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Free Holiday Events in Minneapolis and St. Paul


The holidays are expensive enough already. Here's several holiday events where you can enjoy some holiday cheer and get into the festive spirit for free.

Macy's Annual Santaland Display, November 23 - December 24

The flagship Macy's store on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis creates a wonderland of animated holiday characters for their annual Santaland Holiday Display, A Day in the Life of an Elf. They've been doing it almost 50 years, and it's free to visit. Open every day from November 23 - December 24 2012, except Thanksgiving Day.

The Holidazzle Parade, November 29 - December 21

An annual holiday tradition in Minneapolis. The Holidazzle Parade season starts on November 29, and there is a parade every Friday and Saturday  evening until December 21. The parade is on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis, and starts at 6.30 p.m.

The parade is truly dazzling, with thousands upon thousands of lights on floats, vehicles, marchers, dancers and more. Brave the cold and windchill to see the show, or get there early and snag a spot in a skyway above Nicollet Mall.

Winterskate, November 30 - February 2

Downtown St. Paul gets its own outdoor ice rink every winter. The Winterskate rink is next to the Landmark Center and Rice Park, so it's surrounded by holiday lights and the city lights of downtown St. Paul. The rink is open every day, and open until late evening at the weekend.

It's free to skate if you have your own ice skates, or you can rent skates for a couple of dollars.

Here's some more places to skate - many free - around Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Holiday Parades

There's nothing like a holiday parade of twinkling lights to fill you with Holiday cheer on a dark winter's evening. Many communities hold Holiday parades in late November and early December: here's when and where.

Holiday Lights in the Twin Cities

Nostalgic holiday entertainment - driving with your family and a flask of hot chocolate admiring the holiday lights around your neighborhood. Or, try one of these neighborhoods and houses in the Twin Cities that are known for their holiday lights.

Free Holiday Shows, Minneapolis and St. Paul

Several local colleges' present holiday concerts and services, usually in early December, and several are free to the public. Here's the list of Minnesota college holiday concerts.

The Minnesota Boychoir's annual holiday concert will be at the Historic Wesley Center in Minneapolis on December 21. 

The Minnesota Boychoir will also perform at the Landmark Center in downtown St. Paul, with two shows on January 5.

All shows are free, and a freewill donation is requested.

Grand Meander and Grand Avenue Christmas Tree Lighting, December 7

Grand Avenue, St. Paul's largest shopping district, starts the holiday season with a day of entertainment and special events, carols, hot soup, Santa and his reindeer, free samples and specials at stores on Grand Avenue, and the Grand Avenue Christmas Tree Lighting in the evening.

Como Park Holiday Flower Show, December 7 - January 5

The Marjorie McNeely Conservatory in Como Park offers a respite from the cold and snow with their annual Holiday Flower Show, featuring thousands of blooms. The flower show is open every day, including Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

The conservatory, and the whole of Como Park and Como Zoo, are free to visit, but your donations are welcomed.

Tours of the Governor's House, Postponed until 2014

The Minnesota Governor's Mansion offers free public tours to see the official holiday decorations and Christmas tree. 

In 2013, the Governors Mansion is undergoing a restoration project, so no public tours will be offered, Public tours are scheduled to resume in 2014.

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