The Best Holiday Events in the Twin Cities

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family, christmas, holidays, season and people concept - happy family over lights city background and snow at night

Snow covers the ground, lights and decorations hang everywhere, the smell of cinnamon sugar wafts through the air, and Christmas music twinkles in your ears. That’s right; it’s that time of year once again.

One of the best parts about the Christmas season is the vast array of family-friendly holiday events in which to partake. The Twin Cities area is practically buzzing with them. We are all about these fun and festive twin cities’ holiday events. 

As always, check out Twin Cities Kids Club for amazing discounts and specials. Join the club and let us be your one-stop-shop for all your family’s needs. 

Mother and child with Christmas tree

Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremonies

Rice Park Tree Lighting Ceremony

St. Paul

Saturday, November 23, 4 pm-7 pm

All ages are welcome. This is the grand opening of Rice Park and the unofficial kickoff to the holiday season. Come out and see the dazzle of thousands of twinkling lights. The tree lighting ceremony will be preceded by festive music and followed by fireworks. 

Tree Lighting & Movie Night

  • Union Depot
  • Friday, December 6 pm-10 pm

This annual Christmas Tree lighting comes complete with Christmas movie magic. The tree lighting ceremony at 6:30 will be followed by not one, but two festive films; Elf at 7 pm and The Polar Express at 8:30. 

While you are at the Depot, make sure to stop by the European Christmas Market. You can pick up the last gifts on your shopping list. Shop for unique and handmade holiday gifts and decorations from local vendors. Satiate your hunger with European inspired food and drink. 

Grand Meander Tree Lighting

  • St. Paul
  • Saturday, December 7 

Stroll the day away and take in the charm of historic Grand Avenue. With tons of family-friendly activities to enjoy, you are sure to find the right thing for you. 

Some of the fantastic activities and entertainment include:

  • Visit with Santa
  • Strolling Carolers
  • A Soup Tasting Contest
  • Vulcan Truck Rides
  • Petting Zoo
  • Local Art Fair
  • Salvation Army Bell Ringers
  • Craft Booth
  • Vintage Trolly Rides
  • Story Time at Red Balloon
  • And so much more!

night view of christmas lights

Holiday Harbor Lights and Tree Lighting

  • Downtown Blaine
  • Saturday, December 7, 2 pm-7 pm

This one has got a little something for everyone. Not only is it a light festival, but you can also take part in the Obstacle Dash at Lincoln Park. This one mile run kicks off the festivities, but there is much more to come. 

Dress in your best holiday attire. Bring your strollers or wagons to cart the younger kiddos. Enjoy a post run/walk snack once you finish the course.

Twinkle Party
  • Stillwater
  • Saturday, December 7, 4 pm-7 pm

Begin the day with the Teddy Bear Band, complete with strolling characters. For the kiddos under twelve, grab a free twinkle light. 

Take your pick from the free cookies, trolley rides, cocoa, and even coffee for the grown-up kids. Once you are refreshed, head over to see Santa and Mrs. Claus. 

The tree lighting will start around 5:30 with fireworks immediately following. Should be a frolicking good time. 

Savage Tree Lighting Ceremony

  • Savage City Hall
  • Tuesday, December 10 6 pm-8 pm

Can’t decide if you like Christmas or New Year’s Eve better? Now, you don’t have to. With this Tree lighting ceremony, you get the best parts of two holidays. You get a tree lighting and a countdown. 

Enjoy live music and treats, including s’mores!

Holiday Events

Night Trains

  • The Twin City Model Train Museum
  • St Paul
  • Saturdays, November 2-February 29 6 pm-9 pm
  • $15 per person 

Even the Twin City Model Train Museum has holiday traditions. Every Christmas season, the museum magically transforms into a winter wonderland. 

The lights in the museum are turned way down low, giving the air a bright and cheerful glow. Snow covers the tracks and town, and Christmas trees adorn every exhibit. 

Cinderella

  • The Children’s Theatre Company
  • Minneapolis
  • November 3- January 5
  • $15-80 per person

This is not your average fairy tale. Cinderella gets a Christmas makeover in this production. Imagine a beautiful Victorian Christmas Holiday party, but lose the sense of tradition and decorum. 

According to the theatre, with this show, you never quite know what you are going to get. With this comedic musical, leave your expectations at the door. But do bring your sense of humor, you’re going to need it. 

Check out our review from a previous year!

family outside at night by christmas lights

Bachman’s Holiday Open House

  • Lyndale
  • Saturday, November 23, 9 am-3 pm
  • Free

Bachman’s brings you all things Santa. Start the day off with the arrival of Santa and his favorite Elf Albert. Next, watch the annual holiday play, sing along in a sing-along, listen to some live Christmas music, make a seasonal craft with the kiddies, meet Santa’s reindeer, snack on Santa’s cookies from the North Pole, and spread the festive cheer with all of your new friends. 

Christmas at the Courthouse Holiday Bazaar

  • Stillwater
  • Saturday and Sunday, November 23-24 10 am-4 pm
  • Free

Nothing is more beautiful than Washington County’s historic Courthouse. Wander through the winter wonderland all weekend. Enjoy the festive decorations, live music, and shopping. 

The holiday bazaar is full of local goodies and treats. Don’t forget to visit Santa from noon to 3 pm.

Holidazzle

  • Loring Park, Minneapolis
  • November 29-December 22
  • Thursdays 5 pm-9 pm
  • Fridays 5 pm-10 pm
  • Saturdays 11 am-10 pm
  • Sundays 11 am-7 pm
  • Free

Hollidaze is the perfect occasion that brings people from all over the region together. Celebrate with friends and neighbors. Learn a little bit more about your community. 

This holiday experience will feature highlights from the local food scene, art district, park system, community groups, and local entertainers. 

Holly Trolley

  • Minneapolis
  • Como-Harriet Streetcar Line
  • November 30-December 1 12:30 pm-3:30 pm
  • $4 per person

Join Santa for a holiday streetcar ride. Toast a marshmallow and cozy up to a warm fire. The historic streetcar will be completely decked out for Christmas. So get into the spirit early. 

Adult couple hanging out in the city during Christmas time over lights city background and snow at night

Christmas is a magical time. Grab your family and friends and slide into the spirit. Pick your favorite from our jolly list and make the most of the season.

Become a member of the Twin Cities Kids Club to stay up on all the best stuff for your kids in the Twin Cities. 

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