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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 11th year, Maple Grove’s Mistletoe & Memories showcases several of the city’s holiday favorites and ushers in the season of joy and cheer!

Santa’s Magical Workshop at The Fountains

Santa’s Magical Workshop has fun for the entire family. Enjoy sleigh rides led by real reindeer. Visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus and pet a variety of animals in the holiday petting zoo, located near Dave & Busters and KleinBank. After having fun outdoors, warm up inside the shops and businesses in the Fountains at Arbor Lakes – they’ll be offering activities for the whole family! This holiday tradition happens Nov. 25, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., in the Fountains at Arbor Lakes area of Maple Grove.

Hometown Holiday on Main Street, Maple Grove

What could create more holiday memories than the quaint Hometown Holiday on Main Street event in Maple Grove? Enjoy horse-drawn carriage 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. We’ll keep you warm with 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. 2, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.



Winter Wonderland

From Dec. 9 to 10, 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. On Saturday, Dec. 9, 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 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. that day. Then, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., attend the Enchanted Christmas Ball hosted by Twin Cities Party Princess. For more details and to purchase tickets to the Ball, visit our events page.

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. Registration is open Nov. 1 to 30, and advance reservations are needed. 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. 30, Dec. 5, 7, and 12, at 6 p.m., 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!

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!

Shopping & Spas

Gather your girlfriends for an afternoon of shopping or maybe celebrate the season with a massage or festival 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.



Paint Pub

However you spend your day, when afternoon/evening rolls around, you and your girlfriends can grab a glass of wine and paint away at the art cafe studio, Paint Pub. For two hours, you’ll sip cocktails and paint a holiday landscape, cupcakes, a floral arrangement or other options with the help of a talented instructor. Take home your own masterpiece and display it over the fireplace to show off your Picasso skills. Paint Pub, located at 13607 Grove Dr., in Maple Grove, provides blank canvases, endless supplies, snacks and wine.

Holiday Shows and Performances



“A Gone Fishin’ Christmas” Show


Yellow Tree Theatre is celebrating its 10th anniversary with four stellar shows, including an encore of the hilarious comedy “A Gone Fishin’ Christmas,” from Nov. 10 to Dec. 31. The show revolves around two sisters who travel to Duluth to catch a big one at the Northland’s biggest ice fishing contest, only to be greeted with unseasonably warm weather that threatens to break apart the ice. With an unruly team of sled dogs, an aquaphobic intern and an old boyfriend, this show is full of laughs. Last year’s show sold out before opening night, so don’t wait to book your tickets! Yellow Tree Theatre is located at 320 5th Ave., SE, in Osseo.

State Theatre Nutcracker Performances

Celebrate Christmas with not one, not two, but three special Nutcracker performances at the State Theatre! The “Hip Hop Nutcracker,” a contemporary re-imagination of Tchaikovsky’s timeless music, will entertain you from Nov. 21 to 22. 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 to accompany the performance.

On Dec. 2, 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. 15 to 23, experience the beautiful choreography in “Loyce Houlton’s Nutcracker Fantasy,” danced by the Minnesota Dance Theatre company and guest artists.

All three 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. 8 to 10. Enjoy a date night listening to their sweet sounds of performing holiday favorites. Pantages Theatre is located at 710 Hennepin Ave., in Minneapolis.

“The Phantom of the Opera”

Cameron Mackintosh’s spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s, “The Phantom of the Opera” will be returning to the Orpheum Theatre this winter, Dec.13-31. This production boasts exciting special effects, including the legendary chandelier, new scenic and lighting designs and choreography. The story and score will be performed by a cast and orchestra of 52, making this production one of the largest now on tour. See it as a family 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 Norwegian Christmas event, Dec. 2 to 4. 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 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 2 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 skate 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! And, for more ideas for celebrating in Minneapolis Northwest, visit Five Reasons to Love Minneapolis Northwest During the Holidays!

We hope you have a wonderful holiday season! 

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  • Minneapolis Northwest CVB

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