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

Things to do in the Twin Cities Southeast 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 Afton, Apple Valley, Burnsville, Cottage Grove, Eagan, Farmington, Hastings, Inver Grove Heights, Mendota Heights, Lakeville, Rosemount, West St Paul & Woodbury.

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

Ho, ho WHOA and here we go this weekend straight into the holiday season in the Twin Cities. Come along throughout the Southwest Metro as we gather ideas and inspiration for creating memorable times out with your family. 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.

It’s ON this weekend – we are putting up and trimming our Christmas tree! FFTC teammate Joy took care of this last weekend when her family literally went the extra mile to cut down their own fresh spruce at a Christmas tree farm. Perhaps something you’d like to try? She’s collected 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 Southeast Metro

Flip the switch, Twin Cities – this is the biggest and brightest weekend for community-based holiday festivals and Christmas tree lightings. Presented here is the schedule of Minneapolis-St Paul Southeast Metro Area communities celebrating – please note that several of these lighting events take place on FRIDAY night. Find our complete list of Twin Cities Tree Lighting Events for more communities.

Twin Cities Christmas & holiday tree lighting events this weekend

AFTON: Village Holiday

Downtown Afton
The village hosts a tree lighting ceremony in Town Square Park (Fri, 6pm), horse and wagon rides, a family photo booth and roving carolers throughout the weekend downtown Afton. December 1-2, 2023. Fri 5-8pm, Sat 11am-3pm.

EAGAN: Winter SKOLstice Holiday Tree Lighting

Viking Lakes, 2645 Vikings Circle, Eagan MN 55121
The very first SKOLstice holiday tree lights up today at this Viking Lakes winter playground. Much to come this season including free outdoor ice skating, the drive-thru lights show, holiday market and more. December 2023, 6pm. 

EAGAN: Old Fashioned Holiday at Holz Farm

Holz Farm, 4669 Manor Drive, Eagan, Minnesota 55123
Come visit Santa’s reindeer at this 1940s-era event. Also enjoy hayrides, a bonfire, carols, and treats. December 3, 2023, 12-3pm, 12-3pm.

FARMINGTON: Christmas in the Village

Dakota City Heritage Village, 4008 220th Street W., Farmington, MN 55024
Buildings will be illuminated inside and out throughout the village. The public is welcome to drive through the Village any evening in December (3pm-8pm) to enjoy this holiday tradition, but there will be extra activities on the weekend – carols in the church, treats in the drugstore, model trains, horse-drawn wagon rides and more. December 2-3, 2023. $5/pp.

Dakota City General Store decorated for Christmas with wreaths and lights.

INVER GROVE HEIGHTS: Holidays in the Heights

Veterans Memorial Community Center, 8055 Barbara Ave, Inver Grove Heights, MN 55077
FRIDAY NIGHT! Holiday tree lighting outside the community center 6pm-7pm followed by skating with Santa 7pm-8:30pm (registration required). More activities follow through December 15th. December 1, 2023 @ 6pm.

PRIOR LAKE: Decembrrr Dazzle

Lakefront Park, 5000 Kop Parkway SE, Prior Lake MN
FRIDAY NIGHT! Santa will snap photos with visitors in addition to the other fun winter festivities scheduled like ice-carving demonstrations and a giant bonfire with warm beverages and pizza (for sale). The evening caps off with a fireworks show. December 1, 2023, 6-8:30pm.

Find Santa this weekend in the Twin Cities Southeast Metro

AFTON: Santa & Mrs Claus at Afton Village Holiday

The jolly Mr & Mrs visit downtown Afton – Selma’s Ice Cream on Friday from 5-8pm & Creative Art Studio on Saturday from 12-3pm. December 1-2, 2023.

EAGAN: Santa & Reindeer at Central Park Commons

3340 Central Park Commons Drive, Eagan MN
Sit for your free photo with Santa and his reindeer, enjoy cookies and hot beverages, too. December 1-3, 2023, 4-6pm.

EAGAN: Santa & Live Reindeer Photos at Premium Outlets

Twin Cities Premium Outlets, 3965 Eagan Outlets Parkway, Eagan, MN 55122
FREE photos with Santa and his reindeer. Find them outdoors at Center Court near Market Hall. Visitors will also receive free candy canes and warm beverages. December 2-3, 2023. 10am-noon. 

ROSEMOUNT: Breakfast with Santa

Rosemount Community Center Gym, 13885 S Robert Trail, Rosemount, MN 55068
Dine with Santa and Mrs. Claus and make crafts. December 2, 2023; 9am-11am. $5/pp. Registration required.

WOODBURY: Santa’s Wonderland at Cabela’s 

8400 Hudson Rd, Woodbury, MN 55125
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. Now-December 24, 2023.

WOODBURY: Santa’s Sweet Celebration

Woodbury Lakes Shopping Center, 9020 Hudson Road, Woodbury, MN 55125
Visits with Santa and his reindeer, character meet & greets, holiday craft projects, S’mores bars, carolers, and a free goodie bag to the first 200 kids, ages 12 and under. Accepting Toys for Tots donations. December 2, 2023; 10am-1pm.

WOODBURY: Cookies and Crafts with Santa

Eagle Valley Golf Course, 2600 Double Eagle Ln, Woodbury, MN 55129
Decorate cookies, make a craft and take pictures with Santa on December 2, 2023. $15/child. Sign up for a time slot between 9am and 1pm. Find more places to spot Santa in the Twin Cities!

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

Magic of Lights at Viking Lakes

2685 Viking Circle, Eagan, MN 55121
The shine is most certainly still on the newest drive-through Christmas light experience in the Twin Cities. Expect it to bring the glitz – like a see-it-to-believe Holiday Barbie display, prehistoric dinos and a giant lit monster truck.  Now thru December 31, 2023. Starting at 5:30pm nightly. $25-$35/car.

For the whole sparkling scoop on the best 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

Twin Cities Southeast Metro weekend holiday stage spotlight

Madeline’s Christmas

Dorothy K. Merrill Fine Arts Center, 380 Rivertown Drive, Woodbury, MN 
STARTS SATURDAY! Based on the books by Ludwig Bemelmams and adapted for stage by Jennifer Kirkeby. A lovely holiday story for all ages. Tickets run $5-$22/pp. December 2-3, 2023, 3:30pm.

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

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

We’re bringing you the scoop on dozens of outdoor activities this weekend in Twin Cities parks carefully curated on our FAMILY FUN CALENDAR. Here’s a sampling of our top picks in your area of the metro:

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

Outdoor ice rinks in the Southeast Metro for the most part aren’t yet flooded and ready for skaters. But if you just can’t wait to skate, there’s a refrigerated option for you open this week:

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

Need indoor activity ideas? Try a new indoor playground

7750 Harkness Ave S #101, Cottage Grove, MN 55016
Minnesota parents unite and agree – it’s essential to know where to escape the elements and still keep their kiddos burning off energy. During the months of November through March we feature the best indoor playgrounds in the Minneapolis-St Paul area on our site, hoping to help you discover something new. This weekend we highlight THE LITTLE VILLAGE in Cottage Grove. Opened just this past year, it is both an indoor play space and a coffee shop best suited to families with babies through preschool age kids. Admission includes both open play and rotating crafts. Drop-in Play $15/child; $12/sibling; $5 babies 0-9months (or free with sibling).


Craft & create the day away

Home Depot Kids Workshops – Southeast Metro

15101 Flagstaff Ave, Apple Valley, MN 55124
Home Depot, 3220 Denmark Ave, Eagan, MN 55121
1300 Mendota Rd E, Inver Grove Heights, MN 55077
8334 Tamarack Village, Woodbury, MN 55125

Kids can put together simple DIY projects the first Saturday of the month for free at Southwest Metro Home Depot locations. In December, put together a gingerbread house. December 2, 2023, 9am-12pm.

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