My Picks for the Best Things to Do in the Twin Cities This December

Family, General

Hello my beautiful and festive friends!

I hope your holiday season is off to a fulfilling start! There are so many activities and events that we can potentially pack into the month of December! So much in fact that we often get overwhelmed and end up not taking advantage of any opportunities at all. Allow me to provide you some options all in one place and yours for pursuit. There are so many local city-specific events that you can join as well! If you are a facebook user, searching events is a great way to see what is happening in your local area.

Below you will find a handful of festive events I have compiled from the time I spent searching available options for the best things to do in the Twin Cities this December.


Ice skating at the Mall of America!

Bloomington MN


A 12,000 square foot ice rink opens December 8th, just outside of the North entrance of the mall. #skatethestar is presented by UCare.

The ice rink will be free and open to the public. Bring your own skates, or rentals are available with proceeds benefiting the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities.

Starting December 8th! View full schedule in the info link above.

The Excelsior Ice Castle

Excelsior MN


Each castle is about 20 feet high, with the top mostly open to the sky. By day, the ice glows glacier blue; at night, it’s illuminated with multicolored, ever-changing LED lights.

These castles are organic in shape. Workers with Ice Castles freeze the water to create surfaces that are bumpy, curvy, rolling and full of ice stalactites and stalagmites.

They’re made of hundreds of thousands of 3- to 6-foot icicles, arranged like studs in a wall. That framework gets sprayed with a mist that freezes to form walls, towers, tunnels, slides, fountains, mazes, and other frozen architectural flourishes.

It sounds amazing, right?! Although exact dates have not been announced, presale tickets are available. They have done a great job on the site of making it a destination if you aren’t local with places to stay and other things to do.

Some of you may wonder if this is the same event that has been hosted in Stillwater in years past…yes, it is and this is its first year in Excelsior.

Make sure you check out the entertainment and special events!

Sovereign Estates Winery

Waconia MN



Schedule: FRI 4- 9 pm, SAT 4-9 pm, SUN 4-8 pm,  thru DEC 23

The Spirit of Winter is a fabulous light show with outdoor festivities and attractions. All ages are welcome to attend see the attractions. Dress Warm!!!
It is a walking stroll through 10 acres of majestic illuminated grounds. Check-in with your paid admission at the winery entrance and tune into 95.9 to listen to a musical presentation on your drive to the parking area. Once parked the music is broadcast in speakers in the area surrounding the winery.

The patio is heated with fireplaces and the WINE BAR and WILLOW ROOM are open all evening. Live music in the Willow Room Friday evenings, 6 – 9 pm, and carolers on Sunday afternoons.

 Tasting  Room:

Cheeseboards, Chili and Soup du Jour
Mulled Wine, Hot Chocolate,
Cookies, Treats, and Smore Kits
Willow Room Wine Café is open for Family Indoor Seating during light show times.
The Tasting Room and Bistro will be open for wine tasting and sales at 11 AM. Wine Tastings will cease at 3:30 PM. Wine by the Glass or Bottle only during the show. PAID Admission for the light show is required for guests staying after 3 PM.


Christkindlsmarkt at Sovereign
Christmas Market in the Winery Warehouse
Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays 12 noon – 8 pm
November 30 – December 23

The Attractions:

  • Candy Cane Lane – A festive welcome to the winery!

  • Illuminated Angel Garden – Starry pathways and Angels.
  • Santa Photo Sleigh – Create the best family holiday photo ever!
  • Spirit Skate & Play Area – Deck hockey and bean bag toss. Ice rink when weather permitting. Play at your own risk.
  • Crystal Veranda and Patio Bar – A heated outdoor seating area. Please dress warm!
  • Snowman Social Club – Children’s maze with Frosty & Friends.
  • Trellis Trail of Lights in the Vineyard – Amazing GrapesSnowflake Grove and Campfire – S’mores and caroling. S’more kits available
  • The Manger of Bethlehem – Life sized crèche.
  • Nana’s Gingerbread House
  • Live Llama Petting Pen
  • Holly Trolley Tractor Rides

Twin Cities Trolley holiday lights tours

Starts in Minnetonka MN


This sounds like a festive ride with Christmas music and singing along encouraged!

 2-hour Holiday Light Tours begin December 1st and continue through the month on select dates and times. Pick-up location is at the Sheraton Minneapolis West Hotel located in Minnetonka.

PC: Erin Smith Photography via MSP Mag


Minneapolis MN – Loring Park


Downtown Mpls’ premier holiday celebration, Holidazzle has become a tradition for many over the years. In 2018, this tradition is again bringing family-friendly programming to Loring Park and is free and open to the public.

2018 Holidazzle dates:

Thursdays through Sundays, November 23-December 23

Thursdays from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. | Fridays from 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Saturdays from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. | Sundays from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Holidazzle creates a community gathering place and holiday destination for people of all ages to come together and celebrate winter in Downtown Mpls. This year’s Holidazzle features stories highlighting local people, products and places that showcase the food scene, art district, park system, active lifestyle, local entertainers and community groups that make our city and our region unique and special.

Minneapolis-centric vendors provide options for prepared and packaged food, beverages and unique gift and craft items. This year’s programming lineup will include the outdoor skating rink, visits from Santa Claus, musical performances from bands and choirs, weekly movies featuring holiday classics, themed days, giveaways, surprise and delight moments and more.

Holidazzle will take place at Loring Park (1382 Willow Street)

Canadian Pacific Holiday Train

Multiple locations


The train makes stops along its path. The stops each last about 30 minutes and include a performance of Christmas music from the stage of a train car. It is a fun event that we have attended in the past. Look for us and say hi at the Loretto stop this year!

Elf The Musical at the Ordway

St. Paul MN


December 5th-23rd and 26th-30th

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.


2018 Candlelight Christmas Tour – The Glensheen Mansion

Duluth MN


Find yourself in the mansion being guided by the lights of the Christmas trees. This gorgeous display will surely make it onto your yearly Christmas bucket list, as you are fully immersed into what it must have been like for the Congdons on a magical Christmas evening.

Making Spirits Bright at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Chaska MN


Friday- Sunday beginning 11/23 through 1/1 (closed 12/24&12/25)

      5pm- 9pm

Indoor Displays

Great Hall – featuring 24’ tall poinsettia tree donated by Wagners Greenhouses, 12’ tall decorated evergreens, lights and festive decor.
Magical Meyer-Deats Conservatory – magically decorated with white lights to highlight the tropical flowers in bloom all season.

Outdoor Displays

1. Jingle All the Way (Entry and Gatehouse)
2. Winter Farm (Hill near Margot Picnic Shelters – Scarecrow Hill)

3. S’more Village (Margot Picnic Shelters)

4. Curler Pete’s Ice Pools, featuring Dale Lewis’ Curler Pete sculpture (Learning Center Parking Lot demonstration pools)

5. Bing’s Winter Home featuring Dale Lewis’ Bing Sculpture (Center Island in front of OVC)

6. Winter Pond featuring Dale Lewis’ sculpture Never Stop Pulling (Front of Snyder Building)

7. Winter Wonderland (Dahlberg Terrace)

8. Frosty’s Path (Path behind Snyder Building)

9. Cheery Cherry Terracefeaturing Dale Lewis’ 7-foot-tall Cherry Tree (Morgan Terrace and MacMillan Garden)

10. Winter Wonder Theater Light Show (Tea Room Terrace)

11. Frozen Falls (Waterfall area)

12. Winter Pollinator Garden(Perennial Garden)

13. Arbor Lights (Cloister Garden)

14. Winter Wedding (Wedding Tower)


State Theatre:

Minneapolis MN

Nutcracker Fantasy is a vibrant and daring presentation of the world-loved Holiday classic, created by renowned choreographer Loyce Houlton. This popular ballet boasts a collective team of over 150 dancers as well as a 44-piece orchestra playing Tchaikovsky iconic score.

This acclaimed Twin Cities production of The Nutcracker is the longest running Holiday event in Minnesota and one that the New York Times has called one of the top ten Nutcrackers in the USA! Set at a Christmas party in 19th century Germany, the story unfolds through the eyes of Marie, the young heroine who undertakes an adventure of fantastical proportions when her enigmatic Godfather Drosselmayer brings a touch of magic to the festivities. The Sugar Plum Fairy awaits!


Minneapolis MN

Manheim Steamroller Christmas

December 14th at 4 pm & 8 pm


Minneapolis MN

Through December 29th

A Christmas Carol

In case you would like to know what movies will be released in theatres this month…HERE you go!

If you follow along on my social media at all, you already know which one I’m most excited about;)

Whether you are up for doing all the things or just want to spend time at home this month, I hope that it is fabulous and spent just the way you want to. If you have event suggestions to add to my list, please do so in the comments and share your thoughts with all of us here!




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