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A guide to holiday events happening in the Twin Cities

This list will be updated as more events are announced ... or we become aware of them.
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No sooner had the calendar turned Nov. 1 that a flurry of press releases proclaiming upcoming holiday events arrived in our inbox.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are approaching fast, so here's a list of seasonal events that will be happening in and around the Twin Cities over the next couple months.

(Got a Christmas event for this list? Email


Where: Loring Park, Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis

When: Thursdays to Sundays, Nov. 23-Dec. 23.

Cost: Free

What: Take your pick. Holidazzle is introducing new attractions including "The Thwing," a multi-person swing, and will also be running sleigh rides between Loring Park and Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. Returning favorites include 10 movie nights, free skating and fireworks. More here.

Winter Lights

Where: Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Chanhassen.

When: Fridays to Sundays, Nov. 23-Jan. 6, between 5-9 p.m.

Cost: Free with gate admission, which costs $15 for ages 16+, free for under 15.

What: The arboretum's popular light display kicks off on Nov. 23, with four new outdoor vignettes and sculptures, and an expanded "S'more village." Winter Lights is a walking tour of 14 vignettes near the arboretum's main buildings, while indoor areas include a 24-foot-tall poinsettia tree and decorated pines.

Night Trains

Where: Twin Cities Model Railroad Museum, 668 Transfer Road, St. Paul.

When: Saturday evenings 6-9 p.m. between Nov. 3 and Feb. 23.

Cost: $15 per person, free for kids under 4.

What: The lights at the museum are turned down and the decorations are turned up as visitors watch model trains make their way through a winter wonderland on their miniature layouts. Santa will make two appearances, at no extra cost, on Dec. 15 and 22.

European Christmas Market

Where: Union Depot, St. Paul.

When: Nov. 30-Dec. 2., Dec. 7-9.

Cost: Free (till you buy something)

What: Held on the East Plaza at Union Depot, the Christmas market will be filled with decorated booths selling traditional, festive wares from Germany, including ornaments, nutcrackers, candles, glass, mittens, jewelry and more. If you don't want to buy gifts, go for the food, there will be sausages, roasted nuts, hot chocolate and Glühwein to keep you warm.

Bachman's Holiday Open House

Where: Bachman's Garden Center, 6010 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis.

When: Saturday, Nov. 17, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Cost: Free

What: Santa and Albert the Elf will arrive at Bachman's in a reindeer-drawn sleigh at 9:30 a.m., and will be performing 4 holiday plays throughout the day. The garden center will also be hosting holiday crafts for kids, live Christmas music, seasonal sing-a-longs, cookies, and a reindeer meet-and-greet.

Holiday Bazaar

Where: Landmark Center, St. Paul.

When: Thursday, Nov. 29 to Saturday, Dec. 1.

Cost: $5, free for 12 and under.

What: The bazaar, featuring a selection of old-fashioned, "one-of-a-kind" items, kicks off more than a month of holiday events at the Landmark Center, which includes a free mandolin orchestra concert on Dec. 5, and a free Santa's workshop on Sundays. More information an be found here.

Holidays at Maplewood Mall

Where: Maplewood Mall, 3001 White Bear Ave. N.

When: Between now and Christmas Day

Cost: Free

What: There's a wide range of holiday events going on between now and Christmas, mostly happening on weekends. This includes cookies with Santa every Saturday, a Santa Salutes Breakfast for Heroes on Dec. 1 and Dec. 15, and scheduled Santa visits all day. More information here.

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