Who doesn’t love an extra helping of FREE events around the holiday season? Our Free Twin Cities December Family Events & Activities list is filled with Santa sightings, community Christmas and holiday events, and a hundred ways to save money while spending time with your family. For hundreds more ideas, visit our Family Fun Calendar or December Family Guide.
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.
Dec 3, 2019: Free Tuesday at Washington County Parks | SE Metro
Find a listing of parks here. Explore Washington County Parks with no vehicle permit required the first Tuesday of the month (non-holiday).
Dec 6, 2019: Forever Wild Family Friday | Lebanon Hills Regional Park, Eagan
Drop in for smores and evening activities. 7-8:30pm.
Dec 7, 2019: First Free Saturday: Celebrate Somalia | Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Activities are geared towards kids ages 6-12, but don’t let that stop you from bringing your littler ones! Free gallery admission for the whole family. 10am-3pm.
Dec 7, 2019: Home Depot Kids Workshop: Countdown Calendar | Home Depot
The first Saturday of each month kids get a kit to build, apron and pin while supplies last; adults must accompany children. 9am-noon.
Dec 7, 2019: First Saturday Science | Metropolitan State University
The first Saturday of each month, kids explore a specific scientific field in a hands-on lab setting. 12-2pm.
Dec 7, 2019: Start the Music! w/ St. Paul Chamber Orchestra | Neighborhood House Crafts, games and activities, followed by the woodwind ensemble’s accompaniment to a reimagined fairy tale in a 30-minute concert. Tickets are free but must be reserved in advance at the link. 10am.
Dec 8, 2019: Family Day: Make Play | Minneapolis Institute of Art
A full day of live musical performances, hands-on art activities, dancing, artist demonstrations, and family tours inspired by Mia’s collection. 11am-5pm.
Dec 8, 2019: Family Art Sunday: Winter Wonderland | Banfill-Locke Center, Fridley Make a collaged snowglobe and other holiday gift items.1-3pm.
Dec 14, 2019: Second Saturdays at TPT | Twin Cities PBS, St Paul
Activities are all free but reserving a time slot is required. 8-11am.
Dec 15, 2019: Target Free 3rd Sunday | Minnesota Children’s Museum, St Paul Explore the newly renovated and expanded museum free! Keep in mind that this program is very popular and you may wait in line to be admitted. 9am-5pm.
Dec 16, 2019: Free 3rd Monday | Minnesota Landscape Arborteum, Chaska | 8am-5pm
Dec 20, 2019: Free Open Studio: Watercolor Painting | Minneapolis Institute of Art | 1-3pm
Dec 29, 2019: Family Fun Day | Carl Kroening Interpretive Center, Minneapolis
Drop in for naturalist-led activities and self-guided exploration of the visitor center’s interactive exhibits. 1-3pm.
Not yet announced for 2019:
Winter Fun Day | Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, Bloomington Dress for outdoor winter activities, then warm up inside by the fireplace with books, puzzles, a scavenger hunt and nature films. 10am-4pm.
The following Twin Cities museums are FREE to visit:
- Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis – FREE daily, plus Family Day is great for all ages.
- Minnesota History Center, St Paul – lots of interactive exhibits (FREE Tuesdays after 3pm)
- Walker Art Center, Minneapolis – FREE Thursday evenings & First Saturdays of each month
- Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis – FREE daily
For all the details on these Free Twin Cities December Family Events, jump over to our Twin Cities Holiday Festival Calendar.
MINNEAPOLIS & ST PAUL HOLIDAY FESTIVALS
Nov 23-Dec 22, 2019: Santa & Albert Holiday Play & Sing Along | Bachmans, Minneapolis
Nov 29-Dec 23, 2019: Holidazzle | Loring Park, Minneapolis
Dec 6: Union Depot Holiday Tree Lighting | St Paul
Dec 7, 2019: Grand Meander | Grand Avenue, St Paul
Dec 7: Reindeer Day at Linden Hills | Minneapolis
Dec 7-8: Seward Winter Frolic | Minneapolis
Dec 7-8: Holiday Open Haus | Germanic-American Institute, St. Paul
Dec 9-12: Canadian Pacific Holiday Train
The brightly lit train will roll into the following Twin Cities-area stations accompanied by a half hour of live music: Hastings, Cottage Grove, Union Depot, St. Paul, Golden Valley, St. Louis Park, Minneapolis, Loretto & Buffalo.
TWIN CITIES NORTHWEST METRO HOLIDAY FESTIVALS
Dec 6: Osseo MiniDazzle Celebration | Boerboom Veterans Park
Dec 7: Anoka Hometown Holiday
Dec 7: Holiday Harbor Lights & Tree Lighting | Downtown Blaine
Dec 7: Plymouth Old Fashioned Christmas | Plymouth Creek Park
Dec 13: Rogers Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony
TWIN CITIES NORTHEAST METRO HOLIDAY FESTIVALS
TWIN CITIES SOUTHEAST METRO HOLIDAY FESTIVALS
Dec 5: Eagan Community Tree Lighting
Dec 6-7:Inver Grove Heights Holidays in the Heights
Dec 6-7: Afton Village Holiday
Dec 7: Lakeville’s Holiday on Main
Dec 8:Old Fashioned Holiday | Holz Farm, Eagan
TWIN CITIES SOUTHWEST METRO HOLIDAY FESTIVALS
Dec 1: Excelsior Christkindlsmarkt
Dec 6: Holiday Fest Tree Lighting | Shakopee
Dec 7: Chanhassen Tree Lighting Ceremony
Dec 7, 14 & 21: Christmas in Excelsior
Dec 7: Delano Old-Fashioned Christmas
Dec 10: Savage Tree Lighting Ceremony | Savage City Hall
Not yet announced for 2019:
Live Nativity | Knollwood Christian Church, St Louis Park
Living Nativity | St Stephen’s Lutheran Church, White Bear Lake
Living Nativity | Messiah United Methodist Church, Plymouth
1850’s Holiday Party | Ard Godfrey House, Minneapolis
Our Christmas & Holiday Guide is decked out with all the trimmings of a fabulous family holiday season. Browse it for more FREE inspiration.
FREE TWIN CITIES DECEMBER SANTA EVENTS
Searching for Santa? Browse our Here Comes Santa Claus post for FREE Santa meet-and-greet opportunities!
How about ogling some holiday light and music displays? Nearly all the venues in our Light It Up: Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota Christmas & Holiday Light Displays roundup cost just the gas it takes to get to them:
TBA: New Year’s Eve: Moonlight Circus | Mall of America | 7 & 9pm | Live Entertainment by Xelias Aerial Arts Studio including contortion, juggling, unicycle and more. A Family Countdown to the new year will take place at the south entrance to Nickelodeon Universe at 10pm.
Dec 31, 2019: Noon Year’s Party | Como Zoo & Conservatory Visitor Center, St Paul Come for 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.
Como Park Zoo & Conservatory | St Paul
Seasonal events include the Fall Flower Show in the Conservatory’s sunken garden, storytime at noon, and animal programs throughout the day. Daily, 10am-6pm, suggested donation of $2/child & $3/adult, but all welcome whether or not you choose to donate.
Nature Rocks! Open House | Eden Prairie Outdoor Center
Enjoy free family-friendly activities such as hiking, hands-on interaction with live animals, craft projects and more. Ongoing Saturdays in Nov, 9am-noon.
Saturday Live! | George Latimer Central Library, St Paul
Fresh entertainment weekly including live music, puppetry, magicians and more. Ongoing Saturdays in Nov, 11:15am.
Open House at Pond Dakota Mission Park | Bloomington
Come by the historic Gideon Pond house in the park for tours, living history lessons and other interactive activities. Ongoing Sundays in Nov, 1:30-4pm, please check the website first. FREE, donations appreciated.
Parent/Tot Time & Preschool Open Gym | Apple Valley Community Center
Ages 5 & under w/ caregiver. Burn off some energy with other kids, develop motor skills and coordination. A special tot time for tykes ages 2 & under is held from 9-9:30am followed by open play for 5 & under until 11. Ongoing Mon/Wed/ Fri, 9:30-11am.
Wee Wednesdays | Midtown Global Market, Minneapolis
In the past, MGM has offered dance troupes, cooking lessons, and live animals to entertain kids. Stay for lunch — there are many tasty ethnic vendors to choose from, and several offer specials on Wednesdays. Park in the adjacent Midtown Exchange Ramp up to 1.5 hrs. free with validation. Ongoing Wednesdays, 10:30am – 1pm.
Lil Explorer Thursdays | Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, St Paul
The hall between the Visitor Center and the Conservatory is filled with hands-on activities, manipulatives, art projects and games perfect for the 4 & under set. Explore a different theme each week. Ongoing Thursdays through April 2020, 10am-noon.
FREE WEEKLY TWIN CITIES ACTIVITIES
Free abounds in the Twin Cities. Many local bookstores, libraries and other businesses offer free storytimes during the week. Local coffee shops & cafes serve parents with free dedicated play spaces. Nature centers are wonderful places that offer free admission and hands-on exhibits and outdoor play opportunities most days of the week. And dozens of St Paul & Minneapolis recreation centers offer free open gyms and tot times to run your littles ragged during the cooler months. Explore from our links below.
|Top Kids Storytimes in the Twin Cities||Kid-friendly Twin Cities Coffee Shops|
|Twin Cities Nature Centers||St Paul & Minneapolis Free Tot Times|