The Nutcracker and Beyond: 2023’s Best Christmas Shows Ever!

Ballet dancer peeking out from behind red curtain. Text: "The Nutcracker & Beyond: The Best Holiday Shows"

Our Christmas show calendar is full to the brim! From the Nutcracker to A Christmas Carol, we guarantee you’ll find a variety of family-friendly Holiday shows this festive season. Here’s a look at the best Christmas plays, ballets, musicals and interactive shows coming to the Twin Cities this year.

Find Year-Round Family-Friendly Theater Here.

2023 Christmas Plays and Shows:

The Nutcracker Ballet

There is no better way to celebrate the Yuletide than with a Nutcracker performance, and we’ve got options for every family – from the young kids with short attention spans to the the full ballet with symphony orchestra.

November 18, 2023: Pas de Deux Dance Studio’s Nutcracker Ballet

Student Union Theater, 2017 Buford Ave, St Paul, MN 55108
Back with the Nutcracker in 2023. Shows at 1 & 4:30pm. Ages 4 & up only (Age 3 can attend recital). Tickets: $15/advance, $20/door.

Nov. 27-29, 2023: Mini-Nutcracker

Lakeville Area Arts Center, 20965 Holyoke Ave, Lakeville, MN 55044
This one-hour abbreviated version of the full-length A Minnesota Nutcracker is a delightful introduction for young children to the classic ballet. 11am & 6pm performances. • All Ages. • Tickets: $14-$18/pp.

Nov. 30-Dec. 2, 2023: Nutcracker! Magical Christmas Ballet

Orpheum Theatre, 910 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Larger than life puppets, breathtaking acrobatics and dazzling costumes and a dash of magic. Tickets $34-$104.

Dec. 2 & 3, 2023: The Nutcracker

Auditorium at Hopkins High, 2400 Lindbergh Drive, Hopkins, MN 55305
Prima Classical Coaching continues the tradition of waltzing flowers, scurrying mice, and a sparkle of magic at every turn! Journey with Marie through the magical world of The Nutcracker. Saturday 2pm & 6pm; Sunday 12pm and 4pm. Tickets: $25-$40.

Dec 2-10, 2023: Continental Ballet’s The Nutcracker

Bloomington Center for Arts, 1800 W Old Shakopee Rd, Bloomington, MN 55431
Tchaikovsky’s classic tale of Clara’s voyage to the land of the Sugar Plum Fairy with her magical godfather Drosselmeyer. Tickets: $13-$25/pp.

Dec. 8-10, 2023: A Minnesota Nutcracker

Ames Center, 12600 Nicollet Avenue, Burnsville, MN 55337
Twin Cities Ballet of Minnesota performs the holiday classic with a Minnesota twist, including iconic Minnesota characters and landscapes. Tickets.

Dec. 8-10, 2023: Nutcracker in Wonderland

The Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts, 528 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55403
A twist on two classic children’s stories. This ballet weaves the Nutcracker with Alice in Wonderland. Tickets: $30-$40/pp.

Dec 9-17, 2023: Metropolitan Ballet’s Nutcracker with Full Symphony Orchestra

The Fitzgerald Theater – St. Paul, 10 E Exchange St, St. Paul, MN 55101
Lindbergh Auditorium at Hopkins High, 2400 Lindbergh Drive, Hopkins, MN 55305

Metropolitan Ballet celebrates 17 years of this family friendly holiday tradition! This year, there will be two weekends and two locations. The classic story comes to life with fresh choreography and a cast of talented artists under the direction of Erik J. Sanborn of the Metropolitan Ballet. As always, the Kenwood Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Dr. Yuri Ivan, will perform live during the Hopkins performances. Best for ages 5+. Fitzgerald Theater Tickets $49-$95; Hopkins Auditorium tickets $49-$69.

Scene from the Metropolitan Ballet Nutcracker Ballet 2023. Text: Nutcracker. December 9-17, 2023.
Image courtesy Metropolitan Ballet

Find Discount Holiday Shows through our affiliate, Goldstar*: Half-Price Tickets

Dec 15-17, 2023: Minnesota Ballet Theatre presents The Nutcracker

Eden Prairie Performing Arts Center, 17185 Valley View Road, Eden Prairie, MN 55346
Over 70 children perform with professional dancers and special guest artists in this version featuring the original choreography. Tickets $27-$39.

Dec 15-17, 2023: Ballet Minnesota presents The Classic Nutcracker at The O’Shaughnessy

St. Catherine University, 2004 Randolph Ave., St. Paul, MN 55105
A classic version of the Nutcracker Ballet. Tickets $5-$45.

Free livestream performance at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Dec. 15: Register Here

Dec 16-23, 2023: Loyce Houlton’s Nutcracker Fantasy

State Theatre, 805 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55402
More than 150 dancers, a 44-piece orchestra, artists and production professionals create this exceptional music, choreography and dance experience. Tickets on Sale 9/1/23.

Christmas Plays & Musicals at Local Theaters

If your must-see list of Holiday happenings plays includes Ebenezer Scrooge, you are in luck! This year, we also have The Grinch, the real St. Nick and Madeleine.

Nov. 7, 2023 – Jan. 7, 2024:  How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Children’s Theatre Company, 2400 3rd Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55404
Told from the point of view of Max the Dog as an old man remembering the past, this Dr. Seuss favorite is back at CTC for a new season with all our favorite stars. Be sure to get there early enough to order cookies or other treats for the intermission. Otherwise, the line is long and the break is short. Tickets: $15+.

DiscountsRush Tickets are $15-$25/pp. Lap Passes available for kids 3 and under.

Read Last Year’s Review Here

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
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

Nov. 17 – Dec. 27, 2023: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast JR

Stages Theatre, 1111 Mainstreet, Hopkins, MN 55343
Based on the Disney Movie lose yourself in the tale as old as time this Holiday Season. • All Ages. • Tickets: $21-$33/pp.

DiscountsPay What You Can Performance November 19, 2023. (Note that you need to reserve these tickets in advance)

Bachman's Santa & Albert Rock Christmas Holiday Play and Sing-Along, Bachman's on Lyndale Garden Center, Minneapolis, Minnsota
Santa & Albert’s Holiday Play – An Annual Tradition and a Sleigh Load of Fun. Image courtesy Bachman’s

Nov.18 – Dec. 17, 2023: Santa & Albert’s Holiday Play: Albert’s Big Surprise

Bachman’s on Lyndale, 6010 Lyndale Ave South, Minneapolis, MN 55419
We can’t wait to see what Santa Claus & Albert are up to this year! These annual, all-original plays are FREE to attend, last about 20 minutes and are seated first come, first serve. Shows are offered multiple times on weekend days.

Nov. 20- Dec. 29, 2023: Cinderella: A Musical Fairy Tale for all Ages

Ives Auditorium, 11411 Masonic Home Drive, Bloomington, MN 55437
Sidekick Theatre‘s re-telling of the classic fairytale. December 3rd: Waffle Buffet prior to 1pm show. Tickets: $9-$19/pp.

Find Christmas Concerts & Holiday Sing-A-Longs Here

Nov. 24 – Dec. 3, 2023: Cirque du Soleil: ‘Twas the Night Before…

Northrop Carlson Stage, 84 Church St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455
Bringing the Christmas sparkle to ‘Twas the Night Before… This is Cirque du Soleil’s first holiday show, based on the classic poem “A Visit from Saint Nicholas” by Clement Clarke Moore. • All Ages. • Tickets: $42.00-$117.00.

Nov. 25, 2023: Julglädje Family Concert

American Swedish Institute, 2600 Park Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55407
The perfect theater experience for toddler and preschool audiences. Enjoy a performance that includes songs, stories, games and celebration; then explore the museum together. Tickets: $20/adults; $5 kids; 5 and under FREE. 9am-10am or 11am-12pm performances.

Nov. 28- Dec. 24, 2023: Black Nativity

Penumbra Theatre, 270 N. Kent Street, St. Paul, MN 55102
The story of the birth Baby Jesus in Bethlehem with a traditionally all black cast, featuring classic Christmas carols and gospel music. From the musical created by Poet Langston Hughes with chorus music performed by the Kingdom Life Church Choir. Tickets $20-$45.

Dec. 1 – Dec. 10, 2023: A Christmas Carol

Chanhassen Performing Arts Center, Chanhassen High School, 2200 Lyman Blvd, Chanhassen, MN 55317
Discover the true meaning of Christmas in this musical originally presented by Radio City Entertainment at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. ​Tickets on Sale in October.

Discounts: Save on tickets through our Goldstar Affiliate Link:

Dec. 1 – Dec. 17, 2023: ELF, the Musical

Howard Conn Fine Arts Center, 1900 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Fun with Buddy the Elf in the adventure of his life as he finds his family and learns a few lessons in New York City. • All Ages. • Tickets: $15.

Dec. 1 – Dec. 31, 2023: Nicholas

Open Window Theatre, 5300 S. Robert Trail, Inver Grove Heights, MN 55077
The story of St. Nicholas of Myra and how he became a symbol of giving anonymous gifts. Recommended for ages 4+ (under 4 not allowed but onsite childcare is available). Tickets $28-$32/pp.

Discounts: Request up to 4 FREE tickets through the Windows of Hope Program.

Bonus Fun: Arrive early to walk through a 4,000 square-foot display, featuring a unique St. Nicholas collection, Christmas village collection, Nativity collection, an abundance of festive lights and more. Open 60-minutes before showtime, during intermission and up to 30-minutes after the show.

Dec. 2 – Dec. 10, 2023: Madeline’s Christmas

Merrill Community Theatre, 380 Rivertown Dr. #200, Woodbury, MN 55125
A musical adaptation of the Ludwig Bemelmans Classic with all the holiday trimmings. Tickets $5-$22.

Petite Patisserie Dress Up Party: Pull out your party wardrobe. This special party includes festive fancies (like bundtinis from Nothing Bundt Cakes), activities and photo-ops prior to Saturday Matinees – 12:30pm. $10-$20 in addition to theater ticket.

Dec. 5-31, 2023: Peter Pan

Ordway Center for Performing Arts, 345 Washington Street, Saint Paul, MN 55102
The time-honored Broadway favorite adventures of Peter Pan, Wendy, John, and Michael Darling, based on the classic children’s novel by JM Barrie
. Tickets $46+.

Green background with shadows of Peter Pan and the Darling children. Peter Pan. The Hit Broadway Musical.
Peter Pan Dec 5-31, 2023. Image courtesy of the Ordway.

Dec. 7-17, 2023: The Christmas Bus

Northern Starz Center, 5300 Alpine Drive NW, Ramsey, MN 55303
A Christmas Comedy for the family about young orphans who get more than a real live tour of Peaceful Valley, when they climb aboard a bus to spend Christmas with a family of their wown. Save by pre-ordering.

Dec. 8-17, 2023: Circus Juventas: A Hygge Holiday

Circus Juventas, 1270 Montreal Ave, St Paul, MN 55116
An acrobatic holiday show set in the North Woods. •  Tickets: $25/children, $35/adults.

Holiday Shows with Teens & Tweens

Nov. 11- Dec. 30, 2023 A Christmas Carol

The Guthrie, 818 S 2nd St, Minneapolis, MN 55415
A Twin Cities Christmas tradition! The Charles Dickens tale of Christmas magic and the redemption of the soul of Ebenezer Scrooge as the ghost of Marley, his former partner, and three Christmas ghosts lead him on a tour of his life. Tickets: $24+

Save: Attend with a group of people and save. Discounts for groups of 15 or more.
See with Younger Kids: While we usually recommend this ev–ent for families with older kids, The Guthrie recommends this play for ages 8+ (children 5 and under are not permitted in the theater). The Guthrie offers a printable 24-page guide full of information, activities and discussion questions to bring the show to life.

Dec. 1-20, 2023: She Loves Me

Hanifl Performing Arts Center, 4941 Long Ave, White Bear Lake, Minnesota 55110
A captivating, romantic comedy about two rival shop owners who fall in love through letters during the most wonderful time of the year.  • Buy Tickets $23-28/pp.

Dec 30, 2023: Trans-Siberian Orchestra: The Ghosts of Christmas Eve

Xcel Energy Center, 199 West Kellogg Boulevard, Saint Paul, MN 55102
We are the last stop on this highly anticipated holiday season event. Two shows – 3:00pm and 7:30pm. Tickets start at $49.75.

Christmas Plays Worth The Drive

Dec 7-9, 2023: It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play

The Hutchinson Center for the Arts, 15 Franklin St SW, Hutchinson, MN 55350
Every Time a Bell Rings an Angel Gets His Wings”  6:30-8:30pm. Tickets.

Dec. 19, 2023: Christmas By Candlelight

Sheldon Theatre, 443 W 3rd St, Red Wing, MN 55066
Bring in the holiday season with Blue Violin. Am  award-winning classical crossover artist, Blue Violin has performed as soloist with the Xibus World Orchestra, Ethno-Urban Orchestra, and has performed with John Mayer, Paul Simon, Jennifer Holliday, the Turtle Island Quartet, and members of the collective Celtic Woman and Riverdance. The show will be one hour 30 minutes with no intermission. Children are encouraged to attend.  Tickets $30.

Favorite Christmas Plays We Hope To See Each Year

If you know of any Christmas Plays we’ve missed, leave us a comment and we’ll check it out to share.

A Charlie Brown Christmas

“Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!” Usually someone offers this play, but I’ve not found a production in the Twin Cities yet.  If not, you can watch with an AppleTV+ subscription.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.

Steppingstone Theatre used to perform this 80s classic annually. Several years ago, they decided to put it in the vault for awhile. We are watching for a nearby theater to pick up this classic and run with it.

Wishing you good cheer and a magical Christmas!

This article is Family Fun Twin Cities’ independent show guide; it is not currently sponsored by any Christmas plays, venue, production company or show. As affiliates, we do receive compensation for referrals to Goldstar and Maestro Classics and sometimes receive tickets from theaters to facilitate reviews.

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