2021 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 Christmas & Holiday Guide. It’s chock full of Santa sightings, festivals, theater and musical performances, Christmas lights displays, and Christmas shopping tips.

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 23, 2021 to February 26, 2022, 3 pm-7 pm. $15/pp (discounts for families), 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 December 3-5 and December 9-12, 2021. Tickets $35 Coach; $60 First Class.

Canadian Pacific Holiday Train

Catch the holiday train virtually this year; check the link for details and look for it to return in person in 2022!


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:

Wintertime in Stillwater

There’s extra twinkle in the city’s historic downtown district again this year. Chestnut Street has a pedestrian winter wonderland area where you can enjoy a free LED light show set to music. There’s even more planned for this beautiful city this holiday season. November 12, 2021-March 2022.

Downtown Stillwater Minnesota lit up for the Holidays 2020

Cathedral Festival of Lights 

The Christmas story is told with large-scale light murals accompanied by uplifting music projected on the front of the Cathedral of Saint Paul. The show is 12 minutes long. Note: arrive early to get your car in line. There will likely be a wait. Drive in ONLY Dec 19, 2021. Walk-up Dec 15-19. See website for times.

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

Holidazzle Festival

Loring Park | Minneapolis
Minneapolis Craft Market brings in more than 20 vendors  to Holidazzle. Shop local artists selling handmade treasures, then enjoy food & beverages, carnival rides, fireworks and lots more fun. December 17-19, 2021. FREE admission and lots of fun activities for the family!

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 26, 2021 and hosts the Union Depot Christmas Tree Lighting on Dec 4. A total of four weekends leading up to Christmas.

Swedish Christmas Traditions at American Swedish Institute

From Our House to Yours

American Swedish Institute | 2600 Park Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55407 
This year is chock full of festive holiday cheer with ASI’s annual Julmarknad Holiday Market running November 13 – December 21: featuring their traditional market as well as this year’s new Courtyard Market. The Julglädje (Christmas Joy) family performances will be offered at 11 am and 1 pm.  Exhibition runs  Thursdays-Sundays, Nov 14-Jan 10, 2021, 10 am-4 pm, $6-$12 or FREE for ASI members or children under 5. Reservations required.

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.  Weekends Dec 4-12, 2021. Admission has traditionally been around $4-$6/pp. Details to follow.

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 5, 2021. 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 Ave | 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 5, 2021, 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: 2021’s Best Christmas Shows Ever!

Family Fun Twin Cities Holiday Shop on Amazon

If you still haven’t found what you’re looking for, we can help you with our Holiday Shop on Amazon. We have carefully selected gift ideas to help you get a super fun gift for the littler ones in your life.

Amazon links are affiliate links and Family Fun Twin Cities receives a small commission on sales through our site.

Holiday Carols and Sing-A-Longs

Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies Holiday Concerts
Check the link for concert listings, times and ticket information. Holiday concerts are FREE and open to the public. Dec 7 (Minnetonka) at 2pm & Dec 8 (Roseville), at 4 pm.

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16 thoughts on “2021 Top 10 Twin Cities Christmas Experiences”

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  7. Beautyhousepainting.com

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

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

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