Twin Cities Free Family Holiday Events for December 4-6, 2015

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The holiday season seriously descends on the Twin Cities this weekend. SO many free events to choose from — tree lighting, holiday movies, sleighrides, an art crawl, exploring local businesses and shopping small this season, lights shows and more.

UnionDepotTreeLighting_2014_Art-in-the-Sky-PhotographyFRIDAY, DECEMBER 4

Union Depot Holiday Tree Lighting, European Christmas Market, and Free Holiday Movie Night: “Elf”
@ Union Depot Lot B, 200 Kellogg Blvd E, St Paul

When: Tree lighting takes place Dec. 4 • 5:30-7:30pm and the market runs Dec. 5-6 & 11-13 • find times here. The movie will be shown in the Waiting Room of Union Depot at 7:30pm.
Cost: Free admission
Details: Union Depot will be the hub of many special holiday activities this year including the European-style Christmas market, the arrival of the North Pole Express and Canadian Pacific Holiday Train, a Holiday Movie Night and the lighting of the 50-foot holiday tree. Get all the details here.

U of M College of Science & Engineering Winter Light Show Premiere
@ Civil Engineering Building Plaza, 500 Pillsbury Dr. S.E., Minneapolis

When: Premiere party Friday, Dec. 4, 5:30, 6 & 6:30pm

After Friday, Dec. 4, shows will run at 5:30, 6 and 6:30 p.m. as follows:

  • Saturday, Dec. 5
  • Thursday, Dec. 10
  • Friday, Dec. 11
  • Saturday, Dec. 12

Cost: Free
Details: Our family discovered the student-designed Winter Lights Show put on by the University of Minnesota’s College of Science & Engineering last year. Each show is about 20 minutes long and features lights and laser projection set to fun music.

tm winter lights


Grand Meander
@ Grand Avenue businesses
between Dale Street & Fairview Avenue, St. Paul

When: Saturday, Dec. 5 • events 8:30am-5pm
Cost: Free
Details: Explore one of St. Paul’s best shopping districts, sample from local restaurants, have breakfast with Santa, take a trolley ride down the avenue, and much more at this annual winter tradition. Get the full event guide with participating businesses here.

shop home for the holidaysShop Home for the Holidays
@ Como Avenue businesses, St. Anthony Park neighborhood, St. Paul

When: Saturday, Dec. 5 • events begin at 9am
Cost: Free
Details: Take a reindeer-drawn sleighride, visit with Santa, decorate cookies and explore the local shops along Como Avenue in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood.

Seward Winter Frolic
@ Seward neighborhood, Minneapolis (map here)

When: Saturday, Dec. 5 & Sunday, Dec. 6
Cost: Free
Details: Local businesses will host open houses, kids activities, holiday cardmaking, offer samples, tours and more. Get the complete schedule of participating vendors here.

** Metro Transit is offering free rides to Holidazzle on Saturday, Dec. 5. To get your pass for each rider, click here. **


Old Fashioned Holiday at Holz Farm
4665 Manor Park, Eagan

When: Sunday, Dec. 6 • Noon-3:30pm
Cost: Free
Details: Celebrate the holidays 1940’s style at this free event at Holz Farm. Enjoy hayrides, carolers, a bonfire, refreshments, reindeer and a visit from Santa.

Holidazzle Movie Night: Polar Express
@ Loring Park, map here

When: 5pm
Cost: Free
Details: Bundle up for a holiday classic shown outdoors; arrive early or stay late for free skating on the outdoor rink.

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About the author

Anne Kingston

If we left it up to Anne to write her own bio, it would never get posted. She doesn't enjoy talking about herself, but Anne does love exploring the Twin Cities with her family and sharing her finds here. She, her husband and their four kids are lifelong residents of St. Paul.

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