Things to do in Minneapolis & St Paul this weekend!
This Twin Cities Family Weekend Guide covers the weekend of December 18-19, 2021. To find our most recent guide, click here.
With so many holiday happenings around the Twin Cities this weekend, we want to make it as jolly as possible for your family to find them. For more inspiration and seasonal cheer, hop over to our ULTIMATE TWIN CITIES CHRISTMAS & HOLIDAY GUIDE, our FAMILY FUN CALENDAR or our DECEMBER FAMILY GUIDE.
TWIn Cities Holiday Events This Weekend
Weekend Holiday Festivals & Events
Trot on over to our Twin Cities Holiday Festivals & Tree Lightings page for more details – many Twin Cities-area communities are hosting their own downtown galas, complete with roving Santas, carolers and sleigh bells.
All Weekend: December 18-19, 2021
A free event to attend with the opportunity to shop for handmade gifts as well as nosh on holiday treats. Located at St Paul’s historic Union Depot. Open weekends, Fri 4-9pm, Sat 10am-8pm & Sun 11am-6pm.
A holiday tradition, Gingerbread Wonderland returns for its 5th Anniversary. Located in Minneapolis. $7/pp kids FREE.
Take a self-guided Christmas tour of the historic mansion and hear about the family’s holiday traditions. Located in St Paul, $8-$12/pp.
Tanadoona, 3300 Tanadoona Dr, Excelsior, MN 55331
Explore Santa’s workshop, meet reindeer, Christmas llamas, or Clydesdales, take pictures with Santa himself, and get lost in the Christmas Tree forest. Thru December 19, 2021. Fri 12pm-10pm, Sat 10am-1pm, Sun 10am-8pm; Admission: Adults $18; Children $13; 2 and under – free.
FINAL WEEKEND! Horse drawn trolley rides, photos with Santa, carolers and shopping.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2021 ONLY
401 E 104th St, Bloomington, MN 55420
Sing Christmas carols around the pump organ, listen to a reading of the Christmas story, enjoy some holiday refreshments and make paper star ornaments to take home. Drop in from 1-4pm. FREE, donations appreciated.
Meet Anna and Elsa, create crafts, play games and watch the movie snug indoors. Event runs 3-7pm. FREE!
Jimmy Lee Recreation Center, 270 Lexington Parkway N., Saint Paul, MN, 55104
Join Santa at Great River Water Park for photos, swimming, music and fun. December 18, 2021; 1-4pm, FREE.
Twin Cities Holiday Lights Displays
Drive through and pause at 8 stations telling the Christmas story in bright lights, music, and narration. Thurs-Sun, Dec. 3-19th; 6pm-9pm.
Downtown Stillwater, Stillwater MN 55082
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 and the mile drive of Main Street is covered with snowflake decorations and rooftop lights. Drive it, walk it, shop it – all beautiful choices. Begins the Friday after Thanksgiving. 5-10pm nightly. FREE!
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, 3675 Arboretum Dr, Chaska, MN 55318
Winter will be in bloom with lighted greenery and displays throughout the pathways of the arb’s gardens! Online ticket reservation required. This weekend – Tickets: $10-$25/pp.
Minnesota State Fairgrounds, 1265 Snelling Ave N, St Paul, MN 55108
Enjoy a parade of dozens of seasonal scenes featuring over a million holiday lights, a 100-foot illuminated tree and other attractions. The festival has added a “sElfie Plaza”, a 3-story ice palace and a food court. Thru Jan 2, 2022, 4:30 pm-9/10 pm; Tickets $12.75 to $75/pp.
For the whole sparkling scoop on the best holiday light displays in the Twin Cities, visit our 2021 Twin Cities Drive Thru Christmas Events and Walking Tours page. OR – 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!
Find Santa Claus in the Twin Cities This weekend
Where will Jolly Old St Nick be visiting this weekend? This is one of the last chances for littles to hand over their Christmas list! Somehow he manages to be all over the Twin Cities! For further planning, check our Twin Cities Santa-finder page or check out the details below on our holiday festival calendar.
WEEKEND SANTA HIGHLIGHT! Meet Santa at Holidazzle
Visiting with Santa is just one of the many fun activities at the annual festival. Santa will be on site all weekend for photo ops plus amusement rides and fireworks this weekend only! Fri 5-10pm, Sat 11am-10pm & Sun 11am-7pm.
FINAL WEEKEND! Santa’s Train Shop at Minnesota Transportation Museum
The museum transforms into Santa’s Train Shop with live music, activities, train rides, pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Located in St Paul, $7-$13/pp.
Still Christmas Shopping This Weekend?
Our CHRISTMAS SHOPPING GUIDE helps you shop local and support small businesses while picking out presents for your loved ones this year. This gift guide has wonderful ideas for all ages. The best part is these events double as family fun!
more ideas for things to do this weekend in the twin cities with kids
ARM YOURSELF…for the winter break ahead
For many families (particularly those inclined to consult this website), the weekend flows right into a nice stretch of vacation days from school. Lots of us are also on break from our regularly-scheduled extracurriculars, too. A few years back we put together a list of 16 THINGS TO DO OVER WINTER BREAK IN THE TWIN CITIES to keep ourselves sane at home during this time, and, for extra armor, beefed up our annual WINTER FUN SURVIVAL GUIDE.
Last but not least: many ice skating, skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing spots are already humming with activity. Try one of these pretty, refrigerated outdoor ice skating rinks if the community sites aren’t yet open:
- MAPLE GROVE CENTRAL PARK ICE SKATING LOOP (free ice skating, rentals available for $7)
- ROSEVILLE OVAL ($6.50/pp, rentals $5)
- WOODBURY HEALTH EAST SPORTS CENTER ice rink (free skating)
Always free to visit weekends
- Minneapolis Institute of Art
- Minneapolis Sculpture Garden – adjacent to the Walker Art Center (free each first Saturday/month)
- Como Park Zoo & Conservatory – note that fall & winter hours are 10am-4pm.
Find hundreds more things to do in Minneapolis & St Paul with kids!
During this cold weather, find tons of fun indoor games for kids you can play right at home.