Unique ways to ring in New Year's Eve

Avoid starting 2011 with a fizzle; ring in the new year by doing something interesting and memorable. The Twin Cities have plenty of alternatives to clutching a bottle of warm champagne and watching Dick Clark. You can build up to a proper cork-popping event with these fun New Year's Eve activities around town. [jump]

A few parks and recreational areas will have outdoor events on the big night, including Fort Snelling. Grab your ice skates for skating on Snelling Lake then warm up by an outdoor fire. There will be marshmallows for roasting and cider to drink, and from 3 to 9 p.m. the walking trails will be marked by luminaries for cozy, candle-lit walks.

Wood Lake Nature Center in Richfield will be having their annual Candlelight and Ice Celebration. In addition to illuminated walking trails through the wilderness, where you might spot rabbits and deer, there will be crafts and games. Guests are encouraged to sit back and relax while roasting marshmallows and drinking hot cocoa by the fireside. No pre-registration necessary. Tickets are $4 per person, free for FOWL Members. Doors open at 6 p.m.

If you've been missing the opportunity to see a New Year's Eve fireworks display--there hasn't been one in downtown Minneapolis since 2007--you may want to visit Buck Hill for their New Year's Eve bash. Their celebration includes a midnight fireworks display, but there will be plenty to occupy your time in the meanwhile. There will be skiing and tubing until midnight, skiing and snowboard competitions, plus free activities including caricature drawings and live entertainment. They will even be serving cocktails in the BuckStone Lodge until 1 a.m.

For those of you who want nothing to do with ice and snow this New Year's Eve, get indoors at Pepito's Parkway neighborhood cinema. Comedian and native Minnesotan Lizz Winstead, co-creator of The Daily Show, will be performing her at "Lizz Winstead Live! 2010: The Winners and the Losers. Mostly the Losers" live at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. After her last set, Pepito's is having an after party and midnight toast with Winstead as well. This is a 21+ party and tickets start at $25.

Finally if you're looking for a New Year's Eve iPhone app, Ikea has come up with Skål!, which translates to Cheers! You can choose what to toast with--champagne, wine, beer, or milk--and exchange photos, though we're pretty sure an actual bottle of champagne (or milk) would be more welcome.

Looking for something else to do this New Year's Eve? Check out our complete listings guide to the last bash of 2010.