2019 Twin Cities Early Holiday Events & Christmas Tree Lightings

These Twin Cities early holiday events can get you started on your 2019 holiday family fun without the full-on pressure of late December.

While we aren’t trying to completely ignore Thanksgiving and we definitely want to embrace fall to its fullest, some holiday events get an early start. If you plan to pack a lot in over the Holiday season, you may want to check out some of these events in November and early December including Christmas Tree Lighting events and visits with Santa.

Twin Cities 2019 Christmas Tree Lighting Celebrations


Nov 23: Rice Park Tree Lighting Ceremony | St Paul
Rice Park will dazzle with thousands of twinkling lights throughout the winter. Come downtown to see the holiday tree lit and enjoy festive music and fireworks. Please note, the Wells Fargo WinterSkate location has moved to CHS Field for 2019 and will open Dec 6. 4-7pm.

Dec 6: Tree Lighting & Movie Night | Union Depot, St Paul
Entertainment begins at 6, fireworks and tree lighting at 6:30pm and a holiday movie double feature follows. 6-10pm.

Dec 7: Grand Meander Tree Lighting | St Paul
The holiday tree is lit outside Charlemagne Fine Jewelry around 5pm. The whole day is filled with browing the Grand Avenue shopping district, soup tasting, carolers, trolley rides and visits with Santa.

Dec 7: Seward Tree Lighting Ceremony | Minneapolis
Light up Triangle Park, part of the annual Seward Winter Frolic (Dec 7-8). Tree lighting at 5pm.


Dec 6: Osseo MiniDazzle Tree Lighting | Boerboom Veterans Park
Light Parade and tree lighting at 6pm. Pictures with Santa, a bonfire and other entertainment follows. 6-8pm.

Dec 7: Anoka Christmas Tree Lighting | Anoka City Hall River Plaza
Enjoy horse-drawn trolley rides, holiday music, bonfires, and Santa. 3-7pm.

Dec 7: Holiday Harbor Lights & Tree Lighting | Downtown Blaine
Community tree lighting, and a float of lighted boats at Blaine Harbor Visitor Dock. Bring your list for Santa! 4:30-7pm.

Dec 13: Rogers Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony


Nov 29-Dec 1: Taylors Falls Lighting Festival
The annual tree lighting takes place Nov 29, 6pm downtown. Festival highlights include the Santa Parade, Christmas at the Folsom House, storytime with Mrs. Claus and wagon rides.

Dec 7: Twinkle Party | Stillwater
The city tree is lit at 5:30, part of the annual Hometown for the Holidays celebration. Festivities start at 4pm.


Nov 27: Winter Lighting Ceremony | Nicollet Commons Park, Burnsville
Making an appearance are local choirs, refreshments, Mr. and Mrs. Claus, 200,000+ lights, and a 30-foot-tall tree. 6-6:45pm.

Dec 5: Eagan Community Tree Lighting | Eagan Community Center
Tree lights up at 6pm followed by holiday music, free cocoa and an outdoor lighted trail. 5-7pm.

Dec 6: Inver Grove Heights Tree Lighting Ceremony
Tree lighting followed by free swimming in The Grove Water Park. 5:30-8:30pm with tree lit at 6.

Dec 6: Holiday Fest Tree Lighting | Shakopee 
Carolers, Santa, a tree lighting ceremony and fireworks. 6-8pm.

Dec 6-7: Afton Village Holiday Tree Lighting | Town Square Park
The village hosts a tree lighting ceremony (Friday evening at 6pm), horse and wagon rides, a family photo booth and roving carolers throughout the weekend downtown Afton.

Dec 10: Savage Tree Lighting Ceremony | Savage City Hall
Smores, live music and a big countdown to the tree lighting. 6-8pm.


Nov 29: Light Up the Lake Celebration | Wayzata
Tree lighting ceremony, Santa, a candy cane and a parade of lights on the lake. 4-7pm.

Nov 30: Tree Lighting Ceremony | 50th & France, Edina
Holiday Market is open 12-5pm followed by tree lighting, carolers and visits with Santa.

Dec 7: Christmas in Excelsior Tree Lighting
Annual tree lighting (7:15pm) plus bonfires, carolers, Santa, and carriage rides.

Dec 7: Chanhassen Tree Lighting Ceremony
The tree lights up at 5pm followed by refreshments, reindeer, gingerbread house displays, and Santa Claus.

Map out your holiday lights tour: Light It Up: Twin Cities Christmas & Holiday Light Displays

2019 Twin Cities Early Holiday Events

Night Trains | Twin City Model Railroad Museum | St Paul
A special holiday tradition at the Twin City Model Railroad Museum, the Night Trains season magically transforms the museum layouts. Buildings and street lights glow, and throughout the museum the layouts are adorned with Christmas lights. Ongoing Saturdays, Nov 2-Feb 29 2020, 6-9pm. $15/pp, family rates available.

Cinderella | Children’s Theatre Company, Minneapolis
CTC always adds a holiday spin to this comedic take on the classic fairytale. Begins Tuesday, Nov 3 – Jan 5, 2020. $15-$80/pp depending on seating and time of show.

Early Holiday Events

From 2016’s Cinderella – Image courtesy CTC: Dean Holt, Autumn Ness, Reed Sigmund by Dan Norman

Holiday Open House | Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis
Shop for handmade gifts, try out hands-on activities and enjoy refreshments. Nov 17, 12-4pm, FREE.

Bachman’s Holiday Open House | Bachman’s on Lyndale, Minneapolis
Join Bachmans in welcoming Santa and his sleigh to kick off the holiday season! Kids can visit the reindeer corral and stop by the craft counter for crafts and activities. Cookies, juice, and coffee will be served. Don’t miss the annual Santa & Albert holiday play at 10am, 11:30am, 1pm and 2:30pm. Saturday, Nov 23, 9am-3pm. FREE.

Christmas at the Courthouse Holiday Bazaar | Stillwater
Kick off the holiday season with Christmas at the Courthouse at the Washington County Historic Courthouse. This Holiday shopping event is free to attend. Santa will also make an appearance from noon-3pm. Sat & Sun, Nov 23-24, 10am-4pm.

Christmas at the Courthouse

Christmas at the Courthouse. Image courtesy of Washington County Parks

Holidazzle | Loring Park, Minneapolis
Holidazzle has returned to Loring Park, offering free admission to all, and there will be vendors, activities, food, and fireworks galore. Holidazzle begins Nov 29 and will run 5-9pm on Thurs, Fri until 10pm, Sat 11am-10pm & Sun 11am-7pm thru Dec 22, 2019.

Holly Trolley | Como-Harriet Streetcar Line, Minneapolis
Ride the rails with Santa in a streetcar decorated for the holiday. Then, warm up with a campfire and roast a marshmallow. Nov 30-Dec 1, 12:30-3:30pm. $4/pp.

Where To Find Santa in the Twin Cities

That jolly old guy sure can get around! Santa starts accepting visitors as early as the beginning of November. You can find Santa appearances over on our Santa Claus is Coming to Town page, including visits at community holiday festivals and at area malls and shopping districts.

Past Events

For our full roundup of Twin Cities Christmas & holiday events, jump over HERE.

Want more holiday happenings? Try our Top 10 Twin Cities Christmas Experiences for 2019


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