8 Best December Family Holiday Activities in MN

You’re craving freedom and festive cheer, aren’t you?

Imagine yourself wrapped in the sparkle of Minnesota’s December charm.

From the dazzling Holiday Parade to the enchanting Bentleyville Tour of Lights, there’s a sleigh-load of activities waiting for you and your family.

Glide across The Depot Ice Rink or whisper wishes to Santa at the Mall of America.

Embrace the holiday spirit with these top 8 activities that promise unforgettable memories.

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Explore a Holiday Parade

Experiencing the Holiday Parade offers you and your family a dazzling display of festive lights, charming floats, and live music to kick off your holiday season in Minnesota.

Bring a cup of Hot Cocoa as you watch the fun holiday lights go by on floats.

Each float that passes by has some holiday cheer, with costumed characters sharing waves and smiles.

The parades often end with Santa, Tree lighting, and some fireworks!

Holiday Fest in Downtown Shakopee

Visit Santa at the Mall of America

After soaking in a holiday Parade, continue your family’s holiday adventure by visiting Santa at the Mall of America, where you’ll find the jolly old elf ready to hear your children’s Christmas wishes.

Nestled within a twinkling North Pole enclave, Santa’s cozy outpost is brimming with holiday cheer. You’ll marvel at the enchanting decor as your little ones whisper their lists into Santa’s ear. Capture the moment with a photo, creating a priceless keepsake.

Don’t forget to explore the surrounding holiday displays; they’re a spectacle in themselves. It’s a must-do for sparking that quintessential holiday magic.

Glide at The Depot Ice Rink

Lace-up your skates and glide across the ice at The Depot Ice Rink, a historic train shed turned winter wonderland in the heart of Minneapolis.

Feel the crisp air kiss your cheeks as you twirl and loop under the grand, arched ceilings, surrounded by the festive charm of twinkling lights.

The rink offers a magical escape, inviting you to carve out your own path on the smooth, glistening surface.

With no reservations needed, you can drop in on a whim, seizing the joy of the season.

Embrace the spirit of adventure and make unforgettable memories with your family this December at The Depot.

Another great location to go ice skating is at Centennial Lakes in Edina. For a full list of great locations, make sure to check out: The Best Ice Skating in Minneapolis: Winter Fun in Minnesota

Centennial Lakes Ice skating

Marvel at Bentleyville Tour of Lights

While you stroll through the Bentleyville Tour of Lights, you’ll be enveloped by the glow of over five million twinkling lights, creating a dazzling holiday spectacle for the entire family to enjoy.

Imagine the crisp winter air filled with the scent of roasted marshmallows as you wander through a magical pathway, lined with captivating displays and towering illuminated figures.

Every step takes you through a different chapter of this festive winter storybook, with surprises at every turn. You’re not just observing; you’re part of the wonder, the freedom to explore this electric wonderland at your own pace.

Don’t miss the iconic animated 12-story tree, at this free event.

Christmas Lights

There is more than just Bentleyville to visit. Check out some of these great holiday light displays around the state: Where to See the BEST Christmas Lights in MN

Enjoy the Holiday Flower Show

Transitioning from the luminescent Bentleyville Tour of Lights, you’ll find the Holiday Flower Show at the Como Zoo. This is another enchanting destination all in the warm dome of this iconic location.

With the fragrant scent of blooming poinsettias and the vivid colors, December at the Como Zoo is magical.

This year’s show features “Ferrara’s red, variegated “tapestry” and ‘Golden Glo’ poinsettias.

Take a Festive Trolley Ride

Hop on a festive trolley ride to continue your holiday adventure.

While most trolley companies in Minnesota close up due to safety, you can still do the Minnesota Street Car Museums trolley. Running the last weekend of November and the First weekend in December, ride the Holley Trolley.

Santa will be on board. When you are done, toast a marshmallow and warm yourself up by the fire.

This historic streetcar is decked out for the holidays. The ride is about 25 minutes, allowing each kid the opportunity to visit with Santa.

Experience the Russian Nutcracker

Amid the festive season’s joy, don’t miss the chance to be enchanted by the Russian Nutcracker, a classic holiday ballet that transforms Minnesota’s stages into a winter wonderland of dance and music.

This timeless performance, infused with Russian folklore and Tchaikovsky’s mesmerizing score, is a visual delight for all ages.

As snowflakes twirl and characters come alive, you’ll be whisked away on young Masha’s magical journey, meeting the Nutcracker Prince and battling the Mouse King in realms filled with wonder.

It’s a celebration of artistry and imagination that will leave you spellbound.

Secure your tickets, bundle up the family, and create memories that will twinkle like the lights on a frosty Minnesota evening.

Go Snowshoeing in State Parks

Minnesota’s state parks offer the perfect winter escape with snowshoeing trails that’ll have your family crunching through fresh powder in no time.

In winter you’ll get to experience the silence of the woods, broken only by the soft thud of snowshoes tapping a white-blanketed path.

Dive into the adventure at spots like Itasca State Park or Gooseberry Falls, where well-marked trails beckon adventurers of all ages. You don’t need to own snowshoes either—many parks offer rentals.

It’s a chance to unplug and reconnect with nature, creating memories that’ll warm your heart despite the chill.



Wrap up your December with unforgettable holiday cheer across Minnesota.

Bask in the glow of the Bentleyville lights, whirl across The Depot’s ice, and let the Winter Carnival enchant you.

Whether you’re meeting Santa, marveling at the Russian Nutcracker’s grace, or crunching through snow-laden trails, these experiences promise to weave magical memories for your family.

Embrace the festive season’s sparkle and create traditions that’ll keep your hearts warm through the chilliest of winters.

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