We’ve extended our list to include winter drive-thru events into January 2021!
A Drive Thru Christmas is a perfect option for families who want to play it safe and still celebrate the holiday. Most of the events are free and if they have a cost, it usually covers the entire car with a few exceptions.
One day our kids will be able to say, “Remember 2020?” what with all the changes that were made. Driving around the Twin Cities and enjoying the lights is one of those traditions that doesn’t need to change.
Drive Thru Winter Events – 2021
St Paul Winter Carnival Ice & Snow Sculpture Park | Minnesota State Fairgrounds
We are disappointed that these annual Winter Carnival events are not free this year, but if you count them as traditions for your family, here’s your chance to check that box. Both sculpture shows are displayed along a drive-thru route at the State Fairgrounds. Jan 28-Feb 7, 2021. $20/vehicle.
There’s extra twinkle in the city’s historic downtown district this year. Chestnut Street has a pedestrian winter wonderland area where you can enjoy a free LED light show set to music. Now through March 2021, 5-10pm nightly.
Winter Lights at the Arboretum | Chaska
This annual event has been converted to a drive-thru experience where, according to promo material, “winter is in bloom”! Purchasing a ticket online (one per person in the vehicle) is required. Runs through January 17, 2021, $10-$15/pp.
Nature Illuminated | Minnesota Zoo, Apple Valley
Explore the combination of nature and art through a spectacular one-of-a-kind display. Runs thru January 17, 2021, 5 pm-9pm/11pm on Fridays and Saturdays, $25-$60/vehicle. Some days are closed. Check the website.
Drive Thru Christmas Light Shows
Canadian Pacific Holiday Drive-In Event | NE Minneapolis
Enjoy a drive-in triple feature: a concert video from Canadian Pacific followed by showings of Frosty’s Winter Wonderland and Trolls Holiday! You’ll also receive a Holiday Swag Bag full of surprises, compliments of Clientek. December 12-14, 2020 6-8:15 pm, Donation Requested $25, One car/donation.
Click here to reserve your spot
GLOW Holiday Festival | Minnesota State Fairgrounds, St. Paul
The Great Minnesota Holiday Get-Together is a one-mile drive-thru with a dozen seasonal scenes featuring over a million holiday lights, a 100-foot illuminated tree, icicle and art installations, a festive gingerbread house, and other attractions. After the drive-thru experience, guests will have the chance to purchase a selection of Minnesota State Fair food favorites. Nov 19-Jan 3, 2021, 4:30 pm-9/10 pm, Tickets $46, One car/ticket
Christmas In Color | Valleyfair, Shakopee
This holiday season you can drive right into the amusement park to be entertained by 1.5 million lights synchronized to holiday music. Nov 27-Jan 3, 2021, 4:30 pm-9/10 pm, Tickets $30, One car/ticket.
Sever’s Holiday Lights | Shakopee
Holiday light shows, Winter Carnivals, and more. Nov 26, 2020-Jan 3 2021; Sun-Thur 5pm-9pm; Fri-Sa 5pm-10pm. $7/pp; $25 Car Max.
Schultz Family Lights/Holiday Lights on York | 1526 York Ave, St. Paul MN
Comprised of 9 yards on both sides of the street dancing to holiday favorites you can listen to on your car radio. Synchronized to 91.5. Collecting food shelf donations for the holiday season. Christmas will run Nov 27th- Dec 31st, 5-10pm.
Valley Lights at Rock Point Church | 5825 Kelvin Ave N, Lake Elmo MN
The lights will be on for a drive-thru showing. Tune in your radio to 97.9 and enjoy. Nov 25th-Dec 31, 2020.
Dakota City Heritage Village | Farmington
Buildings will be illuminated inside and out throughout the village. The public is welcome to drive through the Village any evening in December to enjoy this holiday tradition.
The Christmas Story in Lights | Wayzata Community Church
Drive through and pause at 8 stations telling the Christmas story in bright lights, music, and narration, Thurs-Sun, Dec. 3-27th; 6pm-9pm.
Cathedral Illuminated: The Manger | Cathedral of St Paul
The Christmas story is told with large-scale light murals accompanied by uplifting music projected on the front of the Cathedral of Saint Paul. The show is 12 minutes long and shown between 6-9pm. Dec 17-19.
Create your own drive-thru holiday lights event! We have an enormous list of homes around the Twin Cities that deck their halls up for the holiday: Jump over to Light It Up: Twin Cities & Greater Minnesota Christmas & Holiday Light Displays for our map!
Drive Thru Santa Letters
Where can kids drop off their letters to Santa? We have some ideas for you!
Dakota City Heritage Village Post Office | Farmington
Mail your Santa letters at the post box outside the Post Office in the charming historic village. Be sure to include your self-addressed envelope with stamp so St. Nick can send you a reply. Time this with a visit to enjoy the holiday lights (see above)!
Plymouth City Hall | 3400 Plymouth Blvd
Santa’s mailbox can be found in the vestibule at Plymouth City Hall. There are also drop off spots at the Plymouth Ice Center and Plymouth Creek Center. Include a SASE to get a personalized response.
Crystal Community Center | 4800 Douglas Drive N
Santa’s mailbox can be found just inside the center near the front desk and is open November 24th through December 9th. Residents may drop off or mail letters and receive a personalized response if they include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.
Drive Thru Santa Express | Anoka County Sheriff, Andover
Drop off a letter and non-perishable food item, wave to Santa and enjoy the Holiday scenery. Special gifts for kids under 10 while supplies last. Dec 3, 2020; 5pm-8pm.
This month’s Virtual Family Day focuses on the art of letter writing. Swing by the MIA to pick up a free Family Day Artist Tote at Mia’s Third Avenue entrance. The bag includes lovely letter writing materials like rice paper, scratchboard, and unique brushes to try your hand at the art of calligraphy. Use your newfound skills to write a letter to Santa. Available December 12th and 13th, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. FREE!
Saint Paul Parks Drive-Thru Holiday Events
The City of Saint Paul invites families to celebrate the holiday season with a safe and socially distanced drive. While supplies last, participants will receive a gift bag full of goodies. Participants are encouraged to dress up and decorate their cars. FREE.
- Thursday, Dec. 17; 6-7:30pm: Santa Express Drive-Thru (Hazel Park)
- Tuesday, Dec. 22; 5:30-7pm: Phalen North Pole Express (Phalen Lakeside Activity Center)
Drive Thru Christmas Nativities
Drive Thru Live Nativity, St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, Bloomington
There will be live music (through car radio), kids goodie bags, treats, lights, and a drive through experience with a live nativity scene. Dec. 4-5, 6-8 pm. FREE
Christmas Drive-Thru | Messiah United Methodist Church, Plymouth
Drive-thru to meet the Wise Men, hear Christmas carols, pick up a free Christmas ornament and more. Dec 13, 4-5pm.
Drive-Thru Living Nativity, SouthCross Community Church | Burnsville
24th Annual Drive Thru Living Nativity. For safety and distancing, there will be no meal this year. and everyone will be required to stay in their cars. Dec. 14-15, 6:30-8:30pm. FREE. Food donations for 360 Community food shelves will be accepted if you are able.
Living Nativity | St Stephen’s Lutheran Church, White Bear Lake
In its 28th year with music and live animals! Drive thru. Dec 19, 4:30-7:30pm.
Drive Thru Wreath Making
Holiday Wreath Creation Drive Thru | Centennial Lakes Park
There will be a limited amount of wreaths, decorations and a DIY manual that registered participants can drive through and pick up to create at home. Nov 24 or Dec 1, 11am-1pm. $30. Pre-registration required.
More 2020 Holiday Fun:
Find more Holiday options in our Holiday Guide.