Guide to Christmas in Minneapolis and St. Paul

A house in Minneapolis decked out for the holidays.
Tony Webster / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.5

December in Minnesota essentially guarantees you a white Christmas. Most other necessities for the holiday, however, you'll have to provide yourself. Here's a comprehensive guide to shopping, food, Christmas trees, volunteering for the holidays, holiday light shows, and other Christmas events in the Minneapolis and St. Paul area.

  • 01 of 08

    Malls and Shopping Centers

    Mall of America, Bloomington, Minnesota, USA
    Getty Images/Douglas Sacha

    Minnesotans are blessed with the largest mall in the country, and plenty of other malls too. Brave the Mall of America -- which starts getting busier and busier from around Thanksgiving -- or try one of the several other large malls located all around the Twin Cities.

    For bargain Christmas shopping, try one of the local outlet malls, a handful of which are only a short drive out of the Twin Cities. And in town, there are several designer outlet stores in and around Minneapolis.

  • 02 of 08

    Shopping Streets and Neighborhoods

    There are several shopping districts around the Twin Cities which have many independent stores mixed in with some chain stores. Edina and Grand Avenue in St. Paul are the best known, but there are several more places to spend an afternoon shopping for Christmas gifts. Here's the best shopping districts and neighborhoods in Minneapolis, St. Paul and around the Twin Cities.

  • 03 of 08

    Volunteering for the Holidays

    One of the best gifts you can give this year is your time to help out a local non-profit. You can also adopt a needy family and buy them Christmas gifts, or help with their holiday meal. Most community organizations and churches appreciate volunteers during the holidays. 

    Popular volunteer opportunities fill up fast -- so if what you want to do is already covered, make a resolution to volunteer sometime in the new year when volunteers are needed just as much.

  • 04 of 08

    Christmas Trees

    Christmas Tree Lot With Snow at Dusk.
    Getty Images/E+/jmichl

    Where can you get a Christmas tree in Minneapolis? Christmas tree lots spring up all over the city every year. Whether you want an affordable Christmas tree, or maybe spend a little more and get a sustainably grown tree, you can get the holiday tree you want in the Twin Cities.

    One of the most fun memories of Christmas is cutting your own Christmas tree. Here's where to find Christmas tree farms around the Twin Cities. Most offer extras like hot chocolate, cookies, wagon rides, baked goods to make it a memorable family day out.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    A gift of tickets to a holiday show will create much fonder memories for your loved ones than soap or socks. Here's the pick of the best holiday shows in Minneapolis, St. Paul and the Twin Cities. There's something for everyone: big productions, college performances, children and family shows, and free shows.

  • 06 of 08

    Free Holiday Events

    Catch a break from all the expense of the holidays with these free holiday events, parades, skating, music, tours, and more.

  • 07 of 08

    Holiday Lights

    Rice Park Christmas
    Getty Images/Doug Wallick

    See a huge display put on to raise money for charity, drive around neighborhoods and past houses famous for their Christmas light displays, see the Governor of Minnesota's Holiday lights, or take in one of the indoor light shows around the Twin Cities. Here are the best places to see ​holiday lights in Minneapolis, St. Paul and around the Twin Cities.

  • 08 of 08

    Things to Do on Christmas Day

    You've opened your presents -- now what? If you aren't needed to help with the cooking, you're probably curious about what's open in Minneapolis on Christmas Day. While many establishments are closed, there's still plenty of enjoyable things to see and do in the area.