Twin Cities Guide to Family Activities This Weekend: December 2-3, 2023

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Things to do in Minneapolis & St Paul this weekend!

This Twin Cities Family Weekend Guide covers events in Minneapolis & St Paul the weekend of December 2-3, 2023. Want to discover family fun this weekend across the Twin Cities Metro Area? Browse our guides for the Northwest, Northeast, Southwest & Southeast communities. Merry exploring, wherever your weekend may take you!

The holidays have descended and the Twin Cities are all lit up this December weekend with special holiday events, Christmas tree lightings and festivals with all the trimmings. We’ve illuminated some festive events to get you in the spirit – for more family weekend ideas hop over to our 2023 ULTIMATE TWIN CITIES CHRISTMAS & HOLIDAY GUIDE, our FAMILY FUN CALENDAR or our DECEMBER FAMILY GUIDE.

We’re psyched to put up and decorate our Christmas tree this weekend! Our teammate Joy took care of this last weekend and literally went the extra mile to bring her family to a Christmas tree farm so they could make the memory of cutting their own fresh tree. Think that sounds like a fun family adventure? She’s compiled a list of the best places in the Twin Cities to cut your own holiday tree.

Dad carrying Christmas Tree into House as Kids Cheer -Where to Buy Real Christmas Tree in the Twin Cities

Holiday events this weekend in Minneapolis & St Paul - the Twin Cities

Twin Cities Christmas & holiday tree lighting events this weekend

Trees will be twinkling this weekend at hometown holiday festivals. This is the BIGGEST & BRIGHTEST weekend for community celebrations in the Twin Cities metro. Here’s our quick list of light-ups in Minneapolis & St Paul; find our complete listing of TWIN CITIES HOLIDAY TREE LIGHTING EVENTS for more communities. 

MINNEAPOLIS: Linden Hills Reindeer Day

Linden Hills, Minneapolis
The festive activities take place at local shops and businesses in the area of Upton & 43rd. You can get a list of all the offerings at the link but here’s a preview: stop in for free cookies, crafts, photos with Santa & Mrs Claus, cocoa and storytime. December 2, 2023, 10am-2pm.

ST PAUL: Grand Meander

Grand Avenue, St Paul, MN 55105
20 blocks of samples, specials, Vulcan fire truck rides, carolers and multiple venues to visit with Santa. Events run starting 8:30am through the afternoon. December 2, 2023.

ST PAUL: Union Depot Holiday Tree Lighting & Movie Night

214 4th Street East, St. Paul, MN 55101
Catch the giant tree light up at 7pm followed by a screening of Elf at 7:30pm. December 2, 2023, event runs 5-9pm.

Trot on over to our Twin Cities Holiday Festivals page for more details – many Twin Cities-area communities are hosting their own downtown galas, complete with roving Santas, carolers and sleigh bells.

Shine on: Minneapolis & St Paul holiday lights displays & events

GLOW Holiday Festival

CHS Field, 360 N Broadway St, St Paul, MN 55101
This year, there is more than a drive-through: Over a million lights, selfie plaza, three-story ice palace, and a bike-powered tree. Tickets: $12.75-$20.75/pp.  Now-December 31, 2023.

For the whole sparkling scoop on the best holiday light displays in the Twin Cities, visit our 2023 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!

december weekend

Where can I find Santa this weekend in Minneapolis & St Paul?

Where will Jolly Old St Nick be visiting this weekend? Somehow he manages to be all over the Twin Cities! Take your pick from shopping malls, community festivals and even a streetcar decked out for Christmas. For further planning, check our Twin Cities Santa-finder page or check out the details below on our holiday festival calendar.

Santa & Albert’s Holiday Play at Bachman’s

Bachman’s on Lyndale, 6010 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55419
Bachman’s annual holiday play is perfect for all ages. Showtimes (about 20 min in length) throughout the day this weekend. BONUS! Santa’s reindeer will make an appearance this Saturday (only). December 2-3, 2023. 



Santa at Keg & Case Market

928 7th St W, St Paul, MN 55102
Visit with Santa two days only at the market while you shop for your holiday tree (second is Dec 10). December 3, 2023, 1-4pm.

Santa Claus on the rails & trails

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. December 2-3, 2023, book at 10am or 1pm. $9-$18/pp or $50/family package.

Como-Harriet Streetcar Line Holly Trolley

2330 W 42nd St, Minneapolis, MN 55410
Take an old-time trolley ride with Santa himself and toast marshmallows on a fire. December 2-3, 2023, $5/rider.

Santa Sleigh Experience at The Hitching Company

The Hitching Company, 925 N. 5th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55401410
Visit includes include crafts, a carriage ride, and photos with Santa. Weekends thru December 17, 2023. $21.95/rider (Under 3 free on lap).

Family-friendly Twin Cities holiday shopping events this weekend

Make it the year to shop local or choose handcrafted gifts (we know grandparents love those most!) While we appreciate it’s not always a festive event to bring the kids along to tackle the holiday gift list, these events keep the whole family in mind with entertainment and other diversions. You may even find Santa!

St Paul’s European Christmas Market

Union Depot, 214 4th Street East, St Paul, MN
Based on the European open air Christkindlmarkts like those in Germany and Austria, this is a free event to attend with the opportunity to shop for unique, handmade gifts and decorations as well as nosh on holiday treats. Open weekends thru December 17, 2023, Fri 4-9pm, Sat 10am-8pm & Sun 11am-6pm.

Holiday Shopping Events

More holiday events this weekend in Minneapolis-St Paul

Holiday Night Trains at Twin City Model Railroad Museum

668 Transfer Rd Ste. 8, St Paul, MN 55114
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. December 2, 2023. $15/pp.

Cultural Christmas celebrations

Germanic-American Institute Christmas in Germany

301 Summit Ave, St Paul, MN 55102
Get the feel of a European market with vendors selling German Christmas gift items, model trains, and festive food and drink. Craft ornaments on Saturday and meet St. Nikolaus on Sunday. December 2 & 3, 2023. FREE admission.

Gingerbread Wonderland at Norway House

913 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404
A signature holiday tradition, Gingerbread Wonderland features a miniature village made of (you guessed it) gingerbread. Now thru January 7, 2024. $15/pp kids 12 & under FREE.

Have yourself a historical little Christmas

Holidays on the Hill at James J Hill House

240 Summit Ave, St Paul, MN 55102
Take both a guided and a self-guided Christmas tour of the historic mansion all decked out and hear about the famous family’s holiday traditions. December 2-3, 2023, $16-$20/pp.

Minneapolis & St Paul weekend holiday stage spotlight

Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Children’s Theatre Company, 2400 3rd Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55404
The Grinch is back to make your holiday complete. This is a very popular show so you’ll want to secure tickets right now if the show is on your Christmas wish list. Best for ages  4+. Now thru January 7, 2023. Tickets $15-$64.

Reed Sigmund and Company in Children's Theatre Company's 2023 production of 'Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas!'. Photo by Glen Stubbe Photography
For Current reviews, parental guidance and upcoming shows:
What’s Playing at Children’s Theater Company

Elf The Musical, Jr

The Conn Theatre, 1900 Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55403
STARTS FRIDAY! A modern-day holiday classic that is sure to make everyone embrace their inner elf. This is a show produced by the wonderful Youth Performance Company and is great for all ages. Tickets/$15. Now thru December 17, 2023.

Kids participating in interactive theater program: "Kid-Friendly Theater, Music and Performing Arts in the Twin Cities"


Fun outdoor activities in the parks this weekend in the Twin Cities

Featured here for the weekend is just a taste of all that’s going on across the incredible Twin Cities park systems. You can get more ideas on our FAMILY FUN CALENDAR or browse the links below to search for local fun events & things to do with kids this weekend in the parks.

Some fun family ideas for this weekend: Try outdoor ice skating

Most community outdoor ice rinks aren’t quite flooded and ready for skating yet, but some parks in other areas of the Twin Cities Metro offer refrigerated options for you open this week if you’ve got the urge to lace up:


Featured Twin Cities park events this weekend

Holiday Flower Show Opens at Como Park Conservatory

1225 Estabrook Dr, St Paul, MN 55103
It’s not technically “outdoor” fun in the parks, but when I’m meandering the balmy garden paths of Como Conservatory I can almost trick myself into believing I’ve jetted off for a tropical vacation. The beautiful blooms of the Holiday Flower Show begin today to add to the festive mood. (Plus, there’s so much for kids and adults alike to love at Como.) December 2, 2023, 10am-4pm. FREE.

Family Funday: North Mississippi Regional Park

5116 N Mississippi Dr, Minneapolis, MN 55412
Learn how Minnesota animals have figured out ways to survive the winter cold. Free, drop-in program, but must register. Kids will enjoy playing around in the exhibits of the Carl Kroening Interpretive Center, too. December 2, 2023, 1-3pm.

More ideas for things to do this weekend in Minneapolis & St Paul with kids

Free, kid-friendly museum visits

Walker Art Center Free First Saturday

725 Vineland Pl, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Free admission for the whole family! Explore the galleries with an activity guide, watch a family friendly short film, and participate in art-making onsite. December 2, 2023, 10am-3pm.

December First Free Sunday at Minnesota Children’s Museum

10 7th St W, St Paul, MN 55102
Explore three+ floors of FUN at the museum FREE of charge; expect to wait in line for admission. December 3, 2023. 9am-5pm.

Family-friendly entertainment

Saturday Vibe at George Latimer Central Library

90 W 4th St, St Paul, MN 55102
Fresh, family entertainment – music, storytelling, puppets and more. This weekend, watch a sketch comedy show for kids and create a fun snack. Check the schedule for more details. December 2, 2023, 11am-12pm.

First Saturday Science at Metro State

664 East Sixth Street, Saint Paul, MN 55106
The University hosts kid-friendly hands-on STEM activities the first Saturday of the month. December’s program is about natural disasters. December 2, 2023, 12-2pm, FREE.

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.

List of Indoor Games & Activities for Kids - Boredom Busters for All Ages

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