Free family Thanksgiving events in Minneapolis and St. Paul 2017

There will be plenty of holiday events for the family to enjoy on Thanksgiving weekend in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. The celebrations begin with tree lighting ceremonies, winter skating, Christmas markets and more. Check out the free holiday events in the Twin Cities in 2017.

Nov. 24-26, Nov. 30-Dec. 3, Dec. 7-10, Dec. 14-17 & Dec. 21-23
 @ 5 p.m. on Thurs. & Fri. and 11 a.m. on Sat. & Sun.
Loring Park, 1382 Willow St., Minneapolis, MN 55403

Holidazzle will bring a bit of Winter Wonderland into the city of Minneapolis. The Holidazzle opening night, on the day after Thanksgiving, will feature a ceremonial opening followed by fireworks (6:30 p.m.) Thereafter, there will be fireworks at 6:30 p.m. on each Saturday night of the festival. The festive holidays will get a grand start at Holidazzle where there will be local food vendors, entertainment, and two free movies a week. Of course, Santa will visit and spread holiday cheer. Check out the Holidazzle Kids’ Zone with activities geared for children. There will be no admission fee for Holidazzle, but bring money for food and other purchases.

Winter Skate at Loring Park
Nov. 22-Winter Season @ Time varies
Loring Park, 1382 Willow St., Minneapolis, Minn. 55403

The outdoor skating rink at the Wells Fargo Minneapolis WinterSkate will officially open on Nov. 22 and will be open daily through the winter season. Skating will be free and open to the public, so this will be a great place to take the family for invigorating fresh air and exercise. Bring your own skates or borrow a complimentary pair of skates at the warming house, which will be available on a first-come-first-served basis.

Wells Fargo WinterSkate
Nov 18-Feb. 4
Rice Park, 109 W. 4th St., St. Paul, MN 55102

The historic Landmark Center will create a gorgeous backdrop for the inaugural WinterSkate at Rice Park in the heart of St. Paul.  The grand opening of the rink will be on Nov. 18 at 3:30 p.m. and will include live reindeer and a sleigh, the Teddy Bear Band, skating performances, fireworks at 6:30 p.m. and the ribbon cutting ceremony at 7 p.m. Rice Park will be powered by Xcel Energy. It will be free to skate at WinterSkate, so this will be a great place to take the family for some fun. They will even provide free skating lessons on specified dates.

Tree Lighting Ceremony & Small Business Saturday & Winter Market
Tree Lighting Nov. 25
Winter Market – Nov. 25 & Dec. 2, 9, & 16
50th & France, Edina, Minneapolis, MN 55424

The mood will be festive in Edina, where they will celebrate Small Business Saturday, Winter Market, and the Tree Lighting Ceremony. Visit with Santa Claus near the Christmas tree from 3-5 p.m. The carolers will be strolling through the area and singing holiday songs. The holiday tree will be lit at 5 p.m. The Winter Market will open along with the Tree Lighting Ceremony. The market will continue for the next three Saturdays. There will special activities for children as College Nannie’s elves will host child-friendly activities from 12-4 p.m. while their parents shop at the market.

Annual Tree Lighting in South St. Paul
Nov. 26 @ 4:30 p.m.
South St. Paul, MN 55075

Join Mayor Francis, Santa and Mrs. Claus, Santa’s elves, and Frosty the Snowman for a festive holiday event. The entire family will enjoy caroling and the merriment of the occasion.

Mall of America’s Holiday Music Festival
Nov. 26-Dec. 26 @ Various times
Mall of America, Bloomington, MN

The Holiday Music Festival will be in the Mall of America Rotunda and will feature several performances a day. The Holiday Music Festival will be presented by Nintendo.

Taylor Falls Lighting Festival
Nov. 24-26 @ Various times
Taylor Falls, MN 55084

Taylor Falls, overlooking the banks of the St. Croix River about an hour north of the Twin Cities, will get into the holiday spirit with this three-day festival, titled “Lighting Up the Season.” The Grand Lighting of the Village & Santa Parade will be on Nov. 24 @ 6:30. The weekend of family-friendly fun will include music, dancing, crafts fair, Swedish food, and more.

Bentleyville Tour of Lights
Nov. 18-Dec. 27 @ 5 p.m.
Canal Park, 20 E Superior St., Duluth, MN 55802

America’s largest free walk through lighting display will be in Duluth, about a 90- minute drive from the Twin Cities. Santa and Mrs. Claus will parachute in at about 4:30 p.m. on opening night.  Guests will be invited to stroll under the glow of about four million sparkling lights. The 20-acre park is situated on the shore of Lake Superior. While enjoying the lights, visitors will enjoy complimentary hot cocoa, popcorn, cookies and roasted marshmallows. There will be a $5 fee to park in the Bentleyville lots, but you receive a $5 coupon from a local restaurant. There will also be free shuttle service on Friday and Saturday nights.

2017 St. Paul European Christmas Market & Union Depot Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
Dec. 1-3 & Dec. 8-10 @ various times
Union Depot East Plaza, 214 East 4th St., St. Paul, MN 55101

Union Depot will be transformed into “Hub for the Holidays,” which will kick off on Nov. 30. The annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony will be on Dec. 1 and will include live musical entertainment and fireworks. This will be a great time for the family to join the holiday excitement and to visit the European Christmas Market, inspired by the open air Christkindlmarkts in Germany, Austria, and other European countries. The vendors will be in charming huts, offering unique holiday gifts and decorations. The air will be fragrant with the smell of spiced mulled wine and food delicacies

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