Tag - Holidazzle

Free Twin Cities December Family Events & Activities
12 Twin Cities Early Holiday Events
12 Free & Cheap Things To Do in November
New Twin Cities’ Christmas Traditions–Minneapolis Holiday Market and Holidazzle Village
The Holidazzle Parade — Don’t Miss the Last Season!

Free Twin Cities December Family Events & Activities



12/2: Forever Wild Family Friday: Scavenger Hunt @ Lebanon Hills Regional Park Visitor Center, Eagan • 7-8:30pm • Details: Drop in for smores and a nighttime hunt.

12/3: First Free Saturday: Walker Open House @ Walker Art Center, Minneapolis • 10am-3pm • Details: Activities are geared towards kids ages 6-12, but don’t let that stop you from bringing your littler ones! Free gallery admission for the whole family. Read More

12 Twin Cities Early Holiday Events

10 Twin Cities Early Holiday Events

night-trainsNight Trains @ Twin City Model Railroad Museum, St. Paul 

When: Ongoing Sat Nov 5-Feb 25, 2017 • 6-9pm
Cost: $15/pp, family rates available, children 4 & under FREE
Details: A special holiday tradition at the Twin City Model Railroad Museum, Night Trains season magically transforms the museum layouts. Buildings and street lights glow, and throughout the museum the layouts are adorned with Christmas lights.

Nature Arts & Crafts Fair @ Richardson Nature Center, Bloomington

When: Saturday, Nov 5 • 10am-3pm
Cost: Free admission
Details: Local artisans of jewelry, felting, painting and more display their wares; afterward enjoy the park reserve. All vendor fees donated to the VEAP-Bloomington Food Shelf.

Santa’s Arrival Ceremony @ Mall of America

When: TBD
Cost: Free
Details: The holiday season officially kicks off at Mall of America with Santa’s Arrival Ceremony. Santa will be greeted in holiday style with live performances.

tm asi christmas

Family Day: Celebrations of Light @ American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis

When: Sunday, Nov 13 • noon-5pm
Cost: $5-$10/pp
Details: Explore Nordic holiday traditions, see the historic Turnblad Mansion decked out for the season, and join in family craft activities. Included with museum admission.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical @ Stages Theatre Company, Hopkins

When: Runs Nov 18-Dec 28, 2016
Cost: $25/pp, $5/lap passes for children ages 3-4, under 3 are free. Nov 20 is pay-what-you can day for this particular performance. These special accessible tickets are available at the box office only.

bachmans2Holiday Open House featuring Santa & Albert’s Arrival and Annual Holiday Play
@ Bachman’s on Lyndale, Minneapolis

When: Saturday, Nov 19 • 9am-4pm
Cost: Free
Details: Join us as we welcome Santa and his sleigh Saturday morning and kick off the holiday season! Visit Bachman’s on Lyndale for treats, shopping, and season’s greetings during store hours. Kids can visit the live reindeer corral and stop by the craft counter for crafts and activities. Cookies, juice, and coffee available for snacking! And of course, see the annual Santa & Albert holiday play at 10am, 11:30am, 1pm and 3:30pm.

Rice Park Tree Lighting Ceremony, St. Paul

When: Nov 19 • 5pm
Cost: Free
Details: Rice Park sparkles with thousands of twinkling lights! The tree will be up through January 1, 2017. The other lights will stay up and illuminate the park through the end of the Winter Carnival.

HLNewLogoPlain[1]Holiday Lights in the Park @ Phalen Regional Park, St. Paul

When: Runs nightly Nov 22-Jan 1, 2017 • 5-10pm
Cost: $10 cash per vehicle at gate or $8 online ticket only
Details: All of the net proceeds from the event will be distributed to a community non-profit. 60 holiday light sculptures and animated displays entertain guests as they cruise through the park in the evening hours.

Winter Lighting Ceremony @ Nicollet Commons Park
Nicollet Avenue and 126th Street, Burnsville

When: Wednesday, Nov 23 • 6-6:45pm
Cost: Free
Details: Making an appearance are local choirs, refreshments, Mr. and Mrs. Claus, 200,000+ lights, and a 30-foot-tall tree.

thO0PBFN04Holidazzle begins @ Loring Park, Minneapolis

When: Begins Friday, Nov 25 • 5-9m
Cost: Free
Details: Holidazzle has moved to Loring Park, is offering free admission to all, and there will be vendors, activities, food, and fireworks for all. Holidazzle will run Thurs-Sun from 5-9pm on Thursdays & Fridays and 11am-9pm Saturdays & Sundays through Dec. 22, 2016.

Taylors Falls Lighting Festival

When: Friday, Nov 25 – Sunday, Nov 27
Cost: Free
Details: Family highlights include the Grand Lighting & Santa Parade (11/26), Christmas at the Folsom House (11/25-27), storytime with Mrs. Claus and wagon rides.

Tree Lighting Ceremony @ 50th & France, Edina

When: Saturday, Nov 26
Cost: Free
Details: Holiday Market is open 12-5pm followed by tree lighting, carolers and visits with Santa.

12 Free & Cheap Things To Do in November

The novelty of back-to-school has worn off, the excitement of Halloween parties have wrapped up, and it’s still weeks until Thanksgiving break. And so we’re left with…November. But take heart, there’s plenty of free and budget family entertainment going on this month; you just have to dig a little deeper to find it. Here are 12 ideas to get you started:

tm straightlineWednesday Wiggles @ Straightline Dance Fitness
34 13th Ave NE, Suite 104, Minneapolis

When: Ongoing Wednesdays starting Nov. 4 • 10-11am
Cost: Free
Details: Join Straightline Dance Fitness every Wednesday for a playdate in their open studio. Balls, ribbons, mats, scarves, dress up clothes, and music provided.

Get Out For Nature Play!

Nature Play Fall Frolic @ Wargo Nature Center
7701 Main St., Lino Lakes

When: Thursday, Nov. 5 • 10-11:15am
Cost: $3/pp plus tax
Details: Head outside and look for the ways nature is changing and preparing for winter. This program is designed for 2-5 year olds who are accompanied by an adult. Pre-registration is required.

Nature Playdate @ Cleary Lake Regional Park
18106 Texas Ave, Prior Lake

When: Wednesday, Nov. 25 • 1-2pm
Cost: Free
Details: Explore, discover, and play in your local park. Meet families interested in getting their children outdoors. Wear appropriate clothes and shoes.

ExploraTots @ Phalen Lakeside Activities Center
1530 Phalen Dr, St Paul

When: Wednesday, Nov. 11 • 10-11:30am
Cost: Free
Details: Join other families for outdoor adventures with a different theme each month! Search for clues that animals have left behind, enjoy hands-on activities and story times, and get up-close looks at treasures from our naturalist’s backpack. It’s a great way to get outside with your child and learn about the natural world and get inspired with ideas to take home.

tm exploratotsNature Play: Green Time @ Phalen Lakeside Activities Center
1530 Phalen Dr, St Paul

When: Thursday, Nov. 19 • 10-11:30am
Cost: Free
Details: Swap screen time for green time! Meet up with other families for unstructured nature play. Drop-ins are welcome.

Lil’ Explorer Thursdays @ Como Park Zoo & Conservatory
1225 Estabrook Dr, St. Paul

When: Nov. 5 and ongoing Thursdays through April 28, 2016 • 10am-noon
Cost: Free
Details: The hall between the Visitor Center and the Conservatory is filled with hands-on activities, manipulatives, art projects and games perfect for the 4 & under set. Explore a different theme each week through April 2016. Donations appreciated.

Let’s Get StARTed Fall Series: Gobble, Gobble @ Silverwood Park
2500 County Road E, St Anthony

When: Sunday, Nov. 8 • 1-3pm
Cost: Free
Details: Drop in for art projects, explore the grounds, the sculptures, and the current gallery exhibit.

Ballet Tuesdays @ Landmark Center
75 5th St, St Paul

When: Nov. 10 and every second Tuesday of the month following • Noon-1pm
Cost: Free
Details: Bring a lunch to Landmark Center in St. Paul and enjoy a sampling of the Saint Paul City Ballet training and Company repertoire. Excerpts from Clara’s Dream:from the Nutcracker with audience participation will be performed Nov. 10. Great for budding ballerinas!

Family Volunteer Day Service Fair @ Midtown Global Market
920 East Lake Street, Minneapolis

When: Friday, Nov. 20 • 5-7:30pm
Cost: Free
Details: Hosted by Doing Good Together, a variety of family-appropriate service projects will be available to participate in. DTG is a proud participant of Family Fun Twin Cities’ Great Give Back Challenge!

thWW64I8J0A Charlie Brown Christmas – Pay-What-You-Can Performance @ Stages Theatre Company
1111 Mainstreet, Hopkins

When: Sunday, Nov. 22 • 4pm
Cost: Pay what you can, but note these accessible tickets are only available through the box office by calling 952-979-1111.
Details: Aimed at making theater accessible to all families, take advantage of this special pay-what-you-can offer and enjoy this classic Christmas tale presented by the young actors of Stages Theatre Co.

Volunteer with FFTC @ Feed My Starving Children
401 93rd Ave NW, Coon Rapids

Time: Monday, Nov. 23 • Noon-2pm
Cost: Free
Details: Pack meals with Feed My Starving Children. When the following link becomes live, you can reserve your space to join in!

thO0PBFN04Holidazzle begins @ Loring Park
1382 Willow Street, Minneapolis

When: Begins Friday, Nov. 27 • 5-9m
Cost: Free admission this year!
Details: Holidazzle has moved to Loring Park this year, is offering free admission to all, and there will be vendors, activities, food, and fireworks for all. Holidazzle will run Thurs-Sun from 5-9pm on Thursdays & Fridays and 11am-9pm Saturdays & Sundays through Dec. 20, 2015.

New Twin Cities’ Christmas Traditions–Minneapolis Holiday Market and Holidazzle Village

A new tradition this year. I am excited to tell you all about it. Read More

The Holidazzle Parade — Don’t Miss the Last Season!

logoRight along the Nicollet Mall between 4th St. and 12th St. in downtown Minneapolis, you can experience a little bit of Christmas magic in the Holidazzle Parade  each Friday and Saturday evening from November 29 until December 21st.

From 6:30 to 7:00 pm the streetlights are turned off, and the holiday parade lights are turned on.  And you can enjoy the cold brisk Minnesota air and celebrate the season in a truly fantastical way.  This is the last season of the Holidazzle, so if you’ve never experienced the tradition or need to make sure you see it again, you’ll want to make a point to get this holiday season.

We arrived by 5:30 to claim a spot on the curb.  This was a very good idea since by 6:00, the street was packed with people and we were saving space for 12.  It was also not a super cold night.  So since it was a pretty wonderful December evening, it was very busy along the Mall.  We brought a blanket and for the most part, 6 of the 8 kids were able to fit on it.




As we waited for our friends to arrive, we were entertained by the dazzle sellers–whatever kind of light up gizmo you wanted could be purchased for a price.  Also, the MIA was offering Rickshaw rides (or as one sign said, “A One Man Open Sleigh”)  up and down the road in front of us.  They looked like fun and kids rode for free, but there was a price for an adult ride.




We brought snacks, but if you were hungry, refreshments were available for purchase.


Right before the parade started, the streetlights were shut off and there was a collective gasp of awe.  I, myself, cracked up.  It was hilarious!  However, to get the full effect of the parade, the street needed to be a dark as possible.


Our friends arrived and we took a picture of our children who were (for all practical purposes) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8.



And then the parade started.


holidazzle collage


Some tips to enjoy the Holidazzle 

  1. Don’t park in the 8th Street Ramp.  It took us over an hour to get out and on the road.  It’s the closest one and the busiest.  You will get stuck in a traffic jam trying to get to the stairs and the elevator.  The Crowne Plaza Hotel ramp is $1 more ($6 instead of $5), but that extra dollar is totally worth it.  Our friends from Champlin texted us as we were in line in the ramp waiting to get out and they were almost home.  Go for the Crown Plaza, people.  If you do park in the 8th street ramp, you might as well get in line at Candyland and enjoy a delicious confectionary treat before you brave the parking ramp itself.
  2. Arrive at 5:30 if you want a spot in the front of the sidewalk.  It gets really crowded and pushy.  And Bring a blanket.  It will help to keep your bottom a little warmer and help to stake your spot.
  3. Have everyone go to the bathroom before you get outside.  Fighting through the crowds is not fun when you have a little one who needs to use the facilities.
  4. Remember to have fun.  People will be pushy and people will jockey to get around you, but you aren’t there for them.  If your kids are having fun or if you are looking forward to seeing the lights, then it’s all worth it.

Some of the highlights for me.

  1. It was fun when the streetlights turned off.
  2. The people in the parade who walked by us usually tried to give as many people a high five as they could.  The kids loved that.
  3. They didn’t stop the traffic on 7th street so the parade had to stop at each red light to wait for a green light to continue.  That cracked me up!
  4. The Circus train was the best float.  All my kids loved it!
  5. My favorite characters were the Christmas lightbulbs.  Each lightbulb was a man/woman, and they walked down the street separately bending wwwwaaaaaayyy over into your faces.  They were hilarious!  If I ever was able to volunteer for the Holidazzle parade, I would so want to be a Christmas lightbulb.

The Holidazzle parade has been a Christmas tradition in the Twin Cities for years, and it is definitely a fun experience!  Don’t miss out.  There are four weekends to catch the fun before it’s gone forever!

good photos courtesy of Patrick Kelley


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