Valentine’s Day, winter cycling and more

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and whether you have your dinner reservations planned or you’re playing it by ear, we have a few events off the beaten path for a unique romantic weekend.


Chocolate History Tour

Minneapolis’ fermentation bar, GYST, is already a romantic dining spot with its artisanal cheese, wine and fermented specialties. But for the special day, the restaurant is hosting an edible tour of chocolate history with its own Jill Mott and curators from the Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine. Diners will have the chance to eat their way through modern-day chocolates and savor historical recipes includes drinking chocolates, pastes, bars and an array of other desserts.

Where: GYST Fermentation Bar, 25 E. 26th St.

When: Saturday, Feb. 13 from 12-2 p.m.

Cost: $32.64



Saint Paul Ballet

Work from four women choreographers from across the country will get their world premier with the dancers of the St. Paul Ballet at The Cowles Center. If night of dance is right for you, the downtown performing arts center takes it a step further with the addition of sparking wine and desserts for two on Valentine’s Day. A refined evening of wining, dining and dance is a prime option for a romantic weekend.

Where: The Cowles Center, 528 Hennepin Ave.

When: Feb. 12-14

Cost: $25-37.50



Cupid’s Undie Run

For the brave, Cupid’s Undie Run is a free-spirited fundraiser this Valentine’s Day weekend. Each year, half-naked runners take to the streets of downtown Minneapolis to raise money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation, all the while sporting their favorite red undies and braving the winter chill. For a unique start to Valentine’s Day, head to this event — just leave your pants in the car.

Where: The Pourhouse, 10 S. 5th St.

When: Feb. 13 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Cost: $35-55



The Beer Dabbler Winter Carnival

In its seventh year, The Beer Dabbler’s outdoor winter party has drawn beer fans and brewing connoisseurs from around the Twin Cities. In partnership with the St. Paul Winter Carnival, the event features unlimited samples of more than 120 local, regional and national craft beers, making it easy to find plenty of new brews to choose. Attendees can also expect live entertainment in the Midway, winter activities and a meat and cheese showcase in the heated Coliseum.

Where: State Fairgrounds, 1265 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul

When: Feb. 6 from 3:30-7:30 p.m.

Cost: $40 in advance, $50 at the door



Big Climb MPLS

There are plenty of long races in Minneapolis, but Big Climb MPLS may be the highest. Climbers will soon take the annual stair-climbing challenge on the steps of the Capella Tower in downtown Minneapolis. The challenge is also a fundraiser for blood cancer research via the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Individuals and teams can fundraise in order to climb a 53 or 105 floors of the downtown skyscraper.

Where: Capella Tower, 225 S. 6th St.

When: Saturday, Feb. 6 at 10:15 a.m.

Cost: $25-40 per person, plus $75 fundraising minimum


Photo by Laurie Etchen 


Silence! The Musical

As far as parodies go, “SILENCE! The Musical” may be one of the most extreme examples. The Off-Broadway hit, an “unauthorized” parody of the Oscar-winning “The Silence of the Lambs,” puts the horrifying movie to music with pungent and punchy results. Minneapolis Musical Theatre, along with Bitter Boy Productions, is behind this area premiere, in addition to other parodies like “Jerry Springer – The Opera,” “The Rocky Horror Show,” and “Evil Dead: The Musical.”

Where: The Lab Theater, 700 N. 1st St.

When: Feb. 12 through March 6

Cost: $30-40




WinterFest continues the city’s winter celebrations after the Holidazzle brought the holidays to Loring Park. The event, put on by Citizens for a Loring Park Community and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, will bring family fun and ice-skating to the park near downtown Minneapolis. WinterFest will have free horse-drawn carriage rides, snowshoeing, an outdoor bonfire with s’mores, holiday crafts and an opportunity to dance with Kairos Dance Company.

Where: Loring Park Community Center, 1382 Willow St.

When: Thursday, Feb. 11 at 6 p.m.

Cost: Free



Winter Cycling Congress

Many Twin Cities residents already know Minneapolis and St. Paul for being winter biking meccas, but the cycling scene will go international during this year’s Winter Cycling Congress. Now in its third year, the international biking affair will get its United States debut with speakers and other events. Throughout three days, cold-weather cyclers, planners and other leaders from around the globe will host talks and more on biking culture, infrastructure and more.

Where: Various Twin Cities venues

When: Feb. 2-4

Cost: $325-475, discounts available