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Top Things to Do (Indoors) in Mankato

Does the cold air during winter make you feel like burrowing your heard under a blanket and never leaving your house? If the answer is yes, don’t worry; Mankato, Minnesota, has plenty of ways for you to stay active this season without catching the winter blues. Stay toasty warm this season by checking out some of these exciting indoor things to do this winter in Mankato.

1. For something warm
Nothing beats the cold season better than having a hot mug in hand and steam warming up your face. Curiosi-Tea House is a popular local hangout with its own tea-tasting hours and drinks are served in the finest English teacups. If you’re a tea lover, you’ll love sampling various seasonal flavors like peppermint, hot cinnamon spice and chai in a shabby chic environment. If coffee is more your drink, you’ll find the same antidote at The Coffee Hag, where you can admire the surrounding local art pieces on the walls. Or swing by Fillin’ Station Coffeehouse, where you’ll find locals cozying up with a good book and hot coffee. Feeling hungry? Don’t leave the coffee shop; instead, order one of its signature paninis or homemade pastries. Who doesn’t love a hot bagel fresh out of the toaster? Tandem Bagels is a hip destination that makes all its meals from scratch. Be sure to order the kitchen sink bagel paired with a hot cup of java. You’ll thank us later.

2. For everyone in the family

Have fun with the whole family at Wow! Zone, a large indoor facility outfitted with its own black-light cosmic bowling lanes, laser tag, miniature golf and an arcade. Treat the family after the game with pizza, cheese curds, chicken wings and more. If you’re looking for a fun night away from the kids, the entertainment complex has happy hour specials at its bar Sunday through Thursday.

3. For the kids

Sometimes, when the kids are cooped up inside, boredom strikes, especially in the winter. That’s why you should take them to Bounce Town, where they can release their energy by having an adventure through a series of bounce houses. The facility is suited for children ages 12 and younger, and there are additional activity stations where kids can learn motor and social skills. Bringing a toddler? The indoor play center has its own designated Wee Town for them to enjoy. Another exciting place to take the kids is Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota , where a two-story indoor playground awaits them. Children especially love the Tree of Forts, where they can show off their climbing skills. Or let your kids’ dream of being a future builder come to life at Coughlan Quarry, a construction zone at the museum with safe building props. Other exhibits include Grow It Gallery and Play Porch (for toddlers). Don’t miss out on some of the scheduled events at the museum like storytelling nights and a bookmobile visit.

4. For shopping
We all know a little retail therapy goes a long way and we are happy to say Greater Mankato serves as a retail destination for southern Minnesota. We offer hundreds of stores ranging from large national retailers to quaint local shops. You’ll enjoy shopping at Minnesota favorites including J. Longs as well as other local shops Graif Clothing, Hazelkin & Co. and so much more! To find everything you need within a few steps, you can’t go wrong at the indoor River Hills Mall where popular retail chains and smaller boutique shops are all under one roof. And while you’re there, treat yourself to that movie you’ve been wanting to see at Cinemark Movies 8 located on the premises.

5. For wine and beer lovers
If you’re a vino aficionado, you’ll delight at the top-notch options Mankato offers when it comes to wine tasting. The Wine Café is an intimate setting with European decor and an added wine shop in the back. Have a night out with friends and belt out your favorite songs in between wine tasting during karaoke night on Thursdays. Or just simply kick back and enjoy live music every Friday and Saturday at the Wine Café. The café sells approximately 600 wines, making it one of the best places to take home a bottle from the region.

Go behind the scenes at Chankaska Creek Ranch & Winery in Kasota, outside of Mankato, where you’ll learn all about the wine-making process. You will also sample the latest flavors while taking in stunning view of the vineyards. Javens Family Vineyard & Winery is the area’s newest space for wine lovers, and you can sip on a variety of whites and reds. For a touch of history while you drink, head over to Indian Island Winery that’s family-owned and built on Native American land. The winery has a series of indoor events with live entertainment. Add an extra oomph to your wine-tasting experience at Morgan Creek Vineyards, where it serves wood-fired pizza fresh out of the oven. You’ll find the winery specializes in the finest German, French and American wines.

If you’re a beer connoisseur, raise your stein and grab a cold one at Mankato Brewery, a staple in the area since 1967. Locals love to come here to listen to live music and to sample a variety of brews. You can enjoy the innovative flavors with quirky names like Organ Grinder Ale, Mad Butcher IPA, Hopbiscus and Kato Lager. If you like to celebrate the midwest, LocAle may be the brewery for you with a wide range of approachable beer styles including crisp lagers, roasty porters & stouts, juicy pale ales, tart & fruity barrel-aged sours & hefty barrel-aged strong ales. A short drive outside of Mankato will take you to August Schell’s Brewery in New Ulm. There, you’ll find an impressive selection of German craft beers inside a historic building built in 1860. The brewery has an abundance of history that  was temporarily banned during the prohibition era and made its return to the public after its repeal. Today, you can admire the brick walls built by the original owner, August Schell, and reminisce over a cold lager. For something newer, you can visit Starkeller (an extended location of August Schell’s Brewery in New Ulm) featuring the latest in craft beer: “sour” beer. Beer drinkers can sample unique flavors like Lunar Affect (coffee-infused dark Berliner) while knowledgeable staff educate guests on the beer brewing process.

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6. For your arts and culture fix

Get your dose of the arts and culture right here in Mankato. Home to plenty of indoor art galleries, Mankato is a haven for collectors looking for an original piece. Popular art galleries like Carnegie Art Center (contemporary art) and The 410 Project (experimental space) is a good place to start. You can find out upcoming art festivals and workshops by checking out Twin Rivers Council for the Arts.
Did you know that Mankato has its own historical society? Blue Earth County Historical Society educates guests on everything about the early Native Americans and settlers that helped build the city. The exhibit includes artifacts, photos and tools from the region so you can get a glimpse of what life looked like back in the day. There is an additional research center at the historical society with its own art gallery and gift shop for you to browse through after the exhibit. Bringing the kids along? They’ll love the interactive children’s area, where they can play in a pioneer cabin.

7. For a night out on the town
You don’t need to drive far to have an exciting night out. Mankato has plenty of venues with luxe bars and live entertainment like trivia nights and concerts. Check out Mankato’s newest bar that is proving to be a hit with locals and visitors. Flask is a kitschy 70’s and 80’s themed bar with quirky cocktail drinks and a menu featuring pizza, tacos and burgers. Another fantastic place to enjoy a pint and play some games is at Pub 500, a downtown location with a fully stocked bar serving local brews. For music, check out Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center and plan your visit around any upcoming concerts you’ll want to see. The venue recently underwent a $28 million renovation, making this a luxurious new setting to jam out to some tunes; the Mankato Symphony Orchestra is known to play often here. You can also challenge your friends in a game of wits at  Mankato’s escape room, Kato Escape. You will have to sleuth your way out of locked rooms using clues and puzzles. Each room has its own unique theme like a witch’s kitchen or a post office. This way, you’ll be able to show off your smarts in front of your friends as you lead them to the way out.

Body Concept Salt Room in Mankato

8. Relax and Unwind

Decompress from the busyness of everyday life and enjoy one of Mankato’s many unique salons and spas. Get a small group together and book a session in the salt room at Body Concepts located along Mankato’s Riverfront Drive. Get pampered with a wide variety of custom treatments and therapy options at Liv Aveda Salon and Spa with everything from hair, nails. spa packages and more! Looking to freshen up your style? Book an appointment with Raydiance Salon located right in the heart of downtown Mankato just a short walk away from the Hilton Garden Inn in the City Center Plaza.

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