• Joey Amato

Celebrate the Holidays in Minneapolis



Holiday hubbub is back in Minneapolis. Just like Santa’s elves, the merchants, artists and attractions in the city are hard at work preparing to make the season bright with sparkling lights, opportunities to #shoplocal and returning favorite holiday traditions after a year away.


Meet Minneapolis is wrapping up your shopping list and your datebook with these ideas for a festive season:


Shop local and shop small at multitudes of holiday markets:

· The Departments at Dayton’s is brand new and offers a diverse array of 33 makers selling everything from jewelry and pottery to furniture, cookies and chocolates for the next four months. It is located in the historic, renovated The Dayton’s Project building at 7th Street and Nicollet. Native Roots Trading Post will have an entire section of the makers market featuring Native American-made products like ribbon skirts, prints, beadwork, flutes and quilts. The former department store building was the site of many a holiday memory from shopping to window displays for over a century in downtown Minneapolis.

· Holiday Saturdays at the Northrup King Building, the largest arts complex in the state, located in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District, allows shoppers to browse hundreds of unique and creative works from local artists and creators every Saturday through Dec. 18.

· Union Depot European Christmas Market offers a unique shopping experience, family-friendly entertainment and intercultural activities in Saint Paul. The admission-free public event is based on the festive open-air Christkindl Markets in Germany, Austria, and other European countries. It is open through Dec. 19.

· Two dozen markets selling local makers’ wares are compiled by Meet Minneapolis and will cover everyone on your list while your holiday dollars support local artisans and small businesses. Markets such as those hosted by the Textile Center, Midtown Global Market, Betty Danger’s Country Club and breweries like Utepils, Lakes & Legends and Bauhaus Brew Lab, as well as a large Minneapolis Holiday Boutique at the Minneapolis Convention Center, will provide unique gifting opportunities through the holiday season.

Revisit the new “old” holiday traditions:

· The Dayton’s Project, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, also resurrected historically popular holiday window displays on Nicollet, including the 1980s beloved Santa Bears and 1967 Dickens Village animated characters. (See photo, attached.) For a little additional nostalgia, past Dayton’s store pianist and recording artist who has sold more than 6 million albums, Lorie Line will perform in the maker’s market on Nov. 22.

· Holidazzle returns with in-person events including the Holidazzle Yeti (think: giant, interactive abominable snowman made from recycled materials) at Peavey Plaza (Nov. 27 - Dec. 3) and Holidazzle in Loring Park (Dec. 17-19) including the Yeti, food, fireworks, amusement rides and fire pits to warm you. Little ones can do Santa Zoom calls Dec. 4 and 11.

· “A Christmas Carol” at the Guthrie premieres a new adaptation by Chicago-based adapter and director Lavina Jadhwani with all new scenery, costumes, props, lighting and sound, through Dec. 27. Additionally, Kevin Kling’s “Tales From the Charred Underbelly of the Yule Log” takes the Guthrie stage for a one-night only show on Dec. 7.

· “A Soulful Holidayat the Meet Minneapolis Visitor Center on Nicollet and 5th Street is celebrating its second year now through Jan. 2, 2022, displaying one-of-a-kind mannequin trees, created by local artist Alicia Smiley in partnership with the Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery. In conjunction with the holiday trees, free events are scheduled including opportunities to meet the artist, holiday story and art projects for kids, and musical performances.

· “All is Calm, the Christmas Truce of 1914,” at Theater Latte Da won a 2018 Drama Desk Award for Special Theatrical Experience and played on national TV on PBS in 2020. The hit show plays at Northeast Minneapolis’ Ritz Theater through Jan. 2, 2022.

Be dazzled by holiday lights:

· All is Bright Holiday Lightstour by Experience the Twin Cities takes you on the area’s only open-air “fun” bus with Santa as your chauffeur. Book the whole bus for your group of up to 13 guests. Bring your own blankets and beverages (alcoholic or non, up to you) for this bus with a covered top and open sides. Handwarmers are extra but the $3 is worth it.

· Nature Illuminated is the Minnesota Zoo’s magical narrated journey through brilliant oversized lit displays of your favorite zoo animals. View by car or set your own pace as you walk the route of this unique display you won’t find anywhere else.

· Winter Lights at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum invites you to stroll the gardens with 16 outdoor light displays, featuring flowers, nature and winter fun, and luminescent ice sculptures on an accessible, stroller-friendly walk that’s just over a half-mile. Warm up midway through the walking tour at a bonfire and roast marshmallows (packages will be for sale). On select nights, also enjoy the Winter Music series musical performance before strolling through the Winter Lights display.

For more holiday events, lights, shows and other fun, visit minneapolis.org/calendar/holidays/christmas/ and a full events calendar is here.