Our Holiday Festival Guide is full of hometown festivals at their holiday best. Whether it’s a holiday tree lighting, a skating event or a full-on festival with fireworks and movies, we think this is quite simply the perfect way to kick off the holiday season in 2021:
We’ve organized our holiday festival calendar into regions of the Twin Cities Metro to make it easier to find one close to home (or explore a new destination!) All holiday events are FREE unless noted.
MINNEAPOLIS & ST PAUL METRO HOLIDAY FESTIVALS & CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTINGS
214 4th Street East, St. Paul, MN 55101
Catch the giant tree light up through Union Depot’s Facebook page, then plan a drive-by later on. It will be lit through December on the North Plaza. TBA, 7pm.
109 W 4th St, St Paul, MN 55102
Rice Park will dazzle with thousands of twinkling lights throughout the winter. Catch the virtual tree lighting or drive by in your car. The holiday lights are traditionally up late November through February. TBA.
Grand Avenue, St Paul, MN 55105
20 blocks of samples, specials, Vulcan fire truck rides, carolers and multiple venues to visit with Santa. Events run starting 8:30am through the afternoon. Dec. 5, 2021.
1382 Willow St., Minneapolis, MN 55403
During a typical holiday season, Holidazzle offers free admission to all, vendors, activities, food, visits with Santa, outdoor movies, sleighrides and fireworks. Loring Park is also home to Minneapolis WinterSkate and hosts free skating (and loaner skates) throughout the winter. This year’s Holidazzle will be celebrated virtually. TBA
TWIN CITIES NORTHWEST METRO HOLIDAY FESTIVALS & CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTINGS
Boerboom Veterans Park, 416 Central Avenue Osseo, MN 55369
Start off with the Light Parade down Main Street. Then, pictures with Santa, take a fire truck ride, warm up at the bonfire and watch the Christmas tree lighting. Dec. 3, 2021, 6-8pm.
The tree will be lit, the carols will be sung, and Santa will be taking visitors. Plus horse-drawn trolley rides and bonfires to keep warm. Dec. 4-5, 2021 All Day.
Plymouth Creek Park, 3625 Fernbrook Ln N, Plymouth, MN 55446
Visit Santa, his missus, the elves and his reindeer. Catch a hayride, cookies and holiday tale time. 2-5pm. Date TBA
TWIN CITIES NORTHEAST METRO HOLIDAY FESTIVALS & CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTINGS
Hometown for the Holidays | Stillwater
Downtown Stillwater, 100 Main Street, Stillwater, MN 55082
Main Street lights up with Christmas decorations and traditional events for a month-long celebration from Nov. 26, 2021 to New Year’s Eve. Find the full schedule here.
Taylor Falls, MN 55084
Family highlights include the Grand Lighting & Santa Parade on Friday), Craft Fair & Medallion Hunt on Saturday and Festival Theatre: “Gift of the Magi” on Sunday. FREE. Nov. 26-28, 2021. Fri 3pm-9pm; Sat 9am-5pm; Sun 1:30pm-4pm.
Lowell Park, 201 Water St N, Stillwater, MN 55082
Free twinkle lights to pass out for kids 12 & under, music by the Teddy Bear Band, free cookies and warm drinks, trolley rides & the city’s tree lighting ceremony. Dec. 4, 2021; 4-6pm.
City-wide holiday activities. 9am-3pm, most activities are FREE. Dec. 4, 2021.
TWIN CITIES SOUTHEAST METRO HOLIDAY FESTIVALS & CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTINGS
Nicollet Commons Park, 12550 Nicollet Ave, Burnsville, MN 55337
Making an appearance are local choirs, refreshments, Mr. and Mrs. Claus, 200,000+ lights, and a 30-foot-tall tree. Date TBA; 6-6:45pm.
Veterans Memorial Community Center, 8055 Barbara Ave, Inver Grove Heights, MN 55077
Start with the tree lighting outside the community center followed by swimming in The Grove Water Park ($5-$9/pp). 5:30-8pm with tree lit at 6. Saturday brings morning with Santa ($6-$8/pp) & Cookie Making ($2/advance). Dec. 2-16, 2021. Registration required for all but the tree lighting.
Afton, MN 55001
The village Christmas tree is lit Friday eve during Candlelight Night; Saturday if Family Day; both days bring horse and wagon rides, carolers, ice skating and festive activities throughout local shops. Dec. 3-4, 2021; Fri 5-9pm, Sat 9am-4pm.
Holz Farm, 4669 Manor Drive, Eagan, Minnesota 55123
Come visit Santa’s reindeer at this 1940s-era event. Also enjoy hayrides, a bonfire, carols, and treats. Dec. 5, 2021; 12-3:30pm.
Eagan Community Center, 1501 Central Pkwy Eagan, MN 55121
Follow the community center on social media for time.
TWIN CITIES SOUTHWEST METRO HOLIDAY FESTIVALS & CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTINGS
Depot Park, 402 Lake St E, Wayzata, MN 55391
Tree lighting ceremony, Santa and reindeer, a candy cane hunt for the kids and a parade of lights. Nov. 26, 2021; 4-7pm.
Excelsior Commons, 135 Lake St, Excelsior, MN 55331
The annual weekend Christkindlsmarkt is packed with a grand parade, children’s activities in KidsWorld, a North Pole Trolley, music, food and other traditional activities. Friday-Sunday; Nov. 26- Dec. 5 2021
Savage City Hall, 6000 McColl Drive, Savage, MN 55378
Treats, smores, live music and a big countdown to the tree lighting. 6-8pm.
City Square Park, 300 N Chestnut St., Chaska, MN 55318
Treats, activities, reindeer, carriage rides, the Clauses, bonfires, face painting, balloon animals, cookies and cocoa. Culminates in the City Square Park tree lighting at 5. FREE. Dec. 4, 2021. More TBA.
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. Date TBA. 5pm.
Tanadoona, 3300 Tanadoona Dr, Excelsior, MN 55331
An immersive North Pole experience. Explore Santa’s workshop, kitchen and more, meet reindeer, Christmas llamas, or Clydesdales, take pictures with Santa himself, and get lost in the Christmas Tree forest. Vendors and makers selling their wares. Dec. 3-Dec. 19; Fri 12pm-10pm, Sat 10am-1pm, Sun 10am-8pm; Admission: Adults $18; Children $13; 2 and under – free.
Past Events We Are Watching for 2021:
Reindeer Day at Linden Hills | Minneapolis
Hop a free trolley ride to area business bustling with marshmallow roasting, Santa and his reindeer, carolers and in-store events. 10am-2pm.
Seward Winter Frolic | Minneapolis
Neighborhood businesses exhibiting arts (including a free Studio Art Day at Articulture), food and drink samples and specials, tours and demos.
Winterfest | White Bear Lake
Horse drawn trolley rides, photos with Santa, carolers and shopping.
Holiday on Main
Downtown Lakeville, MN 55044
Find Santa and Mrs. Claus, hop a trolley ride, take in a musical performance and more along Lakeville’s main drag. 9am-2pm.
Chaska Firemen’s Park Tree Lighting
Come for the lighting of the 50-foot tree, treats, crafts & Santa. 6pm.
Holiday Fest | Shakopee
Carolers, visits with Santa, a tree lighting ceremony and fireworks. 6-8pm.
Delano Old-Fashioned Christmas
Breakfast with Santa, Girl Scout Santa Shop, Teddy Bear Tea, Holiday Character Hunt, music, sleighrides and Santa parade. 8:30am-9pm, FREE admission, some activities have fees.