Arbor Lakes Santa

Making Holiday Traditions in Minneapolis Northwest

Baby, it’s cold outside, but the holiday happenings in Minneapolis Northwest are heating up with exciting winter activities and events the whole family will want to experience. From sleigh rides and carriage rides to Nutcracker performances and festive arts and crafts for children, bundle up the family and get ready to create new holiday traditions in the winter wonderland of Minneapolis Northwest.

Holiday Festivities

Celebrating its 12th year, Maple Grove’s Mistletoe & Memories showcases several of the city’s favorite holiday events and ushers in the season of joy and cheer!

Hometown Holiday on Main Street

What could create more holiday memories than the quaint Hometown Holiday on Main Street event in Maple Grove? Enjoy holiday trolley rides, caroling and holiday crafts at this beloved community event. Visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus and welcome back the Sleigh Bells & Sparkle Parade as it makes its way to the corner of Main Street and Arbor Lakes Parkway for the annual Maple Grove Holiday Tree Lighting. Stay warm with provided hot drinks, cookies and holiday music. If it’s not already, Hometown Holiday is certain to become a new family tradition everyone will look forward to for many years to come! Join us on Main Street, Maple Grove, on Dec. 1, from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Winter Wonderland

On Dec. 8, The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes will transform into a Winter Wonderland in celebration of the holiday season. Join us for caroling, festive activities for families and seasonal shopping specials. Bring the kids to meet some REAL reindeer and take away a reindeer plush toy, courtesy of Minneapolis Northwest Tourism, which is sponsoring a visit by Rudolph’s friends from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Then, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., attend the Pixie Dust Winter Princess Ball. 


Holly Sunday

Celebrate holiday fun at Holly Sunday at the Brooklyn Center Community Center! Embrace the beauty of the holidays on a sleigh ride, create a festive art piece to take home, and enjoy entertainment and a magic show. Continue the festive fun with a variety of holiday games and indulge in some tasty treats. Be sure to spend some quality time with jolly St. Nick! Get there early and bring a camera to capture your special moment with Santa. Holly Sunday is held at the Brooklyn Center Community Center, 6301 Shingle Creek Parkway, Brooklyn Center.


Brunch/Lunch with Santa Claus

Pull up a chair and enjoy a delicious breakfast or lunch with St. Nick served by the Maple Grove Lions, with the help of some special community helpers on Dec. 2, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Grab a bite for as little as $4 to $6 (per meal). The kids will love spending the day with Santa as they play creative games and enjoy silly antics. Breakfast is served from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., and lunch is served from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Pre-registration is required. Brunch/Lunch with Santa is held at the Maple Grove Community Center, 12951 Weaver Lake Rd., Maple Grove.

Holiday Crafts

Color Me Mine

Whether you want to create your own holiday decorations or paint an annual keepsake ornament, Color Me Mine, at The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes, is the perfect place for kids to release their inner artist this holiday season. Located between Gap and Pottery Barn Kids at 12155 Elm Creek Blvd., Color Me Mine has a creative space that appeals to everyone, especially kids who love to get crafty and adults looking to create annual memories to share with their little ones. Walk-ins are always welcome but on Nov. 27, 29 and Dec. 4 and 6 from 6-7:30 pm., children can paint a holiday item while meeting Santa. Options include a tree frame, Santa mug or two ornaments. Registration is required and includes everything needed to paint, a visit with Santa and refreshments. Remember to bring your camera!

Maple Grove Arts Center

Whether you're four or 94, the Maple Grove Arts Center has plenty of festive craft events to strike your fancy! Take your little ones for an afternoon of family fun as your decorate your one-of-a-kind family gingerbread house at the Gingerbread House Decorating workshop on Saturday, Dec. 1 from noon to 1:30 p.m. Materials are provided, including a plethora of bright-colored candy to add some style and pizazz to your unique creation. If you're looking to blow off some steam with your friends and take a break from the busy holiday season, enjoy an evening of coloring, socializing and refreshments the Color Book Night, exclusively for adults 21 and older. Devour pizza and sip on wine as you create colorful and wonderfully intricate designs. The Maple Grove Arts Center is located at 11666 Fountains Drive, in Maple Grove.

Traditions for Girlfriends and Moms

Moms! With all the shopping and planning for the holidays it’s easy to get stressed. You’re trying to get so much done during the holiday season, but don’t forget to make time to celebrate a few traditions of your own!


Gather your girlfriends for an afternoon of shopping or maybe celebrate the season with a massage or festive holiday nail color at Woodhouse Day Spa. Also, check out Brooklyn Park’s Taj Salon & Spa, 2017 winner of Salon Today 200. This is the place to unwind and relax from the hustle and bustle of the holidays. The luxe spa offers many services, including hair care, nails, skin care, airbrush tannings and spa packages. Book yourself a rejuvenating massage or a rosemary body wrap to bring back some peace and serenity during the busy holiday season. All services are available at 9744 Schreiber Terrace, in Brooklyn Park.


Holiday Shows and Performances

Miracle on Christmas Lake

Get ready to enjoy some holiday laughs at Yellow Tree Theatre's original holiday comedy Miracle on Christmas Lakefrom Nov. 9 to Dec. 30. The play follows a soap opera star as he returns to his Minnesota roots to take over Christmas Lake Community Theater after his father dies. His new wife – a city girl with zero tolerance for mosquitoes – comes along for the ride only to find the theater on the verge of bankruptcy. After losing the rights to It’s a Wonderful Life, they race to come up with another play and hilarity ensues as this unlikely bunch scramble to save the theater. There’s true love and off-key Christmas carols, lutefisk and naked pot bellies, and best of all, unexpected miracles in this heart-warming holiday comedy. Don’t wait to book your tickets! Yellow Tree Theatre is located at 320 5th Ave. SE, in Osseo.

Nutcracker Performances

Celebrate Christmas with not one, not two, but three special Nutcracker performances! At the Ordway Center for Performing ArtsThe Hip Hop Nutcracker, a contemporary re-imagination of Tchaikovsky’s timeless music, will entertain you on Nov. 20 and 21. In this modern performance, digital scenery transforms E.T.A. Hoffmann’s story of sugarplums into 1980s Brooklyn and includes hip-hop interludes remixed by DJ Boo, as well as an on-stage electric violinist.

Bonus Tip: Arrive early to The Hip Hop Nutcracker for either performance and enjoy pre-show extras! Arrive at 6:30 p.m. for the Nov. 20 show and watch a dance performance including youth and instructors from House of Dance Twin Cities, Minnesota’s first and only creative space dedicated solely to teaching Hip Hop/Urban dance. Arrive at 6:30 p.m. for the Nov. 21 show and groove to the tunes of DJ Digie, who will also be spinning during intermission.

On Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, experience one of the biggest Christmas productions of the year with a show directly from Russia, The Great Russian Nutcracker, which The New York Times calls a "knock out!” performance. Be enchanted by the larger-than-life magical props, a 60-foot growing Christmas tree and gorgeous costumes and sets. From Dec. 14 through 23, experience the beautiful choreography in Loyce Houlton’s Nutcracker Fantasy, danced by the Minnesota Dance Theatre company and guest artists. These two productions of The Nutcracker take place at the State Theatre, 805 Hennepin Ave., in Minneapolis.

Blenders’ Holiday Soul Concert

The Minneapolis-based Blenders have spent more than 25 years touring the country with their unique style of vocal, harmony-based music. This holiday season, they are serenading audiences at the Pantages Theatre for their magnificent Holiday Soul Tour, Dec. 14 through 16. Enjoy a date night listening to their sweet sound performing holiday favorites. Pantages Theatre is located at 710 Hennepin Ave., in Minneapolis.

Les Misérables

There's nothing like getting enthralled in a thrilling and beloved musical to savor the holidays! Cameron Mackintosh presents the new production of Tony Award-winning musical phenomenon Les Misérables, Dec. 18 through 30. Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells the captivating story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption—a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit. Featuring the unforgettable score and cherished songs “I Dreamed A Dream,” “On My Own,” “Stars,” “Bring Him Home,” “One Day More,” and many more, this epic and uplifting story has become one of the most celebrated musicals in theatrical history. See it at the Orpheum Theatre, located at 910 Hennepin Ave., in Minneapolis.

Outdoor Activities

A Norwegian Christmas on the Farm

Eidem Homestead will transform into a winter wonderland for its annual Norwegian Christmas event, Dec. 1 and 2. Enjoy carols, crafts, ornament making and a visit from Santa. Eidem Homestead is a 10-acre farm where visitors can travel back to the turn of the 20th century when the region was one of the top areas for growing potatoes. Enjoy hot cocoa as you walk around the Victorian house, meet the farm animals and put cloves in oranges to make scented pomander balls for Christmas. Eidem Homestead is located at 4345 101st Ave. N., in Brooklyn Park.

Bunker Park Stables

Gliding over glistening snow from the comfort of your own sleigh is sure to create lasting memories. With gentle draft horses that can pull up to 30 people on flatbed sleighs, Bunker Park Stables is the place to bring your friends and entire family for a winter outing. Antique and Red Bench seat sleighs are also available, but be sure to make a reservation. Groups need a minimum of four people, and children two and younger are free! Visit Bunker Park Stables at 550 Bunker Lake Blvd., N.W., in Andover.

Ice Skating Trail in Maple Grove

You’ve probably skated in rinks before, but this unusual 800-foot refrigerated ice-skating trail (that’s right, a trail!) in Maple Grove’s Central Park offers a welcoming change in scenery while skating. Instead of skating laps, you can take in magical views as you follow the wandering trail through the park. Entrance to the trail is free, and skates are available to rent. Central Park is located at 12000 Central Park Way, in Maple Grove.

While you’re out celebrating the season, share your photos and stories with us by posting to FacebookTwitter and Instagram using the hashtag #WeLoveMNW. We could even feature you on our website! To get started on your holiday gift list, visit Holiday Shopping Favorites in Minneapolis Northwest and for more holiday fun with your special someone, check out 10 Holiday Date Ideas in Minneapolis Northwest!

We hope you have a wonderful holiday season! 

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  • Minneapolis Northwest CVB

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