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Spring, Summer, Winter, Fall. We've got 'em all!

Spring, Summer, Winter, Fall. We've got 'em all!

Despite what you may have heard, Minnesota is not a frozen tundra year round. We have four distinct seasons: spring brings blossoming trees and beautiful flowers, warm summers allow us to enjoy our 10,000 lakes, and, perhaps best of all, autumn means the countryside will be ablaze in shades of red and gold.

As for winter? It’s mostly a matter of dressing right and being prepared for the extremes. With appropriate clothing and gear, you can be as active outdoors as you want to — although if you’d rather hibernate, that’s OK too.

Here’s a sampler of our favorite things to do at Carleton year round:


September: 74°F / 53°F (24°C / 12°C)
October: 60°F / 40°F (16°C / 5°C)
November: 45°F / 28°F (7°C / -2°C)

  • Student Activities Fair, your opportunity to get acquainted with — and join — a dizzying array of student groups
  • Apple picking at nearby Fireside Orchard
  • The Defeat of Jesse James Days celebrates Northfield’s victory over the notorious James-Younger Gang back in 1876
  • Homecoming includes a whole menu of special events along with the traditional football game
  • Walking, running, and biking in The Arb and on scenic country roads


January: 25°F / 9°F (-4°C / -13°C)
February: 28°F / 10°F (-2°C / -12°C)
March: 43°F / 25°F (6°C / -4°C)

  • Broomball. Arguably Carleton’s favorite winter sport, it’s basically hockey played with no skates and no puck. It may sound silly, but you’ll have a lot of fun and work up a sweat, even on the coldest days. We have a rink right on campus, so it’s easy to start or join a game.
  • Ice skating. If you can get the broomball players to give up the rink.
  • Traying. A version of sledding that is not officially approved, because it requires borrowing trays from the dining hall. You can also use an actual sled.
  • Midwinter Ball. It’s a chance to dress up and dance the night away, but there are lots of other activities, too, including an ice sculpting competition.
  • Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Carleton’s 880-acre arboretum is right on campus and offers miles of beautifully groomed trails. It’s the perfect way to take a break from your studies and reconnect with nature.


April: 58°F / 37°F (14°C / 3°C)
May: 71°F / 49°F (22°C / 9°C)
June: 79°F / 59°F (26°C / 15°C)

  • Spring Concert. An annual outdoor music festival that’s been a Carleton tradition for more than 30 years. Nothing better than welcoming the return of warm weather with hot bands.
  • Mai Fete. A weekly gathering of seniors on scenic Mai Fete island.
  • Rotblatt. A Carleton tradition since 1964, it’s the world’s longest softball game.
  • International Festival. Enjoy food, songs, performances and cultural workshops representing many nations.
  • Outdoor movies.  Takes place on the Bald Spot — and way better than a drive-in movie!


July: 83°F / 62°F (29°C / 17°C)
August: 80°F / 60°F (27°C / 15°C)

  • Carleton students are on break for the summer, but it’s still a beautiful time to visit campus, on your own or during Minnesota Private College Week.
  • Turn your visit into a family vacation with the help of Explore Minnesota. It’s a great site for discovering everything our state has to offer, including lakes, rivers, parks, and other attractions.
  • Consider attending one of Carleton’s summer programs for high school students. Each one combines college-level educational experiences with the chance to enjoy campus — and Minnesota — in all its summer glory.
I think I was so scared about Minnesota winter because every time I told people I was going to Carleton, they’re like, 'well, is that in Minnesota? You know it’s really cold in Minnesota.' br>
I’m like, 'yeah, I know!'
Kristen Vellinger
Pleasanton, CA
Two students walking by the Bald Spot in the fall

They say there's no wrong time to stroll (or bike) around campus. But we're partial to doing so under a canopy of fall leaves.


One day before classes resume, students take to the ice to reconnect after winter break


Incoming students partake in one Carleton's biggest traditions - the First-year Frisbee Toss

Two students prepare to skateboard near Goodhue Hall

The crisp golden sunlight of fall makes for pretty great exploring around campus, especially on a skateboard or bike.

Students dance during Spring Concert

After a long winter, students are excited to get outside and enjoy Spring Concert.

Students cruise Northfield on bikes

The Cruisin' Club is a great way to explore Northfield in the spring.

A student smiles and pets a therapy dog.

Got the winter blues? Come snuggle with the Student Wellness Advocates' therapy dog!


A pretty sunset in front of my dorm from a few days ago

A student-led tour group leaves Admissions, most people in short sleeves

If you visit in the summer, we can (usually) guarantee warm weather.

Bumper cars on an ice rink on the bald spot during the winter

Have you ever tried steering a bumper car on ice?