This is a great opportunity to try out ice climbing at the Sandstone Ice Festival! Only a hour and a half north of the Twin Cities, you can stay for the whole weekend, or just come up for the day. Events include climbing and winter camping clinics, a gear swap, a guest speaker, raffle, and lots of socializing. Free camping right at Robinson Park, or get a hotel room nearby. I plan to go up Friday evening and camp both nights. Demo gear is available, so all you need to climb is a harness and a helmet. However, you can get more climbing in if you bring your own gear, especially mountaineering boots, which can be rented from the Center for Outdoor Adventure at the University. Clinics fill up fast, so register on the festival website as soon as possible.
Estimated cost: food & gas on your own.