Things To Do This Weekend: Twin Cities Southwest Metro, Dec 2-3, 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, Eden Prairie, Edina, Hopkins, Minnetonka, New Hope, Richfield, Shakopee, St Louis Park, Victoria & Waconia.

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:

We are full-on rolling into the holiday season this weekend in the Twin Cities. Come join us as we travel through ideas and inspiration for creating memorable outings 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.

We traditionally wait until this weekend to put up and trim our Christmas tree! Our FFTC teammate Joy actually checked this off her list last weekend when her family literally went the extra mile to cut down their own fresh spruce at a Christmas tree farm. 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 Southwest Metro

This weekend is the biggest and brightest for community-based holiday festivals and Christmas tree lightings. A full score of Minneapolis-St Paul Southwest Metro Area communities are celebrating – 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.

Twin Cities Christmas & holiday tree lighting events this weekend

BUFFALO: Deck The Halls

Sturges Park, 505 2nd Ave S Buffalo, MN 55313
Santa arrives at 3pm to kick off the family fun that ends with a tree lighting at 5pm. December 2, 2023; 3-5pm.

CHANHASSEN: Tree Lighting Ceremony

City Center Park, 7700 Market Blvd, Chanhassen, MN 55317
An annual holiday event with a tree lighting followed by refreshments, live reindeer, gingerbread house displays, and Santa Claus. December 2, 2023. 5pm.

CHASKA: Hometown Holiday

Downtown Chaska
Festive horse-drawn carriage rides, chance to visit with Santa, holiday tunes and the big downtown tree lighting at 5pm. Chaska is full of Christmas cheer this weekend. December 2, 2-5pm.

CHASKA: Firemen’s Park Tree Lighting

Chaska Event Center and Firemen’s Park
The festivities continue in Chaska this weekend. This event at Firemen’s Park features crafts, outdoor games, hot cocoa and cookies & pictures with Santa Claus. December 3, 2023, 6-7:30pm.

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.

SHAKOPEE: Holiday Fest & Tree Lighting

Walk-thru parade floats, Santa Claus, a tree lighting ceremony at 5:30pm and fireworks in Huber Park. Santa will also visit South Metro Federal Credit Union from 10am-1pm. December 2, 2023.

WATERTOWN: Santa-Stravaganza & Tree Lighting Ceremony

309 Lewis Ave S, Watertown, MN 55388
Start the day with free Santa pictures, write a holiday letter or card, see live animals, play games and decorate cookies. The holiday tree lighting ceremony is at 4:30pm in City Center Park. December 2, 2023, 9am-5:30pm.

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

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

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.

Find Santa this weekend in the Twin Cities Southwest Metro

If you skipped the info above, note that Santa is scheduled to attend community festivals in Buffalo, Chanhassen, Chaska, Delano, Prior Lake & Shakopee this weekend. We’ve dug up a few more events featuring the jolly mascot in the Twin Cities Southwest Metro: 

CHANHASSEN: Breakfast with Santa

Chanhassen Brewing Company, 951 W 78th St, Chanhassen, MN 55317
Santa breakfast with a menu of pancakes with choice of toppings, sausages, coffee, milk, orange juice. Activities for kids, too. Reserve your space online. December 3, 2023, 9am-1pm. $8-$12/pp.

GOLDEN VALLEY: Good Shepherd Christmas Market

Good Shepherd School. 145 Jersey Ave S. Golden Valley, MN 55426
Get FREE Santa photos at the Good Shepherd Christmas Market. Plus shop an indoor artist and vendor market and an outdoor Christmas Tree lot. December 2, 2023, 11am-3pm.

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. WeekendsNovember 25-December 17, 2023; Santa: 9am-1pm. Grinch: 2pm-5pm. $35-$65/group. Book your timeslot here.

SAVAGE: Christmas Photos on 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.

ST LOUIS PARK: Christmas Trees & Santa Visits

3500 Louisiana Ave S St Louis Park MN 55426
Visit with Santa while you shop for your family’s perfect Christmas tree. December 2, 2023, Santa from 11:30am-3:30pm.

ST LOUIS PARK: Santa Visits Sota Clothing

6518 Walker Street, St. Louis Park MN
Free holiday photos for the family while you shop for your Minnesota-lovers. December 3, 2023, 1-5pm.

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.

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

Most outdoor ice rinks in Southwest Metro parks 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 outdoors:

  • St Louis Park ROC: Skate outdoors Fri evenings (5:45-7:15pm) and Sat/Sun afternoons from 12:15-1:45pm. $4-$5/pp. 3700 Monterey Drive, St Louis Park MN.


Featured Twin Cities park events this weekend

Free Family Fun Day at Richardson: Digital Scavenger Hunt

Richardson Nature Center, 8737 E Bush Lake Rd, Bloomington, MN 55438
Pick up an outdoor scavenger hunt sheet at the visitor center then head out to check off the items on the list for a small prize. You’ll want to explore the indoor nature center exhibits too. December 3, 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 November – this weekend, learn all about bison through hands-on activities and a BINGO game. December 2, 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 2, 2023, 10am-1pm.

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.


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 playground

316 Brookview Parkway South, Golden Valley, MN 55426
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 budget-friendly BROOKVIEW BACKYARD in Golden Valley. You’ll find all the classical outfittings of an indoor play space: slides, long tubes for crawling, cargo climbs, bumper balls, log rollers, cave crawls, and more. $5.50 ages 2-13. 


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

Craft & create the day away

Home Depot Kids Workshops – Southwest Metro

400 W 79th St, Bloomington, MN 55420
Home Depot, 300 Pioneer Trail E, Chaska, MN 55318
13100 Valley View Rd, Eden Prairie, MN 55344
1701 Co Rd 18, Shakopee, MN 55379
5800 Cedar Lk Rd S, St Louis Park, MN 55416

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.

Free First Saturday Art Lab

Edina Art Center, 4701 W 64th St, Edina, MN 55435
Register ahead, then drop in to make art from a variety of supplied materials the first Saturday of the month. Dabble, explore, try at no cost to you. December 2, 2023, 10am-12pm.

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 2, 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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