Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of fun things to do in Rochester, MN! SocialICE is the city's premier winter event held Feb. 7, 8 and 9 on the Peace Plaza. Check out a quick video clip showcasing the excitement; this is one ice-bar festival you will not want to miss!

“SocialICE Is a completely unique winter experience,” says Meghann Southwick, Director of Events & Strategic Partnerships with the Rochester Downtown Alliance, which organizes the event. “It [SocialICE] is designed to allow attendees to break out of cabin fever and actively embrace the colder months. One of our 2018 attendees said it best, 'Minnesotans know how to make the best of a cold situation! It's the coolest thing I've seen in Rochester.'" 

Learn the essentials of when to go and where to park and review these 10 tips to making the most of this wondrous outing:

1. Wear your warmest mittens because you’ll be cozying up to seven themed ice bars this year, each featuring a signature drink. Also get around to the downtown bars to discover what they’re featuring during SocialICE.

2. Direct your eyes to life-sized, fully-illuminated ice sculptures on the Peace Plaza. Be sure to hit the ‘Wall of Ice’ across from the DJ booth for a memorable photo opp. Ice carving will begin Sunday, Feb. 3, so stop downtown to catch all the carving action.


3. Be prepared for droves of people. This is ‘the’ place to hang out! In its debut year of 2009 roughly 250 people attended SocialICE but it has grown every year, and last year just over 51,000 people attended over the course of the three nights SocialICE was held.

4. Get social. Follow the event on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter before or during the event for the latest announcements and enticing photos to pique your interest.

5. Forget about the cold! “It’s part of the fun,” Southwick says. “The experience really takes over and you forget about the cold when you’re with your favorite people enjoying a warm drink, dancing to the live DJ music, and taking in all of the different aspects of the event.”

6. However, since the temps are never guaranteed, the talented SocialICE ice sculptors use dry ice techniques to preserve their works of art and avoid the odds of them melting on warmer weather days. Though SocialICE is geared for attendees who are 21 years or older, kids do enjoy seeing the sculptures, so bring the family on down by day or in the early evening to see the creations.


7. Speaking of kiddos at SocialICE, stay tuned to the SocialICE Facebook page for details on how you and your family can plug into the event and experience the ice and wintery fun before the main event.

8. OK, you’re maybe a tad bit cold? No worries! Visit a fire pit near the event entrance to get warmed up before returning to your tour of the seven outdoor ice bars, then play some bean bags to get your blood flowing.

9. This SocialICE is bound to be the best one yet -- and we're not just saying that. Southwick says, "There are many brand-new activities in store for attendees in 2019 thanks to our great community partners. We're excited to reveal the details in coming weeks, so stay tuned!"

10. All those photos you’re snapping? Tag Downtown Rochester MN using #SocialICE to be entered into a drawing to win a $50 gift card -- there are six chances to win.

The essentials:

  • There will be a heated restroom trailer on First Avenue near the fire pits.
  • Wear your warmest winter weather gear, including hats, mittens, scarves and parkas.
  • You’ll find convenient parking at downtown ramps, which are free after 5 p.m., and you can easily walk to/from the event via the skyway system.
  • 2019 hours of SocialICE are Thursday, Feb. 7, from 5 to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, Feb. 8-9 from 4 to 10 p.m.
  • You can hit nearby ATMs for cash, as cash is encouraged for payment of those signature drinks everyone will be raving about.


Get a taste of the action by watching the short SocialICE video clip below.

Discover more Winter Fun in Rochester, MN.