We here at the651.com will be first to admit that St. Paul isn’t exactly known for its nightlife. But if you decide to ring in the New Year across the river – or if you’re looking for a quieter way to celebrate – St. Paul has a bunch of charming events and activities, perfect for sharing with a date.
Fort Snelling State Park is offering a family and date-friendly candlelight walk and ice skating (bring-your-own-skates) from 3 until 9 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. The event will have a bunch of cute elements including marshmallow roasting on an outdoor fire, a cup of cider around the fireplace, a skating pond on Snelling Lake, and a candlelit trail offering plenty of wintery sights. It’s a great opportunity to appreciate a nature-infused experience rarely found in big cities. (3-9 p.m. Free. Fort Snelling State Park, Post Rd. off Hwy. 5, St. Paul. 612-725-2389 or 612-725-2724.)
If downtown is more your vibe, grab a date or a group of friends and head to Wells Fargo WinterSkate. The rink will be kept open until 1 a.m. just for New Year’s Eve. The rink comes equipt with a warming house, hot chocolate and snacks for sale, and skate rental, not to mention the surroundings of the gorgeously-lit Rice Park and the historic buildings of downtown St. Paul. And in case you want to warm yourself up with a little libation (or want something to cheers the New Year with), be sure to tuck a flask into your coat. (11 p.m.-1 a.m. Free, $2 for skate rental. Landmark Center, corner of 5th & Market Sts., St. Paul, 651-291-5608, www.wellsfargowinterskate.com.)
Another classic winter activity that is sure to bring back waves of nostalgia (and be a great date): snow sledding. All it takes is a sled, long underwear, warm weather accessories and a sense of adventure. The city of St. Paul’s website has a handy map of sledding hills in St. Paul. Tip: make it an adult version (and stay extra warm) by bringing a flask.
Take a tour of holiday light displays in St. Paul’s Phalen Park neighborhood during its final night of the year. View over 50 holiday light sculptures and animated displays from the comfort of your own vehicle. It’s $10 per vehicle, but proceeds go directly to local Minnesota charities. (5:30-10 p.m. Beginning at 1615 Phalen Dr. E., St. Paul, www.lightsinthepark.org.)
Another fun date option (and a chance to get some exercise): cross-country skiing. The city of St. Paul grooms the following trails every winter: Como (1431 Lexington Pkwy. N.), Highland 9 Golf Course (1797 Edgcumbe Rd.), and Phalen Golf Course (1615 Phalen Dr.). Click here for a map of all winter activity locations in St. Paul. (Note: ski chalet and equipment rental is available at the Como location only.)