Family Friendly Holiday Events | In & Around the Twin Cities

The Twin Cities area is alive with magical holiday events this year and there is something for everyone. From unique Santa visits (trains, sleighs, hay rides, even breweries!) to quaint downtown festivals and everything in between, we have gathered it all in one place. This list is sure to keep your family busy all season long.

Holidazzle Village: Thursdays – Sundays November 25 – December 18 | Times Vary You and yours are invited to join in the festivities! Holidazzle is a special tradition that brings people from all over the region together to celebrate in a Winter Wonderland here in Downtown Minneapolis. It’s about stories of people, products and places that unite for a spectacular holiday event. Check out our 2022 Guide to the Holidazzle here for even more information!

Christmas at the Courthouse: November 19-20| Times Vary  Experience the splendor of the holiday season with the 27th Annual Christmas at the Historic Courthouse! This 3-day event is full of holiday spirit and merry memories. All proceeds raised from this event benefit the Historic Courthouse Restoration Fund and help preserve this historic landmark. Whether you’re looking for a special date night or fun the whole family can enjoy, Christmas at the Historic Courthouse has memorable experiences for all!

Night Trains at Twin Cities Railroad Museum (St. Paul): Saturdays beginning November through February| 3:00-7:00 pm Night Trains Season magic begins as the lights are turned down and the buildings and street lights glow warmly, setting the scene for specially lighted models of operating vintage passenger trains. The make-believe town of Matlin is buried in a blizzard, and throughout the Museum the layouts are adorned with miniature Christmas lights and decorations. Get your photo taken with Santa at the museum December 10 or 17th!

Excelsior ChristKindlsmarkt: November 25-27 | Times Vary Inspired by the traditional German, open-air Christmas markets, Excelsior Christkindlsmarkt brings a cherished German tradition with local charm and a festive holiday atmosphere to Excelsior, Minnesota. The festival features German holiday foods, decor, gifts, and entertainment for the entire family. It is the family event of the season and is free and open to the public.

A Victorian Christmas (St. Paul): Weekends Thanksgiving through New Years | Times Vary Experience the sights, sounds, and tastes of a Victorian Christmas in 1875 and discover how the Ramsey family and their friends, neighbors, and servants prepared for and celebrated the season. During this guided tour, guests can taste homemade cookies fresh from the wood-burning stove, listen to popular holiday music of the era played on the family’s 1875 Steinway grand piano, and view original family ornaments and Christmas gifts.

Jingle Bells Trolley on Excelsior Streetcar Line: November 25-27, December 2-4 | 11:00 am-3:00 pm Take a trolley ride, sing Christmas carols and listen to holiday stories. $3/passenger.

Santa’s Sleigh Experience at The Hitching Company: November 27, December 4, or December 11 | Times Vary Visit includes include crafts, a carriage ride, and photos with Santa. $19.95/rider (Under 3 free on lap). 

Holly Trolley on the Como-Harriet Trolley: November 26 & 27, December 3 & 4 | 12 to 3:30 PM Take a streetcar ride with Santa, then toast a marshmallow and warm yourself by a friendly fire. Boy Scouts will offer hot cider, s’mores kits, and hot dogs for sale. The historic streetcar is decked out for the holidays. The ride is about 25 minutes — so Santa has time to visit with each child. Tickets are $5 and trip specific so you won’t have to stand in line. You may purchase tickets for any available trip that day. Please share the joy of the season. Bring a new, unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots.

Home Depot Kids Workshop for Christmas: November 26 and December 3 | 9:00 am – 12:00 pm Create your own decorations for the holidays, an ornament in November, and a Santa letter box in December, and have a blast with your child while doing it. Kids develop hands-on skills with sanding, nailing, and applying stickers. With help from parents and store associates, your child will make a merry memory this holiday season. All Kids Workshop attendees must be accompanied by a parent or adult at all times. All kids get to keep their craft, receive a FREE certificate of achievement, a Workshop Apron, and a commemorative pin while supplies last.

Holiday Hoopla (Hastings): November 26 | 8:30 am Meet Santa and Christmas shop on Small Business Saturday. Enjoy cookies, cider and events throughout the day and stay for the Annual Lighted Holiday Parade.

Toddler Tuesday at MOA: Sneak Preview of Stages Theater production Reindeer: The Musical: November 29 | 11:00 am – 12:00 pm Join us for a special sneak preview of Stages Theatre Company’s RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER: THE MUSICAL in the Huntington Bank Rotunda at Mall of America. The Beloved TV Classic Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer Soars Off the Screen & Onto The Stage! The timeless tale of misfits, flying reindeer, an abominable snow monster, and tons of Holly Jolly and Jingle, Jingle, Jingle. Based on the classic television special featuring all the characters and songs you love. Don’t miss this wonderful holiday tradition that speaks to the misfit in all of us.

23rd Annual Christmas Tea (Anoka): December 1-31 | Times Vary Please join us for our 23rd Annual Christmas Tea! Established in 1999, the Mad Hatter Restaurant has been providing a unique dining experience for nearly 20 years. $52 per person, $62 for Gluten Free, $30 for children 10 & under. 

North Pole Express at St. Paul’s Union Depot: December 2-4 & December 8-11 | Times Vary Children and trains go together during the Holiday Season like colorful lights, brightly iced cookies, festively wrapped gifts, family and friends. Please join the nonprofit Friends of the 261 annual journey on the North Pole Express. Climb aboard this holiday train from the past that includes the North Pole and a visit from Santa himself!

Prior Lake DecemBRRR Dazzle: December 2 | 6:00-8:30 pm Visit the FREE DecemBRRR Dazzle! Don’t miss this annual event for the whole family! Activities include ice carving demonstrations, bonfire, and concessions for purchase to support the Prior Lake Fire Relief Association. Plus, Santa and a few of his reindeer will be on hand for photos. Please bring a new unwrapped toy to donate to the CAP Agency or new youth winter gear to contribute to the Tree of Warmth.

Afton Village Holiday: December 2-3 | Times Vary The charming St. Croix river town of Afton, MN. will be transformed into a winter wonderland with Horse & Wagon rides, Strolling Carolers, Christmas Tree lighting, Artist Gift Market, Children’s Crafts, festive food & drinks and more.

Photos with Santa and Holiday Hay Ride at Minnetonka Orchards: Weekends December 3-18 | 1:00-4:00 PM Combine your family holiday photo with a festive hayride to Santa’s barn for some hot cocoa or apple cider and a digital photo. $30-$51/group. Book your timeslot here

Winter Fest in Downtown White Bear Lake: December 3 | 10:00 am-5:00 pm Bring the entire family and make lifelong memories at Downtown White Bear Lake’s Winter Fest. This long-standing holiday attraction takes place the first three Saturdays in December. Enjoy live carolers who will be strolling through the downtown, visit with Santa who will be strolling around and is happy to snap a selfie with the kids, find unique gifts at our specialty shops, and enjoy a hearty meal or cocktail at any of our outstanding eateries/pubs, check out the ice sculptures throughout town and don’t leave without a merry ride on a horse-drawn trolley (free with food donation).

Santa’s Train Shop at Minnesota Transportation Museum: December 3-18 | 10:00 am-4:00 pm The museum, located in St Paul, is transformed into Santa’s Train Shop with live music, activities, train rides, pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and lots of museum fun. Weekends, $7-$15/pp or $45/family. Pre-Purchased Tickets are Required.

Pictures with Santa at Lakes and Legends Brewery: December 3 | 12:00-3:00 PM | From noon-3 pm on Saturday, December 3rd, you’ll have the opportunity to catch Santa Claus in our taproom! Chat with him about your holiday wish list and snap a picture with him. Donations from pictures will be donated directly to Healing Hearts Rescue, one of our long-time non-profit partners located right here in the Twin Cities. Pictures with Santa is sponsored by ReRoot Group with Keller Williams Realty!

Holiday Fest (Shakopee): December 3 | 2:00-5:45 pm  Shakopee Chamber & Visitors Bureau will be presenting their Annual Holiday Fest in Downtown Shakopee. Holiday Fest is an open streets celebration to kick off the holiday season! This fun-for-the-whole-family event will feature a vendor market, pictures with Santa, a walk-through parade, tree lighting, and fireworks!

Christmas in Germany at GAI in St Paul: December 3-4 | 11:00 am – 4:00 pm Our annual Open Haus returns with a new name, Christmas in Germany! Everyone is welcome to experience some of the traditions of German Christmas—Lebkuchen cookies baked by the GAI Damenklub, Haus brewed Glühwein (mulled wine), and German carols sung by the Minnesänger Chorus and 4Winds early music quartet. Seasonal goods will be for sale by various vendors. Toast the season with a beer or warm up with some hot mulled wine, a bratwurst, or a slice of German cake. Food and drink will be sold outdoors, Weihnachtsmarkt style. Join us for this festive weekend! Christmas in Germany is free, with food, beverages, and goods for sale.

Christmas in the Village (Farmington): December 3-4 and 10-11 | 1:00 – 8:00 pm Saturdays & Sundays An Old Fashioned Christmas in the Village is the theme for this year. The horse-drawn trolley will transport you through the village streets as you explore the traditions of Christmas 1900s style. Join in the caroling, warm yourself with an inviting wood-burning stove, and delight in the demonstrations of woodworking and holiday cooking as our villagers prepare for Christmas.

Grand Meander (St. Paul): December 3 | Times Vary Grand Meander is a St. Paul tradition that captures the charm of historic Grand Avenue and the cozy neighborhood spirit of the holidays! Choose your Christmas tree, have breakfast with Santa, hear carolers as they meander from store to store, and hop on a classic trolley and ride the length of Grand Avenue.

Hometown Holiday (Chaska): December 3 | 3:00 – 5:30 pm Enjoy the holidays with Horse Drawn Carriage rides, Holiday Llamas to visit and pet, Music by Kids Dance, and a visit from Santa with the tree lighting at 5! In addition to the fun in City Square Park check out the great holiday specials online!

A Norwegian Christmas at Eidem Homestead (Brooklyn Park): December 3 | 11:00 am – 2:00 pm | Celebrate the holiday season with some old-fashioned festivities, Norwegian traditions, and a visit with St. Nick!

Holiday on Main (Lakeville): December 3 | 9:00 am – 2:00 pm Head to the Lakeville Mall to celebrate the festive season at the Holiday on Main celebration in downtown Lakeville— this FREE event features an ECFE Usborne book fair, visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, trolley rides, live reindeer, singing, face painting, musical performances, refreshments and more!

Cookies and Crafts with Santa in Woodbury: December 3 | 9:00-11:00 am Santa will be taking a break from making toys and wants you to join him and a few of his helpers in decorating cookies, making a fun holiday craft, and taking pictures. Bring your own camera and a great big smile for Santa! Recommended ages 2 and up with an adult  $15 per child (children only need to register)

Old Fashioned Holiday at Holz Farm (Eagan): December 4 | 12:00 – 3:30 pm Gather the family and celebrate the holidays 1940s style with an old-fashioned holiday experience at Holz Farm. Remember a simpler time of singing carols by the fire, making s’mores, the smell of cookies baking, hot cider, and spending time together. Bundle up with warm winter gear and enjoy a winter hayride, live reindeer, bonfire, cookies, cider, and making magic reindeer dust.

Northfield Winter Walk: December 8 | 5:00 – 10:00 pm Head to the 21st Annual Winter Walk celebration! Come experience downtown Northfield by candlelight. Stroll through unique shops, dine at fine restaurants, enjoy caroling, horse-drawn wagons, storytelling, luminarias, decorated storefronts, parade, fireworks, the Magic of Model Trains and so much more!

North Saint Paul’s Holiday Hop: December 10 | 9:00 am Enjoy complimentary trolley rides, live music, drawings, crafts, food, visits with Santa, the Snowman, and more.

CP Holiday Train: December 11-16 | Times and Locations Vary The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train will stop at various stations throughout the metro including Hastings, Cottage Grove, St. Paul, Golden Valley, St. Louis Park, and Minneapolis.

Twin Cities Holiday Princess Ball: December 18 | Times Vary Celebrate the holidays like royalty at the Princess Holiday Ball. Enjoy a fun-filled afternoon of dancing, live entertainment, making crafts, and so much more with everyone’s favorite fairy-tale characters. This is a great event for the entire family!

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