Twin Cities Things To Do In December (Sorted By Age)

In December Family Fun Twin Cities is counting down to the holiday season and the new year with the best hand-picked events for families in the month of December. Babies, toddlers, preschoolers, grade schoolers, tweens and teens – we’ve had them all! We understand how important it is to be able to find activities to do that gets everyone in the family involved. For more ideas for family fun in December check out our:

In December skip to activities:
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    Things To Do With Toddlers & Preschoolers in the Twin Cities – December

    Caregivers with kids between the ages of 1 and 5, these events and activities are designed with your family in mind. You know your child best, so we encourage you to consult our full Family Fun Calendar to browse the all-ages events listed, but we publish here a quick list of toddler activities and pre-school family fun ideas.

    Twin Cities Toddler and Preschool Events This Week

    Holiday trains in the station

    Trains captivate year-round (just check out all the places to interact with them in the Twin Cities) but they’re especially magical around the holiday season. We always include a special segment of holiday activities devoted to trains for this reason. Read on for our favorites:

    Santa’s Train Shop at Minnesota Transportation Museum 

    193 Pennsylvania Ave E, St Paul, MN 55130
    Santa’s Train Shop is one of the more unique holiday events in the Twin Cities. What better place for a little (or big) trainiac to hand over their Christmas list? The museum is located in the historic Jackson Street Roundhouse and gives kids a chance to explore real train cars, tinker with hands-on exhibits and take a ride on a train car decorated for Christmas. During the holiday season, the museum transforms into Santa’s Train Shop with live music, activities, train rides, pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Weekends only, December 2-17, 2023. Tickets: $9-$18/pp or $50/family.

    Minnesota Transportation Museum caboose decorated for Christmas

    Holiday Night Trains at Twin City Model Railroad Museum

    668 Transfer Rd Ste. 8, St Paul, MN 55114   
    Year-round this is a charming museum filled with humming model tracks; around Christmastime the glowing and magical Holiday Night Trains are on display. The special event runs every Saturday through February plus some extra dates around school breaks. Selects evening, visitors young and old can meet with Santa: December 16 & 23 in 2023. Book ahead online, 3-7pm, $15/pp.

    ALL AGES! Need an event that appeals to the whole family (yes, this also incorporates trains)? Everyone in our party (including four tweens and teens) was satisfied when we went out to meet the CANADIAN PACIFIC HOLIDAY TRAIN as it chugged through the heart of the Twin Cities. The train, glitzed out with holiday lights, pauses at determined stops on the line for the public to admire and enjoy a live musical performance. Twin Cities-area dates: December 9th -13th in 2023. Please see link for complete schedule.


    Santa’s comin’ to town!

    From potentially terrified tots to the teen non-believers, a meet-and-greet with Santa can be tricky to assign to an age category. But you know your kiddo best. If a visit with Santa tops your list of Christmas traditions, we have a HUGE list of spots to spot the guy in HERE COMES SANTA IN THE TWIN CITIES. That jolly old guy sure can get around! His public appearance schedule is packed in December – visits at community holiday festivals, breakfasts, tree lightings and at area malls and shopping districts.

    10 Free Things To Do in December in the Twin Cities

    Things To Do With School-Aged Kids in the Twin Cities – December 

    Twin Cities Kids Events This Week

    Light up a holiday tree

    Lighting and decorating an evergreen tree has been a custom for many cultures spanning hundreds of years. The Twin Cities contains many communities that continue to keep this tradition illuminated. We have strived to list as many events as we could find on our  TWIN CITIES HOLIDAY TREE LIGHTINGS page. This could be a great holiday activity for kids that are able to stay up just a little later at night.

    Twin Cities Holiday Festivals & Christmas Tree Lightings

    Get out and enjoy a holiday festival in December

    All the ingredients for a perfect family holiday outing are present in our break-down of the best in the Twin Cities. We tell you where Santa’s going to make an appearance, where you can catch a holiday tree lighting, tackle your holiday shopping list, find the fireworks, bonfires, sleighrides and sparkling light displays. We break down the holiday festivals by region of the Twin Cities Metro area so it’s convenient to find one close by. Our top picks by region include:


    Anoka Hometown Holiday 

    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. December 2, 2023, 3-7pm.

    More Twin Cities Northwest Metro holiday tree lightings include communities of: Albertville, Buffalo, Champlin, Coon Rapids, Crystal, Dayton, Delano, Elk River, Hanover, Oak Grove, Osseo, Otsego, Plymouth, Ramsey, Robbinsdale, Rogers & St Michael.


    Stillwater Hometown for the Holidays 

    Downtown Stillwater, 100 Main Street, Stillwater, MN 55082
    Main Street lights up with enchanting Christmas decorations and traditional events for a month-long celebration. Through December 25, 2023.

    More Twin Cities Northeast Metro holiday festivals include communities of: Blaine, Forest Lake, Ham Lake, Hudson WI, Lake Elmo, North St Paul, Oakdale, Scandia, Shoreview, Taylors Falls & White Bear Lake.


    Old Fashioned Holiday at 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. December 3, 2023, 12-3pm. FREE.

    More Twin Cities Southeast Metro holiday festivals include communities of: Afton, Apple Valley, Burnsville, Cottage Grove, Hastings, Inver Grove Heights, Lakeville, Prior Lake, Rosemount, Savage & South St Paul.


    Prior Lake Decembrrr Dazzle

    Lakefront Park, 5000 Kop Parkway SE, Prior Lake MN
    Santa will snap photos with visitors in addition to the other fun winter festivities scheduled like ice-carving demonstrations and a giant bonfire with warm beverages and pizza (for sale). The evening caps off with a fireworks show. December 1, 2023, 6-8:30pm.

    More Twin Cities Southwest Metro holiday festivals include communities of: Belle Plaine, Bloomington, Chanhassen, Chaska, Edina, Excelsior, Minnetonka, Prior Lake, Savage, Shakopee, St Louis Park, Waconia, Wayzata & Watertown.

    Wintery fun: sledding hills & skating rinks open for the season

    Mid to late December is when the ice skating rinks are flooded and open for your own personal Ice Capades. Or for your little future Gretzkys, whatever the case may be. Colder temps and snowfall also bring optimal conditions for sledding and snow tubing. We’ve compiled a local outdoor ICE SKATING RINK FINDER, a best SLEDDING HILLS GUIDE and an exciting round up of the best SNOW TUBING HILLS so you can scout new places to enjoy these classic winter pastimes with your bigger kids.

    sledding hills

    Ring in the New Year in the Twin Cities

    Ring in 2023 with one of these family-friendly Twin Cities New Years Eve events. Can your bigger kids make it to midnight? If not, the events we’re promoting generally call it a night early or even take place during the afternoon (family parties at the Minnesota Children’s Museum and at indoor playgrounds, pool parties and sledding events.) 

    New Years Eve

    Things To Do With Teens & Tweens in the Twin Cities – December

    Twin Cities Teen & Tween Events This Week

    Cut your own fresh holiday tree

    Think it would be fun to start a holiday tradition of cutting your own Christmas tree? That’s exactly what our FFTC team member Joy and her family did this year, bringing along her tweens and teens to help select and anchor their tree to the van. Get their tips for making memories on our list of the best places in the Twin Cities area to cut your own real tree at a Christmas tree farm. Or see Joy’s quick hitlist here:

    BRINGING YOUNGER KIDS? There’s loads of fun to be had at several of the farms that made Joy’s list of the best – including hayrides, Santa visits, petting farms and play areas. Make it a full day of family fun.

    Dad carrying Christmas Tree into House as Kids Cheer -Where to Buy Real Christmas Tree in the Twin Cities

    A Twin Cities holiday onstage

    A Christmas Carol is the classic tale of Ebeneezer Scrooge’s change of heart during the holiday season. When my 12-year-old son, who is reading the Dickens version in school, asked if we’d take him to the show this year, I knew I needed to add this to our list of Twin Cities Christmas on the Stage. This story is something special if he’s making that kind of request. The Guthrie recommends the show for kids ages 8 & up; this could be a great date with your tween.
    THEATER WITH YOUNGER KIDS? The Guthrie offers a printable 24-page guide full of information, activities and discussion questions to bring the show to life.

    Have yourself a historical little Christmas

    Celebrate the season by discovering traditions that Minnesotans were enjoying around the turn of the twentieth century. All ages can find something to enjoy at these events, but the historical context may best be appreciated by your older kids. 

    Christmas In the Village

    4008 220th St W, Farmington, MN 55024
    Dickens’ A Christmas Carol comes to life in the quaint and charming historic village. Guests will enjoy the illuminated buildings, sleigh rides, treats in the drugstore and can drop a letter to Santa at the post office – include a self-addressed envelope so he can reply. December weekends. December 2-3, 9-10, 2023. Cost $5/pp.

    Holidays on the Hill

    240 Summit Ave, St Paul, MN 55102
    It’s Christmas in 1910 during this tour at the most famous mansion on Summit Avenue in Saint  Paul. Tickets include a 60-minute guided tour and holiday-themed exhibits. Thursdays-Sundays, December 1-30, 2023. Admission: $16-$20/pp. Under 4 free. Pre-purchase tickets here.

    Dakota City General Store decorated for Christmas with wreaths and lights.
    Dakota City General Store


    Magical events for all ages in December

    Enjoy the best holiday lights displays

    For our master list of holiday light shows and displays in the Twin Cities, click HERE. We have been working hard (to say the very least) to ensure that all the entries are verified and as up-to-date as possible – we don’t want anyone left in the dark!

    Twin Cities Holiday Lights - Map Your Route Banner

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