There’s always something to do in the Twin Cities, and the winter months are no different! We’re here to help you keep your sanity by bringing these activities all together in one easy guide. In 2016, we’ve been providing you monthly event guides so you don’t miss a thing! This is month #12! We’ll update with new additions as they come.
December 1: Holiday Rose Gala @ Roseville | 6pm This is a delightful evening of live entertainment, silent and live auctions, food, drink, mingling and more, all to help raise money for Roseville parks.
December 1-2: Young People’s Peter and the Wolf @ Minnesota Orchestra | Varies Students will delight in recognizing the personality of each character within the music: sprightly strings for the adventurous boy Peter, a bassoon for his stern Grandfather, and other instruments for the fluttering Bird, the waddling Duck, the creeping Cat, the Hunters and the strong, stealthy Wolf. Rarely does a single work offer so many exciting teaching opportunities!
December 1-3: Holiday Bazaar @ Landmark Center | Varies The 38th Annual Landmark Center Old Fashioned Holiday Bazaar is the perfect place for holiday shoppers to find gifts for everyone on their list. The Saint Paul tradition will host more than 70 artisans, each offering beautiful handmade items that make perfect gifts.
December 1-4: Disney on Ice Presents Passport to Adventure | Varies Upbeat music, lovable characters and unforgettable moments make Disney On Ice presents Passport to Adventure an experience your family will cherish forever!
December 1-4: St. Paul European Christmas Market | Varies The European Christmas Market in St. Paul is based on the traditional, charming, and festive open air Christkindlmarkts that spring up in Germany, Austria and other countries during the Advent season. Shop for unique, handmade holiday gifts and decorations from local vendors, drink Glühwein (spiced mulled wine), and taste European inspired food and delicacies during the first two weekends in December.
December 3: Twin Cities Moms Blog Donuts with Santa | 9am-12:30pm Join us for our first ever Donuts with Santa event! Children will have a chance to meet and take photos with Santa, hear a story, do a craft and enjoy some delicious donuts! There will be 2 time slots available for families to choose from. SOLD OUT.
December 3: Holiday Saturdays @ Minnesota History Center | 10am-5pm Every Saturday during the holiday season enjoy crafting holiday cards, community concerts and a wintery StoryWalk around the History Center based on the MNHS Press book “North Woods Girl.”
December 3: Grand Meander on Grand Avenue | 8:30am-5pm Grand Meander is a St. Paul tradition that captures the charm of historic Grand Avenue and the cozy communal spirit of the holidays! Pick out your Christmas tree, have breakfast with Santa, hear carolers meander from store to store, and hop on a classic trolley and ride the 20-block length of Grand Avenue.
December 3: Breakfast with Santa @ Maple Grove | 8:30am-1pm Breakfast and lunch will be served by the Maple Grove Lions and many community helpers. Creative games and crafts are placed throughout the Community Center providing fun challenges, imaginative play and silly antics.
December 3-4: Continental Ballet Company’s Nutcracker @ Bloomington | Varies The Holiday Season crown jewel! Especially designed for families, this seasoned production develops themes of generosity, non-violence, and responsibility through the timeless tale of Clara’s fantastic voyage to the Land of the Sugarplum Fairy with her magical godfather Drosselmeyer. The Continental Ballet Company’s Nutcracker has toured throughout Minnesota.
December 3-4: Julmarknad 2016-ASI’s Christmas Market and Festival | Varies This magical festival features performances by Nordic music and dance groups, exceptional holiday shopping at ASI’s Museum Store, and the Julmarknad Handcraft Fair with handmade items by nearly 40 local artists). FIKA serves up a special European winter market inspired menu with Swedish meatballs and glögg. Stop by the Bake Sale to pick up cardamom bread, cookies and more to bring home for the holidays. Families can create slöjd (handcraft) projects or take a break at story time with the Julmarknad Fairy. Tomte and Santa may even stop by.
December 4: Family Day @ MN Museum of American Art | 1-4pm However you define family, consider yourself welcome at the M’s Family Day! Make art with local artists, tour the exhibition Brick x Brick, and warm up with cocoa and cookies while enjoying live storytelling and music. FREE.
December 4: An Old Fashioned Holiday at Holz Farm @ Eagan | Noon-3:30pm You’ll enjoy experiences such as hayrides, a bonfire, s’mores, carols, live reindeer and a visit by Santa. Also, enjoy holiday cookies as they were prepared on the farm with hot cider and a warm heart. Santa is anxious to hear from those that are naughty or nice, bring your camera! Most activities are held outdoors and in the barn. FREE.
December 4: Mannheim Steamroller Christmas @ State Theater | 2:30pm Experience the magic as the spirit of the season comes alive with the signature sound of Mannheim Steamroller.
December 9: Union Depot hosts Canadian Pacific Holiday Train | 7:30pm The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train will stop at historic Union Depot on Friday evening, December 9, for a musical performance. Attendees are encouraged to bring healthy food donations to benefit Merrick Community Services Food Shelf. Canadian Pacific is committed to raising awareness about filling community food shelves with heart-healthy foods. This free event will start at 7:30 p.m. when the brightly lit train rolls in the station. Click here to see other CP Holiday Train stops.
December 9-10: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone with Live Orchestra | Varies The Harry Potter™ film series is one of those once-in-a-lifetime cultural phenomena that continues to delight millions of fans around the world. This concert will feature the Minnesota Orchestra performing every note from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone™.
December 9-11: Cirque Dreams Holidaze | Varies Cirque Dreams lights up the 2016 holiday season with its critically acclaimed holiday stage extravaganza, Cirque Dreams Holidaze, a new cirque show, Broadway musical, and family Christmas spectacular all in one! Hailed by The New York Daily News as a “delicious confection of charm, sparkle and talent by the sleighload & so full of energy it could end our dependence on oil!”
December 10-11: Nature Hike with Santa @ Eastman Nature Center | Varies Help Santa look for magical reindeer food and decorate a letter to him. Create holiday and edible squirrel ornaments, and get one-on-one time with Santa. Refreshments for adults and kids. Children 17 years and younger must be accompanied by a registered adult.
December 10: Holiday Saturdays @ Minnesota History Center | 10am-5pm Every Saturday during the holiday season enjoy crafting holiday cards, community concerts and a wintery StoryWalk around the History Center based on the MNHS Press book “North Woods Girl.”
December 11: Santa’s Workshop @ Landmark Center | 1pm Bring the kids to Landmark for a visit with Santa Claus at Santa’s Workshop, Dec. 13, 1-3 p.m. In addition to pictures with Santa, get up-close with one or two of Santa’s reindeer. Also, kids can win prizes playing “Reindeer Games,” and make a gift for a loved one at the “Make It & Take It” craft tables. Admission, pictures with Santa, and activities are all free of charge. FREE.
December 16: Tomte Solstice Magic @ Gale Woods Farm | 4:30-7:30pm Experience the magical Scandinavian Tomte tradition. Listen to a story, enjoy Scandinavian music, make a craft, and search for the Tomte hiding in the barn. Visit the animals, enjoy a short luminary walk and sample hot porridge. Children 17 years and younger must be accompanied by a registered adult. Reservations required by December 14.
December 16: Folkways by Candlelight @ The Landing | 5-8:30pm Take a candlelit stroll through the 1800s Eagle Creek Village. Greet costumed residents as they share holiday traditions, watch the Christmas Pageant in the Town Hall at 6:30 PM, and enjoy music by pianist Renae Williams. Enter through the West Entrance. Dress for the weather and an evening stroll. Children 17 years and younger must be accompanied by a registered adult. Call 763.559.6700 to pre-register. Walk-ins welcome; last admission at 7:30 PM.
December 17: Candy Cane Hunt @ Silverwood Park | 1-4pm Santa’s elves have hidden candy canes outside ? find three and get a prize! Canes with golden ribbons get larger prizes. Enjoy a horse-drawn wagon ride, warm treats, arts, and photos with Santa. Hunts for children ages 0-4 begin at 1:30 PM and 2:30 PM; hunts for children ages 5-10 begin at 2:00 PM and 3:00 PM. Children 17 years and younger must be accompanied by a registered adult.
December 17: Elves Workshop @ Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park | 1-4pm Make birdfeeders, crafts, and other gift ideas by hand. Supplies and directions provided. Children 17 years and younger must be accompanied by a registered adult. Reservations required by December 13.
December 17: The Enchanted Christmas Ball @ The Shoppes at Arbor Lake | 2-4pm Celebrate the holidays like royalty at The Enchanted Christmas Ball. Enjoy a fun-filled afternoon of dancing, caroling, making crafts, and so much more with everyone’s favorite fairy-tale characters. This is a great event for the entire family!
December 17: Holiday Saturdays @ Minnesota History Center | 10am-5pm Every Saturday during the holiday season enjoy crafting holiday cards, community concerts and a wintery StoryWalk around the History Center based on the MNHS Press book “North Woods Girl.”
December 17-18: Nutcracker @ Hopkins | Varies Don’t miss this holiday tradition! Minnesota’s only Nutcracker with a full symphony! Perfect for all ages! Length is about 100 minutes.
December 17-18: It’s a Wonderful Life Film with Live Orchestra | Varies This 1947 beloved holiday classic stars Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed and Lionel Barrymore—hear it in a whole new light as we screen the complete film in Orchestra Hall with the Minnesota Orchestra performing Dimitri Tiomkin’s iconic score live.
December 18: Woodturner’s Demo @ Landmark Center | 12-3pm American Association of Woodturners will give a special wood turning demonstration for free to all who attend. This monthly event takes place in the Gallery of Wood Art on second floor of Landmark Center. For more information call 651-484-9094. FREE.
December 21: Winter Solstice Celebration @ American Swedish Institute | 5-8pm Enjoy family handcraft activities, take a self-guided tour of the Turnblad Mansion’s holiday exhibits, hear the mansion ballroom full of music, and indulge in a treat from FIKA! The café will be open late offering festive bites and glögg (Swedish mulled wine). Make sure to bring some layers so you can enjoy the magical winter courtyard and cuddle up next to a bonfire.
December 21: Make and Mingle: Winter Solstice Celebration | 6-8pm Illuminate the longest night of the year with a winter sky themed party at Silverwood Park. Create star-inspired art, peek through telescopes, sip warm beverages, and celebrate what makes this season great. Reservations required.
December 22: The Midtown Men Holiday Show | 7:30pm From The Four Seasons to the Holiday Season (with the Beatles, Motown and more ’60s classics in between), The Midtown Men—Broadway’s Jersey Boys—will deck Orchestra Hall with timeless tunes, top-shelf choreography and incredible vocal performances!
December 24: Holiday Saturdays @ Minnesota History Center | 10am-5pm Every Saturday during the holiday season enjoy crafting holiday cards, community concerts and a wintery StoryWalk around the History Center based on the MNHS Press book “North Woods Girl.”
December 24: Quick Escape Snowshoe Hike @ Eastman Nature Center | 10-11:30am Bring holiday houseguests – or come to escape. Burn off snacks and stress by searching for animal tracks and winter mysteries. Equipment provided. Children 17 years and younger must be accompanied by a registered adult. Reservations required by December 21.
December 31: Twin Cities Moms Blog Noon Year’s Eve Family Event | 10am-12pm Do your kids love to celebrate the new year but can never make it until midnight? Or maybe you aren’t brave enough to keep them up (we may fall in that category!)? Join us for our Noon Year’s Eve event on December 31 at Pinstripes Edina for a family celebration that won’t leave you with exhausted kids the next day! Families will enjoy all the fun of Pinstripes (bowling, bocce, etc.) along with activities provided by our sponsors! Food, desserts, giveaways, goody bags, and a giant 2 story balloon drop will round out our morning of fun!
December 31: Holiday Saturdays @ Minnesota History Center | 10am-5pm Every Saturday during the holiday season enjoy crafting holiday cards, community concerts and a wintery StoryWalk around the History Center based on the MNHS Press book “North Woods Girl.”
Looking for other New Year’s Eve events? Check out our guide by clicking HERE!
The Magic Dreidels: December 6-21 | Jakob, a curious young boy with a knack for misplacing things, loses his Hanukkah dreidel down a well. A goblin living in the well replaces his dreidel with magical ones, setting off a series of adventures for Jakob with his father and his lonely neighbor, Fruma Sarah. A charming and festive holiday tale for the whole family, The Magic Dreidels is an opportunity to learn about the cultural traditions of Hanukkah, and the universal themes of sharing, compassion, and friendship.
Ice Castles: Late December (weather permitting) | Ice Castles is a Utah-based company, led by ice artist Brent Christensen, that creates acre-sized, all-ice castles at venues across the United States. This year it will be in Stillwater, and it’s a must see!
Rice Park Lights: November 27-January 1 | Rice Park powered by Xcel Energy captures the spirit of the holiday season with a tree as tall and bright as the iconic Rockefeller Center tree in New York City. The gigantic tree in Rice Park will be lit seven days a week. Make downtown Saint Paul your family holiday destination and enjoy the beauty of Rice Park as it sparkles with thousands of twinkling lights!
Orphan Train: November 19- December 18 | Over 100,000 orphaned children were shipped by rail from the slums of New York City to farm families in the Midwest between 1858 and 1929. Orphan Train brings to life the struggles and joys of the children who landed in Minnesota and the families who took them in.
Holidazzle: November 25-December 23 | The Minneapolis Downtown Council and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board are excited to partner together and bring Holidazzle to Loring Park. As downtown Minneapolis’ premier holiday celebration, Holidazzle has delighted residents, visitors and downtown employees for years. Now, in 2016, this tradition is bringing family-friendly programming to Loring Park and is free and open to the public. You and yours are invited to join in the festivities!
The Elves and the Shoemaker: November 29-December 28 | A whimsical tale about a troupe of elves who help restore a poor cobbler to prosperity by making a pair of the most fantastic and magical shoes ever seen. This heart-warming adaptation tells of midnight enchantment and of virtue and generosity rewarded. It’s the perfect holiday story and is a great way to introduce children of all ages to the magic and fun of theater.
Cinderella: November 8-January 8 | Hold on to your pumpkins! The magical, fantastical, and all-too-hilarious Cinderella returns to our stage for the holiday season. Freshly updated with all new songs, gags, and mayhem, you’ll jeer at the deliciously dysfunctional stepmother and sisters as much as you’ll cheer for Cinderella in her quest to attend the magnificent ball and fulfill her destiny. Put on your glass slippers, and join us for this spectacular and outrageous telling of our unique Cinderella, guaranteed to delight.
Night Trains at Twin City Model Railroad Museum: November 5-February 25 | Night Trains Season comes to museum layouts in a magical way, the lights are turned down, the buildings and street lights glow warmly, setting the scene for specially lighted models of 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.
“Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame” Exhibit: September 24-January 15 | Organized by the Pro Football Hall of Fame, this exhibit features more than 200 artifacts, photos and rare documents, footage from the NFL Film archives, and interactive experiences. A section of the exhibit will be devoted to the Minnesota Vikings Training Camp, where visitors can work on their vertical leap, broad jump, kicking and passing games.
Three Rivers Park District: FREE Family Fun Days: Sundays | Various Times Three Rivers offers family fun at Kroening Interpretive Center or Richardson Nature Center. Discover all the fun that life in and around the river and woods has to offer. FREE.
Toddler Tuesdays at MOA Tuesdays | 10am-Noon Toddler Tuesdays is a program that provides events, free entertainment and discounts especially for toddlers. Events include special character appearances, arts and crafts, story time and much more! FREE.
Wee Wednesdays at Midtown Global Market Wednesdays | 10:30am-1pm Wee Wednesdays showcase free educational programming, fun crafts and great meal deals each Wednesday morning at Midtown Global Market! Dance with them, experience live puppet theater, learn to cook fun items together in the kitchen, and even pet live animals from the Como Zoo. FREE.
Kids at the Castle: Third Friday Playdates (American Swedish Institute) In the hour before the museum opens, join ASI for visual play, storytelling, music, movement and crafts inspired by ASI’s current exhibits- activities that will encourage creative minds and active hands. Recommended for ages 2-5. $5 per family. Registration not required; check in at the Information Desk by 11 a.m. on the day of the program. Adult accompaniment required.
Have you joined one of our Twin Cities Neighborhood Groups yet? We recently added two more groups–Northfield Area and Hastings Area! Many of our groups are still kicking off the new school year, so it’s a great time to get involved and connected! Here’s what your Mombassadors have planned for December – please note that in order to view these activities, you’ll need to join the group for your area.
Moms’ Nights Out in December: