Frugal Ways to Get Out this Winter

I don’t know about you, but this is the time of year where I start getting a little restless. Don’t get me wrong, I love snuggling up under a blanket with a good book or movie. But sometimes, I just want to get out and do something. Even though it is winter and, especially here in Minnesota, it is really cold. Here are some ideas of fun and frugal things you can do to keep active this winter:

  • Get Outside: Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean that you can’t still do something outside. Bundle up and head out on a winter walk, explore the snowy terrain on cross country skis, try on some snow shoes, catch fresh fish while ice fishing or sled down the nearest hill.
  • Winter Festivals: Even though it is winter, there is still a lot going on around town. Check out the Lake Harriet Kite Festival this Sunday, January 19, for colorful kite flying and ice fishing. The following week, check out the St. Paul Winter Carnival featuring parades, a marathon, and many other family-friendly events.
  • Star Gaze: Learn from the expert astronomers at the U of M every Friday night during the Spring and Fall semester from 8-9:30pm. Star gaze on the roof of the astronomy building. If the weather is good, you may be able to look through the telescope.
  • Winter Art: Check out the Art Sled Rally in Powderhorn Park on Saturday, January 26. Come and watch local artists and neighborhood residents slide down the hills in crazy, creative sleds!
  • Ice Skate: Test your balance on ice skates. There are plenty of outdoor rinks, like Lake of the Isles, or indoor rinks, like the Depot in Downtown Minneapolis
  • Museums: Don’t want to brave the outdoors? Check out some museums! On Friday evenings after 5pm the Science Museum offers discount admission to students. The Minnesota History Center offers students $9 admission with a valid student ID anytime. Every Thursday evening is free at the Walker Art Center also the Minneapolis Institute of Art is free every day and has occasional Target Family Days where the special exhibit is also free!
  • Take a Tour: Tour a Winery or a Brewery during one of their free days. Local Wine Events has a list of a variety of Twin Cities wine events, including some free events. Many local breweries offer free tour and tasting events.
  • Movies: There are many discount movie theaters in the Twin Cities including: Brookdale 8, Maple Grove Cinema 10, Hopkins Cinema 6, and the Riverview Theater.  Also, the St. Anthony Main Theatre offers $6 tickets with student ID.
  • Take Up a New Form of Exercise: Looking for a new way to warm up? Take up a new form of exercise! Begin yoga, zumba, pilates, or kick boxing. Try something new and keep in shape for the new year!

Join the Conversation: What is your favorite frugal winter activity?

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Fun and Frugal Date Ideas for the Dead of Winter

You want to share some quality one-on-one time with a loved one but it’s getting to be cold outside, what can you do that is both fun and frugal? Here are some great ideas that you can use with a friend, date, or your spouse:

  • Get Outside: Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean that you can’t still do something outside. Bundle up and head out on a winter walk/hike, test your balance on ice skates, explore the snowy terrain on cross country skis or sled down the nearest hill. Don’t forget to end the date with a nice hot cup of cocoa!
  • Go Local: Support your community and enjoy a fun night out. Check out a local art show or theater production, support a local school by attending a play or musical or evaluate local talent at an Open Mic night.
  • Movie Night 2.0: Instead of just putting in a movie, why not enjoy a book together? Grab an engaging mystery, steamy romance, or even a favorite children’s book and take turns reading aloud. If you are feeling adventurous, use voices!
  • Do-It-Yourself: Use the opportunity to stay inside to build something together like a bookshelf or coffee table, reorganize a room, or repaint your walls. It’s a lot more fun when you have someone to help you.
  • Cooking Contest: If you like all of those cooking TV challenges this is your chance to create your own. See who can make the most creative and tasty dessert using only what you have on hand. Or, pick up some grocery store items and see who can make the most creative, cheap dinner.
  • Tasty Gifts: Hone your cooking skills and cross a few people off of your Christmas list by making treats together for your friends. This site has different recipes that you can use to make gifts that are under $3/serving.
  • Take a Tour: Tour a Winery or a Brewery during one of their free days. Local Wine Events has a list of a variety of Twin Cities wine events, including some free events. Many local breweries offer free tour and tasting events.
  • Flashback to Your Childhood: Put on some of your favorite childhood music, make some fun and cheap kids food like Mac and Cheese, and watch one of your favorite teen movies.

What is your favorite winter date that you have been on? What winter date idea are you hoping to try out this winter?