Just-for-Fun Things to Do at Christmas in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Try These Cheap and Cheerful Diversions on Christmas Eve and Day

minneapolis nicollet mall christmas
nikitsin / Getty Images

What is there to do in Minneapolis or St. Paul on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day? The answer is there's plenty to do and much of it is outdoors. Before you head out, check to make your destination is open. Whatever you choose, keep it joyous and inexpensive, something parents or the whole family can do without breaking the bank.

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Skiing, Snowboarding and Snowtubing

Snowboarder cranks turn on mountain slope
Ascent Xmedia/Getty Images

This makes a lot of sense if you consider that some lucky people will be receiving new snow sports gear for Christmas, and they'll want to try it out right away.

Check the following websites or call for the most up-to-date hours and snow conditions.

Welch Village and Hyland Ski and Snowboard Area are reliable treats on other days during Christmas week.

02 of 11

Como Park and Como Zoo

Baby Gorilla Arlene
Courtesy of Como Zoo

This facility is open 365 days every year, and Christmas Day is no exception. The zoo and conservatory will be open on Christmas Day during regular hours. Wouldn't it be fun to visit penguins and polar bears on Christmas Day?

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Go For a Walk or Hike in a Park

Minnehaha falls frozen
Albert Leung / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Depending on how much it snows, you could be either hiking or cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. You could visit places like ​Minnehaha Park and the fantastical frozen Minnehaha Falls, go snowshoeing at Fort Snelling State Park or watch for winter birds and other wildlife at the Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area.

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Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
Charles Cook/Getty Images

The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is open daily from 6 a.m. until midnight. Its centerpiece, the colossal "Spoonbridge and Cherry" sculpture, is one of the icons of Minneapolis and a great place for photos with out-of-town visitors. The giant spoon keeps company with some 40 other works. If you are interested in photography, then the shapely sculptures, many with stark lines or bold colors, take on new meaning against the white snow.

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05 of 11

See a Movie

Riverview Theater Minneapolis
Dan / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0

Movie theaters are traditionally busy on Christmas Day. See a long-anticipated special feature and make you and your family happy.

Some movie theaters may just be screening the blockbusters at Christmastime; some screen classic Christmas movies. For instance, the Riverview Theater in Minneapolis usually shows Christmas movies in the run-up to Christmas day, and prices are bargain-basement.

06 of 11

Christmas Dinner Restaurants

Christmas Dinner
Ariel Skelly/Getty Images

Many bars are open on Christmas day, and several metro area restaurants are open for Christmas lunch and dinner. Treat yourself to a fancy meal for the holiday.

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Go Ice Skating on Christmas Day

Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel The Depot
Courtesy of Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel

Most outdoor rinks in local parks are open for skating every day. And for indoor skating, the ice rink at the Depot in downtown Minneapolis is open on Christmas Day.

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Bars and Clubs

O'Gara's Bar
Michael Hicks / CC BY 2.0

As with restaurants, some bars and clubs are open, some are closed on Christmas Day. ​O'Gara's Garage in St. Paul always has a Christmas party with live music from The Outside and several other bands.

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09 of 11

Volunteer for the Holidays

Young Hispanic family volunteering to serve food in soup kitchen
Steve Debenport / Getty Images

Give something to the community and help out with one of the many organizations and nonprofits that help the needy in the Twin Cities. There's lots to help out with, including serving Christmas dinner to the homeless.

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See Holiday Lights in the Park

Holiday lights in Rice Park, St. Paul
Doug Wallick / Getty Images

Every holiday season, Phalen Park in St. Paul is decked out in thousands of holiday lights. You can drive through to see the displays any evening, Christmas included, until January 1. Or you could drive through the center of Minneapolis to see the store lights.

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Run a 5K: The Christmas Day Joyful 5K

Charities Challenge organizes an annual Christmas Day 5K race at Lake Como in St. Paul that normally begins at 10 a.m. Participants are invited to run or walk, and families are welcome. It's a great way to preemptively run or walk off those Christmas calories.

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