Things To Do This Weekend: Twin Cities Southwest Metro, Dec 30-31, 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, Prior Lake, Richfield, Shakopee, St Louis Park, Victoria & Waconia.

This guide covers the weekend of December 30-31, 2023 — including New Year’s Eve. Not locating the city you’re looking for? We also cover tons of fun family events in the areas of:

Both end and start your new year on a bright foot with a mash of fun indoor and outdoor activities to pick from this weekend in the Twin Cities Southwest Metro. For more inspiration, skip over to our JANUARY FAMILY EVENTS GUIDE, WINTER FUN SURVIVAL GUIDE or our FAMILY FUN CALENDAR. We strive to keep it stocked with options to suit your family’s unique needs while you keep on exploring.

Guide to January in the Twin Cities Minnesota. Family Fun Twin Cities. - Background of two kids at the top of a sledding hill.

Holiday events this weekend in the Twin Cities Southwest Metro

Best wishes from Family Fun Twin Cities as we close out 2023 and move into the new year! We’ve scouted out as many family-style happenings in the Twin Cities Southwest Metro for New Years Eve 2023. Remain calm; none of these events last until midnight. Grown ups, you can still squeeze in your fun or tuck into bed – whatever works for you. Click the graphic for all the festive options around the Metro area or see southwest highlights here:

Southwest Metro New Year’s Eve events – tickets required

Plan-ahead family fun on New Year’s Eve – make sure to purchase your tickets in advance as many events may reach capacity. Skip down for some FREE family options, too.

BLOOMINGTON: Winter Fete New Year’s Eve Skate

Bloomington Ice Garden, 3600 West 98th Street, Bloomington, MN 55431
Close out the year with an all-ages skate at Bloomington Ice Garden. The event will include skating music and a New Year’s countdown. Skate rental included. Food and beverages for purchases. December 31, 2023, 4-7pm. $8/pp.

CHASKA: Winter Lights Family New Year’s Eve Party at the Arboretum

3675 Arboretum Drive, Chaska, MN, 55318
Families, come celebrate the new year with a magical walk through the Arboretum’s Winter Lights display. Family-friendly games, crafts, a photo booth, and more. Countdowns at 5, 6 and 7pm and at 8, 9 and 10 pm. This is your final chance to catch the holiday lights before they blink off. December 31, 2023. 4:30-7:30pm or 7:30-10:30pm. Tickets: $35/adults; $10/children.

EDEN PRAIRIE: New Year’s Eve Nature at Eden Prairie Outdoor Center

13765 Staring Lake Pkwy, Eden Prairie, MN 55347
Shut down 2023 at Eden Prairie’s Outdoor Center with nature-themed activities like a bonfire with s’mores, crafts, storytelling, hiking and stargazing. December 31, 2023, 6:30-8pm. $12/pp.

EDINA: Family New Year’s Eve Party at Edinborough Park

7700 York Ave S, Edina, MN 55435
Play for hours at the giant Adventure Peak Indoor Playground, dance to a DJ, watch a magician and take family photos. Two sessions to choose from. December 31, 2023, 9am-noon OR 2-5pm. Tickets: $13 (age 1-17); $3 (adult).

Edinborough Park - Adventure Peak Indoor Playground
Adventure Peak

RICHFIELD: Candlelight and Ice at Wood Lake Nature Center

 6710 Lake Shore Drive South, Richfield, MN 55423
Hike a gentle trail lit by hundreds of luminaries then warm up by a bonfire and with indoor nature activities. Food available to purchase. December 31, 2023, 5-9pm. $6/pp, reservations required.

Free family New Year’s Eve events

BLOOMINGTON: New Year’s Eve Sledding and S’mores

Richardson Nature Center, 8737 E Bush Lake Rd, Bloomington, MN 55438
Bring along s’mores supplies to roast by an outdoor bonfire, while you get out sledding one last time in 2023. Some sleds and roasting sticks available; bring your own if you are able. And, of course, dress to be outdoors. December 31, 12-4pm. FREE.

ST LOUIS PARK: New Year’s Eve at the ROC

Recreation Outdoor Center, 3700 Monterey Drive St. Louis Park, MN 55416
Family fun on the ice with music and refreshments at the ROC. Free to attend. Skate rental extra (or bring your own). December 31, 2023, 12:15-2:15pm.

VICTORIA: Last S’mores of the Year at Lowry Nature Center

7025 Nature Center Dr, Victoria, MN 55386
Families can practice campfire building and make s’mores one last time before 2024 begins. Take an afternoon walk to explore and play in the winter woods. December 31, 2023, 1-2pm. FREE.


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

Most holiday venues shut off the sparkles following New Year’s weekend so LIGHT IT UP, TWIN CITIES while you still can! In addition to the dazzling lighted greenery and displays indoors and out of the MINNESOTA LANDSCAPE ARBORETUM WINTER LIGHTS (shout out above), we also recommend these Twin Cities Southwest Metro holiday lights events:

BLOOMINGTON: Martin Luther Campus Drive-Thru Lights

1401 E 100th St, Bloomington, MN 55425
The public is invited to drive thru the facility’s annual holiday lights display. Daily thru January 2, 2024, 5-10pm. FREE.

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
FINAL NIGHT! Get in the holiday spirit at this all-ages stroll through holiday lights displays and more outdoor attractions such as Candy Cane Lane, pallet maze, boot hockey arena (though we can’t promise snow) and a Nativity display. Santa will make a visit nightly. Food and beverage available for noshing. December 30, 2023. Tickets $10/pp plus booking fee or $15/door.

Spirit of Winter at Sovereign Estates Winery, Waconia

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

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:

The Great Minnetonka Yeti Hunt

11522 Minnetonka Blvd, Minnetonka MN 55305
The City of Minnetonka presents their third annual Yeti Hunt! A stuffed Yeti will be hidden somewhere top secret in BIG WILLOW PARK through January 3, 2023. Check the city’s website for more info on solving the riddle & winning a prize. 

Similar hunt in St Paul: St Paul Gnome Winter Scavenger Hunt

Pond Dakota Mission Park: Mystery House Tours

Pond Dakota Mission Park, 401 E 104th St, Bloomington, MN 55420
A hands-on living history program fun and free of charge. This weekend, play detective and solve small puzzles in the historic home. December 30, 2023, drop in between 1-4pm. FREE.

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 30, 2023, 10am-1pm. FREE.

Bruce the Bug Guy at Richardson Nature Center

8737 E Bush Lake Rd, Bloomington, MN 55438
Do you enjoy the creepy-crawlies? Bruce sure does and he’d love to share them with you at this family-friendly program. You’ll find plenty to appreciate indoors and out at Richardson Nature Center. December 30, 2023, 10-11am. $6/pp.

Children playing with puppets at Richardson Nature Center in Bloomington, Minnesota
Richardson Nature Center

Kicksled Adventure at Cleary Lake Regional Park

18106 Texas Ave, Prior Lake, MN 55372
The plan is to explore the park via Scandinavian-style kicksled. However, if snow doesn’t materialize (likely), participants will hike and enjoy a campfire with s’mores. Reservations required by 24 hours prior. December 30, 11am-12:30pm, $6/pp.

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

ARM YOURSELF…for winter break 

So many of us are on break from our regularly-scheduled programs – school, extra-curriculars, perhaps work outside the home – a few years we assembled a list of 16 THINGS TO DO OVER WINTER BREAK IN THE TWIN CITIES to keep ourselves sane at home during this time. And, for extra armor, we’ve beefed up our annual WINTER FUN SURVIVAL GUIDE – stocked with activity ideas both indoors and out.

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