Top 7 Things to Do in Minneapolis This Holiday Season

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

In fact, Minneapolis recently landed on a list of the best cities for winter holiday travel pulled together by WalletHub because of its number of attractions and things to do during the winter months, as well as its affordable travel costs. If you and your friends and family are planning a trip to the Twin Cities this winter, leave some space on your agenda for these eight top things to do with a group in Minneapolis during the holiday season.  

  1. Holidazzle at Loring Park Head over to Loring Park to shop and browse around Holidazzle, which is a holiday market loaded with food, beverage and artisan vendors. Guests can shop for holiday trinkets, sip on hot cider and enjoy Bavarian pastries. After browsing through the area, make plans to stick around for fireworks. For more holiday shopping, the greater Minneapolis area is home for some of the best places to shop in the entire county, including the famous Mall of America. December 20, 2015 is the final day of Holidazzle so get and out enjoy while there is still time!
  2. Mystic Lake Casino Let’s go where the action heats up this holiday season! Only 25 minutes southwest of Minneapolis, Mystic Lake Casino Hotel is the Midwest’s premier casino and resort destination with excitement ᾿round the clock. Take the slots for a spin or double down on one of nearly 100 blackjack tables. Grab a bite or brew at one of ten bars and restaurants with holiday food and drink specials or head to the Mystic Showroom  for Borealis – The Holiday Magic Continues Nov. 27 – Dec. 13! Showcasing an international cast of modern circus arts performers, this holiday cirque spectacular features aerialists, acrobats, daredevils and new scenes previously impossible to present on an indoor stage.  
  3. Walker Art Center Get out of the cold into the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis’ home for world-class visual arts. Walker Art Center has been talked about in the same breath as some of country’s best modern art museums, including the MOMA in New York and the Guggenheim. It’s one of the top five most visited museums in the U.S., and earlier this year, Time Out New York named it one of the county’s best. “It’s evolved into a 17-acre campus that combines the museum’s Edward Larrabee Barnes and Herzog & De Meuron buildings with the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. More than 90 percent of the visual art objects in the permanent collection were made after 1960 and include such international contemporary talent as Bharti Kher, Danh Vo and Gabriel Kuri,” Time Out says. Its contemporary collection includes an impressive number of mediums like glass art, pottery, photography and giant garden sculptures. Additionally, the museum is a hot spot for big name artists like Todd Haynes and Andrea Buttner for lectures and special events. Between its permanent collection rotating exhibits, and on-site theater that hosts concerts visual art performances, Walker is one of the best places to visit in Minneapolis year-round. 
  4. Science Museum of Minnesota In the Twin Cities, The Science Museum of Minnesota is a great place for family and friends to have fun and experience hands-on learning about a wide-range of topics such as dinosaurs and fossils, the human body, our natural world, the Mississippi River, math & physics and so much more. Its current special exhibit, Sherlock Holmes and The Clocktower Mystery (included with general admission) lets visitors find clues, ask questions and solve the mystery. The museum is famous for its mindblowing 90-foot domed theater that takes guests through several larger-than life dimensions from the ocean to outer space from the comforts of their seats. Don't miss Humpback Whales, a beautiful film about these majestic animals that were hunted to the brink of extinction before they sang their way into our hearts.
  5. Alexander Ramsey House Travel back to the 1870s for a Victorian Christmas at Alexander Ramsey House. Built by former governor Alexander Ramsey, the house remains an immaculate and well-preserved museum with its original furniture, carved woodwork and Christmas decorations. Groups can join a 60-minute tour around the house to learn about life in the Victorian era and how the family celebrated its Christmas. There’s an original wood burning stove, Steinway piano, marbled fireplace and chandeliers in the house, and you can purchase souvenirs and replicas of Christmas decorations at the Carriage House. Tickets to the tour can be booked online. 
  6. American Swedish Institute's Nordic Christmas Fill your Christmas with ancient folklore of elves, yule goats and trolls at Nordic Christmas at American Swedish Institute. The institute has designated Christmas rooms loaded with displays of art pieces to tell the mythological stories from countries like Sweden, Russia, Finland, Norway and more. This year, The Museum of Russian Art will collaborate many of its folklore art pieces of Grandfather Frost. 
  7. Polar Dash Brave the cold weather for charity during the Polar Dash on New Year’s Day, when runners can participate in a 1,500 meter, 5k or 10k race along the icy Mississippi River to raise money for the Shriners Hospital for Children. The finish line reward? A steaming cup of hot chocolate. The event also includes a Yeti Challenge, where participants can join all three races.