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Insider's Guide to Improv-ICE February 6-14

Update: Above freezing temperatures Wednesday, February 3 and Thursday, February 4 may feel good to us but are not favorable for keeping our ice sculptures from melting. So we are improvising—in true Improv-ICE fashion—and starting the winter experience Saturday, February 6 when conditions are ideal and end it February 14.

What is Improv-ICE?

In short, it's SocialICE improvised. Hence, Improv-ICE, a come-and-go winter experience featuring life-sized ice sculptures including the awe-inspiring 10-ice block masterpiece of the Improv-ICE community-voted ice sculpture. Because there are no set hours, daytime, nighttime, any time's alright to walk through Improv-ICE February 6-14 (weather permitting)! The Improv-ICE carvers will be putting the finishing touches on the ice sculptures in the morning of February 6, so by around 6 p.m., the public will be able to enjoy Improv-ICE to its full effect, which includes illuminated sculptures, music, and other light installations!

Ice sculptures, Wall of ICE, and ice curtain:

Peace Plaza will be illuminated with creativity and lights through the many ice artworks during Improv-ICE. If you've never seen an ice carver at work, it's truly amazing what they can create with a block of ice, a chainsaw, and a few tools! (FYI: watch a live view of Metro Ice Sculptures carving the community sculpture this year; tune in here at 12 p.m. Friday, February 5!) Rather than seeing a work in progress, gaze upon the final works—ice sculptures ranging from a clock tower to a peacock, the Wall of ICE, and the popular ice curtain—all week (or as long as the Minnesota cold weather holds out!) of Improv-ICE.

Buy a Meal, Give a Meal Restaurant Campaign

One of the coolest attractions of SocialICE has been the ice bars. In partnership with the restaurants, we're improv-iceing how to feature them leading up to and through Improv-ICE. From February 6 to 14, for every transaction (dine-in check, take-out order, gift card purchase, etc.) recorded at participating downtown restaurants, a group of community supporters will donate a meal to Channel One Regional Food Bank. Find a list of participating restaurants in the Buy a Meal, Give a Meal restaurant campaign blog here.

Together Community Portrait

Be together without being together! Partnering with Threshold Arts, local artists are creating a community work of art on the Together letters with submitted selfies of those near and far. (Thanks to this community, there is more than enough subject matter!) Check out this cool snapshot of our community during Improv-ICE in Peace Plaza and follow the creation's installation progress on Instagram at #togetherportrait.

#ImprovICE photo contest

Get to steppin' downtown for Improv-ICE and get to snappin' to win the photo contest! Two winners in three categories—six total winners—who take the best photo will receive a $25 gift card to a downtown business. Find full rules and more details in this Improv-ICE phot contest blog.

Where to park:

With on-street and city ramps, downtown Rochester offers several parking options to able to enjoy Improv-ICE. If you're looking to visit on the weekend or after the sun sets, you're in luck! Street parking and city ramps (excluding Mayo Clinic ramps) are free after 5 p.m. weekdays and on the weekend. Visit the City of Rochester parking website for more information.

What else to do:

Look to make the most of your time while here for Improv-ICE! Check out our events calendar to see what else is going on in downtown Rochester.


  Find all the Improv-ICE details here.