nails. spa packages and more! Looking to freshen up your style? Book an appointment with  Raydiance Salon  located right in the heart of downtown Mankato just a short walk away from the  Hilton Garden Inn  in the City Center Plaza. 

Get your dose of the arts and culture right here in Mankato, home to plenty of indoor art galleries. Popular art galleries likeCarnegie Art Center  (contemporary art) andThe 410 Project  (experimental space) is a good place to start. You can find out upcoming art festivals and workshops by checking out Twin Rivers Council for the Arts

Did you know that Mankato has its own historical society? Blue Earth County Historical Society  educates guests on everything about the early Native Americans and settlers that helped build the city.  

Nothing beats the cold season better than having a hot mug in hand and steam warming up your face. For a fun coffeehouse in the heart of Old Town Mankato, stop by the The Coffee Hag, for delicious coffee, local art gallery and live entertainment on the house stage on Friday and Saturday evenings. Getting hungry? Who doesn’t love a hot bagel fresh out of the toaster?  Tandem Bagelsis a hip destination that makes all its meals from scratch and the coffee is fresh. Craving your usual latte? Swing by  Dunkin’ where hometown service meets your favorite familiar flavors.  

Looking for something a little different? Challenge your friends for a little Axe throwing competition, play a round of virtual golf. Consider it a bonus not having to deal with the wind or raking out those pesky sand bunkers! Want to flex your problem-solving skills to friends, family, or coworkers? See if you can take on the challenge to solve the mystery to break out of fun-themed escape rooms

You don’t need to drive far to have an exciting night out.  There are plenty of dine and drink options as well as  wine and brewand many with great live entertainment venues. Want to see notable artists performing live? Check out  Mayo Clinic Health System Event Centerand plan your visit around any upcoming concerts you’ll want to see.  

Enjoy Dazzling Holiday Lights

Kiwanis Holiday Lights

The biggest holiday event in Mankato is theKiwanis Holiday Lights celebration in Sibley Park from November 26 – December 31. Families are invited to walk or drive through the route of more than 1.8 million holiday lights. Other on-site activities include ice skating (rentals available), reindeer encounters, an illumination show with LED lights, Santa visits, ice sculptures and more. 

Let it Glow Kato Window Display Contest

Participating City Center businesses, from retail to hospitality to professional services and more have decorated their windows with festive holiday displays for all to enjoy. Be sure to head to the City Center to check out the displays and vote for your favorite between November 19 and December 26. People’s Choice for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd will receive cash prizes.

Bells on Belgrade

Join us for a free holiday family fun event on Belgrade Avenue in North Mankato on Saturday Dec 3th from 2-6pm. There will be horse drawn trolley rides, Santa, goodie bags, games and lots of fun. The nights ends with a Winter Wonderland Parade starting at 6:30pm.