Twin Cities Guide to Family Activities This Weekend: December 4-5, 2021

26November 2021

Twin Cities Christmas & Holiday Tree Lighting Events This Weekend

Trees will be twinkling this weekend at hometown holiday festivals. Here’s our quick list; find our complete list of Twin Cities Tree Lighting Events. Lighting up this weekend are the following Minneapolis-St Paul Metro communities:

ANOKA: Hometown Holiday
The tree will be lit, the carols will be sung, and Santa will be taking visitors. Plus horse-drawn trolley rides and bonfires to keep warm. Dec. 4-5, 2021.

BUFFALO: Deck the Halls
Family fun and festivities from 3pm-5pm, when they City of Buffalo lights of the tree. FREE. Dec. 4, 2021. 

CHANHASSEN: Chanhassen Tree Lighting Ceremony
An annual holiday event with a tree lighting followed by refreshments, live reindeer, gingerbread house displays, and Santa Claus. Dec 4, 2021, 5pm.

EXCELSIOR: Christmas in Excelsior 
The big tree lights up at 7pm on Water Street, plus sleigh rides, Santa and carolers lend a holiday air. Dec 4, 2021.

OSSEO: MiniDazzle Celebration
Start off with the Light Parade down Main Street. Then, pictures with Santa, take a fire truck ride, warm up at the bonfire and watch the Christmas tree lighting. Dec. 3, 2021, 6-8pm.

PLYMOUTH: Holiday at the Hilde
Visit with Santa, enjoy a holiday lights display, music and family activities. Dec 4, 4-7pm.

SHAKOPEE: Holiday Fest
Carolers, visits with Santa, a tree lighting ceremony and fireworks. Dec 4, 2021, 6-8pm.

STILLWATER: Twinkle Party & Tree Lighting
Free twinkle lights to pass out for kids 12 & under, music by the Teddy Bear Band, free cookies and warm drinks, trolley rides & the city’s tree lighting ceremony. Dec. 4, 2021; 4-6pm.

ST PAUL: Union Depot Holiday Tree Lighting
Including live music, fireworks and holiday movie double feature. Event begins at 6pm, tree lighting at 6:30. Dec 4.

Twin Cities Holiday Lights Displays

The Christmas Story in Lights | Wayzata Community Church

Drive through and pause at 8 stations telling the Christmas story in bright lights, music, and narration. All weekend, 6pm-9pm.

Wintertime in Stillwater

There’s extra twinkle in the city’s historic downtown district this year. Chestnut Street has a pedestrian winter wonderland area where you can enjoy a free LED light show set to music and the mile drive of Main Street is covered with snowflake decorations and rooftop lights. Drive it, walk it, shop it – all beautiful choices. Begins the Friday after Thanksgiving. 5-10pm nightly. FREE!

Downtown Stillwater Minnesota lit up for the Holidays 2020

Winter Lights at the Arboretum

Winter will be in bloom with lighted greenery and displays throughout the pathways of the arb’s gardens! Online ticket reservation required. This weekend – Tickets: $10-$25/pp.

GLOW Holiday Festival

Enjoy a parade of dozens seasonal scenes featuring over a million holiday lights, a 100-foot illuminated tree and other attractions. The festival has added a “sElfie Plaza”, a 3-story ice palace and a food court.  Nov 18, 2021-Jan 2, 2022, 4:30 pm-9/10 pm; Tickets $12.75 to $75/pp.

For the whole sparkling scoop on the best holiday light displays in the Twin Cities, visit our 2021 Twin Cities Drive Thru Christmas Events and Walking Tours page. OR – create your own drive-thru holiday lights event! We have an enormous list of homes around the Twin Cities that deck their halls up for the holiday: Jump over to Light It Up: Twin Cities & Greater Minnesota Christmas & Holiday Light Displays for our map!

december weekend

Find Santa Claus in the Twin Cities This weekend

Where will Jolly Old St Nick be visiting this weekend? Somehow he manages to be all over the Twin Cities! Take your pick from shopping malls, community festivals and even a streetcar decked out for Christmas. For further planning, check our Twin Cities Santa-finder page or check out the details below on our holiday festival calendar.

Weekend Holiday Festivals & Events

All Weekend: December 4-5, 2021

Christmas at Dakota City Heritage Village 

Make holiday crafts, take a ride on a horse-drawn trolley, listen to festive music at the church, enjoy hot cocoa at the Drug Store, and spy Santa. Buildings will be illuminated inside and out throughout the village. Tickets: $5/pp.

European Christmas Market at Union Depot

A free event to attend with the opportunity to shop for unique, handmade gifts and decorations as well as nosh on holiday treats. Located at St Paul’s historic Union Depot. Open weekends, Fri 4-9pm, Sat 10am-8pm & Sun 11am-6pm.

Germanic-American Institute Holiday Open Haus

Get the feel of a European market with vendors selling German Christmas gift items, model trains, and festive food and drink. Craft ornaments on Saturday and meet St. Nikolaus on Sunday. Located in St Paul.

Gingerbread Wonderland at Norway House

A signature holiday tradition, Gingerbread Wonderland returns for its 5th Anniversary. Located in Minneapolis. $5/pp kids FREE.

Holidays on the Hill at James J Hill House

Take a self-guided Christmas tour of the historic mansion and hear about the family’s holiday traditions. Located in St Paul, $8-$12/pp.

Santa and Live Reindeer Visits at Twin Cities Premium Outlets

Visit with Santa and pet the reindeer at the ALBERTVILLE and EAGAN locations. 10am-12pm, FREE.

Santa’s Train Shop at Minnesota Transportation Museum

The museum transforms into Santa’s Train Shop with live music, activities, train rides, pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Located in St Paul, $7-$13/pp.

White Bear Lake Winterfest

Horse drawn trolley rides, photos with Santa, carolers and shopping. 


Eidem Farm Christmas

Old-fashioned festivities include a walking tour, traditional winter activities and take-home crafts. FREE. Located in Brooklyn Park.

Holiday Night Trains At Twin City Model Railroad Museum

A special holiday tradition at the Twin City Model Railroad Museum, the Night Trains season magically transforms the museum layouts. Buildings and street lights glow, and throughout the museum the layouts are adorned with Christmas lights. Located in St Paul. $15/pp.

North St. Paul Holiday Hop

Tons of city-wide holiday activities like wagon rides, gingerbread decorating, live music and more. 9am-3pm, most activities are FREE. 

St Paul’s Grand Meander

20 blocks of samples, specials, Vulcan fire truck rides, carolers and multiple venues to visit with Santa. Dec 4, 2021. Events run 10am-4pm.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Eagan’s Holz Farm Old Fashioned Holiday

Come visit Santa’s reindeer at this 1940s-era event. Also enjoy hayrides, a bonfire, carols, and treats.

Trot on over to our Twin Cities Holiday Festivals & Tree Lightings page for more details – many Twin Cities-area communities are hosting their own downtown galas, complete with roving Santas, carolers and sleigh bells.

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