Each month, Family Fun Twin Cities hand-picks 10 of the best things to do with kids and family in the Minneapolis-St Paul Metro Area. In November, we’re excited about getting things dressed up for the holidays.
For more things to do with your kids & family this month:
- NOVEMBER FAMILY EVENTS GUIDE
- 50 FREE THINGS TO DO IN THE TWIN CITIES IN NOVEMBER
- FFTC’S FAMILY FUN EVENTS CALENDAR
The Twin Cities illuminates with early holiday tree lighting festivals during the month of November. Here are five picks we think really shine (find more in our complete guide to TWIN CITIES TREE LIGHTING FESTIVALS, covering the four corners of the Minneapolis-St Paul Metro Area:
BURNSVILLE: WINTER LIGHTING CEREMONY
The annual event is both in-person and streaming live this year from the park. November 24, 2021. 6pm.
EDINA: TREE LIGHTING CEREMONY
Along with the holiday tree lighting with be chorale singers, horse-drawn trolley rides and Santa Claus. Held at the 50th & France shopping district. November 26, 2021, 3-6pm.
ST PAUL: Rice Park Tree Lighting Ceremony
One again to signal the start of the holiday season in St Paul, Rice Park will dazzle with thousands of twinkling lights throughout the winter. November 19, 2021, 5:30pm.
TAYLORS FALLS: TAYLORS FALLS LIGHTING FESTIVAL
The annual tree lighting takes place at 6pm downtown. Festival highlights include the Santa Parade, Christmas at the Folsom House, storytime with Mrs. Claus and wagon rides. Nov 26-28, 2021.
WAYZATA: LIGHT UP THE LAKE CELEBRATION
Holiday music, an enhanced holiday lights display, warm fire pits, and Santa visits Wayzata in the annual Parade of Lights, 5:15pm. November 26, 2021.
Rejoice, panic or both? Often times after we emerge from our holiday food coma we find ourselves unsure of how to entertain the kids for the rest of Thanksgiving weekend. Or, perhaps you have relatives in town and want to show off what our amazing Twin Cities have to offer. Either case, our FFTC team has put together a THANKSGIVING BREAK GUIDE, a list originally created as an alternative to avoid Black Friday shopping crowds. It’s packed with good stuff. And most of it is FREE! We thought that might be appreciated right before the holidays.
Our favorite holiday festivals are back!
We’re so excited that holiday festivals are back and filling calendars now through the New Year. One of our very favorites, the MINNEAPOLIS HOLIDAZZLE FESTIVAL in Minneapolis, is slated to set up back in Loring Park in December, but the Holidazzle Yeti will be at Peavey Plaza from November 26 through December 3. Oh, and find more TWIN CITIES HOLIDAY FESTIVALS taking place in November.
Give back as a family during the holiday season
National Family Volunteer Day – November 20, 2021
Giving back as a family can be a wonderful way to feel thankful for what you have and to pass on that value to your kids. We’ve rounded up a number of opportunities in our guide to THE BEST PLACES IN THE TWIN CITIES TO VOLUNTEER WITH KIDS. These positions include:
- Packing meals with Feed My Starving Children (ages 5+) & Second Harvest Heartland (ages 15+ in Brooklyn Park and Maplewood).
- Volunteering with Meals on Wheels to decorate bags, placemats and greeting cards (especially appreciated during the holiday season)
- Ringing bells to help fill Salvation Army collection kettles.
National Family Volunteer Day is November 20 in 2021 but any time of the year is a great time to get involved giving back with your family.
Indoor drop-in play spots open
Colder weather moves the play indoors for many families. The month of November begins open gym and tot times at the following indoor Twin Cities spaces:
- EDINA BRAEMAR FIELD: Tot Time in the Dome. Ongoing Mon & Wed, 9-11am, $5/child. Family Night begins Nov 12, runs Fridays 6-7pm, $5/pp.
- PLYMOUTH FIELDHOUSE: Youth Open Play begins Nov 1. Ongoing Mon, Wed & Fri 10:30am-1:30pm. Best for ages 3-5, $4-$5/child. PROGRAM TEMPORARILY ON HOLD.
- SAVAGE SPORTS CENTER: Tot Time ongoing Tues & Thurs, 9-11:30am, ages 5 & under, $3/child. Ages 6 & up are invited to Open Play after school hours, Mon-Fri, $5/pp. PROGRAM TEMPORARILY ON HOLD.
- ST LOUIS PARK REC CENTER: Little Tot Playtime begins Nov 7. Ongoing Tues-Fri, 9:30-11:30am, $2/child ages 1-5. CALL TO CONFIRM.
These locales join our master list of OPEN PLAY, GYM & SWIM SPOTS FOR TOTS IN THE TWIN CITIES. Comes with a near-guaranteed naptime for all!
National Animal Shelter Week
National Animal Shelter Week is celebrated on the first full week of November each year. Celebrate by learning more about the Animal Humane Society of Minnesota (did you know families can drop in and play with pets up for adoption?) or participating in one of their public programs such as Rescue Readers.
Small Business/Shop Small Saturday
We’ve all heard about Black Friday, but are you familiar with Shop Small Saturday? Yes, it’s a thing and it’s a very good thing at that to support small, local businesses this holiday season. The date to keep in mind is Saturday, November 27 (Thanksgiving weekend). Here’s our top pick of holiday shopping events in the Twin Cities, with more to discover on our TWIN CITIES HOLIDAY SHOPPING EVENTS page.
Explore the charm of holiday shopping in downtown Stillwater. As a bonus, the FREE Wintertime in Stillwater holiday lights display begins Friday, Nov. 26. Enjoy thousands of LED lights synchronized to music nightly from 5-10pm spanning from Main Street to the historic lift bridge.
Freebies in November
Who doesn’t like a whole lot of FREE right before dropping cash on the holiday season? In our house, we tend to tighten up our outings in November and extra appreciate when we can find free admission to something fun. Here’s a sampling of savings this month:
- FIRST FREE SATURDAY AT WALKER ART CENTER (totally fun for families – NOV 6)
- FREE ADMISSION TO HENNEPIN HISTORY MUSEUM (thru month of NOV)
- FREE ADMISSION TO MINNESOTA STATE PARKS ON BLACK FRIDAY (NOV. 26)
- FREE LIVING HISTORY PROGRAMS AT POND DAKOTA MISSION PARK (Saturdays in NOV)
Events we’re waiting to be announced in 2021
Join Bachmans in welcoming Santa and his sleigh to kick off the holiday season! Kids can visit the reindeer corral and stop by the craft counter for crafts and activities. Cookies, juice, and coffee will be served. Don’t miss the annual Santa & Albert holiday play at 10 & 11:30am and 1 & 2:30pm.