Twin Cities GUIDE TO FAMILY ACTIVITIES THIS WEEKEND: December 3-4, 2022

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Things to do in Minneapolis & St Paul this weekend!

This Twin Cities Family Weekend Guide covers the weekend of December 3-4, 2022 – the weekend after Thanksgiving! To find our most recent guide, click here

The holidays have descended upon the Twin Cities! We’ve highlighted some festive events to get you in the spirit – for more family weekend ideas hop over to our ULTIMATE TWIN CITIES CHRISTMAS & HOLIDAY GUIDE, our FAMILY FUN CALENDAR or our DECEMBER FAMILY GUIDE.

Christmas and Holiday Guide Twin Cities

We’re psyched to put up and decorate our Christmas tree this weekend! Our teammate Joy took care of this last weekend and literally went the extra mile to bring her family to a Christmas tree farm so they could make the memory of cutting their own fresh tree. Think that sounds fun? She’s compiled a list of the best places in the Twin Cities to cut your own holiday tree.

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

holiday EventS THIS WEEKEND IN THE TWIN CITIES

Twin Cities Holiday Festivals & Christmas Tree Lighting Events This Weekend

Trees will be twinkling this weekend at hometown holiday festivals. This is the BIGGEST & BRIGHTEST weekend for community celebrations in the Minneapolis-St Paul metro. Here’s our quick list; find our complete list of TWIN CITIES HOLIDAY TREE LIGHTING EVENTS. Lighting up this weekend are the following Minneapolis-St Paul Metro communities:

AFTON: VILLAGE HOLIDAY 

Downtown Afton
The village hosts a tree lighting ceremony in Town Square Park (Fri, 6pm), horse and wagon rides, a family photo booth and roving carolers throughout the weekend downtown Afton. December 3, 2022.

ANOKA: CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING

Enjoy horse-drawn trolley rides, holiday music, bonfires, strolling carolers, shopping discounts and Santa in addition to the big Christmas tree lighting. December 3, 2022.

Buffalo: Deck the Halls

Sturges Park, 505 2nd Ave S Buffalo, MN 55313
Family fun and festivities from 3pm-5pm, when they City of Buffalo lights of the tree. Dec. 3, 2022. 

CHANHASSEN: TREE LIGHTING CEREMONY

City Center Park Plaza, 7700 Market Blvd, Chanhassen MN
The tree lights up at 5pm – plus Santa, refreshments and all the rest. Then, take the driving tour through the Chanhassen Tour of Lights. December 3, 2022.

CHASKA: CITY SQUARE PARK TREE LIGHTING

Featuring crafts, outdoor games, hot cocoa and cookies & pictures with Santa Claus. December 4, 2022, 6pm.

Delano: Old-Fashioned Christmas

Breakfast with Santa, Girl Scout Santa Shop, Teddy Bear Tea, Holiday Character Hunt, music, sleighrides and Santa parade. December 3, 2022; 10am-8pm, FREE admission, some activities have fees. Light the Night 5pm-8pm.

Eagan: Old Fashioned Holiday at Holz Farm

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. 4, 2022; 12-3:30pm.

Farmington: Christmas in the Village

Dakota City Heritage Village, 4008 220th Street W., Farmington, MN 55024
Buildings will be illuminated inside and out throughout the village. The public is welcome to drive through the Village any evening in December (3pm-8pm) to enjoy this holiday tradition, but there will be extra activities on the weekend – carols in the church, treats in the drugstore, model trains, horse-drawn wagon rides and more. December 3-4, 2022. $5/pp.

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

Plymouth: Holiday at the Hilde

Hilde Performance Center, 3500 Plymouth Blvd. Plymouth, Minnesota 55447
Visit with Santa and live reindeer, enjoy a holiday lights display, music and family activities. Dec 3, 2022, 4-7pm.

SHAKOPEE: HOLIDAY FEST TREE LIGHTING

Downtown Shakopee, MN 55379
Carolers, Santa, a tree lighting ceremony and fireworks. December 3, 2022.

STILLWATER: TWINKLE PARTY AND CITY TREE LIGHTING

Lowell Park, 201 Water St N, Stillwater, MN 55082
The city tree is lit at 5:30, part of the annual Hometown for the Holidays celebration. Festivities start at 4pm and special guest Santa Claus arrives around 4:30. December 3, 2022.

St Paul: Grand Meander

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. 3, 2022.

St Paul: Union Depot Tree Lighting

214 4th Street East, St. Paul, MN 55101
Catch the giant tree light up at 6:30pm followed by a screening of Elf at 7pm. Dec 3, 2022, event runs 5-9pm.

White Bear Lake: Winter Fest

Complete with horse-drawn trolley rides, carolers and ice sculptures in downtown White Bear Lake. Dec 3, 2022.

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

Twin Cities Holiday Lights Displays

Winter Lights at the Arboretum

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, 3675 Arboretum Dr, Chaska, MN 55318
Winter will be in bloom with lighted greenery and displays throughout the pathways of the arb’s gardens! Online ticket reservation required. All weekend, Dec 3-4, 2022. $25/adults 16+; Children 15 and under FREE.

Christmas In Color at Valleyfair

Valleyfair, 1 Valley Fair Dr, Shakopee, MN 55379
This holiday season you can drive right into the amusement park to be entertained by 1.5 million lights synchronized to holiday music. You’ll need an FM radio to year the Christmas music and carols as you drive. All weekend, Dec 3-4, 2022. 5:30-9:30pm. Tickets: $35-$65/vehicle.

Family Fun Twin Cities Discount: FFTC Readers Save 15% with Discount Code TWINCITIES15.

Christmas in Color at Valleyfair in Shakopee Minnesota
Image courtesy of Christmas in Color – Use Code TWINCITIES15 to save 15% on tickets.

For the whole sparkling scoop on the best holiday light displays in the Twin Cities, visit our 2022 Twin Cities Drive Thru Christmas Events and Walking Tours page. OR – 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!

december weekend

Find Santa Claus in the Twin Cities This weekend

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 or check out the details below on our holiday festival calendar.

WEEKEND SANTA HIGHLIGHT! Santa and Live Reindeer Visits at Twin Cities Premium Outlets

Visit and take pictures with Santa and pet the reindeer at the ALBERTVILLE and EAGAN locations. December 3-4, 2022, 10am-12pm. Located outside in Center Court, near Market Hall

Santa’s Train Shop at minnesota transportation museum 

The museum transforms into Santa’s Train Shop with live music, activities, train rides, pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus. December 3-4, 2022, 10am-4pm. $9-$18/pp or $50/family package.

More Twin Cities Weekend Holiday  Events

European Christmas Market at Union Depot

214 4th St E, St Paul, MN 55101
A free event to attend with the opportunity to shop for unique, handmade gifts and decorations as well as nosh on holiday treats. Located at St Paul’s historic Union Depot. Open weekends, Fri 4-9pm, Sat 10am-8pm & Sun 11am-6pm.

Germanic-American Institute Christmas in Germany

301 Summit Ave, St Paul, MN 55102
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. FREE admission.

Gingerbread Wonderland at Norway House

913 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404
A signature holiday tradition, Gingerbread Wonderland features a miniature village made of (you guessed it) gingerbread. $10/pp kids FREE.

Holidays on the Hill at James J Hill House

240 Summit Ave, St Paul, MN 55102
Take both a guided and a self-guided Christmas tour of the historic mansion and hear about the family’s holiday traditions. Dec 3-4, 2022, $18/pp.

Eidem Farm Christmas

4345 101st Ave N, Brooklyn Park, MN 55443
O
ld-fashioned festivities include a walking tour, traditional winter activities and take-home crafts. December 3, 2022, 11am-2pm. FREE. 

Holiday Night Trains At Twin City Model Railroad Museum

A special holiday tradition at the Twin City Model Railroad Museum, the Night Trains season magically transforms the museum layouts. Buildings and street lights glow, and throughout the museum the layouts are adorned with Christmas lights. December 3, 2022, 3-7pm. $15/pp.

TWIN CITIES WEEKEND HOLIDAY STAGE SPOTLIGHT

Children’s Theatre Company: How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Children’s Theatre Company, 2400 3rd Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55404
One of our favorite CTC Holiday traditions back for 2022.
 Read Our Review & Guide for Parents Here. Tickets $15-$89. Discounts: Rush Tickets are $15-$25/pp. Lap Passes available for kids 3 and under.

Stages Theatre Company: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Stages Theatre, 1111 Mainstreet, Hopkins, MN 55343
Everyone’s favorite left-out red-nosed reindeer stars in this sweet show that’s great for young theater-goers. December 3 (1pm) & December 4 (1pm & 4pm), 2022.
Tickets $21-$33.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas Children’s Theatre Company. Sunday, November 6, 2022
Photographed by Glen Stubbe Photography for Childrens Theatre Company

Fun OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES in twin cities Parks This Weekend

Featured here for the weekend is just a taste of all that’s going on across the incredible Twin Cities park systems. You can get more ideas on our FAMILY FUN CALENDAR or browse the links below to search for local fun events & things to do with kids this weekend in the parks.

SOME FUN FAMILY IDEAS FOR THIS WEEKEND: Try outdoor ice skating

Most community outdoor ice rinks aren’t quite flooded and ready for skating yet, but some parks offer refrigerated options for you open this week if you’ve got the urge to lace up:

  • CENTRAL PARK ICE SKATING LOOP, Maple Grove: Skate the serpentine loop free, skate rental available for $7.50. 12000 Central Park Way, Maple Grove, MN 55369.
  • JOHN ROSE MINNESOTA OVAL, Roseville: The largest outdoor refrigerated skating rink in North America.  $8/pp, skate rental available for $5. 2661 Civic Center Dr, Roseville, MN 55113.
  • M HEALTH FAIRVIEW SPORTS CENTER OUTDOOR RINK, Woodbury: FREE. Skate rental is available for $6 if need be. 4125 Radio Drive, Woodbury MN 55129.
GET EXCITED TO ICE SKATE OUTDOORS THIS WINTER WITH OUR LIST OF TWIN CITIES ICE SKATING RINKS!

FEATURED TWIN CITIES  PARK EVENTS THIS WEEKEND

NATURE ROCKS! OPEN HOUSE

EDEN PRAIRIE OUTDOOR CENTER, 13765 Staring Lake Parkway, Eden Prairie, Minnesota 55347  
Free family-friendly activities at the such as hiking, hands-on interaction with live animals, craft projects and more. December 3, 2022, 10am-1pm. 

FAMILY NATURE EXPLORATION SATURDAY

Sunfish Lake Park & Sally Manzara Nature Center, 3554 Kelvin Ave N, Lake Elmo, MN 55042
No registration is needed, just show up to explore nature. This weekend’s theme is Air & Vacuum with a 3M Wizard. Kids will enjoy the indoor exhibits too. December 3, 2022, 10-11am. FREE.

more ideas for things to do this weekend in the twin cities with kids

Walker Art Center Free First Saturday

725 Vineland Pl, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Free admission for the whole family! Explore the galleries with an activity guide, watch a family friendly short film, and participate in art-making onsite. December 3, 2022, 10am-3pm.

FIRST FREE SUNDAY AT MINNESOTA CHILDREN’S MUSEUM

10 7th St W, St Paul, MN 55102
Explore the revamped museum FREE of charge; expect to wait in line for admission. Make sure to reserve your tickets online in advance as they are limited. December 4, 2022. 9am-5pm.

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.

more free or low cost things to do this weekend in the Twin Cities

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