As we all know, those long Minnesota winter days combined with a strenuous school and work load can make life as a Minnesota State University, Mankato student seem a bit dull and stressful at times. Luckily, there are many free and cheap activities on campus and around Mankato to break the cycle and lift your morale.
If it isn't 25 degrees below zero outside there are a variety of free outdoor activities to enjoy. Mankato East and West High Schools both have skating rinks with nets for those interested in shooting some pucks or just gliding along. Ice quality varies, so don't be surprised if these rinks are a bit choppy or melty depending on the weather. If you are willing to pony up a little dough to ensure perfect ice conditions you can check out the All Seasons Arena.
Sledding is another activity that's great for relieving stress and enjoying the winter elements. Sibley Park is the choice sledding hill around the area. If you are without a sled you can pick one up for cheap at a local department store. If you have a little extra cash you may consider upgrading to Mount Kato for tubing, skiing, snowboarding, or crashing down the hill.
Most students don't get much exposure to dogs since there generally aren't many dogs on campus. If you miss your animal friend from home you can walk dogs at the Blue Earth - Nicollet County Humane Society. This is a great way to help out the dogs and get some exercise.
There are many activities for those looking to stay warm and cozy indoors. The epitome of 'warm and cozy' would be hanging out at a coffee shop in Mankato. The Hub in University Square, The Coffee Hag and The Fillin' Station are a few that mustn't go unmentioned. There are even more places to check out live music in Mankato. The Sugar Room, Wine Cafe, Red Sky Lounge, Pub 500, The Savoy and Busters are just a handful of places that host weekly live music. These places generally allow people under 21 in for the music, but it's never a bad idea to call ahead of time to double check.
For aspiring singers and musicians, Mankato boasts several karaoke and open-mic opportunities. Some locations that host weekly open microphones are The Sugar Room, Loose Moose Saloon, Red Sky Lounge, Carbone's Pizza and Professor's. If you are more interested in karaoke, you may check out Chopper's, The Savoy, Johnny B's, Wine Cafe, Loose Moose Saloon, Mac's Bar and Cafe or Hooligans, among others. Don't forget about the arts around the Mankato area. Click here for more on arts.
For those looking for a more active indoor approach for entertainment you may check out the Wow Zone. The Wow Zone features bowling, laser tag, mini golf, an arcade and food and drinks. The Maverick Bullpen in the Centennial Student Union is another great place to shoot pool, bowl and play some arcade games for cheap.
Another way to de-stress and feel good while doing so is by checking out the Otto Rec Center. The machines have fully functional computers with television capabilities to make stationary workouts a bit more interesting. If you are looking to move around a little more, the Otto Rec Center also has a full track, several basketball courts and a full weight room.
Don't forget your campus activities. The campus activities board, IMPACT, organizes and hosts several free activities for students. Most of these activities are on campus and serve as a great way to de-stress and meet new people. Click here for an event list.
There are also many cultural activities on campus and around the community allowing for a look into other cultures and customs. These events are both entertaining and educational. Click here for more information on upcoming cultural events.
Finally, winter is an exciting time for sports at MSU as two of the main sports, hockey and basketball, are in full swing. Attending Maverick sporting events is a great way to show your school spirit and spend time with friends. MSU is especially known for its rowdy men's hockey games downtown at the Verizon Wireless Center. For upcoming sports this weekend click here. For a full listing of MSU sports click here.
Whether you find yourself bored and looking for something to do or stressed and in need of a break, remember there are many things to do in Mankato as an MSU student. Feel free to comment with any winter activities that you enjoy in the Mankato area.