Downtown Minneapolis Christmas Checklist

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ChristmastimeintheCitiesFor me, there is something magical about taking the bus downtown any time of the year. I feel like I’m a part of this city that I’ve made my home. That’s why I choose to work downtown. Christmas is my favorite time to hop a bus downtown. There is so much to do. I always make my family meet me for lunch at least once and usually we head down on a weekend at least once, too. Here is my checklist for this year.

santaland displayVisit Santa at Macy’s Santaland
Macy’s Minneapolis Downtown, 8th Floor, Auditorium
November 21st through December 24th.

I’m probably a little too swayed by Hollywood, but I can’t imagine a better place to visit Santa Claus than a downtown Department Store. On the way to Santa, peek into “A Day in the Life of an Elf” preparing for Christmas. And after, purchase a treat from Mrs. Claus’ bakery. Check the Family Fun Calendar for days and times.

Image Courtesy Holidazzle

Chill Out at Holidazzle
Loring Park, Minneapolis
November 27th through December 20th

With Nicollet Mall torn up, Holidazzle has moved to Loring Park for this season. Holidazzle is back to being a free family event on Thursdays through Sunday from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Besides live music and entertainment, there will be fireworks on the first and last day, festive lights, holiday movies on select days, and a skating rink! Skating is free; bring your own skates. You can find dates and daily activities on our Family Fun Calendar. A couple dates offer free bus rides – perfect if you have a bigger family to get there.

Relax with a Lunch Hour Concert
City Center, Minneapolis or IDS Center, Minneapolis
November 30th through December 23rd

For a short, sweet lunch Holiday fix, stop by the City Center on select Mondays and Wednesdays to hear a variety of festive music during their Holiday Music Series or choose the IDS Center for their Holiday Under Glass music series.  Find dates and details for both for both on our Family Fun Calendar.

Image Courtesy of Hennepin County Library

Hit the Library for My Holiday Movie Fix
Minneapolis Central Library

If you are going to do this, too.  Get your name on the wait list quick. I’m counting on timely returns to get Rudolph before Christmas. And in case anyone else loves that 1980s made-for-TV version of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Hennepin County Library doesn’t have a single copy, you’ll have to hit up Steppingstone Theatre.  While you are at Central, you could get a hot cocoa at the coffee shop and, if you time it right, take in a story time.

Image Courtesy Basilica of St. Mary

See Amahl and the Night Visitors
Basilica of St. Mary
Saturday, December 5; 2:00 pm Performance
Good Will Offering – $50.00

Amahl and the Night Visitors is an opera about a shepherd, his mother, three kings and a star. Past performances at the Basilica have been outside of my budget, but this year, they have a General Admission level that is a pay-what-you-are-able pricing.  Yay!  I can afford that. All proceeds will benefit The Basilica of Saint Mary.

Image Courtesy Open Window Theatre

See The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
Open Window Theatre
December 4th – December 30th
$1.00 – $26.00

I love this book series.  I love this movie series — both the cartoon and the newer live action. I really want to see this show. The question is whether I will take just one child to a weekend show or do a Thursday Pay-What-You-Are-Able Show with the whole family.

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About the author

Joy Peters

Joy Peters - co-creator and writer for

Besides Family Fun Twin Cities, I spend my 9 to 5 at a day job pursuing my weird passion for calendars and organizing things as a legal secretary. When I get home I spend my time with my four kids, 10, 6, 4 and 1. My amazing husband is both a full-time musician and full-time stay-at-home dad. Together we run a small radio empire — SiaNet Radio — playing, promoting and enjoying the wide variety of local music and art in the Twin Cities. I juggle all this while writing about exploring the Twin Cities with kids. I couldn’t be happier.

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