Twin Cities Guide to Family Activities This Weekend: December 30-31, 2023

the Twin Cities at different seasons

Things to do in Minneapolis & St Paul this weekend!

This Twin Cities Family Weekend Guide covers events in Minneapolis & St Paul the weekend of December 30-31, 2023 – including New Year’s Eve. Want to discover family fun this weekend across the Twin Cities Metro Area? Browse our guides for the Northwest, Northeast, Southwest & Southeast communities. Happy holidays and happy exploring, wherever your weekend may take you!

End (or start) off the new year right with a mix of fun indoor, and outdoor activities to choose from this weekend in Minneapolis & St Paul. For more ideas, hop over to our JANUARY FAMILY EVENTS GUIDE, our WINTER FUN SRUVIVAL GUIDE or our FAMILY FUN CALENDAR. We try our best to keep it stocked with options to fit your family’s needs.

Guide to January in the Twin Cities Minnesota. Family Fun Twin Cities. - Background of two kids at the top of a sledding hill.

Holiday events this weekend in Minneapolis & St Paul – the Twin Cities

Minneapolis & St Paul New Year’s Eve events

Best wishes in the new year from Family Fun Twin Cities! We’ve rounded up what’s going on in the Twin Cities family-style for New Years Eve 2023. None of these events go to midnight, so parents can still have some grown up fun or get to bed early – whatever works for you. Click the graphic for all the celebratory options around the Metro area or see highlights in St Paul here:

Minnesota Children’s Museum Sparklerama

10 West Seventh Street, St. Paul, MN 55102
Minnesota Children’s Museum’s annual kid-friendly New Year’s celebration. Please note this event takes place the day before NYE. Ticket includes museum admission and New Year’s fun, including dancing, music, party favors and kid-friendly activities and crafts. December 30, 2023, 6-9pm. Tickets: $20/pp ($10/members).

Como Zoo’s Noon Year’s Confetti Dance Party

1225 Estabrook Drive, St. Paul, MN 55103
A FREE dance party at Como Zoo. Make crafts, paint your face, take selfies, play games, dance, and countdown to noon. There will also be zookeeper and gardener talks, animal programs and the Sparky Show! December 31, 2023 & January 1, 2024. 10am-1pm. FREE.


Shine on: Minneapolis & St Paul holiday lights displays & events

That’s a wrap for 2023, folks. Most holiday venues blink off following New Years weekend so LIGHT IT UP, TWIN CITIES while you can!

GLOW Holiday Festival

CHS Field, 360 N Broadway St, St Paul, MN 55101
FINAL WEEKEND! This year, there is more than a drive-through: Over a million lights, selfie plaza, three-story ice palace, and a bike-powered tree. Tickets: $12.75-$20.75/pp. Now thru December 31, 2023.

More holiday lights in the Twin Cities Metro Area

Find dancing light shows, drive-thru and walk-thru displays and other spectacles near Minneapolis & St Paul including:

While the big, flashy shows can be exciting, sometimes a little less can be more. We’ve made some fond memories designing our own holiday lights route (in our respective necks of the metro), piling into the car and touring at our own pace. You can plan your family’s own light show route with our HOLIDAY LIGHTS FINDER.

Twin Cities Holiday Lights - Map Your Route Banner

More holiday events in Minneapolis-St Paul

Night Trains at Twin City Model Railroad Museum

668 Transfer Rd Ste. 8, St Paul, MN 55114   
The glowing and magical Night Trains run every Saturday night through February. Catch the tiny towns dressed for the holiday while you can. December 30, 2023, 3-7pm. $15/pp, 4 & under FREE.

Fun activities in the parks this weekend in Minneapolis & St Paul

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: Get outside!

Getting outside and having fun doing winter activities such as ice skating, sledding, and snow tubing is ordinarily a mainstay of our winter break. However, with forecasts calling for not much more than a dusting (if that) this weekend, we recommend a couple of options. Both require venturing a little outside of Minneapolis and St Paul:

REFRIGERATED SKATE: Try one of these pretty, refrigerated outdoor ice skating rinks if the community sites aren’t yet open:

INSTANT SNOW: Snow tubing venues employ machines to create the white stuff. Yes, it’s a splurge compared to hauling your own sled to the local slope (and you may need to travel a bit) but this could be an exciting winter break activity. Especially for you all with tweens and teens.

Featured Twin Cities park events this weekend

St Paul Gnome Winter Scavenger Hunt

St. Paul’s annual Gnome Hunt is back for another winter season. Use the online clues to find 8 gnomes hidden in eight different St. Paul parks locations. Once found, post a selfie with the Tree Gnome using hashtag #stpgnometakeover. A hint from the city of St Paul’s website: “The Gnomes are hiding in some of Saint Paul’s best places to take a winter hike or walk.” Clever way to get the kids outside!

Similar hunt in the Twin Cities Southwest Metro: Great Minnetonka Yeti Hunt

Minneapolis & St Paul weekend holiday stage spotlight

Taking the kids to a live theater production could make for an excellent “experience gift” for those looking for a last-minute idea. These suggestions in Minneapolis & St Paul are appropriate for an audience of all ages. Find more shows around the Metro area on our list: PLAN AHEAD FOR THE 2023 HOLIDAY SEASON – SEE WHAT’S ON STAGE FOR FAMILIES!

A Christmas Carol at the Guthrie

818 S 2nd St, Minneapolis, MN 55415
FINAL WEEKEND! For this Twin Cities Christmas tradition. The Charles Dickens tale of Christmas magic and the redemption of the soul of Ebenezer Scrooge as the ghost of Marley, his former partner, and three Christmas ghosts lead him on a tour of his life. December 30, 2023, shows at 1 & 7:30pm. Tickets: $24+

Save: Attend with a group of people and save. Discounts for groups of 15 or more.
See with Younger KidsWhile we usually recommend this ev–ent for families with older kids, The Guthrie recommends this play for ages 8+ (children 5 and under are not permitted in the theater). The Guthrie offers a printable 24-page guide full of information, activities and discussion questions to bring the show to life.

Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Children’s Theatre Company, 2400 3rd Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55404
The Grinch is back to make your holiday complete. This is a very popular show so you’ll want to secure tickets right now if the show is on your Christmas wish list. Best for ages  4+. Now thru January 7, 2023. Tickets $15-$64.

Reed Sigmund and Company in Children's Theatre Company's 2023 production of 'Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas!'. Photo by Glen Stubbe Photography

More ideas for things to do this weekend in the Twin Cities with kids

Indoor activities open this weekend in Minneapolis & St Paul

Winter Break History Hijinx at Minnesota History Center

345 W Kellogg Blvd, St Paul, MN 55102
You will have no problem at all finding plenty to intrigue your kids at the Minnesota History Center — and while they are being amused, you’ll probably find yourself being playful right alongside them. Highly interactive and entertaining exhibits await this weekend plus a chance to see the The Life and Art of Charles M Schulz (Peanuts gang) exhibit and special history activities for kids. All weekend, December 30-31, starting at 11am-3pm, $8-$12/pp.

Giant Minnesota Post Card displayed at the Minnesota History Center in Saint Paul.

Raptor Encounters at the Raptor Center

1920 Fitch Ave, St Paul, MN 55108
A special winter-break tour featuring three live raptors from the rescue center and a tour of the facility. Reserve tickets online. December 30, 2023, 1pm. $5-$8/pp.

Saturday Vibe: Pokemon Party

George Latimer Central Library, 90 West 4th Street, Saint Paul MN 55102
Special winter break activities include decorating Poke-Balls, crafting Pikachu wallets and making keychains. Feel free to bring your older kids too – if they can be trusted in quiet spaces, the beautiful building is worth exploring. December 30, 2023, 11am-12pm. FREE.

Junior Ranger Discovery Table

Mississippi River Visitor Center, 120 Kellogg Blvd West, Saint Paul, MN 55102
The visitor center is located in the lobby of the Science Museum of Minnesota and activities center on the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area. Kids can complete a Junior Ranger activity booklets, and earn a Junior Ranger badge FREE. December 30-31, 2023, 12:30-2pm.

ARM YOURSELF…during winter break this weekend

For many families (particularly those inclined to consult this website), the weekend is amidst a nice stretch of vacation days from school. Lots of us are also on break from our regularly-scheduled extracurriculars, too. A few years back we put together a list of 16 THINGS TO DO OVER WINTER BREAK IN THE TWIN CITIES to keep ourselves sane at home during this time, and, for extra armor, beefed up our annual WINTER FUN SURVIVAL GUIDE.

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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