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.
This post is sponsored by VocalEssence
Star of Wonder
Dec. 9 , 9:30am or 11am
Plymouth Congregational Church, 1900 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis
Is a visit with Santa a holiday tradition for your family? He begins greeting guests November 9 at local shopping centers:
When: Ongoing Saturdays, Nov 4-Feb 24, 2018 | 6-9pm
Cost: $15/pp, family rates available, children 4 & under FREE
Details: 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.
Nature Arts & Crafts Fair | Richardson Nature Center, Bloomington
When: Saturday, Nov 4 | 10am-3pm
Cost: Free admission
Details: Local artisans of jewelry, felting, painting and more display their wares; afterward enjoy the park reserve. All vendor fees donated to the VEAP-Bloomington Food Shelf.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas | Children’s Theatre Company, Minnepolis
When: Begins Tuesday, Nov 7 – Jan 7, 2017
Cost: $15-$80/pp depending on seating and time of show
Details: One of CTC’s holiday classics!
Santa’s Arrival Ceremony | Mall of America
When: Thursday, Nov 9 | 5:30-6:30pm
Details: The holiday season officially kicks off at Mall of America with Santa’s Arrival Ceremony. Santa will be greeted in holiday style with live performances.
When: Saturday, Nov 11 | 10am-5pm
Details: Explore Nordic holiday traditions, see the historic Turnblad Mansion decked out for the season, and join in family craft activities. Included with museum admission.
Holiday Open House featuring Santa & Albert’s Arrival and Annual Holiday Play | Bachman’s on Lyndale, Minneapolis
When: Saturday, Nov 18 | 9:30am-3pm
Details: Join Bachmans in welcoming Santa and his sleigh to kick off the holiday season! Kids can visit the reindeer corral and stop by the craft counter for crafts and activities. Cookies, juice, and coffee will be served. Don’t miss the annual Santa & Albert holiday play at 10am, 11:30am, 1pm and 2:30pm.
When: Saturday, Nov 18 | 3:30-10pm
Details: Rice Park will dazzle with thousands of twinkling lights throughout the winter. Come downtown to see the holiday tree lit and be among the first of the season on the skating rink. There will be music, fireworks at 6:30 and skating begins at 7:15.
Holiday Lights in the Park | Phalen Regional Park, St. Paul
When: TBA, runs nightly through Jan 1
Cost: $10 cash per vehicle at gate or $8 online ticket only
Details: All of the net proceeds from the event will be distributed to a community non-profit. 60 holiday light sculptures and animated displays entertain guests as they cruise through the park in the evening hours.
When: Wednesday, Nov 22 | 6-6:45pm
Details: Making an appearance are local choirs, refreshments, Mr. and Mrs. Claus, 200,000+ lights, and a 30-foot-tall tree.
Holidazzle | Loring Park, Minneapolis
When: Begins Friday, Nov 24 | 5-10m
Details: Holidazzle has returned to Loring Park, offering free admission to all, and there will be vendors, activities, food, and fireworks galore. Holidazzle will run 5-9pm on Thurs, Fri until 10pm, Sat 11am-10pm & Sun 11am-7pm thru Dec 23, 2017.
Holly Trolley | Como-Harriet Streetcar Line, Minneapolis
When: Saturday & Sunday, Nov 25-26, 12:30-3:30pm
Details: Ride the rails with Santa in a streetcar decorated for the holiday. Then, warm up with a campfire and roast a marshmallow. The event also runs Sat & Sun, Dec 2-3.
When: Friday, Nov 24 – Sunday, Nov 26, 2017
Details: Family highlights include the Grand Lighting & Santa Parade (11/24), Christmas at the Folsom House, storytime with Mrs. Claus and wagon rides.
Tree Lighting Ceremony | 50th & France, Edina
When: Saturday, Nov 25
Details: Holiday Market is open 12-5pm followed by tree lighting, carolers and visits with Santa.
When: Saturday, Nov 25, 9-11am
Details: A wristband includes a holiday treat scavenger hunt and activities around the mall such as bounces houses, face painting, and a meet-and-greet with Santa.
Want more holiday happenings? Try our Top 10 Twin Cities Christmas Experiences for 2017: