Winter wonderland: Saint Paul hosts Saint Paul Winter Carnaval, with cheap flights from Fresno

The country's oldest winter festival, founded in 1886 by a group of local business owners to showcase Minnesota's scenic locales, officially kicks off this year with The Moon Glow Pedestrian Parade (Jan. 24) at the Landmark Center.

The roughly weeklong festival also features an array of free and low-cost activities for the whole family, like the Kids' Day Puzzle Contest (Jan. 26) and Frozen Family Fun Night at the Landmark Center (Jan. 29), with live performances, food trucks and ice carvings. There's also Disco Night with the 70s Magic Sunshine Band (Feb. 1) and Ice Bars situated throughout Kellogg Mall Park looking over the frozen Mississippi.

Bundle up and head over to the Minnesota State Fair Grounds for the Vulcan Snow Park, with 3,000 tons of snow to play in, a giant snow slide and a polar plunge if you dare. And don't forget to check out Winter Carnival Royalty, King Boreas and the Queen of the Snows, and two more parades: The Grand Day (Jan. 26) and the Torchlight parade (Feb. 2).

Thankfully, there are plenty of regular, relatively-inexpensive flights between Fresno and Saint Paul . We pulled from travel site Skyscanner to provide you with a short list of flights and hotels handpicked for the occasion.

(Hoodline offers data-driven analysis of local happenings and trends across cities. Links included in the articles may earn Hoodline a commission on clicks and transactions. Prices and availability are subject to change.)

Cheapest Saint Paul flights

The cheapest flights between Fresno and Saint Paul are if you leave on January 31 and return from Minnesota on February 3. Frontier Airlines currently has roundtrip, nonstop tickets for $315.

Top Saint Paul hotels

Regarding where to stay, here are some of Saint Paul 's top-rated hotels, according to Skyscanner, that we selected based on price, proximity to things to do, and customer satisfaction.

The Le Meridien Chambers Minneapolis (901 Hennepin Ave.)

If you're looking for an inexpensive place to stay, consider The Le Meridien Chambers Minneapolis. The hotel has a 4.6-star rating on Skyscanner, and rooms are currently available for $89.

Set in the heart of Minneapolis, this hotel is close to both Target Center and Target Field, as well as the Basilica of Saint Mary. Additional attractions include the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.

The Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel, The Depot (225 S. Third Ave.)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

If you're looking to treat yourself, try The Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel, The Depot. Rooms are currently set at $99/night.

Set in the heart of Minneapolis, this hotel is close to Minneapolis City Hall, Mill Ruins Park, as well as the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.

The Crowne Plaza Hotel and Suites (3 Appletree Square)

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A third option is The Crowne Plaza Hotel and Suites. The 4.2-star hotel has rooms for $89/night.

Situated near the airport, this full-service Bloomington hotel is also close to the Mall of America, the Minnesota Valley Wildlife Refuge and other major businesses. If you are looking to venture further afield, you can head to the Minneapolis Zoo, downtown Minneapolis and many other top Twin Cities attractions.

Featured Saint Paul food and drink

Saint Paul has plenty of topnotch dining options. Here are a few of the most popular, according to Skyscanner.

Sebastian Joe's Ice Cream Cafe (1007 W. Franklin Ave.)

First things first: where to get your ice cream fix. For a popular option, check out Sebastian Joe's Ice Cream Cafe, which has an average of 4.9 stars out of 14 reviews on Skyscanner.

"One of, if not THE, best ice cream in the city," wrote visitor Christopher. "The line can get pretty long, but it usually moves pretty quickly and you'll be glad you waited. Try the Oreo and Nicollet Ave flavors."

Mickey's Dining Car (36 Seventh St. West)

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If you're looking for a local favorite restaurant pick, head to Mickey's Dining Car, with five stars from nine reviews.

"Expect a little bit of a wait as Mickey's is teeny tiny compared to most places, but it's well worth your wait," wrote reviewer Hannah. "It's a St. Paul classic and you can feel it when you walk in the door. If no muss no fuss short order food with a neighborhood feel is your thing, you'll adore everything Mickey's has to offer. You just can't go wrong!"

Restaurant Alma (528 University Ave. SE)

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Also worth considering is Restaurant Alma.

Opened in 1999, Restaurant Alma is a casual fine dining restaurant, offering eclectic American cuisine and warm hospitality in a rustic historically preserved building.

What to see and do in Saint Paul

Not sure what to do in Saint Paul, besides eat and drink? Here are a few recommendations, provided by Skyscanner.

The Minnehaha Park and Falls (4801 S. Minnehaha Drive)

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First up is The Minnehaha Park and Falls.

Winding alongside the Minnehaha Creek's 5-mile path from the south shore of Lake Harriett to the Mississippi River, the picturesque Minnehaha Parkway features splendid gardens; large, shady trees and well-maintained trails.

"Amazing waterfall," wrote visitor Daniel. "Absolutely beautiful in the summer, but even more so in the winter. Just don't go walking on the ice!"

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts (2400 Third Ave. South)

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The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is another popular destination.

Explore exhibits that celebrate everything from Babe Ruth to mushrooms. Get inspired by the Asian Art collection, or the Paintings collection that includes work by Georgia O'Keeffe. You can even interact with exhibits through the Institute's Interactive Learning Stations.

"The best part about the Art Institute," wrote visitor Austin. "The admission is free. The museum is large, and the art inside is beautiful."

Mall of America (60 E. Broadway)

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Lastly, spend some time at the Mall of America.

"The mall is very big so be prepared to walk a lot," wrote visitor Rosalie. "It also has a Nickelodeon park and a lot of different restaurants to choose from."