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Best Ways To Spend New Year's Day In Minnesota

People stay home on New Year's Day. Consequently, the day offers an opportunity to get out and do new things without the hassle of crowds. Here are five of the best Minnesota-based activities to do on New Year's Day.

Candlelight Vigil
(credit: Jupiter Images)

Luce Line State Trail Candlelight Walk
Luce Line State Trail
Vicksburg Lane Trailhead
Plymouth, MN 55447

Time: Fri. Jan. 1, 2016 from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.
Price: Free for hiking and Luce Line parking. $5 to park within a Minnesota state park.

"Rejuvenate the mind and body," says Erika Rivers, director of Minnesota State Parks and Trails. "Minnesota state parks and trails can be a great resource to anyone whose New Year's resolution involves improving their health and fitness." Join Rivers on a First Day Hike at the Luce Line State Trail, lined with cheerful candle luminaries lighting up the path. Residents throughout the state can join a nearby First Day Hike, or snowshoe should there be sufficient snow.

Alexandria: Lake Carlos State Park 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Altura: Whitewater State Park 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Bemidji: Lake Bemidji State Park 10:00 - 11:30 a.m.
Bigfork: Scenic State Park 10:00 a.m.-noon
Carlton: Jay Cooke State Park 1:00 - 2:30 p.m.
Center City: Wild River State Park 1:00 - 2:30 p.m.
Mankato: Minneopa State Park 10:00 - 11:30 a.m.
Silver Bay: Tettegouche State Park 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Alexander Ramsey
(credit: CBS)

Relive A Victorian Christmas Of 1875
Alexander Ramsey House
265 S. Exchange St.
Saint Paul, MN 55102
(651) 296-8760

Time: Fri. Jan. 1, 2016 10:00 a.m. -  4:30 p.m.; 60-minute guided tours start every half-hour.
Price: $11 adults, $9 college students and seniors, $7 ages 6 to 17

"If people still want to see a Victorian Christmas at Alexander Ramsey House," says Minnesota Historical Society Media Relations Lauren Peck, "January first is one of the last days to do so before the next holiday season." Taste cookies fresh out of the wood-fired oven, hear holiday music popular a century and a half ago played on the Ramsey's Steinway. Explore the mansion with delight as you discover original family ornaments and gifts of the season. Relive the times just as the Ramsey family, friends, neighbors and servants did in 1875.

Rekindle Environmental Awareness
National Eagle Center
50 Pembroke Ave.
Wabasha, MN 55981
(651) 565-4989

Time: open both New Year's Eve and New Year's Day from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Tour at 1:00 p.m.
Tour Price: $35 for all, $25 for NEC members.

Winter is the best time for viewing, and Wabasha is the best place in Minnesota for viewing both golden eagles and bald eagles. Be at the classroom by 1:00 p.m. for a short presentation. Then hop on the tour bus for an excursion to the prime bald or golden eagle viewing locations. Be sure to dress for the outdoors and bring your camera and binoculars. The field trip is well suited for families and is intended to heighten the interest of people of all ages in birds and nature.

12/23/11 - A Guide to Snow Tubing in the Twin Cities Area- woman in red jacket on purple/yellow tube
(credit: Thinkstock)

Go Snow Tubing
Buck Hill
15400 Buck Hill Road
Burnsville, MN 55306
(952) 435-7174

Time: Fri. Jan. 1, 2016 at 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Everyone in the family can do it. Grab a tube and slip slide down the hill, laughing all the way. Get back on the lift to the top of the hill for more fun. Buck Hill will light up the hill all through the holidays for night sliding. Mom and dad can relax at the campfire with hot chocolate, popcorn or a hot dog from the concession stand.

Related: A Guide To Snow Tubing In The Twin Cities Area

Enjoy Holiday Lights In The Park
Phalen Park
1600 Phalen Drive
St Paul, MN  55106
(651) 771-7507

Time: Fri. Jan. 1, 2016 at 5:00 - 10:00 p.m.
Price: $10 per vehicle

New Year's Day is the last chance to see this year's fantastic display of holiday lights. More than 60 towering light sculptures, delightful animated figures, drive-through wreaths and tunnels await you. It only takes a short trip to Phalen Park to participate in this time-honored holiday tradition. Your contribution goes directly to local organizations under the custodianship of the Saint Paul Police Foundation and the Saint Paul Parks Conservancy.

Related: Best Places For New Year's Day Brunch In Minnesota

Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from Richfield High School and then the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at


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