Tired of dark, gloomy weather? Here's where to see color in Minnesota

Como conservatory winter flower show
Winter Flower Show at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park in St. Paul.
Courtesy Como Park Zoo and Conservatory

We all know it — Minnesota's winter is brutally cold and long. And we all miss a colorful Minnesota for its clear, blue lakes with sparkling sunshine or bright red and yellow foliage in the fall.

Although the winter seems to wash all the vibrancy away, there still are a number of colors shining underneath the thick, white snow and ice.

Here's a list of spots where you can enjoy the bright colors and lights of Minnesota with your family and friends this winter.

Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

A blizzard might be raging outside, but in at Como Park it's always spring with its annual Holiday Flower Show that began in 1925. The monthlong event takes place from the first day of December through Jan. 6, 2019, at its Sunken Garden of the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory. It features azaleas, poinsettias and many more mesmerizing flower displays to celebrate the holiday mood.

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In addition to the flower show, the park showcases other colorful spots and family-friendly events throughout the winter months including Spotlight Animal to introduce different animals each day.

Holiday light shows

There is one good thing about having early sunsets in the winter — we have more night time to enjoy festive holiday lights. Many cities and towns in Minnesota are dolling themselves up with blinding Christmas lights for the holiday season.

Canadian Pacific Holiday Train: This year the train is stopping in 20 Minnesota towns on its way from Missouri to Saskatchewan, Canada. Featuring hundreds of thousands LED lights and music performances, the train brings the Christmas cheer and gathers people for donations to local food banks. Details on the stop locations and schedule can be found on its website.

• Duluth: Duluth continues to have the country's largest free lighting display walk this Christmas season, the Bentleyville Tour of Lights, at the city's downtown waterfront. It is open to the public each night at 5 p.m. until the day after Christmas. You can enjoy a nice stroll under more than 5 million glowing lights along the shoreline of Lake Superior with some complimentary winter goodies like hot cocoa and roasted marshmallows

• Minneapolis: In downtown Minneapolis, Holidazzle at Loring Park welcomes people with its premier holiday celebration highlighting food and beverage vendors, local craft shops, interactive illumination and dazzling fireworks. The event runs from Thursdays through Sundays, now through Dec. 23.

• Eden Prairie: If you're in Eden Prairie this winter, turn on your radio and enjoy the choreography of Christmas lights synchronized to the music from the radio. Located on the city's western edge, Prairie Lights has been brightening up the neighborhood with thousands of animated lights during the holiday season since 2010. The performance starts at 5 p.m. every night now until to Jan. 5.

Getting Christmas lights up
Olivia Tobin, 13, puts the finishing touches on a Christmas tree that was decorated by her and her friends from the Dance Express Booster Club at Sibley Park on Wednesday evening. A line of Christmas trees has been decorated by various organizations as part of the Kiwanis Holiday Lights fundraiser that will begin on Friday in Mankato, Minn.
Jackson Forderer for MPR News

• Mankato: At Sibley Park in Mankato, more than 1.5 million lights make a spectacular walkway along with animated lights, a skating rink and ice sculptures, celebrating the end of the year. The Mankato Downtown Kiwanis Club has organized the Kiwanis Holiday Lights since 2012. The park is lit up with Christmas decorations until Dec. 31.