It's no secret that Minnesota winters are cold. While some may be perfectly content spending the winter months inside (bored) attempting to stay warm, there is so much to do out in the elements that gives you the chance to be active and enjoy what the cold can offer.

Duluth's Bentleyville Tour of Lights is probably one of Minnesota's biggest winter attractions, but Stillwater offers an enchanting, quaint winter adventure for you and the family, or you and a significant other to enjoy that extends beyond the month of December. Open 7 days a week through much of the winter, Stillwater's Ice Castles anchor what could be a whole weekend worth of fun.

Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth

I had the opportunity to enjoy an evening of exploration in Stillwater as part of the festivities tied to Super Bowl LII in the Twin Cities. The evening began at Marx Fusion Bistro, located right on Main Street in Stillwater. This inviting, upscale venue features a great menu and atmosphere that would be perfect for a date night out with that special someone before heading to the Ice Castles. Located within walking distance of the castles themselves, the restaurant is also offering an ice bar of sorts, featuring a cold weather traditional "shotski" to partake in some spirits with friends before heading to the ice castles. If you're looking for something for the family, Main Street features a number of dining options within walking distance of the castles.

The Ice Castles themselves are truly an adventure that will leave every visitor filled with wonder. Featuring a handful of light displays, a couple of ice slides, fire dancers, caverns for exploring, a snack area, and more, it's easy to spend a couple hours enjoying all there is to offer. During my visit, Stillwater mayor Ted Kozlowski and his wife explained that the Stillwater Ice Castles are an attraction worth visiting more than once in a season. The team that manages the ice castles are constantly adding to the structures, making the experience different through the season. You can take a little video tour of the Ice Castles above, or check out some photos in the gallery below.

The Ice Castles are open 7 days a week, and all nearby parking is free. There are also a handful of special events held through the season as well, adding to the fun there is to have. Tickets can be purchased online, along with schedules and other information. While weather is obviously a factor, tickets are currently available through February 24 for this season.

These Ice Castles are one of six locations in North America managed by the same company. Other locations include one in Utah, New Hampshire, and Colorado, and two in Canada.