Couldn’t we all use a little help getting through the long Minnesota winter? Family Fun Twin Cities Winter Break Survival Guide has something for everyone.
The Twin Cities are lit up this December weekend with special holiday events. Find our picks here or check our Family Fun Calendar for more en”light”enment!
TREE LIGHTING SPOTLIGHT: Shop Excelsior & Grand Meander, St. Paul
12/3: Christmastime Shop Excelsior, Main Street, Excelsior • 12-7pm • Details: The big tree lights up at 7pm on Water Street, plus sleigh rides, Santa and carolers lend a holiday air. Also runs 12/10 & 12/17. FREE.
HOLIDAY LIGHTS SPOTLIGHT: CSE Winter Light Show, Minneapolis & Holiday Lights in the Park, St. Paul
12/3: CSE Winter Light Show @ U of M Minneapolis • 15-min shows at 5:30, 6 & 6:30pm • Details: Students have arranged their annual display of 250,000+ LED lights that dance in sync with tunes. Additional shows will be 12/8-10. FREE.
12/3-4: Holiday Lights in the Park @ Lake Phalen Park, St. Paul • 5-10pm • $8/vehicle online, $10/gate • Details: The half-mile drive twinkles with more than 60 light sculptures and animated displays. All net proceeds from the event will go back into the community. Runs nightly thru 1/1/17.
For a complete listing of holiday twinkles throughout the metro area, try our list of Twin Cities & Greater Minnesota Christmas & Holiday Light Displays.
HOLIDAY FESTIVAL SPOTLIGHT:
12/3: Twinkle Party, Lowell Park Gazebo, Stillwater • 4-6pm • Family highlights: The party – which includes the city tree lighting, Teddy Bear Band, free cocoa and cookies, Santa Claus, trolley rides and fireworks – is just slice of Stillwater’s Hometown for the Holidays celebration, running Nov – NYE.
12/3-4: Holidazzle @ Loring Park, Minneapolis • 11am-9pm • Family highlights: Weekend highs of this dazzling free festival: Illuminated art displays, visits with Santa, ice skating, fireworks (Sat, 6:30pm) and an outdoor movie (Sun, 5pm).
12/3-4: Seward Winter Frolic, Minneapolis • Family highlights: Local businesses exhibit arts (including a free Studio Art Day at Articulture – come craft holiday cards), food and drink samples, tours and demos. Tree lighting at Triangle Park takes place Saturday, 5pm followed by Santa and hay rides.
For further holiday planning, check our Holiday Festival Calender.
HOLIDAY SHOPPING SPOTLIGHT: Reindeer Day & Grand Meander
Reindeer Day, Linden Hills, Minneapolis • Sat Dec 3, 10am-2pm • Details: Hop a free trolley ride to area business bustling with marshmallow roasting, Santa and his reindeer, carolers and in-store events.
Grand Meander, Grand Avenue, St. Paul • Sat Dec 3, events run starting 8:30am through the afternoon • Details: 20 blocks of local shops, samples, specials, Vulcan fire truck rides, carolers and multiple venues to visit with Santa. FREE.
Making that list and checking it twice? Let us offer some inspiration with our 2016 Christmas Shopping Guide featuring many of our favorite homegrown businesses:
HOLIDAY STAGE SPOTLIGHT: Santa & Albert’s Annual Holiday Play: “Santa & Albert Rock Christmas” @ Bachman’s on Lyndale, Minneapolis • Sat 10 & 11:30am, 1 & 2:30pm and Sun 11:30am, 1 & 2:30pm • Details: Find out if Albert gets to meet his musical idol, “Elfus” this year! Stay for caroling and photo opps with Santa. FREE.
Thanks to the awesome Prairie Lights website for help with this list of Christmas light displays & music shows! Our family discovered the student-designed Winter Lights Show put on by the University of Minnesota’s College of Science & Engineering. Who knew there were this many holiday light displays out there?
Please, we beg you, personally confirm the details of these light shows before heading out! We always appreciate the feedback if you find any holiday light displays that are no longer happening or know of one we don’t have listed! Read More
I think, like a lot of parents, I dream of having a home that is more of a cozy little landing pad for our adventures than a storage facility for our stuff. So I have been collecting up ideas for clutter-free gifts of adventure through membership to museums and other fun places.
If you are an out-of-town grandparent, membership gifts are ideal. Your grandchildren will look forward to your visits so you can enjoy your gift together; plus they will enjoy it with their parents the rest of the year. Furthermore, your children will tell all their friends that you are so much cooler than the grandparents who bought loud, battery-powered, plastic toys that end up in the garbage heap we call a toy box. Trust me on this. Read More
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever at SteppingStone Theatre is one of those Christmas items that is on my checklist every year. Unfortunately, it tends to get pushed aside for other things because I know I can always catch it next year. Not this year!
SteppingStone has announced that after 2016, this beloved classic is getting sent to the vault. We don’t know when we’ll see it again. If, like me, it’s been on your checklist, this is the year to act. If you don’t know about, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, let me give you a quick history.
Want to go to a Christmas concert? There is a plethora for you to choose from from Instrumental, Choral, Rock, Classical, Dance, etc. Read More
We have a unique opportunity in the Twin Cities to enjoy the holidays on trains and planes and sleighs, and we’ve rounded up all we can find just for you and your family!
Handcraft Holiday Gifts can be extra special when the creative process is half the fun! We’ve rounded up seven local spots where your kids can mess up someone else’s space, let their imaginations run wild, and craft some serious masterpieces this holiday season:
Offers: Saturday, Dec 3, Articulture opens its doors for a free studio art day in conjunction with the annual Seward Winter Frolic. Make ornaments, cards & garlands, all ages plus cookies and cider.
Color Me Mine, Eagan & Maple Grove
Offers: Young artists have a whole palette of choices here – they can drop in to paint ceramics, spend a Kids Night Out (3rd Fri/each month, $32/child ages 5+ includes painting, pizza, games, and a movie – EAGAN location only) or Paint With Santa (both Eagan & Maple Grove locations).
Cost: Drop in studio fees are $5/ages 1-9, $6/ages 10-15, $10/ages 16+ and include use of paints, studio space, and the firing.
Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park, Brooklyn Park
Offers: Elves Workshop gives kids the chance to craft gifts by hand with supplies and instructions provided. Event takes place 12/17, reservations required by 12/13.
Created to Grow, St. Anthony
Offers: Every Saturday is Family Fun Day here – from 10:30am-1:30pm all ages can drop by to work on a variety of projects. Gifts for the grandparents perhaps?
Cost: $15 per session, discounts if you purchase a pack of 10 family visits
Offers: Monthly preschool festivals, drop-in crafts and a comfortable, child-friendly environment to spend some time. Browse their Holiday Gift Digest, filled with 30 holiday projects from tabletop reindeer to wood-burned picture frames, that can be given as handmade gifts.
Cost: Most drop-in crafts are priced between $10-$20 apiece.
Offers: In addition to the menu of kids classes and the wide range of quality playthings the store offers, come check out the Maker’s Studio, a space dedicated to letting little ones get creative.
Cost: $8/child per hour ages 18 mon-10 years, open daily 10am-5:30pm.
Leonardo’s Basement, Minneapolis
Offers: Elf Apprenticeship Program: Holiday Gift Making lets tinkerers ages 6-12 choose from a wide range of projects – sewing, woodworking, stained glass, jewelry making and more – to craft homemade holiday presents. Dates: Nov 26-27 & Dec 3-4. Pre-registration required.
Michaels, various Twin Cities locations
Offers: Kids Club crafts are simple and inexpensive yet could lend a nice personal touch to a small gift. Drop in Saturdays 10am-noon during Nov and Dec to make felt ornaments, clay pot elves and other holiday themed items.
Cost: $2 per project, supplies included
Rumriver Art Center, Anoka
Offers: Free Family Art Day will take place Saturday, Dec 3. Two sessions are available (11am-noon or 1-2pm) and reservations are required either by calling 763.323.8830 or using this form. The hour-long class is appropriate for kids ages 5+ with a caregiver and the holiday-themed project will be something suitable to give as a gift.
Simply Jane, Minneapolis
Offers: Toddler Time Thursdays from 10am-noon are suitable for your littles to create a homemade holiday gift. Experiment with paint, play with toys, books, dress-up and more. The studio also offers drop-in painting for all ages; hours can be found here.
Cost: Toddler Time is $10 per child.