Top Things to Do in Minneapolis This Holiday Season

During the holidays, many Minneapolis venues and destinations come alive with special exhibits and events.

Holidazzle, Photo by Dusty Hoskovec

Gather your friends and family together during the holidays and experience Minneapolis at it's most magical time. Here's a list of the best holiday activities Minneapolis has going on this winter.  

1. Celebrate with the biggest holiday event of the season

Head over to Loring Park to shop and browse around Holidazzle, which is a holiday market loaded with food, beverage and artisan vendors. You can shop for holiday trinkets, sip on hot cider and enjoy some ice skating with a beautifully lit backdrop. After browsing through the area, make plans to stick around for fireworks. Holidazzle runs every Thursday through Sunday until December 23, so get and out enjoy while there is still time!

And if you're checking out Holidazzle this year, make a whole day out it with our Where to Go Before and After Holidazzle guide.

2. Start stocking up on gifts 

We know you still have a long list of people to buy gifts for. Make your shopping experience much more enjoyable with markets that feature festive food, live music and holiday activities. Shop local this holiday season and come away with unique gifts for everyone. We’ve put together a full list of holiday markets and pop-up shop in Minneapolis for you to visit all season long.

3. Spend a night surrounded by lights

It gets darker a lot sooner this time of year so take advantage and see some of the most colorful and sparkling lights in the city. At the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum there are seven winter-themed outdoor light displays. All weekend stroll through lit up paths of decorated trees and LED snow creatures. If you get out there early Saturday afternoon you'll get treated to a live holiday music performance.

Another amazing spectacle is the display of lights set to music at the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering Winter Light Show event. It's 3D outdoor experience that will feature more than 250,000 LED lights. This student-designed show is free and open to the public.

For more ideas see a complete list of all Minneapolis light shows.

4. Be entertained by a Holiday Show

Theater and musical performances are perfect way to get into the holiday spirit. Whether you are looking for classics like A Christmas Carol or a twist on some favorites (think Hip Hop Nutcracker or It’s A Wonderful Life radio play) you’ll want to see a show in Minneapolis during the holidays. Check out a list of the must-see shows of the season.

5. Have a Nordic Christmas

The American Swedish Institute pulls out all the stops to celebrate the holiday season. Show off your creative skills by taking a Nordic craft workshop where you will learn to make handmade cards, ornaments, or traditional Swedish foods. The institute’s special holiday exhibit, Handmade Holidays will take your through some of the most cherished customs, objects, decorations and stories of Nordic culture. Lastly, don’t forget to stop by ASI’s Family Gallery. There you can experience a story come to life. This year discover the magic of, Tom’s Christmas Fish, which was written and illustrated by the Swedish mother and daughter duo, Rita Törnqvist-Verschuur and Marit Törnqvist.

6. Wander into a Gingerbread Wonderland

During the holiday season the Norway House turns into a gingerbread oasis. Here you’ll see gingerbread versions of familiar buildings and landmarks from around the Twin Cities and beyond. Local bakers and community members donate their creations to help build this tasty spectacle. You can even bring in your own gingerbread handiwork to put on display, no experience required.

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