10 Free Things To Do in December in the Twin Cities


Pocket your extra cash for the holiday season and take advantage of all the free family fun in the Twin Cities during the month of December. We’ve found these 10 Free Things To Do in December in the Twin Cities. Did we miss anything? Leave us a comment.

More ideas for December family fun:

Twin Cities December Family Events & Activities Guide

Free December Events

Budget December Events

Top 10 December Family Events

10 Free Things To Do in December in the Twin Cities

1) Free sledding & ice skating

Bundle up and go out to play! Metro-wide free outdoor ice skating rinks are open daily; many have warming facilities and lighting, some have free skates to loan! Find our directory of rinks here or below on the graphic. Twin Cities sledding hills are also in abundance, and we’ve got plenty of free options for you.

10 Free Things To Do in December in the Twin Cities10 Free Things To Do in December in the Twin Cities

2) Santa sightings

10 Free Things To Do in December in the Twin Cities

Bring your own camera to these free events and capture photos of a visit with Jolly Old St Nick. For more places to spot Santa across the Twin Cities, jump over to Here Comes Santa Claus.

  • Santa & Albert’s Holiday Play | Bachman’s, Minneapolis
    Join in Christmas carols after the show and meet Santa. Weekends through Dec 22, 3 or 4 shows daily.
  • Holidazzle | Loring Park, Minneapolis
    Santa makes appearances Thurs-Sun starting Nov 29, see website for times. Lots more free to love at Holidazzle, see details below.
  • Santa’s Workshop | Landmark Center, St Paul
    Snap pics with Santa, meet a pair of his reindeer, play games and made some handmade holiday gifts at the craft tables. Dec 15, 1pm.

3) Christmas & holiday tree lightings

10 Free Things To Do in December in the Twin Cities

Lighting and decorating an evergreen tree has been a custom for many cultures spanning hundreds of years. The Twin Cities contains many communities that continue to keep this tradition illuminated. We’ve listed some of our favorites in December here; both take place the weekend Dec 6-7, 2019:

Tree Lighting & Movie Night | Union Depot, St Paul
Entertainment begins at 6, fireworks and tree lighting at 6:30pm and a holiday movie double feature follows. Dec 6, 6-10pm.

Afton Village Holiday Tree Lighting | Town Square Park
The village hosts a tree lighting ceremony (Friday evening at 6pm), horse and wagon rides, a family photo booth and roving carolers throughout. Dec 6-7.

Grand Meander Tree Lighting | St Paul
The holiday tree is lit outside Charlemagne Fine Jewelry around 5pm. The whole day is filled with events in the Grand Avenue shopping district, carolers, trolley rides and visits with Santa. Dec 7.

Anoka Christmas Tree Lighting | Anoka City Hall River Plaza
Enjoy horse-drawn trolley rides, holiday music, bonfires, and Santa. Dec 7, 3-7pm.

Twinkle Party | Stillwater
The city tree is lit at 5:30, part of the annual Hometown for the Holidays celebration. Dec 7, festivities start at 4pm.

For our dazzling list of community tree lighting celebrations, jump over HERE.


4) More free holiday festivals

Eagan Community Tree Lighting | Eagan Community Center
The tree will be lit at 6pm followed by holiday tunes, hot chocolate and an outdoor lighted trail. Admission to The Blast Indoor Playground is free during this event. Dec 5, 5-7pm.

Reindeer Day at Linden Hills | Minneapolis
Hop a free trolley ride to area business bustling with marshmallow roasting, Santa and his reindeer, carolers and in-store events. Dec 7, 10am-2pm.

Plymouth Old Fashioned Christmas | Plymouth Creek Park
Visit Santa, his missus, the elves and his reindeer. Catch a hayride, cookies and holiday tale time. Dec 7, 2-5pm.

Christmas in Excelsior
The big tree lights up at 7pm on Water Street, plus sleigh rides, Santa and carolers lend a holiday air. Dec 7, 14 & 21.

Continue your merriment over on our complete Twin Cities Holiday Festival Calendar.

Holiday Festivals - 10 Free Things To Do in December in the Twin Cities


5) Free concert for kids

Start the Music! w/ St. Paul Chamber Orchestra | Neighborhood House, St Paul

Introduce kids to the members of the woodwind instrument family as they spin a version of the classic  story. Designed for kids ages 3–6 and their families. Join in crafts, games and activities, followed by a 30-minute concert. Tickets are free but must be reserved in advance. Dec 7, 10am.


6) Old Fashioned Holiday | Holz Farm, Eagan

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. Dec 8, 12-3:30pm.


7) Holidazzle weekend activities

10 Free Things To Do in December in the Twin Cities

Beyond Santa Claus, all the ingredients for a perfect family holiday outing are right here in Loring Park: the ice rink is stocked with free loaner skates, outdoor movies (many of them holiday classics) and fireworks are on display select evenings, and you can get your shopping list tackled among the many vendors. There’s also an obstacle course for kids and interactive art. Holidazzle runs Fri-Sun through Dec 22, 2019. All activities are free of charge.


8) Gingerbread houses

Gingerbread Wonderland at the Norway House

Gingerbread Wonderland at the Norway House

Fuller Annual Gingerbread Adventures | Fuller Park, Minneapolis
Decorate your own gingerbread creation. This event is for all ages or even the whole family. Dec 7, 1-3pm, FREE.

For more delicious ideas on tasting your way through the holidays, check out our Where to Bake Christmas Cookies in the Twin Cities round-up (it’s got all the best places to decorate a gorgeous gingerbread house, too!)


9) Visit a live nativity

A twist on live theater during the month of December. You need not be a member of the congregation or attend a church service in order to attend one of these live nativities; performances are free and open to the public.

10 Free Things To Do in December in the Twin Cities

Live Nativity | Knollwood Christian Church, St Louis Park | Dec 6-7

Living Nativity | St Stephen’s Lutheran Church, White Bear Lake | Dec 14 & 21

Living Nativity | Messiah United Methodist Church, Plymouth | Dec 15


10) Noon Years Eve Party | Como Zoo & Conservatory Visitor Center, St Paul

Ring in the new year while they can still keep their eyes open with games, dancing and music from the DJs of the Kidsdance. There will be noise-maker making, special animal enrichment, zoo keeper talks, giveaways, and a countdown to noon when hundreds of beach balls will be dropped from the ceiling. 10am – 1pm. Also takes place on 1/1/20.

Plan ahead to celebrate the new year!


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