Winter Romance. Valentine Carriage Ridges. Skiing.
Nestled in the bluffs of the St. Croix River Valley, Stillwater’s winter beauty and historic charm twinkle during the winter months. Romantic excursions are also encouraged with free horse-drawn carriage rides for Valentine’s Day, a secret speakeasy , two new boutique hotels on Main Street (Lora, Crosby) and many new vacation rental homes or downtown loft spaces great for groups. Plan your romantic winter getaway in December, January, or February!
Step into the warmth of shops filled with treasures as the Holiday season is the ultimate Shop Small destination for gifts and free holiday events from Black Friday to New Year’s Eve. Grab a seat in one of our many restaurants and wine bars. Warm your soul with comfort food, winter wine or local brew, or gather in a coffee shop. Listen to local live music or register for a cooking class or view an art gallery exhibit together. Pamper yourself with a massage, facial, pedicure or Himalayan salt cave at a serene spa or salon.
Get outside to see the pristine beauty of Minnesota winter white snow on the trees, bluffs, and historic buildings of the St. Croix Valley. Winter is a time of peace, comfort, and a whole lot of fun! Use Stillwater as your home base for skiing at three different resorts nearby (Afton Alps is the closest) or local cross country or fat tire bike trails.
Create your perfect winter getaway – stay overnight in one of Stillwater’s stunning restored mansions, inns, hotels or new vacation home rentals. Snuggle by a fireplace, read a good book (find one at a great indie book store on Main Street), or soak in a whirlpool tub or get lost in the hot steam Swedish shower. The possibilities are endless!
11/9/18 update: Ice Castles will not be built in Stillwater this year, but we are hopeful they’ll return in 2020!. The frozen Ice Castles constructed downtown Stillwater were in Lowell Park on the riverfront the last two winters. We were grateful for the thousands who explored the carved tunnels, slides, archways and magical glow of this once in a lifetime frozen fun for all ages.
For a complete list of winter events (hockey, winter games, pub crawl, art classes, even curling?), view our live events calendar. Get inspired to spend a winter weekend in Stillwater with these videos…
229 S. Main St.
Stillwater, MN 55082 (view map)
Exceptional clothing, footwear, and gear for the outdoor enthusiast. Whether it’s a backyard adventure or beyond, we’ll help you get outside with quality goods and fantastic service. 45 Degrees rents stand-up paddleboards, snowshoes and cross country skis.
CROSS COUNTRY & NORDIC SKIING
Explore the natural beauty of the St. Croix Valley through cross country ski trails weaving through the forests, bluffs, and river ways of the area. Nearby ski areas include:
Brown’s Creek Nature Preserve & Trail
Pine Point Park/Gateway Bike Trail
Lake Elmo Park Reserve (lighted trails at night)
William O’Brien State Park
Afton State Park
DIRO Outdoors provides local outdoor activities; gear rental & delivery; parties & company events; and educational & environmental stewardship opportunities within the Twin Cities and St. Croix River Valley. We encourage you to try a wide variety of activities in hopes these will help you “find your outer space”. Gear: Fat Tire Bikes, Kayaks, City Bike Rentals, Paddleboards, Snowshoes.
DOWNHILL SKIING & SNOWBOARDING
Let it snow! Ski & Stay in a beautiful winter village just outside the Twin Cities. Stillwater has 3 ski resorts nearby. Make us your lodging base and try out new slopes each day of your stay!
Afton Alps one of the Midwest’s Premier ski resorts just south of Stillwater 19 miles in Hastings, MN. Afton part of Vail Resorts which offers a Go Local and Go West season pass. Easy to get to from downtown Stillwater – follow Main Street south of town with turns into hwy 95 taking you straight to Afton!
Trollhaugen Outdoor Recreation Area is northeast of Stillwater 30 miles in Dresser, WI. Trollhaugen features downhill skiing, snow-tubing, cross country skiing, and a terrain park. Head over the historic lift bridge from downtown Stillwater into WI.
Wild Mountain is just north of Stillwater 30 miles in Taylors Falls, MN. Downhill ski, snowboard, and terrain park in a family friendly resort. To get to Wild mountain, simply head north of out of downtown Stillwater on Hwy. 95.
201 Water Street South
Stillwater, MN 55082 (view map)
Experience a traditional old-time Christmas downtown historic Stillwater the entire month of December – make Stillwater your Hometown for the Holidays! Stillwater sparkles with holiday decor and free events like strolling Santa, Victorian-costumed carolers up and down Main Street, a Holiday Strolling Market, Twinkle Party official tree lighting with fireworks, pictures with Santa, horse-drawn Victorian wagonette rides and many more fun events. Visit our events calendar to find holiday teas, caroling tours on the Biercycle, B&B Tours, holiday dinners, breakfast with Santa, etc. Find joy in the season at our festive destination. Read all about it: Best Towns to Celebrate the Holidays
St. Croix river fishing for experienced ice house experts and anglers. The St. Croix River is alive with Walleye, a variety of Bass, Crappies and more.
Downtown Stillwater - Various Locations (view map)
Stillwater’s historic district downtown will feature a year-long outdoor exhibit of free public art as multiple art sculptures by Midwest artists will be on display as part of a multi-city tour in the the St. Croix and Mississippi River Valleys. Stroll downtown to see what you can find, snap a photo and don’t forget to #DiscoverStillwater! Here is a Map of all 10 exhibits.
Thrill seekers and families unite! Race down the snowy hill on an inner tube – classic Minnesota fun! Nearby snow tubing hill with tow ropes and rentals: Green Acres Recreation Area: www.greenacresrec.com 651.770.6060 Lake Elmo, MN
Check out the Washington County snowmobile club website for maps and trail ideas: www.StarTrail.org.
Minnesota winters are more enjoyable if you get into the white nature! Try snowshoeing through the woods on trails in Stillwater’s bluff country. Bring your own or rent from 45 Degrees downtown Stillwater: 651.430.3609, William O’Brien State Park or hire an expert to lead your group: Wahoo Adventures 651.280.7299 and DIRO Outdoors 651.233.6059
Lake Elmo Park Reserve – snowshoe lessons and rentals hosted by a naturalist during winter at their Nordic Center.
William O’Brien State Park – snowshoeing on Riverside Trail.
Afton State Park – Park maintains 4 miles of snowshoe trail
Willow River State Park – multi-use trails welcome snowshoes.
Every year, the Stillwater Visitor’s Bureau sponsors free horse-dawn carriage rides downtown along the river. Snuggle under warm blankets and enjoy time together during the beautiful February winter weather. Dates/times vary so check the events calendar for details. No ticket required. First come first serve.
Wahoo! Adventures offers a 90 minute Herons & History kayak Paddle every Friday morning at 8:30am and two unique guided bicycle tours throughout the week. See Stillwater from a new perspective! You can also book your own private/custom kayak, bicycle, or scavenger hunt tour for 2 – 20 people. Enjoy the best the St. Croix Valley has to offer on the river or on the local bicycle trails. In the winter we offer snowshoe events at local venues in the St Croix Valley. We provide all the gear, maps, guidance, and inspiration you may need! No experience necessary. Book all events online at www.MyWahooAdventures.com.