Family Holiday Fun in Minneapolis

With the first (couple) snowfalls already under our belts, holiday season is upon us. Whether you're looking for safe ways to get into the holiday spirit or just want to stay home and snuggle up by the fire, Minneapolis has got all you and your family need to enjoy this time of year!

In Person Events

GLOW Holiday Festival

November 19, 2020 - January 3, 2021
Sundays-Thursdays: 4:30pm-9:00pm
Fridays and Saturdays: 4:30pm-10:00pm
Minnesota State Fairgrounds

Minnesota’s newest holiday light experience and must-see holiday attraction at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds this winter. The Great Minnesota Holiday Get-Together is a one mile drive-thru with a dozen stops featuring over a million holiday lights, illuminated trees, icicle and art installations, a festive gingerbread house, plus a State Fair food court finale!

All Is Bright Holiday Lights Tour

Various dates throughout December

Don't let this cold and crazy winter stop you from having fun, Minnesota! In this unusual year, let's be bold, embrace the cold and make your holidays brighter in the Twin Cities' only open-air fun bus. We have holiday lights, music, AND Santa and a lively Elf will be at your service. It's a perfect outing for families. Choose your date and time slot to book the bus for your private party!

Gingerbread Wonderland

November 6, 2020 - January 2nd, 2021
Norway House

Norway House and our warm family, friends, and community members are creating a Gingerbread Wonderland city in our gallery—a tradition we have come to love, and one that will soon be a part of your family’s annual holiday to-do list, too!

Last year, almost 15,000 people visited Gingerbread Wonderland! This year, due to public health concerns, only a third of those will safely be able to see the exhibit in person. A limited number of tickets will go on sale to the public.

Festive Holiday Lights Tour

Thursday - Sunday in November and December
5:30pm-7:00pm and 7:30pm-9:00pm
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!

Holiday Happenings at 50th & France

Throughout November & December

Come down to 50th and France this holiday season for an exciting lineup of activities, we are committed to a safe holiday shopping season for the whole family! Activities include:

50TH & FRANCE THIRD THURSDAYS - November 19th & December 17th, 2020: an evening of exclusive specials and in-store events from your favorite 50th & France businesses.

HORSE DRAWN CARRIAGE RIDES - Every Friday & Saturday in November-December


NORTH MALLOW S’MORES CART - Saturday, December 12th & 19th

THUMBS COOKIE CART - Saturday November 21st & December 5th

INTERACTIVE ICE SCULPTURE CARVING - Saturday, December 12th & 19th


Christmas in Color: Drive Thru Animated Light Show at Valleyfair

November 27, 2020 - January 3, 2021

Drive through millions of lights perfectly synchronized to holiday music you’ll hear right through your radio. Drive by giant candy canes, snowmen, arched pathways and more. Take your time enjoying this lighting extravaganza - we won’t judge you if you join the kids with your face pressed against the window!

"Night Trains" 2020-2021 Season

Now Through February 27, 2020
Twin City Model Railroad Museum

The Twin City Model Railroad museum’s collection of model trains of all scales and toy trains of yesteryear come alive throughout the Museum (Sorry, no real trains to board and ride on!). 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.

Holiday Drive-In Event

December 12 - 14, 2020
6:00pm - 8:15pm
East Side Neighborhood Services

Even though the Holiday Train won't be rolling across the country this year, the spirit will still come alive in Minneapolis. This intergenerational event will feature a virtual Holiday Train experience, light show, holiday movies and a Holiday Swag Bag!

As you arrive, you'll be greeted with a light show. You'll also receive a Holiday Swag Bag full of surprises, compliments of Clientek. Then join us for the drive-in triple feature: a concert video from Canadian Pacific followed by showings of Frosty's Winter Wonderland and Trolls Holiday!

Canadian Pacific's Holiday Train video will feature great music from Serena Ryder and The Trews headlining the concert. They'll be joined by special guests JoJo Mason, Logan Staats and Kelly Prescott.

After the concert video, stick around for a drive-in movie showing of Frosty's Winter Wonderland and Trolls Holiday! Both of these holiday shorts are appropriate for all ages.

Virtual Events

Candy Cane Institute

Coming Soon, Appointment Required

Santa’s top team of elves have set up the Candy Cane Institute at the North Pole to find the true meaning of the holiday season, but they can’t do it without you! Find out what merry mischief the elves are getting into as they take you on an interactive video tour through the Institute. The final stop on the tour is a visit with the big guy himself.

Admission includes an elf guided video and interactive experience through the Candy Cane Institute, including a visit with Santa.

A Virtual Telling of A Christmas Carol

December 19, 2020 – December 31, 2020

Drawing inspiration from this centuries-old tradition, the Guthrie Theater is proud to present a special virtual event featuring four local actors who will reimagine Dickens’ hand-curated chapters for a global audience to enjoy. Dickens’ Holiday Classic is not a recording of the Guthrie's stage production of A Christmas Carol, but a newly conceived offering that will be filmed and available to stream.


Throughout November & December

The 2020 Holidazzle will take place virtually this holiday season due to the COVID-19 pandemic and continued concerns around public gatherings. This winter, Holidazzle will move online and offer holiday-themed activities and interactive engagement including The Holidazzle Show presented by Comcast and meet-and-greets with Santa on Zoom.

The Hip Hop Nutcracker

November 27, 2020

A virtual holiday mash-up event for the entire family, The Hip Hop Nutcracker, a contemporary re-imagination of Tchaikovsky’s timeless music, sets out on a another national tour following the success of previous sold-out tours.This evening-length production is performed by a supercharged cast of a dozen all-star dancers, DJ and violinist. Through the spells cast by the mysterious Drosselmeyer, Maria-Clara and her Nutcracker prince, travel back in time to the moment when her parents first meet in a nightclub. Digital scenery transforms E.T.A. Hoffmann’s story of sugarplums into 1980s Brooklyn. Directed and choreographed by Jennifer Weber, artistic director of the Brooklyn based theatrical hip-hop dance company Decadancetheatre, The Hip Hop Nutcracker celebrates love, community and the magic of New Year’s Eve. It was adapted to contemporary New York City by Mike Fitelson, executive director of United Palace of Cultural Arts (UPCA) and includes hip-hop interludes remixed and reimagined by DJ Boo as well as an on-stage electric violinist.

Upon purchasing a General Admission or VIP ticket, you will receive an email with instructions on how to login to the performance. On the day of the show, follow those instructions and you will be allowed entry when the performance is ready to begin.

Julglädje – Christmas Joy – Virtual Family Performance

November 28, 2020

Songs, stories, games and smiles are the hallmarks of julglädje, translated from Swedish as “Christmas joy.”

Gather the entire family around the computer to join in the fun and create memories at this annual holiday performance hosted by the popular performer Rose Arrowsmith DeCoux as Tomte Kajsa. Multi-instrumentalist Ross Sutter and his friends, Marya Hart on piano and Cheryl Paschke on nycleharpa and fiddle, will play a rollicking collection of Swedish and American holiday tunes that evoke the feeling of standing around the family piano. After the performance, the artists will be available for a virtual Q&A.

$15 per connection. Please register by 10 a.m. on November 28 to receive the Zoom link

Minnesota Reindeer Run Virtual 5K, 10K & 15K

The 2020 Xperience Fitness Reindeer Run has gone virtual! You can run it where you want and when you want. Finish the year strong and keep running through the holidays. Run with friends and family and choose the race that is right for you.

Virtual Race Details:

  • Awesome tech tee - available in unisex, women's and youth sizes
  • Finisher medal for all participants
  • Age group rankings and results
  • Sticker set for the distance that you select
  • Facebook photo frame
  • Registration is open through December 31
  • Register for the 13.1, 10K or 5K for $35
  • Choose your own course - paths, treadmills and parkways
  • Door step delivery, or pick up your shirt and medal at Running Room St. Paul December 12 - December 31