Thanksgiving is next but many locations are already planning holiday events and displays that have already started or will start soon.  Alyssa Hayes from Explore Minnesota joined me on WJON.  She highlights the following events.

  • Holiday Light Displays:
    • Every winter, Duluth’s Bayfront Festival Park on Lake Superior transforms into “America's Largest Free Walk-Through Lighting Display," shining bright with 4 million lights at Bentleyville Tour of Lights (Nov. 19 – Dec. 26). It’s also a marvelous time of year to visit Kiwanis Holiday Lights (Nov. 25 – Dec. 31) in Mankato, featuring 1.5 million LED lights, animated displays, a skating rink, horse-drawn wagon rides, Santa Claus, live reindeer, ice sculptures and more.
      • Both events are free to attend, but guests are encouraged to bring other donations such as non-perishable food items.
    • In the Twin CitiesWinter Lights at the Minnesota Arboretum (through Jan. 1) will enhance the beauty of the natural landscape with outdoor light displays featuring flowers and wintry nature on an accessible and stroller-friendly half-mile walk. The GLOW Holiday Festival at CHS Field in St. Paul (Nov. 23 – Jan. 1) features more than one million lights, an ice palace, and more.
    • Or, hop in the car to see thousands of sparkling lights at drive-through displays at Sertoma Winter Wonderland in Baxter (Nov. 24 – Dec. 31), Celebrate the Light of the World in Willmar (Nov. 24 – Dec. 31) or Sever's Holiday Lights in Shakopee (Nov. 24 – Jan. 1).
  • Holiday Trains:
    • The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train will be rolling into Minnesota Dec. 11 – 16, with stops in more than two dozen Minnesota towns, including Winona, Wabasha, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Alexandria and Thief River Falls. In Duluth, the Christmas City Express chugs along Lake Superior select weekends through Dec., to and from the Duluth Depot, passing by Bentleyville along the way.
  • Holiday Events:
    • Holidazzle is downtown Minneapolis (Nov. 25 – Dec. 18) with new experiences, including a ferris wheel, carousel and giant slide under the skyline, as well as old favorites, including the Holidazzle Yeti, Santa, fireworks, live music, festive food and drink, shopping and more in Loring Park.
    • Northern Express is bringing the fun to Excelsior (Dec. 3 to 18). At this immersive experience you will find holiday markets, Santa Claus meet-and-greets, Christmas llamas, festive food and drink, reindeer and more.
  • European Christmas Markets:
    • Stroll through a European-style Christmas market to find unique gifts and holiday decorations, or sample European-inspired dishes at the European Christmas Market at St. Paul’s Union Depot (Nov. 25 to Dec. 18). Plan a festive outing at Excelsior’s Christkindlsmarkt’s KinderWorld (Nov. 25 – 27), to see puppet shows, storytime, alpacas, reindeer and more, or take a trip to the Duluth Winter Village at the DECC (Dec. 3 – 4).
  • Holiday Shopping:
    • Stroll through some of Minnesota’s most charming downtowns, find one-of-a-kind gifts from local shops and partake in festive holiday fun at Nisswa’s annual City of Lights Celebration (Nov. 25), or squeeze in a visit to downtown Stillwater from Black Friday to New Year’s Eve to find carolers, horse-drawn wagonette rides, shopping deals, live reindeer and more.



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