student making a snow angel

If you can’t beat the snow, you might as well join it!

After living in Winona for almost four years, nothing irks me more than complaints like, “There’s nothing to do in this town,” or “I wish there were fun places to go in Winona.”

Although I know little ol’ Winona may not have a raging nightlife like the Cities nor does it have Caribou Coffee like La Crosse, I like to think our island city has plenty of things to do.

Even in the winter. Even for us poor college students.

Here are a few handy tips for each night of the week, all under $10, to help when Winona feels just a little too small.


Did you know that Monday is Movie Night at the Winona 7? For $6, you can take in that Oscar nominee you’ve been dying to see, the Judy Dench film your mom recommended or whatever else may tickle your fancy.

And with only six dollars for tickets, you’ve still got four leftover for popcorn or candy.


For all of you art enthusiasts, Tuesday is the perfect day to visit the Minnesota Marine Art Museum. Not only is it free for students on Tuesday, it also hosts paintings from all kinds of famous artists including Pablo Picasso and Georgia O’Keefe.

If you haven’t visited this Winona landmark just yet, set aside an hour or two after class and, when you’re finished, treat your artistically cultured self to a ten-dollar dinner downtown.


When school is just too overwhelming, it’s sometimes best to get out of the library and spend time outside. The Lake Lodge, located on Lake Winona offers services for summer and winter activities.

It costs five dollars for a year round membership, and that membership allows folks to rent ice skates, go canoeing, try snowshoeing and so much more. Afterward, warm up with hot chocolate and a muffin at Mugby Junction.


Before hitting the books or heading over to Mugshots on Thursday night, lace up some colorful shoes at the Winona Bowl. Their slogan–“Never rains at the lanes–” also applies to snow, and bowling is a great way to keep active and warm.

With their reasonable prices, you should easily be able to afford a game and a shoe rental for ten dollars or less.


At the end of a stressful week, there’s nothing better than unwinding with some live music. The Acoustic Café hosts performers every Friday and Saturday night for no cover charge.

With a deal like that, you’ll feel relaxed munching on a half hoagie and taking in some fun, free music.


Although the Winona Farmer’s Market is a downtown staple during the warmer months, it’s still alive and kicking in the winter. It doesn’t take place every Saturday, but throughout the winter, the Winona Mall hosts an indoor market from 9am until noon.

For ten dollars, just think of all the fresh baked bread and fruit you could bring home!


Sunday is the perfect day to get out and explore Winona’s bluffs. Though it may not be the best time of year to hike Garvin Heights, the drive to the top is lovely.

The Woodlawn Cemetery also offers a beautiful view, and St. Mary’s has some picturesque bluff side trails worth exploring. With a camera and a few friends, you’ve got yourself an adventure.

So, fellow Winona residents, there’s no reason to complain about being bored, broke or blue. Winter in Winona is full of fun surprises, and most are waiting just outside your front door.