Things To Do This Weekend: Twin Cities Southwest Metro, Dec 16-17, 2023

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, Chanhassen, Eden Prairie, Edina, Hopkins, Minnetonka, Prior Lake, Richfield, Shakopee, St Louis Park, Victoria & Waconia.

This guide covers the weekend of December 16-17, 2023. Not locating the city you’re looking for? We also cover tons of fun family events in the areas of:

Could it be possible to stuff more seasonal inspiration and cheer into the Twin Cities this weekend? Skip over to our 2023 ULTIMATE TWIN CITIES CHRISTMAS & HOLIDAY GUIDE, our FAMILY FUN CALENDAR or our DECEMBER FAMILY GUIDE to find out!

Holiday events this weekend in the Twin Cities Southwest Metro

Find Santa this weekend in the Twin Cities Southwest Metro

Closing in on Christmas – does St Nick still have visits to make this weekend? Why, yes! Plenty on his calendar – here in the Southwest Metro and across the greater Minneapolis-St Paul area. Find all of his appointments on our official Twin Cities Santa-finder page.

BLOOMINGTON: Breakfast with Santa

IKEA, 8000 Ikea Way, Bloomington, MN 55425
Join us in the back of the Swedish Restaurant for Breakfast with Santa! Purchase breakfast from the Restaurant then eat, visit, and take photos with Santa. Visit the IKEA Minneapolis events page to learn more and RSVP. Registration is required. December 16, 2023 9:30-11am; December 17, 2023 9-10:30am.

MINNETRISTA: Photos with Santa and Holiday Hayrides

Minnetonka Orchard, 6530 County Road 26, Minnetrista, Minnesota 55364
FINAL WEEKEND! Fun in the orchard includes a holiday hayride and a photo with Santa (or the Grinch) in his festive barn. Visitors can enjoy hot cocoa or apple cider and a digital photo. December 16 & 17, 2023; Santa: 9am-1pm. Grinch: 2pm-5pm. $35-$65/group. Book your timeslot here.

ST LOUIS PARK: Breakfast with Santa at the St Louis Park Recreation Center

3700 Monterey Dr, St Louis Park, MN 55416
The Lions Club is hosting a Santa breakfast, vendor fair and free kids vision screening. December 16, 2023, 8am-12pm. $5-$7/pp.  

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

Winter Lights at the Arboretum

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, 3675 Arboretum Dr, Chaska, MN 55318
Winter will be in bloom with lighted greenery and displays throughout the pathways of the arb’s gardens! Online ticket reservation required. This weekend – Tickets: $25/pp, kids under 16 free.

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

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 this Friday and Saturday night (December 15-16). 5-8:30. N through New Years 2023.

SHAKOPEE: Sever’s Holiday Lights

3121 150th St W, Shakopee, MN 55379
2.5 million dancing holiday lights along a half-mile driving route you can enjoy from the comfort of your vehicle (in PJs if you’d like). All weekend, 5pm-10pm. $25-$55/car.

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 now-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 peek of what’s in store, much more on our 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

Have yourself a historical little Christmas…in the Southwest Metro

Pond House Frontier Christmas Celebration

401 E 104th St, Bloomington, MN 55420
Sing Christmas carols around the pump organ, listen to a reading of the Christmas story, enjoy some holiday refreshments and make paper star ornaments to take home. Drop in from 1-4pm. December 16, 2023. FREE, donations appreciated.

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.

Some fun family ideas for this weekend: Get ready for winter

Bloomington’s Hyland Hills Ski Area – now open

During the winter months in Bloomington, Hyland Hills is a premiere family skiing and snowboarding destination. The terrain of the park is full of innovative features and offers some of the best snowmaking and grooming in the Midwest. Lessons are offered if you’re just getting started on skis or want to sharpen your skills. Find current ski prices here. Learn more about HYLAND HILLS SKI AREA in Bloomington.

Hyland Hills Ski Area

Free Family Fun Day at Richardson: Minnesota Raptors

Richardson Nature Center, 8737 E Bush Lake Rd, Bloomington, MN 55438
Learn about our state’s raptors (birds of prey) through hands-on activities. You’ll want to explore the indoor nature center exhibits too. December 17, 2023, 3-4pm. FREE, drop in.

Nature Rocks! Open House

Eden Prairie Outdoor Center, 13765 Staring Lake Parkway, Eden Prairie, Minnesota 55347  
Free family-friendly activities such as hiking, meeting live animals, craft projects and more. December 16, 2023, 10am-1pm. FREE.

Performing arts & entertainment this weekend in the Twin Cities Southwest Metro

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 (sensory-friendly) & 1pm Saturday and 1 & 4pm Sunday, December 16-17, 2023. Tickets $21-$33.

Cinderella: A Musical Fairy Tale For All Ages

Sidekick Theatre, 11411 Masonic Home Drive, Bloomington, MN 55437
A musical version of the Cinderella fairy tale great for all ages.  Tickets $14-$19/pp.
SPECIAL SANTA BREAKFAST! “Waffles With Santa” Breakfast: $7 in addition to theatre ticket. Served between 11am – 12:45pm, reservation only, December 16.


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

10606 France Ave S, Bloomington, MN 55431
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 playgrounds in the Minneapolis-St Paul area in the hopes of helping you combat that cabin fever. This weekend we feature the NEW Kids Empire in Bloomington. Brace yourselves – a giant maze area has spaces to  climb, spin, build, ride motorized toys, slide, play soccer, dance and more. Dedicated space for tots, too. That ought to wear them out. Open 10am-8pm, $22.99 per child (up to 2 adults free per child).


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

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