13 Top Christmas Concerts and Shows in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Celebrate With Holiday Plays, Musicals, Ballets, and More in the Twin Cities

Christmas Carol Guthrie Theater
Courtesy of Guthrie Theater / Photo by Dan Norman

Create fonder memories than giving a pair of socks or an electric drill for Christmas. Purchase tickets for friends and family to attend a holiday concert, play, ballet, or musical performance in the Minneapolis area. Choose from tried and true holiday classics like "The Nutcracker," the "Messiah," or "A Christmas Carol," or pick something unique like an original production from the Hennepin Theater District. Many of the Minneapolis-St. Paul performances are free, but if you need to purchase tickets, do so early because they often sell out fast.

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    This may be the classic of all classics for the holidays. The Metropolitan Ballet and Hopkins Youth Ballet annually perform three performances of Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker" with a full symphony orchestra at the Hopkins Auditorium in mid-December. 

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    The traditional Twin Cities' holiday production of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" plays at the Guthrie Theater each November and December. Although it's been performing this holiday show for decades, the Guthrie makes it fresh and full of wonder every year. No children under 5 admitted.

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    2017's holiday show for children is "Disney's Beauty and the Beast Jr." and plays throughout December. On December 3, there is a special "Pay as You're Able" performance (minimum of $5 a ticket recommended). December 8 has an audio-described service for the visually impaired and December 10 is an ASL-interpreted performance for the hearing impaired.

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    The Ordway in St. Paul annually presents a magical holiday production or two for kids and adults alike. Past years have seen outstanding productions like "The Wizard of Oz," adapted by Andrew Lloyd Webber, and the Broadway hit musical "Annie."

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    The Minnesota Boychoir performs winter holiday concerts annually in December and January at various venues in Minneapolis and St. Paul, and residents of the Twin Cities love it. Venues include the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis and Landmark Center in St. Paul. All shows are free, but a donation is requested.

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    The Hennepin Theatre District presents all kinds of holiday entertainment in several restored historic theaters. Events can range from a performance of "Swan Lake" by a renowned Russian ballet company to plays, concerts, choral music, and holiday shows with local stars.

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    Minnesota always brings a fun and entertaining group to perform for the holidays at the Fitzgerald Theater, including The Steeles family for a concert of sacred and secular holiday music. This 1,000-seat venue acts as Minnesota Public Radio's largest broadcast studio.

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    The Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus presents an annual holiday show featuring the chorus, small ensembles, and special guests. The holiday "spectacular" takes place at the Ted Mann Concert Hall in Minneapolis over a three-day weekend in early December. 

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    The Actors Theater of Minnesota presents two holiday shows every December at the Camp Bar and Cabaret at Camp in St. Paul. A returning favorite is "Simply Barbra: a Christmas Show" featuring an impressionist performing songs from Barbra Streisand's "A Christmas Album." 

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    The choral group VocalEssence has been performing its annual holiday concert every December for four decades. The group performs at churches in Apple Valley, Plymouth, Minneapolis, Edina, and Stillwater. The Star of Wonder performance is a 45-minute concert featuring favorite carols, and the whole family is expected to clap, wiggle, and sing along. Children age 3 and under are free.

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    Holiday concerts at Twin Cities colleges are produced and performed by students, faculty, and staff. Most take place in the first week of December, and purchasing tickets in advance is recommended. Several performances are free. Augsberg College celebrates the season with the Advent Vespers tradition of hymns, anthems, and carols. Other colleges with Christmas concerts include Concordia College and Bethel University.

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    The Minnesota Opera typically presents a holiday performance of some kind, such as the world premiere of the original opera "Silent Night." There's an annual free Project Opera Winter Concert featuring young singers. Check the opera website for holiday shows and ticket availability.​

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    The Minnesota Orchestra annually celebrates Christmas with joyous concerts every December. Buy tickets early while a good selection of seats is available. Previous concerts have included "Home for the Holidays," and Latin, jazz, and gospel caroling classics.