Budget Twin Cities December Family Events & Activities

It doesn’t have to break the bank to entertain the family away from home in the Twin Cities, especially during that often spendy holiday season! Budget Twin Cities December family events cost just $5 or less per person with an exception of a few holiday events we believe are a great family bargain to attend. For more ideas on budget and FREE family outings, check our Family Fun Calendar or hop over to our Free Twin Cities December Family Events & Activities page.


Nov 23, 2019-Jan 5, 2020: Gingerbread Wonderland | Norway House, Minneapolis
$5/13+, FREE/12 and under

Nov 29, 2019-Dec 1, 2020: Christmas at the 1855 Folsom House | Taylors Falls $2-$4/pp

Nov 30, 2019-Jan 5, 2020: Winterlights at the Purcell-Cutts House | Minneapolis
Take a 45-minute tour through the home, operated by the Minneapolis Institute of Art and decorated for the holiday. Weekends only, $5/adults, kids & students free.

Dec 1, 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. 12:30-3:30pm, $4/pp.

Dec 6, 2019: PJs With Santa | Vadnais Heights Commons
$10/res family, $20/non-res

For our complete guide to Santa sightings: Santa Claus is Coming to Town – 2019

Dec 7, 2019: Vinternatt | Como-Harriet Streetcar Line, Minneapolis
A chance to ride the holiday trolley at Lake Harriet lit up in the evening. Santa is rumored to make an appearance and a bonfire will cap off the night. 6-8:30pm, $5/pp.

Dec 7-8, 2019: Christmas on the Farm: A Norwegian Christmas | Brooklyn Park
Go caroling, craft an ornament to take home, visit St Nick and more. 1-4pm, $4-$6/pp.

Dec 7-8 & 14-15, 2019: Christmas in the Village | Dakota City Heritage Village
Celebrate Christmas traditions of the early 1900s. 1-8pm, $3-$7/pp ages 4 & up.

Dec 12, 2019: Children’s Holiday Storytime | Fillebrown House, White Bear Lake
6:30-7:30pm, $5/pp.

Dec 14, 2019: Candy Cane Hunt | Silverwood Park, St Anthony
Candy cane hunts divided by age; horse-drawn wagon ride, warm treats, arts, and photos with Santa. 1-4pm, $6/pp.

Dec 14 & 17, 2019: Breakfast with Nature Santa | Springbrook Nature Center, Fridley
Pre-registration required. 10am-12pm, $7/pp.

Budget Twin Cities December Family Events


Dec 31, 2019: Candlelight & Ice: New Year’s Eve at Wood Lake | Richfield
Follow a candlelit trail a walking trail through the trees, roast marshmallows over a fire and warm up inside with hot cocoa. Crafts, games and more. 5-9pm, $5/pp.


Dec 14, 2019: Family Dance | Tapestry Folkdance Center, Minneapolis
The focus is on teaching simple dances that everyone in the family can enjoy. Breaks will feature snacks and kid-friendly activities. 6:30-8pm, $6/pp or $12/family.

Dec 20-21, 2019: Kids at the Castle: Tiny Tomtes | American Swedish Institute
Before the museum opens, join ASI for visual play, storytelling, music, and movement inspired by exhibits that will encourage creative young minds. Suggested for ages 2-5. 9-10am, $8/family.


Twin Cities movie discount days | Treat yourself to a trip to the movies! We’ve compiled a list of Twin Cities cinemas that offer discounts ranging from $2.50-$6 daily. Tip: Tuesdays are the most common day of the deal.TwinCities Cheap Flicks

Great River Water Park | St Paul
Read about the kid-friendly amenities and find discount days at Great River Water Park here. 11am-5pm. Daily admission is $5-$6/pp or $24/family up to 5 members. Discount days: Family Fun & Fitness Fridays: $2/person 3rd Friday of the month, 1/2 Price Days: 1/2 price admission every Monday & Wednesday & $4 Sundays: $4/person on Sunday.

Michaels Kids Club Crafts | Twin Cities Michaels locations
Check the link for details. Ongoing Saturdays in December, 10am-noon. $3 per project, ages 3+.

Public star shows | Como Planetarium, St Paul
The 5:30 show is geared towards pre-K kids; call first to confirm (651) 293-5398. Ongoing Tuesdays in December, 5:30-6:30pm. $5/pp, 2 & under on laps are free.

Theater Explorers: Storytime Drop-in | Steppingstone Theater, St Paul
Introduce toddlers and preschoolers to theater arts through this weekly drop-in program filled with stories, songs, art projects and creative play. Ongoing Wednesdays in December, $5/family.

Raptor Center Tours | Gabbert Raptor Center, St Paul campus of the U of M
Bring kids of any age for a fun and educational visit. Meet some resident raptors, get hands-on with natural materials, and visit the kids’ play corner. 30-minute tours every half hour, 10:30am-3:30pm, ongoing Tues-Fri & weekends, 12:30-3:30pm. $3/ages 3-17, $5/adults.

Bowl for a Buck | University of Minnesota
Coffman Union (Mpls): Thurs, 5pm-close) & St. Paul Student Center: All day Wed .$1 per game plus $2 shoe rental.

Friday Family Funday | Grove Cove Aquatic Center, Maple Grove
The 2019 season begins Sept 23. $6/pp or $22/family.


Explore the great outdoors in the wintertime right alongside your children! Nature centers and parks across the Twin Cities host hundreds of low-cost programs throughout the year. Please check our Family Fun Calendar for exact dates, times and costs for each family nature program.

Carpenter St Croix Valley Nature Center | Hastings
December special: Preschool Storytime – Winter Is Coming
Dec 10, 2019,10-11am. $5/child age 2-5

Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park | Brooklyn Park
December special: Game On!
Dec 7, 2019, 10am-4pm. FREE, ages 13+

Eastman Nature Center | Dayton
December special: Puppet Escapades – Winter Celebration
Dec 17, 2019, 10-11am. $4/pp ages 2-6 w/ adult

Harriet Alexander Nature Center | Roseville
December special: No special events scheduled, but the nature center is open for exploration or head outside and hike the boardwalk and trails.

Lowry Nature Center | Victoria
December special: Winter Expedition
Dec 28, 2019, 10-11:30am. $5/pp.

Maplewood Nature Center | Maplewood
December special: Smore Nature Fun
Dec 28, 2019, 1:30-3pm. $5/pp.

Richardson Nature Center | Bloomington
December special: Guided Snowshoe Hike
Dec 28, 2019, 2-3:30pm. $5/pp.

Springbrook Nature Center | Fridley
December special: Saturday Family Fun Day
Dec 28, 2019, 10-11am. FREE.

Wargo Nature Center | Lino Lakes
December special: Nature Play – Winter Homes
Dec 5, 2019, 10-11:15am. $3/pp.

Warner Nature Center | Marine on St Croix
The Warner Nature Center is now permanently closed.

Westwood Hills Nature Center | St Louis Park
December special: Be the Light Winter Solstice Walk
Dec 21, 2019, 6:30-8pm. FREE.

Wood Lake Nature Center | Richfield
December special:
Tracks & Trails
Dec 1, 2019, 3-4:30pm. $3/pp.


Tot Times and Open Gyms typically include a time for non-structured play in community center gyms where items such as balls, wheeled toys, tumble mats and other playthings are furnished. Attendance is usually limited to preschool-aged and under with caregivers. Naptime following (almost) guaranteed!

Andover Community Center
Tot Time Open Gym runs most Mon & Tues. 9:30-11:30am. $3-$4/child, ages 6 & under w/ caregiver.

Braemar Field: Tot Time | Edina
Room to run, age appropriate toys and some organized games. Ongoing Mon & Wed, 9-11am thru April 2020, $5/child.

Braemar Field: Family Night | Edina
Stay active under the dome during the cold months with room to run and play. Temp is set at 55 degrees. Ongoing Wed in December, 6-7pm. $5/pp.

Brookview Backyard Indoor Playground
Mon-Sat, 9am-8pm & Sun, 9:30am-5pm$4.50-$5.50/pp.

Crystal Community Center Gym: Preschool Playtime
Preschool Playtime runs ongoing Wed thru mid April. 10-11:30am | $3/child ages 1-5.

Eagan Community Center
Preschool Open Play also includes admission to The Blast Indoor Playground. Ongoing Mon-Fri, 9-11:30am. $4 per child, under 18 mons free.

Eden Prairie Community Center
Tot Time Open Gym – best for ages 1-4. $6/pp includes admission to Prairie Play Zone Indoor Playground. Mon-Fri, 9:30-11:30am. $4/pp ages 1-4, $5/pp ages 5+, under 1 and caregivers free.

Maple Grove Community Center
Parent & Tot Time is best for ages 5 & under. Ongoing Mon & Wed, 10-11:30am. $3/resident youth, $3.50/non-res youth, caregivers free.

Millz House | Apple Valley
Open play at the showroom – playsets, basketball and other games. Weekdays, 9am-4pm, $6 per child.

New Brighton Community Center
Preschool Open Gym also includes admission to Eagles Nest Indoor Playground. Mon & Wed excluding holidays and school breaks, 10:30am-1:30pm. $6/child, preschool & under with caregiver, admission to included.

Saint Louis Park Rec Center
Little Tot Playtime: Ages 1-5 w/ caregiver bounce in the inflatables, ride the big wheelers, play dress up or build with blocks on the creative carpet. Tues-Fri, 9:30-11:30am, Nov-May 2020. $2 per child.

Savage Sports Center
Tot Time includes a variety of fun toys and sport equipment are available. Prepaid passes can be purchased. Ages 5 & under. Tue & Thurs, 9-11:30am thru April 2020. $3 per child with adult.

Shakopee Community Center
Kids Playtime runs October – April 2019. 10-11:30am. $1 per child ages 1-5 w/ caregiver.

Shoreview Community Center
Tropical Adventure Indoor Playground open play. Mon-Sat: 8am – 8pm, Sun: 8am – 6pm. $6/per child ages 1-12, adults free.

More indoor play options can be found at:

Find hundreds more things to do in Minneapolis & St Paul with kids!

Find more activities and indoor games for kids as the cold sets in!

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