Things To Do This Weekend: Twin Cities Northwest Metro, Dec 2-3, 2023

Things to do in the Twin Cities Northwest 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 Albertville, Andover, Anoka, Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Coon Rapids, Crystal, Elk River, Golden Valley, Maple Grove, Otsego, Plymouth, Robbinsdale, Rogers & St Michael.

This guide covers the weekend of December 2-3, 2023. Not finding the city you’re searching for? We also cover fun family events in the areas of:

Thanksgiving in the rearview, we’re full-steam ahead this weekend with special holiday events, Christmas tree lightings and festivals in the Twin Cities Northwest Metro with all the trimmings. We’ve illuminated some festive events to get you in the spirit – for more family weekend ideas hop over to our 2023 ULTIMATE TWIN CITIES CHRISTMAS & HOLIDAY GUIDE, our FAMILY FUN CALENDAR or our DECEMBER FAMILY GUIDE.

We’re super excited to put up and trim our Christmas tree this weekend! Our FFTC teammate Joy checked this off her list last weekend and literally went the extra mile to bring her family to a Christmas tree farm so they could cut their own fresh tree. Think that sounds like fitting adventure for your family? She’s gathered 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 Northwest Metro

Twin Cities holiday tree lighting events & festivals this weekend in the Northwest Metro

It’s right on time for the Twin Cities to sparkle and shine! A full lineup of Minneapolis-St Paul Northwest Metro Area communities are lighting up their holiday trees this weekend in grand style. Please note that several of these lighting events take place on FRIDAY night. Here’s the Northwest Metro calendar; find our complete list of Twin Cities Tree Lighting Events for more communities.

ALBERTVILLE: Christmas in the Park

Central Park, 5801 Lander Ave. NE, Albertville MN
All kinds of fun in the park to start off the holiday season: a Christmas tree lighting with Santa & Mrs Claus, horse-drawn wagon rides, caroling, smores over the fire and warm beverages. December 3, 2023, 2-4pm.

ANOKA: Christmas Tree Lighting Event

Enjoy horse-drawn trolley rides, holiday music, bonfires, strolling carolers, shopping discounts and Santa in addition to the big Christmas tree lighting. December 2, 2023, 3-7pm.

BROOKLYN CENTER: Snow Many Traditions

6301 Shingle Creek Pkwy, Brooklyn Center, MN 55430
Visit Santa Claus while exploring cultural traditions of winter holidays around the world. December 2, 2023, 1pm-3pm.

BROOKLYN PARK: Eidem Farm Christmas

4345 101st Ave N, Brooklyn Park, MN 55443
ld-fashioned festivities on the historic farm property include a walking tour, traditional winter activities and take-home crafts. December 3, 2023, 12-3pm. FREE. 

BUFFALO: Deck the Halls

Sturges Park, 505 2nd Ave S Buffalo, MN 55313
Family fun and festivities from 3pm-5pm, when they City of Buffalo lights of the tree. December 2, 2023, 3-5pm. 

CHAMPLIN: Christmas at the Crossings

Mississippi Crossings, 307 East River Parkway, Champlin, MN 55316
FRIDAY NIGHT! The city will be lighting an animated 30-foot LED panel tree, a walk-through ornament and gift box, and snowflake light pole fixtures. Santa will be in attendance. December 1, 2023, 4-7pm.

DELANO: Old-Fashioned Christmas

Festivities include Breakfast with Santa, Teddy Bear Tea, Holiday Character Hunt, music, sleighrides and Santa parade. December 2, 2023; 10am-8pm, FREE admission, some activities have fees. Light the Night takes place between 5pm-8pm.

ELK RIVER: Lighting Ceremony & Santa in the Park

Rivers Edge Commons Park, 679 Main St NW, Elk River, MN 55330
Family fun includes Santa visit, goodie bags for kids, petting zoo and kids craft station capped off with the holiday tree lighting. December 2, 2023, 2-5pm.

HANOVER: Caroling at the Historic Hanover Bridge

Millpond Trail, Hanover, MN 55341
FRIDAY NIGHT! Sing-along Christmas carols, llamas in their seasonal best, hot cider and cookies and photo opportunities with Saint Nicholas. Located at the historic Hanover Bridge. December 1, 2023, 6-8pm. FREE.

OAK GROVE: Holiday Tree Lighting Event

19900 Nightingale St NW, Oak Grove, MN 55011
FRIDAY NIGHT! The Oak Grove Fire Department is in charge of lighting up the community holiday tree. Warm waffles and beverages while you enjoy the display. Plus Santa visits. December 1, 2023, 5-8pm.

OSSEO: MiniDazzle Celebration

Boerboom Veterans Park, 416 Central Avenue Osseo, MN 55369
FRIDAY NIGHT! Start off with the traditional Light Parade down Main Street of Osseo. Then, snap pictures with Santa, take a fire truck ride, warm up at the bonfire and watch the Christmas tree lighting. December 1, 2023; 6-8pm.

ROGERS: Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony

FRIDAY NIGHT! All good things, all good things: hot cocoa, cookies, caroling and special activities beginning at 6pm with the tree lighting to follow at 7. December 1, 2023; 6pm-8pm.

ST MICHAEL: Winterfest & Tree Lighting

Town Center Park, 11800 Town Center Drive NE
Back for a second year! Santa, Mrs. Claus & reindeer will be there and the holiday tree will shine. Lots of activities to choose from: caroling, bingo, story time, smores over the fire and hot beverages. December 2, 2023, 3-6pm.

Shine on: Twin Cities Northwest Metro holiday lights displays

Plymouth Holiday Lights at the Hilde

3500 Plymouth Blvd. Plymouth, Minnesota 55447
The grounds of Hilde Performance Center are lit with holiday lights starting December 2 for the public to view at their own leisure. 

For the entire sparkling scoop on all the best and brightest holiday light displays in the Twin Cities, visit our 2023 Twin Cities Drive Thru Christmas Events and Walking Tours page. OR – create your own drive-thru holiday lights event! We have an enormous list of homes around the Twin Cities that deck their halls up for the holiday: 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 Northwest Metro

ALBERTVILLE: Santa & Live Reindeer Photos at Albertville Premium Outlets

Get your free holiday photo along with free candy canes and warm drinks. Located outside in Plaza B, near Starbucks. December 2 & 3, 2023, 10am-12pm.

COON RAPIDS: Santa’s Wonderland at Riverdale Village

12709 Riverdale Blvd NW, Coon Rapids, Minnesota 55448
Bring your own camera to capture a moment with Santa. Admission is is $24.95 (or save $2 the first two Tuesdays and Wednesdays of the holiday season) per nuclear family or up to 3 friends. Now thru December 23, 2023.

MAPLE GROVE: Santa at the Shoppes

Shoppes at Arbor Lakes, 12459 Elm Creek Blvd N, Maple Grove, MN 55369
Santa will light the holiday tree at the roundabout at 5pm. While at the festival, enjoy a light parade, horse-drawn wagon rides, fire performers and “secret Santa” deals at several shops. December 2, 2023, 2:30-5:30pm.

MAPLE GROVE: Breakfast or Lunch with Santa

Maple Grove Community Center, 12951 Weaver Lake Rd, Maple Grove, MN 55369
Annual opportunities to dine with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Fee includes games, crafts, challenges and imaginative play opportunities. December 2, 2023. $5/pp ages 2 & up, $2/child under 2 years for breakfast. $3-$7/pp for lunch.

MAPLE GROVE: Santa at Fair’s Nursery

9340 Fair Way, Maple Grove, MN 55369
Meet with Santa plus ornament decorating, treats and refreshments while you browse. December 3, 2023, drop in between 11am-2pm.

ROGERS: Lions Breakfast with Santa

12716 Main St., Rogers MN 55374
Pancakes, scrambled eggs and sausage are on the menu – free-will offering, please. Bring your letters for Santa to drop off in his mailbox and get a free photo with Santa with a food shelf donation. December 3, 2023, 8am-12pm.

ROGERS: Skate with Santa

21080 141st Avenue North, Rogers, MN, 55374
A special Open Skate at the Rogers Activity Center features Santa Claus and free hot cocoa with your paid admission. December 3, 2023, 4-5:10pm. $4/skater over 5 years, rental for $2.

ROGERS: Santa’s Wonderland at Cabela’s

20200 Rogers Drive, Rogers, MN 55374
Make your reservation to meet with Santa and get a free photo. Plus, browse Santa’s Toy Shop and take in the other fun attractions at Cabela’s. November 4-December 24, 2023.

ST MICHAEL: Santa Photos at the Fire Department

216 Main St S, St Michael, MN 55376-9671
Get your kiddo’s photo taken with Santa at the fire station. December 2, 9am-12pm. FREE.

For further planning, check our Twin Cities Santa-finder page.

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

The following is just a sampling of all we’re keeping track of across the incredible Twin Cities park systems. You can get more ideas on our FAMILY FUN CALENDAR or browse the links below to search for local fun events & things to do with kids this weekend in the parks.

Some fun family ideas for this weekend: Try outdoor ice skating

The majority of community outdoor ice rinks aren’t yet flooded and ready for skaters, but there’s a cool refrigerated option for you open this week if you’ve got the urge to lace up in the Northwest Metro:

  • CENTRAL PARK ICE SKATING LOOP, Maple Grove: Skate the serpentine loop free, skate rental available for $7.50. 12000 Central Park Way, Maple Grove, MN 55369.

Skaters warming by the firepit at the Central Park Ice Loop in Maple Grove, Minnesota

Free Family Fun Day at Eastman Nature Center

13351 Elm Creek Rd, Maple Grove, MN 55369
Learn about winter birds that populate the park, put together a birdfeeder and take a self-guided hike to birdwatch. There’s a host of other indoor exhibits to check out at EASTMAN NATURE CENTER, too. Drop in anytime between 1-3pm. December 3, 2023. FREE.

Eastman Nature Center

Free Family Fun Day at Mississippi Gateway Regional Park

10360 W River Rd, Brooklyn Park, MN 55444
This weekend, learn about the birds who stick around the park during the winter. Borrow some binoculars on a self-guided bird hike. While you’re in the park, make sure to cross the exciting Coon Rapids Dam to get a close-up view of the rushing Mississippi River. December 3, 2023, drop in between 1-3pm. FREE.

Featured Park: Mississippi Gateway -- Small girl marveling over Coon Rapids Dam at Mississippi Gateway Park

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

Need indoor activity ideas? Try a new indoor playground

10 Coon Rapids Boulevard, Coon Rapids, MN 55448
3580 Holly Lane North, Plymouth, MN 55447
For Minnesota parents it’s a must to know where to escape the elements and still keep those kids active and having fun. During the months of November through March we feature the best indoor playgrounds in the Minneapolis-St Paul area in the hopes of helping you discover something new: This weekend we’re talking up URBAN AIR ADVENTURE PARK with two Northwest Metro locations in Coon Rapids and Plymouth. A lovely reader suggested we add this adventure hub to our list. Packed with trampolines, laser tag, mini golf, bowling, ropes course, zip line, ninja obstacles – wow! We recommend saving this indoor park for a splurge day. For younger ones seeking an indoor play area, the Tubes Playground fills that bill. $12/child under 5; $27-$42/pp 5+


Play some indoor games as a family this weekend

Family Board Game Night at Highlander Games

3015 Coon Rapids Blvd NW, Coon Rapids, MN 55433
Tired of the same old board games in the cupboard at home and seeking a refresh? Try before you buy at Highlander Games – you’re welcome to come browse their game library, stay and play. Ongoing Saturday nights, 4-6pm. FREE.
WEATHER KEEPING YOU IN? We have a giant list of more than 75 Indoor Games For Kids of all ages that you can set up right at home, often with materials on hand. Bookmark this for winter!

List of Indoor Games & Activities for Kids - Boredom Busters for All Ages

Home Depot Kids Workshops

99 Northtown Dr NE, Blaine, MN 55434
6701 Boone Ave N, Brooklyn Park, MN 55428
1705 Annapolis Ln N, Plymouth, MN 55441
Kids can put together simple DIY projects the first Saturday of the month for free at Northwest Metro Home Depot locations. In December, put together a gingerbread house. December 2, 2023, 9am-12pm.

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