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.
12/1/17: Forever Wild Family Friday: Sounds of the Night | Lebanon Hills Regional Park Visitor Center, Eagan | 7-8:30pm | Drop in for smores and evening activities.
12/2/17: First Free Saturday | Walker Art Center, Minneapolis | 10am-3pm | 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.
- the Nordic Holidays exhibition of decorated rooms
- Kids at the Castle playdates Dec. 15 & 16
- our Making Traditions weekend music/craft series
- Lucia Celebrations
- Santa and Tomte visits
- FIKA’s food for kids
- a Family Gallery
- a FREE Holiday Open House on Dec. 13.
For complete info., visit ASI at 2600 Park Ave., go to ASImn.org or call (612) 871-4907.
12/2/17: Home Depot Kids Workshop: Gingerbread House | TC Home Depot locations | 9am-noon | The first Saturday of each month kids get a kit to build, apron and pin while supplies last; adults must accompany children.
12/5/17: Free Tuesday @ 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).
12/10/17: Family Day: Let’s Dance! | Minneapolis Institute of Art | 11am-5pm | A full day of live musical performances and global dance traditions from Central and East Africa, the Americas, and beyond!
12/10/17: Family Art Sunday: Scandanavian Winter | Banfill-Locke Center, Fridley | 1-3pm
12/17/17: Target Free 3rd Sunday | Minnesota Children’s Museum, St Paul | 9am-5pm | 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.
12/28/17: Winter Fun Day | Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, Bloomington | 10am-4pm | Dress for outdoor winter activities, then warm up inside by the fireplace with books, puzzles, a scavenger hunt and nature films.
For all the details on these holiday events, jump over to our Twin Cities Holiday Festival Calendar.
11/18/17-12/17/17: Bachman’s: Santa & Albert Holiday Play & Sing Along
11/18/17-12/31: Hometown for the Holidays | Stillwater
11/24/17-12/23/17: Holidazzle | Minneapolis
11/24/17-11/26/17: Christmas in Excelsior
12/1/17-12/3/17 & 12/8/17-12/1017: European Christmas Market | St Paul
12/1/17: CSE Winter Light Show Premiere | University of Minnesota, Minneapolis campus
12/1/17-12/2/17: Holiday Fest | Shakopee
12/1/17-12/3/17: Seward Winter Frolic | Minneapolis
12/1/17-12/2/17: Afton Village Holiday
12/1/17-12/2/17: Delano Old Fashioned Christmas
12/2/17: Anoka Hometown Holiday
12/2/17: Holiday Harbor Lights & Tree Lighting | Downtown Blaine
12/2/17-12/3/17: Twinkle Party | Stillwater
12/2/17: Grand Meander | St. Paul
12/2/17: Holiday on Main | Lakeville
12/2/17: Shop Excelsior Tree Lighting
12/2/17: Reindeer Day at Linden Hills | Minneapolis
12/2/17-12/3/17: Holiday Open Haus | Germanic-American Institute, St. Paul
12/3/17: 1850’s Holiday Party | Ard Godfrey House, Minneapolis
12/3/17: Old Fashioned Holiday | Holz Farm, Eagan
12/6/17: Dinner with Santa | Dayton’s Bluff Rec Center, St. Paul
12/8/17: Winter Wonderland | North Dale Rec Center, St. Paul
12/8/17: Dinner with Santa | Duluth & Case Rec Center, St. Paul
12/8/17: Winter in the Village | St Anthony Village
12/8/17-12/10/17: Canadian Pacific Holiday Train – The brightly lit train will roll into the following Twin Cities-area stations accompanied by live music.
- 12/8 – Hastings, arrives 8:30pm
- 12/9 – Cottage Grove, 5:45pm
- 12/9 – Minneapolis, 7:45pm
- 12/10 – New Hope, 3:35pm
- 12/10 – Golden Valley, 4:50pm
- 12/10 – St. Louis Park, 6pm
12/9/17: Plymouth Old Fashioned Christmas | Plymouth Creek Park
12/9/17: North St Paul Holiday Hop
12/10/17: Santa’s Workshop | Landmark Center, St. Paul
12/13/17: Neighborhood Holiday Open House | American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis
12/15/17-12/16/17: Live Nativity | Knollwood Christian Church, St Louis Park
12/16/17 & 12/23/17: Living Nativity | St Stephen’s Lutheran Church, White Bear Lake
12/17/17: Jerry’s Very Merry Santa Day | Jerry’s Foods, Woodbury
12/17/17: Living Nativity | Messiah United Methodist Church, Plymouth
Our Christmas & Holiday Guide is decked out with all the trimmings of a fabulous family holiday season. Browse it for more FREE inspiration.
TWIN CITIES SANTA EVENTS – FREE
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:
12/31/17: 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.
12/31/17: Noon Year’s Party | Como Zoo & Conservatory Visitor Center, St Paul | 10am – 1pm | 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. Also takes place on 1/1/18.
Minneapolis Institute of Arts | Minneapolis | Daily, 11am-5pm
Como Park Zoo & Conservatory | St Paul | Daily, 10am-6pm | Suggested donation of $2/child & $3/adult, but all welcome whether or not you choose to donate. | Seasonal events include the Holiday Flower Show in the Conservatory’s sunken garden, storytime at noon, and animal programs throughout the day.
Materials Lab | Minnesota Museum of American Art, St Paul | Open during exhibition hours, ongoing Sat/Sun, 10am-4pm | All ages can drop in and get creative with available materials and a little guidance. The Minnesota Museum of American Art is temporarily closed for construction of a brand new space set to open in 2018.
Saturday Live! | George Latimer Central Library, St Paul | 11:15am | Fresh entertainment every Saturday in December including live music, puppetry, magicians and more.
Nature Rocks! Open House | Eden Prairie Outdoor Center, Eden Prairie | 9am-noon | The first Saturday of each month enjoy free family-friendly activities such as hiking, hands-on interaction with live animals, craft projects and more.
Bell Museum of Natural History | Minneapolis | Ongoing Sundays, Noon-5pm | Explore the very kid-friendly Touch and Feel room and the wildlife dioramas free each Sunday. The Bell Museum will be closed through summer 2018 when it will reopen in a brand new location.
Open House at Pond Dakota Mission Park | Bloomington | Ongoing Sundays in Dec, 1:30-4pm, please check the website first | FREE, donations appreciated | Come by the historic Gideon Pond house in the park for tours, living history lessons and other interactive activities.
Parent/Tot Time & Preschool Open Gym | Apple Valley Community Center | Ongoing Mon/Wed/ Fri, 9:30-11am | 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.
Wee Wednesdays | Midtown Global Market, Minneapolis | Ongoing Wednesdays, 10:30am – 1pm. 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.
Lil Explorer Thursdays | Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, St. Paul | Ongoing Thursdays starting through April 2018, 10am-noon | 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.
Top Preschool Storytimes in the Twin Cities – many local bookstores, libraries and other businesses offer FREE storytimes during the week. Click the link to read our picks.
Kid-friendly Twin Cities coffee shops and cafes with dedicated FREE play spaces.
Twin Cities Nature Centers offer FREE admission and hands-on exhibits and outdoor play opportunities most days of the week.
St. Paul Recreation Centers offer free open gym Tot Times at 16 sites across the city.
Minneapolis Recreation Centers also offer free options. Click this link and search “parent tot”.