2023 Top 10 Twin Cities Christmas Experiences

Top Ten Twin Cities Christmas Experiences

We wanted to give you a heads up to some of the most exciting Twin Cities Christmas experiences happening this year. Get out your calendar; here are our Top Ten that you won’t want to miss! For more holiday happenings, check our 2023 TWIN CITIES CHRISTMAS & HOLIDAY GUIDE. It’s chock full of Santa sightings, festivals, theater and musical performances, Christmas lights displays, and Christmas shopping tips.

Featured Partnercrowd of people in costumes at the Game Show Studio

Game Show Studio is a 60-minute immersive game show experience led by our trained hosts and producers! You’ll enjoy three fun-filled games in a Hollywood-style studio while you compete against friends, family, or coworkers. Price Starting at $39.95/ticket


Twin Cities Christmas Trains

Night Trains at Twin City Model Railroad Museum

Twin City Model Railroad Museum, 668 Transfer Rd Ste. 8, St Paul, MN 55114
Visit the imaginary town of Matlin. It has been buried in a blizzard, but the Night Trains are still running. The model railroad museum turns the lights down for this Christmas event so you can enjoy the soft warm glow of the buildings and street lights and the specially lighted models of vintage passenger trains. Saturdays, October 21st, 2023 to February 24, 2024, 3 pm-7 pm. $15/pp, kids under the age of 4 are free.

North Pole Express

Union Depot, 214 4th Street East, Saint Paul, MN 55101
Take a one-mile train ride to the North Pole and write your letter to Santa on the way. Santa will board the train and ride back to the Union Depot, greeting kids and collecting letters with treats and other activities following. This event historically sells out fast.
Tickets are on sale now for Dec 1-3 & Dec 7-10, 202e. Tickets $36 Coach; $61 First Class Sold Out. Unfortunately, this event sells out every year. Tickets go on sale in early October, mark your 2024 calendar now!

Canadian Pacific Holiday Train

Always a Holiday favorite. The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train will be stopping at Twin Cities locations from December 10th through December 13th in 2023.


Twin Cities Festive Holiday Lights Displays

The Minneapolis-St Paul Twin Cities metro area absolutely sparkles during the holiday season with dazzling outdoor light displays. For our master list of Christmas lights and holiday displays, look no further than here. Also includes community Christmas Tree lightings! Some of our favorites include:


CHS Field, 360 N Broadway St, St Paul, MN 55101
CHS Field is converted to a walking tour of holiday decorations and Christmas delights. Dozens of seasonal scenes, a 60-foot illuminated tree and an art-created mosaic flame, a festive Santa Land, and other attractions all await. Grab a map and follow the trail to find a “sElfie Plaza”, an enchanted forest, a s’mores station, concessions and more. Tickets: $12.75-$20.75/pp. November 16 – December 31, 2023.


1526 York Ave, St. Paul MN
Comprised of 9 family homes on both sides of the street dancing to holiday favorites you can listen to on your car radio. Synchronized to 91.5. Collecting food shelf donations for the holiday season. Thanksgiving Weekend through December 31st, 5-10pm.

Holiday Lights on York

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

Christmas & Holiday Markets – Twin Cities Christmas Experiences

European Christmas Market

Union Depot, 214 4th Street E, St Paul MN
Shop booths decorated for Christmas and modeled after those found in Munich and other Christkindlmarkts. The market kicks off on Friday, November 24, 2023 and hosts the Union Depot Christmas Tree Lighting on Dec 2. A total of four weekends leading up to Christmas.


Santa Sightings

We’re not certain how Santa can maintain such a busy social calendar, but he’s simply everywhere this year! You can search for sighting by region of the Twin Cities metro area by skipping over to our HERE COMES SANTA CLAUS guide.

Old Fashioned Holidays

Experience Christmas in the 19th century by celebrating the rich holiday traditions of the earliest settlers of Minnesota. Some of our favorite historical holiday events are make perfect outings for families:

Holidays at Twin Cities Museums

Christmas at Dakota City Heritage Village

Dakota City Heritage Village, 4008 220th St, Farmington, MN 55024
Dickens’ A Christmas Carol comes to life in the village. Stroll or drive around the holiday-decorated village, write a letter to St. Nick and post it in the mail, warm up with treats at the drugstore, take a sleigh ride and more. Weekends Dec 2-3 & 19-10, 2023. Admission has traditionally been around $4-$6/pp. 

Holz Farm Old Fashioned Holiday

Holz Farm, 4665 Manor Dr, Eagan, MN 55123
Come visit Santa’s reindeer at this 1940s-era event. Also enjoy hayrides and self-guided tours of the farm site. Dec 3, 2023. Noon-3pm, FREE.

Holidays at Twin Cities Museums

See our complete listing of Ye Old Holidays at Twin Cities Museums & Historic Sites.

Twin Cities Holiday Shopping Events

It’s much more fun to explore a local shopping district than to click around on Amazon! We make it easy to find holiday shopping events around town in our TWIN CITIES SHOP LOCAL – HOLIDAY SHOPPING EVENTS GUIDE. Here’s a sample of a local shopping event we love:

Grand Meander

Grand Avenue, St. Paul
Wander the length of Grand Avenue, explore the shops for holiday gifts, sample soups, visit Santa, listen for the roving carolers and more to get you in the spirit. One day only! Dec 2, 2023, 9am-5pm.

Holiday Shopping Events

Catch some holiday spirit onstage

Here’s a sampling of where some of the family-friendliest stages if you’re considering bringing kids to the theater, the ballet or to a live musical performance this holiday season in the Twin Cities:

Jump over to our complete listing of Nutcracker and other holiday performances: The Nutcracker and Beyond: 2022’s Best Christmas Shows Ever!

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10 thoughts on “2023 Top 10 Twin Cities Christmas Experiences”

  1. I love Germany’s and my home country denmarks market. In denmark we have Tivoli Garden, Strøget, Bakken (Klampenborg) and many other places.

  2. Hello
    Whenever Christmas comes every year, the whole world shines. This day is very special to me because we decorate all the house and meet our friends and family members.

  3. Kick-off the holiday season with Christmas at the Courthouse at the Washington County Historic Courthouse. This day is very special to me because we decorate all the house and meet our friends and family members. Thanks for sharing, Anna. Stay tuned for our 2020 list.

    1. Thank you for sharing, Steve! Are you part of the decorating committee and is this an annual tradition for your family. What a great way to celebrate.

  4. Whenever Christmas comes every year, the whole world shines. This day is very special to me because we decorate all the house and meet our friends and family members.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Anna. Stay tuned for our 2020 list. We aren’t sure what it is going to look like, but we are excited to see.

  5. Beautyhousepainting.com

    —the nationally traveling exhibition makes a stop at the Mansion this holiday season. Admission is $5–$10.

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