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Where to See Christmas Lights near Minneapolis & St. Paul This Year

christmas lights near minneapolis and st paul

The holiday season in the Twin Cities is a magical time of year, and the one thing that makes it even more magical?

All the amazing Christmas lights!

From beautiful downtown holiday displays, to warm and cozy drive through light shows, and even some neighborhoods that go wild, there’s tons of impressive Christmas lights around the Twin Cities to put you into the holiday mood.

In this guide, we’re putting together all the best places to see holiday and Christmas lights near Minneapolis and St. Paul this year!

Map of Twin Cities Christmas Lights in 2021

Downtown Minneapolis Christmas Lights & Christmas Events

If you’re looking for some displays right in the heart of downtown Minneapolis, here are your best bets:

Holidazzle (Loring Park, Downtown)

Each year, downtown Minneapolis’s Loring Park is transformed into a winter wonderland. They light up the trees and pack the park with food, drinks, a local market, and even amusement rides like a Ferris Wheel and Carousel. And to top it off, certain nights even feature firework shows!

  • Dates: December 17-19, 2021
  • Cost: Free!
  • More info: Holidazzle

CSE Winter Light Show (U of M Campus)

Located at the Civil Engineering Building on the University of Minnesota Campus, the CSE Winter Light Show is one of the closest light displays to downtown Minneapolis.

For three days, the University’s College of Science and Engineering students will put on an incredible light show featuring a quarter-of-a-million LED lights! (All set to music that’s also recorded by U of M students!)

Mary’s Christmas Palace at Psycho Suzi’s (Northeast, Minneapolis)

Here’s some Christmas lights with a unique twist…

Every winter, Psycho Suzi’s transforms their popular Northeast Minneapolis Tiki Bar into an “over the top 3-month Christmas Festival” which they describe as the “most carousing arousing Christmas themed dinner & cocktail experience in the North.”

Basically, Psycho Suzi’s packs the place with more Christmas decorations than you could ever imagine in one place, then transforms the restaurant’s bar into “Santa’s Workshop,” where they dish out a whole slew of Christmas inspired cocktails.

For the adults who want to experience the magic of Christmas with the help of a drink or three, Mary’s Christmas Palance is the spot!

  • Dates: October – December 31, 2021.
  • Cost: $5 Reservation Fee + Dinner & Drinks (Some walk ins available)
  • More info: Mary’s Christmas Palace

St. Paul Christmas Lights & Christmas Events

This year, St. Paul is bringing a seriously impressive collection of places to see Christmas Lights:

GLOW Holiday Festival (Minnesota State Fairgrounds, St. Paul)

Every winter, the Great Minnesota Get Together transforms itself into the Great Minnesota [Holiday] Get Together.

Last year, the festival was a drive through, but this year, they’re letting you get even more immersed in the holiday cheer, since the whole display is now a walk-through event!

With over a million lights and a three story ice palace, this is always one of the most impressive Christmas light displays in the Twin Cities.

Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, did we mention there’s a State Fair Food Court?

You can read our full review of GLOW Holiday Festival here.

  • Dates: November 14 – January 2, 2022
  • Cost: $21 for Adults, $13 for Children
  • More info: Glow Holiday Festival

Union Depot Holiday Tree (Downtown St. Paul)

Every year, St. Paul’s Union Depot installs an amazing Christmas tree right in front of the historic downtown building. 

There’s a dedicated lighting ceremony this year on December 4, 2021, but you can always check out the beautiful tree on any December night.

Plus, the Holiday Tree is just one part of a whole host of festivities at St. Paul’s Union Depot. Each weekend from November 26-19, a European Christmas Market takes places in a temporary (and very magical!) Christmas Village on the grounds. There’s a Holiday Bake Sale and Frozen II Movie Night this year. And for the kiddos, you won’t want to miss the hugely popular North Pole Express – an actual train ride that departs from the Depot to the “North Pole” where kids can meet Santa and his elves.

  • Dates:
    • Tree Lighting: December 4, 2021.
    • European Christmas Market: November 26 – December 19
    • Holiday Bake Sale: December 11, 2021
    • North Pole Express: First two weekends in December
    • Frozen II Movie Night: December 18, 2021
  • Cost: Varies
  • More info: Union Depot Hub for the Holidays

Cathedral Festival of Lights

The beautiful St. Paul cathedral has recently embraced one of the best light shows in the city. They have both an interior and exterior light show this year.

For the exterior light show, you can see a wild, 12 minute cinematic projection on the 150 foot tall eastern wall of the cathedral. It’s run on a continuous loop during operating hours, so you can view the show at your convenience. (For free!)

You will need tickets for the indoor show. Tickets cost $15 per person and allow you to enter the cathedral and experience the tall cathedral ceilings lit up with unique lights and sounds.

Rice Park (Downtown St. Paul)

Every year, St. Paul drapes Rice Park’s tall trees with beautiful winter lights. It’s the perfect place for a quick stroll. And most years, they install an ice skating rink, too, so you can complete the scene of every romantic movie you’ve ever seen.

  • Dates: November 19 – Winter
  • Cost: Free
  • More info: Rice Park

Mears Park (Lowertown, St. Paul)

If you’re looking for a quick and easy stroll through a lighted up park, Mears Park will be lighting their trees again this year.

Christmas and Holiday Light Displays & Events in the Twin Cities Suburbs

Of course, the downtown areas are just one part of the Twin Cities’ Holiday Fun. Some of the metro’s best light displays take place in the nearby suburbs!

Winter Lights at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum (Chaska, MN)

The Landscape Arboretum is beautiful in the summer and fall, but that beauty takes a whole new look each winter when the gardens become filled with thousands upon thousands of Christmas lights.

If you’ve ever wanted to stroll the beautifully illuminated grounds at night, this year is your chance. You can visit with a walking tour November 14 to December 31. On certain nights, your walk can be accompanied with live music as part of the Arboretum’s Winter Music Series.

And be sure to check out the special event nights, too, which range from family night, to date night, to a special photographer’s only event!

  • Dates: November 14 – December 31, 2021
  • Cost: Varies based on event and membership status, but usually around $15 a person.
  • More info: Winter Lights 2021

Christmas in Color at Valleyfair (Shakopee, MN)

This year, Valleyfair has assembled an incredible collection of millions of Christmas lights. It’s a drive through display this year, so you’ll be able to experience it all in the comfort of your heated vehicle!

Don’t forget to tune in your radio to hear the synchronized music!

  • Dates: November 18 – January 2, 2022
  • Cost: $35 – $45, depending on dates
  • More info: Christmas in Color

Nature Illuminated at the Minnesota Zoo (Apple Valley, MN)

Nature Illuminated is a drive-through, narrated light display at the Minnesota Zoo. You’ll see oversized displays of animals and lights all throughout the zoo.

The event takes place now through January 2, 2022. But if you miss it, don’t fret! Beginning January 6, 2022, you can explore the lights by foot!

  • Dates: December 2, 2021 – January 16, 2022
  • Cost: Approximately $30-60 per vehicle, or $15-20 per walker
  • More info: Nature Illuminated

Neighborhoods with Great Christmas Lights in Minneapolis & St. Paul

If you’re just in the mood to venture around the Twin Cities and see some amazing lights, here’s a few suggestions:

Summit Avenue (St. Paul)

If you’re looking to drive (or walk) through a neighborhood with some amazing lit up houses, the historic Summit Avenue in St. Paul is a great bet. Every year, many of these historic mansions install some amazing Christmas displays on their amazing homes.

It’s perfect as either a partial, self-guided walking tour or a full drive down the 4.5 mile stretch of road.

  • Address: The Governor’s Mansion (1006 Summit Ave, St Paul, MN 55105) always has nice decorations is a great starting point.
  • More info: For info about Summit Avenue, check out our complete neighborhood guide.

Holiday Lights on York (St. Paul)

11 lawns on York Avenue team up for one of the most impressive blocks in the Twin Cities.

Armatage Neighborhood (Minneapolis)

This Minneapolis neighborhood publishes a self-guided tour map of all the best houses each year.

Brooklyn Park, MN

You can pick up a self-guided tour map at the Brooklyn Park Community Activity Center.

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