Twin Cities Weekend Events Family Guide


Things to do in Minneapolis-St Paul this weekend!

DECEMBER 7-8, 2019

With so many holiday happenings around the Twin Cities this season, we want to make it as jolly as possible for your family to find them.

For more inspiration and seasonal cheer, hop over to our Twin Cities Christmas & Holiday Guide our Family Fun Events Calendar or our December Twin Cities Family Events Guide.

Santa Sightings

Where will Jolly Old St Nick be visiting this weekend? Somehow he manages to be all over the Twin Cities! Take your pick from shopping malls, community festivals and even a streetcar decked out for Christmas. For further planning, check our Twin Cities Santa-finder page.

ALL WEEKEND – Saturday, December 7 & Sunday, December 8

Meet Santa at Holidazzle | Loring Park, Minneapolis
Visiting with Santa is just one of the many fun and free activities at the annual festival. Santa will be on site all weekend for photo opps. Bring your wish list! Fri 5-10pm, Sat 11am-10pm & Sun 11am-7pm.

Holly Trolley | Como-Harriet Streetcar Line, Minneapolis
Ride the rails with Santa this weekend in a streetcar decorated for the holidays. Then, warm up with a campfire and roast a marshmallow. 12-3pm, $4/pp.

Santa & Albert’s Holiday Play and Sing Along | Bachman’s
Bachman’s Annual Christmas Play is free and fun for all ages. Join in caroling after the play; Santa and Albert will be available for photos. Sat: 10am, 11:30am, 1pm, 2:30pm & Sun: 11:30, 1:00, 2:30pm.

Santa’s Train Shop | Minnesota Transportation Museum, St Paul
The museum transforms into Santa’s Train Shop with live music, activities, train rides, pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Weekends 10am-4pm, $7-$13/pp.

Nature Hike With Santa | Eastman Nature Center, Dayton
Hike in search of reindeer food, decorate a Santa letter, and get a visit with Santa. Treats included. $7/child; $3/adult, Fri 10am-12pm, Sat 10am-12pm & 1-3pm, Sun 1-3pm.

FRIDAY – December 6

Dinner With Mr. & Mrs. Claus | Urban Growler, St. Paul
Pasta dinner, craft, cookie decorating and face painting. Cash walk-ins accepted or register in advance. 5:30-7pm. $5/pp.

SATURDAY – December 7

Vinternatt | Como-Harriet Streetcar Line, Minneapolis
The streetcar will be decorated with lights and seasonal greens. Hundreds of luminaries will light the path. Toast marshmallows and watch for Santa. 6-8:30pm, $5/pp.

Santa and Live Reindeer Visits | Albertville Premium Outlets & Twin Cities Premium Outlets, Eagan
Visit with Santa and pet the reindeer. 10am-12pm, FREE.

Ruldoph’s Rockin Reindeer Bash | Woodbury Lakes
Live reindeer petting zoo, reindeer costume characters, face painting, an ice carver, strolling carolers, a S’mores bar, and a dance party. 1-4pm, FREE.

Santa and Mrs. Claus Visit | Eagan Community Center
Santa will be posing for pictures and collecting holiday wish lists. 10am-Noon, FREE (however, you may want to pair this with some playtime at the Blast Indoor Playground, $4/child. There will also be a farmers market in the same building)

Breakfast with Santa | Veterans Community Center, Inver Grove Heights
A light breakfast, visit with Santa, facepainting, balloon animals, games and more. 8:30-10am or 10:30 am-12pm. $6/advance, $8/door.

SUNDAY – December 8

Santa Visits Choo Choo Bob’s Train Store | St Paul
Bring your wish list and get ready for photos and treats. $5/child payable at the store.

Santa Visit and Birthday Party | Blue Sun Soda Shop, Spring Lake Park
Santa will be helping Blue Sun Soda Shop celebrate its 4th birthday. Free soda tastings and 25¢ arcade games. 10am-6pm.

Breakfast with Santa & Friends | Bruentrup Heritage Farm, Maplewood
Enjoy a pancake breakfast and crafts. Reserved seatings at 9, 10, 11 & 12. $5/kids, $10/adults.

Santa at sota clothing | St. Louis Park
Retailer, sota clothing will host Santa Claus and his reindeer for a BYO camera event. Free ornament decorating, letters to Santa, and complimentary gift wrapping for shoppers.

Weekend Holiday Festival Calendar

Trot on over to our Twin Cities Holiday Festivals & Tree Lightings page for more details – many Twin Cities-area communities are hosting their own downtown galas, complete with roving Santas, carolers and sleigh bells.

ALL WEEKEND – Saturday, December 7 & Sunday, December 8

MINNEAPOLIS: Seward Winter Frolic | Neighborhood businesses exhibiting arts (including a free Studio Art Day at Articulture), food and drink samples and specials, tours and demos.

FRIDAY – December 6

AFTON: Afton Village Holiday | The village Christmas tree is lit Friday eve; both days bring horse and wagon rides, carolers and festive activities throughout local shops. Fri 5-9pm, Sat 9am-4pm.

INVER GROVE HEIGHTS: Holidays in the Heights | Start with the tree lighting outside the community center followed by free swimming in The Grove Water Park. 5:30-8:30pm with tree lit at 6.

OSSEO: MiniDazzle Celebration | Start off with the Light Parade. Then, pictures with Santa, take a fire truck ride, warm up at the bonfire and watch the Christmas tree lighting. 6-8pm.

SHAKOPEE: Holiday Fest | Carolers, visits with Santa, a tree lighting ceremony and fireworks. 6-8pm.

SATURDAY – December 7

ANOKA: 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. 3-7pm.

CHANHASSEN: Chanhassen Tree Lighting Ceremony | An annual holiday event with a tree lighting followed by refreshments, live reindeer, gingerbread house displays, and Santa Claus. 5pm.

DELANO: 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.

EXCELSIOR: Christmas in Excelsior | The big tree lights up at 7pm on Water Street, plus sleigh rides, Santa and carolers lend a holiday air. 

LAKEVILLE: Holiday on Main | Find Santa and Mrs. Claus, hop a trolley ride, take in a musical performance and more along Lakeville’s main drag. 9am-2pm.

MINNEAPOLIS: Reindeer Day at Linden Hills | Hop a free trolley ride to area business bustling with marshmallow roasting, Santa and his reindeer, carolers and in-store events. 10am-2pm.

PLYMOUTH: Plymouth Old Fashioned Christmas | Visit Santa, his missus, the elves and his reindeer. Catch a hayride, cookies and holiday tale time. 2-5pm.

STILLWATER: Stillwater Twinkle Party & Tree Lighting | 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. 4-6pm.

ST PAUL: Grand Meander | 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.

WHITE BEAR LAKE: Winterfest | Horse drawn trolley rides, photos with Santa, carolers and shopping.

SUNDAY – December 8

EAGAN: Holz Farm Old Fashioned Holiday | Come visit Santa’s reindeer at this 1940s-era event. Also enjoy hayrides, a bonfire, carols, and treats. 12-3:30pm.

Special Holiday Events – this weekend only!

ALL WEEKEND – Saturday, December 7 & Sunday, December 8

Christmas in the Village | Dakota City Heritage Village, Farmington
Dickens’ A Christmas Carol comes to life in the village with a horse-drawn trolley, caroling, holiday cooking, demonstrations, a visit with St. Nicholas and other turn-of-the-century traditions. 1-8pm, Sat & Sun. $4-$7/pp.

Julmarknad | American Swedish Institute
ASI’s annual holiday market and festival. Learn more about Julmarknad hereSat, 10am-5pm & Sun, 11am-4pm. $6-$15/pp, includes museum admission.

Holiday Open Haus | Germanic-American Institute, St Paul
Get the feel of a European market with vendors selling German Christmas gift items, model trains, and festive food and drink. Craft ornaments on Saturday and meet St. Nikolaus on Sunday. 11am-4pm.

A Norwegian Christmas | Eidem Farm, Brooklyn Park
Old-fashioned festivities include carolers, ornament-making, freshly-baked treats and a visit with St. Nick. Dec 7-8, 1-4pm, $4-$6/pp.

FRIDAY – December 6

Union Depot Holiday Tree Lighting | St Paul
Including live music, fireworks and holiday movie double feature. Event begins at 6pm, tree lighting at 6:30.

Stans House Holiday Fest | Lakeville
Free historic holiday fun in the historic Stans House, decorated for a 1920s Christmas. Meet Mrs Claus and enjoy cookies. 10am-1pm.

SATURDAY – December 7

Fillebrown House Holiday Tours: Take a guided tour of the historic house dressed up for the holidays. One day only, tours at 10am, 11:30am, & 1pm. $7/pp.

A Winter Festival | Music Association of Minnetonka
Come enjoy hot beverages, desserts and listen to music provided by the Minnetonka Symphony Orchestra, Civic Orchestra, Senior Chorale, Chorus a la Carte, and Youth Choirs. 3pm, $5/door.

Ongoing Holiday Events

Holidazzle | Loring Park, Minneapolis
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. Festival runs Thurs 5-9pm, Fri 5-10pm, Sat 11am-10pm & Sun 11am-7pm.

Night Trains | Twin City Model Railroad Museum, St Paul
Enter a magical world of model trains. Overhead lights are turned down low and the models’ streetlights and buildings are glowing. Saturdays, 6-9pm. $15/pp, family rates available, kids under 5 FREE.

A Victorian Christmas | Alexander Ramsey House, St Paul
See, hear and taste a Victorian Christmas during this holiday guided tour. There are homemade cookies in the kitchen, holiday music of the era on the piano, and original family decorations. Weekends, Nov 29-Dec 29, $8-$12/pp.

Christmas Saturdays for Families | James J Hill House, St Paul 
Take a self-guided Christmas tour of the historic mansion. May be the better option for families with kids who’d like to tour at their own pace. Saturdays, 10am-5pm. $6-$10/pp.

Christmas Traditions Guided House Tour | James J Hill House  
Learn about the holiday celebrations held along historic Summit Avenue. Tours run 60 minutes. (There is also a self-guided option every Saturday $6-$10/pp). Nov 27-Dec 29, $8-$12/pp.

Gingerbread Wonderland | Norway House, Minneapolis
A signature holiday tradition, Gingerbread Wonderland returns for its 5th Anniversary. Nov 15, 2019 – Jan 5, 2020. $5/pp kids FREE.

Plan ahead to see the trains!

St. paul union depot

Canadian Pacific Holiday Train

Now arriving at the following Twin Cities-area stations: a decked-out holiday train and rockin’ live performances! This is a fun Christmas tradition for many local families and offers a chance to give back during the season. Food banks will be accepting donations at each site, click the above link for the train’s route and detailed station locations.

  • 12/9 – Hastings, arrives 8pm
  • 12/10 – Cottage Grove, 5:15pm
  • 12/10 – Union Depot, St. Paul, 6:45 pm
  • 12/11 – Golden Valley, 4:45pm
  • 12/11 – St. Louis Park, 6pm
  • 12/11 – Minneapolis, 8pm
  • 12/12 – Loretto – 4:15pm
  • 12/12 – Buffalo, 5:45pm

Still Christmas shopping?

Our Christmas Shopping Guide helps you shop local and support small businesses while picking out presents for your loved ones this year. This guide has gift ideas for all ages. The best part is that these events double as family fun!

Holiday Shopping Events

Always free to visit weekends

Find hundreds more things to do in Minneapolis & St Paul with kids!

During this cold weather, find tons of fun indoor games for kids you can play right at home.


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