Here Comes Santa Claus – Christmas in the Twin Cities

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Santa Claus has headed full speed into his busy public appearance time of year. That jolly old guy sure can get around! This is a sampling of some of the best places to run into the guy. We’ll keep adding to it all season, so let us know if you have any additions.

Here Comes Santa Claus - Christmas in the Twin Cities

Events with Santa Claus

11/9/17: Santa’s Arrival Ceremony | Mall of America | The holiday season officially kicks off at Mall of America with Santa’s Arrival Ceremony. Santa Claus will be greeted in holiday style with live performances.

11/18/17-12/18/17: Santa & Albert’s Christmas Holiday Play and Sing Along | Bachman’s on Lyndale, Minneapolis | Sat: 10am, 11:30am, 1pm, 2:30pm & Sun: 11:30, 1:00, 2:30 | Bachman’s Annual Christmas Play is free to attend and suitable for all ages. Guests are encouraged to participate in caroling after the play, and Santa and Albert will be available for photos.

ChristmasThis post is sponsored by American Swedish Institute.

It’s Fest! Merry Mansion, the season for affordable family fun at the American Swedish Institute. Don’t miss the Kids at the Castle playdates every month. Join in a musical story with Julglädje “Christmas Joy” performances on Nov. 25-26. Explore the decorated Nordic holiday rooms during our Making Traditions weekend music/craft series, FIKA’s food for kids, a Family Gallery and a FREE Holiday Open House on Dec. 13. Click here for our calendar and visit ASI at 2600 Park Ave., Mpls.

11/25/17-11/26/17: Holly Trolley | Como-Harriet Streetcar Line, Minneapolis | 12:30-3:30pm | $4/pp | Ride the rails with Santa Claus in a streetcar decorated for the holiday. Then, warm up with a campfire and roast a marshmallow. Event also runs 12/2/17-12/3/17.

11/30/17-12/3/17 & 12/7/17-12/10/17: North Pole Express | Union Depot, St. Paul | Thurs-Sun, find times and tickets at the link | $19.95-$25.95/pp | Families will have the opportunity to ride a decked-out holiday train with Santa, see his village and elves at work, then return to Union Depot for refreshments. This event sold out quickly last year.

12/1/17: PJs With Santa | Vadnais Heights Commons | 6-8pm | $10/res family, $20/non-res, register with the City of Vadnais Heights by 11/27/17. This family event features Santa Claus, a face painter, balloon animals, holiday games, puppet shows and cookies. Cozy up with pajamas if you like!

In 2017, Santa joined Gianna on WCCO to talk about the best places to visit with him in the Twin Cities!

12/2/17: Meet Santa and his reindeer | Village of Blaine Shopping Center | 10am-12pm | Welcome Santa and his reindeer during his scheduled stop near Caribou Coffee. Bring your cameras and a toy to donate to the Alexandra House. There will be hot chocolate and hot apple cider! FREE.

12/2/17: Vinternatt | Como-Harriet Streetcar Line | 6-8:30pm | $5/pp | 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.

12/2/17: Santa Saturdays | Minnesota Zoo | 11:30am-1pm | Included with admission of $12-$18/pp | Santa is on hand for family photos. Also held 12/9/17 & 12/6/17.

12/3/17: Old Fashioned Holiday | Holz Farm, Eagan | 12-3:30pm | Come visit Santa at this 1940’s era event at Holz Farm. Also enjoy hayrides, a bonfire, carols, live reindeer and treats. All activities are FREE!

12/2/17-12/3/17: Santa’s Train Shop | Minnesota Transportation Museum – Jackson Street Roundhouse | 10am-4pm | $5-$12/pp | Train rides, photos with Santa & Mrs. Claus ($5), face painting, activities, music, food, prizes, gifts, and more! This event is also presented the weekends of Dec 9-10 & Dec 16-17.

12/2/17-12/17/17: Santa and Albert’s Annual Holiday Play Albert’s Super Power | Bachman’s on Lyndale | Saturdays and Sundays until Dec. 17 | Saturdays: 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., and 2:30 p.m. Sundays: 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., and 2:30 p.m. | FREE

12/4/17: Bedtime Stories with Santa | Woodbury Lakes | 6-7:30pm | Families (especially with kids ages 2-6) are invited to wear their pajamas for stories, crafts, cookies and cocoa. FREE, but registration is required. The event is also held 12/6, 12/11 & 12/13. SOLD OUT.

12/7/17: Dinner With Santa | Duluth & Case, St. Paul | 6 – 8 pm | Families will enjoy food, crafts, and a visit from Santa. |FREE.

12/8/17-12/10/17: Nature Hike With Santa | Eastman Nature Center | Fri 10am-12pm, Sat 10am-12pm & 1-3pm, Sun 1-3pm | $3-$7/pp | Look for magical reindeer food, decorate a Santa letter, create edible squirrel ornaments, and get one-on-one time with Santa. Refreshments included. Register by 12/6.

12/9/17-12/10/17: Winter Wonderland Weekend | The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes, Maple Grove | 10am-2pm | Come meet Santa and members of his reindeer team! FREE.

12/9/17: The Enchanted Christmas Ball | The Shoppes at Arbor Lake, Maple Grove | 2-4pm | $30-$45/child with one adult | Dancing, caroling, making crafts with princesses and Santa. The event is hosted by by Twin Cities Party Princess. It requires pre-registration.

12/10/17: Santa’s Workshop | Landmark Center, St. Paul | 1-3pm | Snap pics with Santa, meet a pair of his reindeer, play games and made some handmade holiday gifts at the craft tables. FREE.

12/10/17Santa Comes to the Market| Midtown Global Market, Minneapolis | 1-4pm | Join in on this holiday cheer! Bring your camera to capture the moment. This event is FREE for all ages. Also, 12/15 4-8pm & 12/16 12-4pm. 

12/10/17: Skate with Santa | Richfield Ice Arena | 3:30-5pm | $4/pp plus $1.50 skate rental


12/14/17: Dinner With Santa | Dayton’s Bluff, St. Paul | 6 – 7:30pm | Ring in the Holiday Season at this fun, Free Family Event. Activities include dinner, arts and crafts, games, and a visit with Santa. (Please bring a camera to take a picture with Santa!) | FREE.

12/16/17: Candy Cane Hunt | Silverwood Park, St Anthony | 1-4pm | $6/pp | Candy cane hunts divided by age; horse-drawn wagon ride, warm treats, arts, and photos with Santa.

12/16/17: Dinner With Santa | Dayton’s Bluff, St. Paul | 6 – 7:30pm | Ring in the Holiday Season at this fun, Free Family Event. Activities include dinner, arts and crafts, games, and a visit with Santa. (Please bring a camera to take a picture with Santa!) | FREE.

12/16 & 24/17: Santa Night @ Night Trains | Twin Cities Model Railroad Museum, St Paul|6-9pm | $15/pp | Night Trains runs every Saturday night through February, but on these two nights, you can visit with Santa.

12/17/17: Jerry’s Very Merry Santa Day | Jerry’s Foods, 7760 Hargis Pkwy, Woodbury | 11am-1pm | Free | Take photos with Santa, make holiday crafts, enjoy treats, face painting, giveaways, live carolers.

12/17/17: Skating With Santa | Apple Valley Sports Arena | 3:30-5pm • $4/pp at the door | Santa will be at the Open Skate Session. Free apple cider and treats, holiday music and face painting.

12/19/17: Breakfast with Nature Santa | Springbrook Nature Center, Fridley | 10am-noon • $7/pp, pre-registration required (763-572-3588) | Enjoy breakfast, a story, and activities with Nature Santa. Bring your camera!

12/21/18: Skate with Santa | Neill Park, Burnsville | 6-8pm | Skating, a candy cane hunt, bonfire, and visits with Santa. FREE.

12/23/17: Meet Santa & Mrs Claus | Can Can Wonderland, St Paul |$2/ages 12+; free under 12 (mini golf $10-$12/pp) | Participate in art activities (11am-3pm), watch Musical Nonsense (1pm-3pm) and visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus (11am-1pm).

Find Santa Claus at Malls and Shopping Centers

Santa will simultaneously be at several malls during the pre-Christmas season. Remember, Santa Claus is old and needs occasional breaks.

11/4/17-12/24/17: Santa Land & the Santa Experience at Mall of America | With options to drop in and queue or schedule an appointment.

11/9/17-12/24/17: Ridgedale Center 

11/9/17-12/24/17: Rosedale Center | Find Santa at the Winter Castle in East Court

11/11/17-12/24/17: Burnsville Center | Find Santa in the lower level Macy’s Court.

11/11/17-12/24/17: Northtown Mall | Find Santa in the Burlington Court, 10am-4pm

11/24/17-12/24/17: Southdale Center | Find Santa at the Center Court

11/24/18: Stocking Stroll | Maplewood Mall | 9-11am | $10 (before June 24, 2018) or $15/child | A wristband includes a holiday treat scavenger hunt and activities around the mall such as bounces houses, face painting, and a meet-and-greet with Santa. .

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About the author

Joy Peters

Joy Peters - co-creator and writer for

Besides Family Fun Twin Cities, I spend my 9 to 5 at a day job pursuing my weird passion for calendars and organizing things as a legal secretary. When I get home I spend my time with my four kids, 10, 6, 4 and 1. My amazing husband is both a full-time musician and full-time stay-at-home dad. Together we run a small radio empire — SiaNet Radio — playing, promoting and enjoying the wide variety of local music and art in the Twin Cities. I juggle all this while writing about exploring the Twin Cities with kids. I couldn’t be happier.


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