Celebrate Winter Solstice 2021 in the Twin Cities

Winter Solstice

December 21st is the longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. In 2021, the sun will set at 4:34pm on December 21st and sunrise occurs at 7:49am on the 22nd. On the bright side, it is not even Christmas yet and we can consider this the turning point. We’re officially heading back toward spring after this! While we tend to celebrate rebirth in the spring, it really begins at this time of year. Celebrate midwinter with these Twin Cities events.

2021 Solstice Events for Families and Kids

I’ve learned that if I can get the family out on the darkest day and again on the coldest day (but for a very short time if it is dangerously cold), my winter will be better.

The Longest Night

Open Eye Theatre, 506 E. 24th Street, Minneapolis, MN
Performances: December 9-21, 2021.
A meditative and joyful performance of music and poems embracing the longest and darkest night of the year! • Best for Ages 14+ • Tickets: $26.

Heart & Solstice

Bell Museum, 2088 Larpenteur Ave W, St Paul, MN 55113
Dates: December 15, 2021–January 2, 2022 (closed Dec. 24, 25 & Jan 1).
Create your own sundial, search for winter constellations, take a winter walk through the museum, and more. • All Ages • Tickets: $9-$12/pp.

Starwatch Astronomy: The Winter Solstice and the Longest Night of the Year

Eden Prairie Outdoor Center, 13765 Staring Lake Pkwy, Eden Prairie, MN 55347
Date: December 17, 2021; 7pm-8:30pm
Learn about the sun’s descent to the south. If the night is clear, you’ll use a telescope, if it is cloud an LCD screen simulates a night-sky tour. • Ages 8+ • $12/pp. Register Here for Activity #487202-13.

Tomte Solstice Magic

Gale Woods Farm, 7210 County Rd 110 W, Minnetrista, MN 55364
Date: December 17, 2021
Celebrate the solstice with the Scandinavian Tomte, visit the barn animals, take a luminary walk (or snowshoe), then listen to stories and music while you roast s’mores. • All Ages • $8/pp. Register for a Specific Time Slot – Selling Out Fast.

Creekview Winter Solstice Event

Creekview Park, 5001 N Humboldt Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55430
Date: December 18, 2021; 4pm-7pm (Bonus: This is also the full moon)
Bundle up and stroll the illuminated path along Shingle Creek. Then enjoy s’mores by the fire pit. • All Ages • FREE. Register Here.

Free Family Fun Day – The Winter Solstice

Mississippi Gateway Regional Park, 10360 W River Rd, Brooklyn Park, MN 55444
Date: December 19, 2021; 1pm-3pm
Drop In anytime. • All Ages • FREE.

Second Chances: Stories of Hope and Joy Restored

Church of Saint Paul, 1740 Bunker Lake Blvd NE, Ham Lake, MN
Date: December 19, 2021; 4:30pm
In this season of hope in the midst of darkness, invite your friends to an evening of music and stories of second chances offered to the wandering soul. Prelude & carol sing at 4 p.m. Soup dinner & cookies follow the program • FREE. Open to the Public.

Second Chances. Stories of Hope and Joy Restored. Please Join Us for an evening of music & stories of second chances offered to the wandering soul. December 19, 2021, 4:30pm. Prelude & Carol Sing at 4pm; Church of Saint Paul, 1740 Bunker Lake Blvd NE, Ham Lake, MN. All are welcome. Free to the Public. Soup dinner & cookies follow. Accepting donations for Women's Care Center in Anoka. www.churchofsaintpaul.com/second-chances.

My Preschooler & Me: Winter Solstice Pajama Walk

Eastman Nature Center, 13351 Elm Creek Rd, Maple Grove, MN 55369
Date: December 21, 2021; 10:30am-12pm
Participants (ages 2-6 with adult) are invited to wear pajamas to celebrate the shortest day of the year! Walk with a naturalist to soak in some daylight then enjoy a story and craft around the fire. $5/pp. Reservations required by December 19, 2021. Call 763-559-6700 to make a reservation.

Winter Solstice Bronze Pour

Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center, 3749 Chicago Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55407-2610
Date: December 21, 2021; 4:30-6pm
A bronze pour to cast pieces created by community members and welcome the winter solstice.

Winter Solstice Party

McRae Park, 906 E 47th St, Minneapolis, MN 55407
Date: December 21, 2021; 5pm-7pm
Dance party, crafts, new years goal setting and releasing of worries • FREE. Register Here.

Winter Solstice Celebration

Carl Kroening Interpretive Center, N. Mississippi Regional Park, 4900 N Mississippi Dr., Minneapolis, MN 55430
Date: December 21, 2021; 5pm-7pm or 7-9pm
Winter themed games, a glowing luminary trail, a bonfire and a luminary craft. • All Ages • $5 for ages 13+; Children FREE. Registration Required.

Winter Solstice Luminary Trail

Eastman Nature Center, 13351 Elm Creek Rd, Maple Grove, MN 55369
Date: December 21, 2021; 5pm-8pm.
Walk a luminary lit trail any time between 5:00 and 8:00pm. Accepting donations of personal hygiene items to donate to the Cross Foodshelf • All Ages •  FREE.

Winter Solstice Celebration

American Swedish Institute, 2600 Park Ave., Minneapolis, MN
Date: December 21, 2021; 5pm-9pm
Celebrate the “year as reborn” with a Scandanavian “Jul” ceremony. Fun, festivities, performances and S’more by North Mallow: Artisan Made Marshmallows • All Ages • $15/adult; $5/child. Registration for Timed Entry Required.

Be The Light Winter Solstice Walk

Westwood Hills Nature Center, 8300 W. Franklin Ave., St. Louis Park, Minnesota 55426
: December 21, 2021; 6:30-8pm
Walk the self-guided luminary trail and make your own luminary. These event was created to remember those suffering from depression, mental illness or difficult situations. • All Ages • FREE. Registration Required.

Make Your Own Winter Solstice Tradition:

On this shortest day of the year, enjoy the long evening with your own family ritual.

  1. This would be a great night to check out nearby Holiday Light Displays.
  2. Break out the flashlights, hot cocoa and s’mores and play these outdoor games in the backyard. Why wait until summer?
  3. A Winter Solstice Walk. Tinkergarten has ideas for making a winter solstice walk fun for your littlest kids by gathering things to decorate for the holiday. The only holly native to Minnesota is Winterberry, but pinecones and twigs are plentiful.
  4. Read Christmas Stories or Winter Solstice Books by candlelight or toss on a yule log on the fireplace and curl up with a good book (if you are lucky enough to have a fire place).
  5. Wait to Put Up Your Tree Until the Solstice. If the season tends to overwhelm you, don’t feel guilty, make it a tradition. If the tree goes up on the Solstice and down on Epiphany, you can enjoy it for 15 beautiful days. Need decorations? Check out these 90 Ornaments Kids Can Make from our friends at Non-Toy Gifts.
  6. Decorate your own yard with luminaries and winter solstice lanterns. I really want to try these colorful Ice Bowls (also by Non-Toy Gifts), which could be used as ice lanterns if you add a candle or tealight.
  7. Plan a Winter Solstice Feast of all your favorite cold-weather comfort foods. Light candles to chase the dark away and bless the meal with a prayer of thanksgiving or a winter poem.
  8. Visit Night Trains at the Model Railroad Museum.
  9. Go for a Hike Under the Lights at 4 Three Rivers Parks:
All Aboard for Night Trains at the Twin Cities Model Railroad Museum, Saint Paul, Minnesota
Photo Credit: Twin Cities Model Railroad Museum

Winter Solstice Around the World


Visitors to Stonehenge in England can watch the sun set in the center of the three great stones of the Trilithon. Learn more at EarthSky.org.

The North Pole

While we get six measly hours of daylight on December 21st, Santa doesn’t get any sun. I guess he and his elves will have to use big floodlights to get the job done in the next couple days.

The South Pole

On the flip side Antarctica will experience its longest day of the year and get 24 hours of daylight.


As we are reaching our darkest coldest time, the southern hemisphere is reaching its summer solstice and will celebrate the winter solstice in June. I learned, when researching this article, that Australia has its own Standing Stones where Celtic decedents celebrate the solstice. Learn more here.

Winter Solstice

Related Articles:

Twin Cities Holiday Festivals & Christmas Tree Lightings 2021

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