Things to do in the Twin Cities Southwest Metro this weekend – with kids & family!

the Twin Cities at different seasons

This Weekend Family Guide includes events and activities near the Twin Cities, Minnesota, communities of Bloomington, Chaska, Eden Prairie, Edina, Hopkins, Minnetonka, New Hope, Prior Lake, Richfield, Shakopee, St Louis Park, Victoria & Waconia.

This guide covers the weekend of December 9-10, 2023. Not locating the city you’re looking for? We also cover tons of fun family events in the areas of:

As if it’s possible to pack more seasonal inspiration and cheer into the Twin Cities this weekend, hop over to our 2023 ULTIMATE TWIN CITIES CHRISTMAS & HOLIDAY GUIDE, our FAMILY FUN CALENDAR or our DECEMBER FAMILY GUIDE.

Still need to find your perfect Christmas tree? Our teammate Joy took care of this a couple weeks ago and literally went the extra mile to bring her family to a Christmas tree farm so they cut down their own fresh tree to trim. She’s compiled a list of the best places in the Twin Cities to cut your own holiday tree.

Dad carrying Christmas Tree into House as Kids Cheer -Where to Buy Real Christmas Tree in the Twin Cities

Holiday events this weekend in the Twin Cities Southwest Metro

BLOOMINGTON: Mall of America Festival of Trees

Wander through a wonderland forest of specially decorated holiday trees. Located at Mall of America, North Atrium Level 3. November 15, 2023-January 3, 2024. Bonus weekend fun: Netflix Wrapping Station at Mall of America: Families get their gifts wrapped for free while posing for a fun festive family photo opp. Friday-Sunday, Dec. 8-10, 2023; 10am-7pm.

EDEN PRAIRIE: Elves in the Mall 

Eden Prairie Center, 8251 Flying Cloud Dr, Eden Prairie, MN 55344
While out holiday shopping pop into the Center Court to meet with elves bearing balloon animals and face paint. December 9, 2023, 3-5pm.

ST LOUIS PARK: Frozen Experience at the Shops at West End

1625 West End Blvd, St Louis Park MN
Meet the famous Frozen sisters and their live reindeer, play games, make winter crafts and dance to the DJ. Plus a free screening of the Polar Express at ShowPlace ICON Theatre at noon. December 9, 2023, 10am-1pm. FREE.

Shine on: Christmas & holiday lights events in the Twin Cities Southwest Metro

BELLE PLAINE: Illuminate the Night Parade

The route runs from the Belle Plaine fire hall through Meridian Street. December 9, 2023, 6pm start.

CHASKA: Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Winter Lights

3675 Arboretum Dr, Chaska, MN 55318
Take a glittering walking tour through the garden lights on the grounds of the Twin Cities’ favorite botanical gardens. New displays for 2023 include a color-changing tunnel, a Winter Village on Scarecrow Hill and a field of lit sunflowers, Don’t feel like bringing the kids along? We think this could make the perfect date night, too. This weekend through December 31, 2023, 5-10pm. $25/ages 15+.

Weeping Willow Sensory Garden at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Winter Lights Show in Chaska, Minnesota
Weeping Willow Sensory Garden. Image courtesy of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

MINNETONKA: Tree Lighting at Ridgedale Commons

12590 Ridgedale Drive, Minnetonka, Minnesota 55305
Festive events on the lineup include hot cocoa, crafts, a bonfire and music (4:30-6 p.m.), tree lighting (5pm) and a candy cane hunt (5:30pm). December 9, 2023.

SAVAGE: Christmas Wonderland Walk Through Light Display

5293 River Wood Drive, Savage, MN 55378
The homeowners set up lights and open their whole yard to the public! Santa and Mrs. Claus visit for free pictures and candy canes on most Friday and Saturday nights. Open Thanksgiving through New Years Day. 5-8:30. Collecting food donations for 360 communities. November 23, 2023 through New Years.

WACONIA: Spirit of Winter –  Festival of Lights

Sovereign Estate, 9950 N Shore Rd, Waconia, MN 55387
Get in the holiday spirit at this all-ages stroll through holiday lights displays and more outdoor attractions such as Candy Cane Lane, snow maze, boot hockey arena and a living Nativity. Santa will make a visit nightly. Food and beverage available for noshing. Runs November 17-December 30, 2023. Tickets $10/pp.

Create your own holiday lights driving tour in the Twin Cities Southwest Metro! We’ve compiled a giant list of the area’s stand-out light shows. Here’s just a glimpse of what’s in store:

Jump over to Light It Up: Twin Cities & Greater Minnesota Christmas & Holiday Light Displays for our map!

Twin Cities Holiday Lights - Map Your Route Banner

Find Santa this weekend in the Twin Cities Southwest Metro

MINNETRISTA: Photos with Santa and Holiday Hayrides at Minnetonka Orchards

Minnetonka Orchard, 6530 County Road 26, Minnetrista, Minnesota 55364
Family fun includes a holiday hayride and a photo with Santa (or the Grinch) in his festive barn. Visitors will receive hot cocoa or apple cider and a digital photo. Now thru December 17, 2023; Santa: 9am-1pm. Grinch: 2pm-5pm. $35-$65/group. Book your timeslot here.

SAVAGE: Christmas Photos on the Farm 

WEE Farm, 4562 McColl Drive Savage, MN 55378
Your ticket includes a meet-and-greet photo with Santa, hot cocoa, snacks and a visit with the animals. December 9, 2023, 9am-1:30pm. $20/family.

It’s also possible to visit Santa at Southwest Metro shopping hubs such as the Santa Experience at Mall of America, Eden Prairie Center, Ridgedale Center (Minnetonka) and Southdale Center (Edina).

Fun outdoor activities in the Twin Cities Southwest Metro parks this weekend 

We’ve got the details on dozens of outdoor activities presented by local, county and regional park systems across the greater Twin Cities. The following are a few of our best suggestions for activities near your neighborhood this weekend. You can get more ideas on our FAMILY FUN CALENDAR or peruse the links below to seek out local outdoor things to do with kids this weekend in the parks.

Featured Twin Cities park events this weekend

Free Family Fun Day at Richardson: Minnesota Mammals

Richardson Nature Center, 8737 E Bush Lake Rd, Bloomington, MN 55438
Learn about our state’s mammals through hands-on activities. You’ll want to explore the indoor nature center exhibits too. December 10, 2023, 3-4pm. FREE, drop in.

Pond Dakota Mission Park Living History Open House

401 E 104th St, Bloomington, MN 55420
Hands-on living history programs fun and free of charge. New themes each Saturday in December – this weekend, make a handkerchief doll that would have entertained frontier-era kids. December 9, 2023, drop in from 1-4pm. FREE.

Nature Rocks! Open House

Eden Prairie Outdoor Center, 13765 Staring Lake Parkway, Eden Prairie, Minnesota 55347  
Free family-friendly activities at the such as hiking, hands-on interaction with live animals, craft projects and more. December 9, 2023, 10am-1pm. 

Gingerbread Houses at Wood Lake Nature Center

6710 Lake Shore Dr S, Richfield, MN 55423
Construct and decorate your own holiday gingerbread house at the nature center. Stay to explore indoor exhibits and check out the trails outdoors. December 9, 2023, 12:30-2pm or 2:30-4pm. $18/pp.

Performing arts & entertainment this weekend

Beauty and the Beast, Jr

Stages Theater, 1111 Mainstreet, Hopkins, MN 55343 Hopkins
A trip to see a live show on stage might make a wonderful “experience” gift for your child. Shows at 10am & 1pm Saturday and 1 & 4pm Sunday. Tickets $21-$33.

PLAN AHEAD FOR THE 2023 HOLIDAY SEASON – SEE WHAT’S ON STAGE FOR FAMILIES!

Kids participating in interactive theater program: "Kid-Friendly Theater, Music and Performing Arts in the Twin Cities"

More ideas for things to do this weekend in the Twin Cities with kids – Southwest Metro

Need indoor activity ideas? Try a new indoor play space

12117 Riverwood Dr, Burnsville, MN 55337
For Minnesota parents it’s beyond necessary to keep ideas in your virtual back pocket for escaping the elements while keeping kids active. During the months of November through March we try to present the best indoor play spaces in the Minneapolis-St Paul area in the hopes of helping you combat that cabin fever. This weekend we feature IGM Gymnastics in Burnsville. This weekend, the gym is hosting their Winter Open House – a free event with open gym, games and treats for kids. Parents can tour the new gym and learn about exclusive discounts. And keep in mind that IGM hosts a Preschool Open Gym every Friday from 9:30-11:30am so kids can play around on the equipment. Cost is $10/child or $15/family.

FIND OUR ULTIMATE LIST OF TWIN CITIES-AREA INDOOR PLAYGROUNDS!

Indoor Playgrounds in the Twin Cities, Minnesota - Child Playing in a Ball Pit

Music & movement for kids

Choo Choo Bob’s Train Store – Rob Stokes Live Music

1665 West End Boulevard, St. Louis Park, MN 55416
As if we needed another reason to love this independent train-centric toy shop. Singing all your favorite train tunes live on Saturdays while you shop. Admission includes the concert and the pay-to-play train tables for your little engineers. December 9, 2023, 11am-12pm. $10/child.

Girl playing at train table in Choo Choo Bob's Train Store
Choo Choo Bob’s bridges the gap for train lovers of little hands and big hearts.
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