Winter Is Coming: Seven Places To Find Creative Inspiration When It’s Too Cold To Be Outside

October 28, 2016

When the snow starts dancing through the sky and the trees go bare, I turn into a recluse, hovering over a bowl of soup and wrapped in a minimum of five blankets. I crank the furnace up just high enough for my skin to crack, but not so high that I can get away with wearing anything less than full long johns and wool socks around the house.


To be completely honest, winter is not my favorite season. It’s nearly colorless, the sun is only out for a few hours each day, and even when it appears, it’s cold as eff out there. So, what’s a creative professional to do when the weather’s got her down? Here are a few of my favorite places to get those creative juices flowing when it’s below zero.

Art Museums
It’s a bit of a given, but there’s really nothing like being inspired by the beautiful classical sculpture at Mia or wandering through the halls of the Walker. On a weekday, there’s a good chance you’ll be the only person at the American Swedish Institute, and the holiday ornaments at the Museum of Russian Art shouldn’t be missed.

Antique Stores
Wandering through Hunt and Gather in South Minneapolis, Odds n’ Ends in Kingfield or Retro Wanderlust in Hopkins is a great way to spark your imagination.

Many of my formative years were spent studying in the O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library at the University of St. Thomas, but I had no idea the library is open to the public. Up on the fourth floor you can spend hours with just your thoughts and a quiet table looking out over campus. The historic art at the St. Paul Central Library and architectural details at Minneapolis’ new downtown library are something to be admired as well.

Art and Craft Fairs
Northern Grade is coming up next weekend, and is a great way to surround yourself with some local artists and makers. Craft’za and No Coast Craft-O-Rama also take place over the next couple months.

The Guthrie
Minneapolis is known for its theater scene, but did you know the Guthrie building is open most of the day even when shows aren’t playing? Wander out on the endless bridge or look out over frozen St. Anthony falls to get a good view of winter with a cocktail in your hand.

Como Observatory
One of the few warm and colorful places in the Twin Cities during the winter months, it’s a great place to find some tropical inspiration and listen to the birds sing.

Midtown Global Market
One must be well-fed to have good ideas, and there’s no better place to get a great variety of flavors than Midtown Global. Plus, you can stock up on pastries at Salty Tart for when you need a little pick-me-up a few days (or hours) later.