Le Meridien’s Ice Chamber, Minneapolis
Enter the country’s first outdoor ice bar at Eden, the courtyard bar of the Le Meridien Chambers hotel. Sidle up to the translucent bar constructed of 300-pound ice bricks, order a cocktail and take a seat next to the fire pit. Weather permitting through the spring thaw, lemeridienchambers.com.
Igloofest, Montreal, Canada
Chicago’s got SummerDance, but how about a huge outdoor mid-January fete with dozens of international electronic music acts? Montreal’s nine-day party draws about 45,000 people to the St. Lawrence riverfront for a lineup that, this year, includes Swedish pop singer Robyn and Chicago’s own Kid Sister. January 13–15, 20–22 and 27–29; igloofest.ca/en.
Winter Carnival, Quebec City, Canada
Maybe winter would go by faster if we had distractions like ice and snow slides, downtown dog-sled races, outdoor concerts and dance parties and hot tubs in the park. Quebec City has it all when a red-capped snowman mascot named Bonhomme marks the beginning of this fest. January 28–February 13, carnaval.qc.ca/en.
Saidai-ji Eyo Hadaka Matsuri at Saidai-ji Temple, Saidaiji-naka, Japan
Picture 10,000 men in loin cloths, fortified with sake, set loose in the streets on one of the coldest nights of the year. During this 500-year-old Shinto Buddhist body-and-mind purification ritual, monks add to the excruciating chill by dumping icy water on the scantily clad gents. February 19, www.jnto.go.jp/eng.