Family Holiday Fun in Minneapolis

With the first snowfall already under our belts, holiday season is upon us. When busy schedules get in the way and hibernation is at the back of your mind, it’s time to get out and have some fun! Minneapolis has got all you and your family need to get into the holiday spirit.

Looking to get out of the house but want to keep your little ones with you? We've compiled a list of family-friendly holiday activities to get you moving. From theatrical shows to musical performances, there is an endless amount of family fun to be had in Minneapolis during the holidays.  

You can relax knowing that Metro Transit makes it easy and affordable to travel from place to place! They even offer deals such as museum discounts and free rides. Make your weekend even easier by staying at the Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel, in the heart of the Mill District and close to the action. 

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

November 6th, 2018 – January 6th, 2019
Times Vary
Children’s Theatre Company

Whoville is experiencing a seemingly unstoppable crime wave - and who, oh who will save Christmas? The Children's Theatre Company’s all-time audience favorite musical brings alive the songs, the story and the Seuss in mega-doses of spirited storytelling and fanciful rhymes. Come boo the most loathed Christmas villain - and woo-hoo! for a beloved holiday tradition guaranteed to grow anyone’s heart three sizes.

A Christmas Carol

November 13th – December 29th, 2018
Times Vary
Guthrie Theater

A miserly and miserable man, Ebenezer Scrooge greets each Christmas with a “bah humbug,” until he is visited one Christmas Eve by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future. Through a restless night, the spirits show him happy memories from his past, cruel realities from the present and the grim future should he continue his cantankerous ways. Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is a perennial favorite that continues to be a Minneapolis holiday tradition. Now is the time to experience this cherished production with your loved ones!

Gingerbread Wonderland

November 17th, 2018 - January 6th, 2019
10:00am-4:00pm Tue-Sat | 11:00am-3:00pm Sunday | Closed Mondays
Norway House

Norway House’s annual signature Holiday tradition Gingerbread Wonderland returns to the Galleri in all of its cinnamon coziness. All are encouraged to enter their dream cookie creation, regardless of their baking level!


Thursdays-Sundays, November 23rd-December 23rd, 2018
Thursdays from 5:00-9:00pm | Fridays from 5:00–10:00pm | 
Saturdays from 11:00am–10:00pm | Sundays from 11:00am–7:00pm
See full schedule
Loring Park

As downtown Minneapolis’ premier (and free to attend!) holiday celebration, Holidazzle has delighted residents and visitors for years. Enjoy food, drinks, holiday shopping and activities for all ages! A skating rink (open daily), dedicated movie nights, firework displays, interactive art installments and even Santa Claus are just a few *holidazzling* activities waiting for you.

Making Spirits Bright/Winter Lights Display

November 23rd, 2018 - January 6th, 2019
Times vary
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Enjoy 16 family-friendly light displays in and near the Arboretum's main buildings, plus more music in the displays! A stunning 24' tall live poinsettia tree will be in the great Hall with more nature-inspired decor, trees and thousands of more sparkling lights. Also enjoy the s'more Village, warming, fragrant wood fires, yummy s'more kits (for 4) plus family-friendly hot dogs, chili, veg chili, brats, stew, hot cocoa, soft drinks for purchase - so no need to go home for dinner! And that's not all...

​ Black Nativity at Penumbra Theatre

November 29th – December 23rd, 2018
Times Vary
Penumbra Theatre

This timeless holiday tradition is treasured by families across the Twin Cities. Today, kids who grew up with Black Nativity are returning with their own families. Under the direction of Lou Bellamy and the musical direction of Sanford Moore, this homegrown Christmas show returns with exceptional lead vocalists, the outstanding Kingdom Life Church Choir, and the stirring choreography of Uri Sands of TU Dance. Join us for an experience full of joy, community, and spirit.

North Pole Express

November 29th - December 9th, 2019
Times Vary
Union Depot, St. Paul

Join the Friends of the 261 for the 5th Annual North Pole Express! Trips begin at Saint Paul Union Depot and feature elves, singing, dancing and a visit from Santa!

CSE Winter Light Show 2018 Premiere

November 30th, December 1st, 6th, 7th & 8th, 2018
5:30pm, 6:00pm & 6:30pm
Civil Engineering Building
 on the University of MN campus

The CSE Winter Light Show is a student-designed 3D outdoor experience featuring more than 250,000 LED lights set to music written and recorded by University of Minnesota students. Now in its eighth year, the CSE Winter Light Show has become an annual campus tradition. This year the shows are bigger and better than ever!

Holiday Flower Show Opening Weekend

December 1st-2nd, 2018
10:00am-4:00pm each day
Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

The Holiday Flower Show tradition began in 1925 and continues to be the most anticipated and visited flower attraction at the Conservatory today. The 2018-2019 Holiday Show will have a Victorian theme with all red poinsettias, plus purple salvia, lavender and scented geraniums. Visit the show in its duration, from December 1st, 2018 - January 6th, 2019!

Festive Holiday Lights Tour

December 1st-2nd, 7th-9th, 14th-16th, 21st-23rd & 28th-30th, 2018
Fridays - 7:30pm, Saturdays & Sundays - 5:00 & 7:30pm
Minneapolis & St. Paul

Treat yourself to the magic of the holidays by viewing beautiful light displays on this 2 hour tour! Your expert guide will escort you to your warm, heated coach bus where you’ll ride in comfort while viewing twinkling lights and nibbling on holiday treats. The brightly decorated streets of the Twin Cities are sure to get you in the spirit of the season!

Reindeer Day

December 1st, 2018
43rd and Upton Avenue South in Linden Hills

Reindeer Day brings small-town holiday traditions to Linden Hills! Shoppers warm up and roast marshmallows over fire pits, Santa visits with the kiddos, carolers stroll the streets, and merchants hold special in-store events. And what would Reindeer Day be without…live reindeer?

Elf the Musical

December 5th - December 30th, 2018
Times Vary
Ordway Center for Performing Arts

Elf The Musical is the hilarious tale of Buddy, a young orphan child who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported to the North Pole. Unaware that he is actually human, Buddy’s enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa’s permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father, discover his true identity, and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas.

Skate the Star at Mall of America

December 8th, 2018 - January 27th, 2019
Mall of America

The Mall of America is bringing to life a magical experience for shoppers and visitors this holiday season. Bring your own skates or rent a pair for just $5, and skate your way along the mall's new, custom-built ice rink at the North entrance. Free and open to the public during select mall hours, 100% of rental skate proceeds go directly to the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities.

*All skaters must complete waivers before skating. Minors under the age of 18 must have waiver signed by a parent or guardian

Twin Cities Holiday Princess Ball

December 8th, 2018
Embassy Suites by Hilton Minneapolis Airport

An amazing holiday themed event filled with magical fun for the whole family! You'll get an amazing opportunity to meet your favorite Princesses and a few surprise guests - think trolls and mermaids. Your little one will get to participate in holiday themed games and activities, story time sing along, learn some Ballroom dance moves, and more!

Star of Wonderland Reimagined

December 8th, 2018
9:30-10:15am & 11:00-11:45am
Minneapolis Institute of Art

Deck the hall with VocalEssence at this hands-on holiday event. Clap, wiggle, and sing along to your favorite carols, and try your hand at creating a holiday-themed craft to take home. Sit up close and experience the wonder of singing together (maybe for the first time). Pillows, baby bottles, and teddy bears welcome!

2018 Holiday Bake Sale

December 8th, 2018
Union Depot, St. Paul

Union Depot’s 6th Annual Holiday Bake Sale will host the top Twin Cities bakeries for a day of cookie, candy and holiday shopping! Festivities will include baking and cooking demonstrations, cooking ideas, musical performances, food and drink pairing workshops, cake walks and more. New this year: there will be no fee to enter the Holiday Bake Sale!

Holiday Tea Service

December 9th & 16th, 2018
Brit's Pub

Come to Brit's for a delectable display of Holiday treats especially prepared to help you celebrate the season! Savouries, pastries, bread, sweets and loose leaf tea will be offered and Victorian singers will be at the pub between 1:00 and 3:00pm. The event is family-friendly!

Winter Solstice Celebration 2018

December 21st, 2018
American Swedish Institute

Mark the Winter Solstice at ASI, a moment when the earth’s tilt causes the shortest day and longest night of the year. ASI celebrates this powerful seasonal juncture with fun, festivity and performance during extended hours. FIKA Café will serve a special festival menu with small plates and warm glögg (Swedish mulled wine) and the ASI Museum Store and Jul Shop will also be open late for all of your last-minute gift needs!

Disney Beauty and the Beast In Concert

December 22nd, 2018
2:00 & 7:30pm
Minneapolis Convention Center

Be their guest as the Minnesota Orchestra performs the score of Disney's animated classic, Beauty and the Beast, live in concert at the Minneapolis Convention Center! Experience this full-length film, overflowing with unforgettable characters and Academy Award®-winning music