Best time to go to Minnesota

Christmas Lights 2020

White Minnesota Christmas would be incomplete without the magic of lights

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Last updated: by Olga Valchyshen
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Disclaimer: Due to COVID-19 concerns, many events might be canceled, postponed, or changed into limited versions, sometimes at very short notice. Please check with event organizers directly for the latest updates (view the "External Resources" section below).

Minnesota Christmas is all about fresh snow, towering pines, and real winter fun during the day. And at night, it's time for magical excursions through illuminated tunnels and alleys! Minneapolis is especially dazzling during the holiday season. However, there's a lot to see during the holiday season throughout the whole state.

Winter Lights at Minnesota Landscape Arboretum (drive-thru only, December 1-January 3, 2021)

Winter in Bloom is an immersive, colorful, and luminescent light show that happens every winter at the University of Minnesota's Arboretum in Chaska. Amazing botanical-themed light displays are among the most popular in the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington area. Millions of lights are out there to admire, including a 22-ft tent of lights, a 3D walk-through apple, and other beautiful displays. The exhibit is open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 4 pm to 10 pm. There are also special Family Nights with kids' crafts, complimentary cocoa, and cookies. Photography Nights allow a special-access opportunity to take pictures without crowds. December Gift Market is held at the park during weekends. It features about 20 local artisans offering holiday gifts.

Glow Holiday Festival (November 19–January 3, 2021)

One of the newest Minnesota holiday light displays, located at Minnesota State Fairgrounds, has already become quite popular. Glow Holiday Festival includes an impressive one-mile drive-thru with a whopping million light holiday display. Garlands are placed over trees lining the way. There are also art installations and an illuminated gingerbread house. After exploring light displays, visitors can get a warm drink and a snack in a drive-thru food court.

Nature Illuminated at Minnesota Zoo (December 3–January 13, 2021)

Every winter, the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley turns into a magical place. Its annual Nature Illuminated show features several amazing light installations in the form of giant glowing animals. A one-of-a-kind drive-thru journey will lead you through these larger than life light displays. The zoo showcases some of the world’s most endangered animals, educating participants during the experience about different rare species. The admission fee is $50 per vehicle Sunday-Thursday or $60 per vehicle on Fridays and Saturdays. Proceeds go to support the zoo.

Celebrate Lights of the World (November 26–January 1, 2021)

Robbins Island Regional Park in Willmar gets transformed with thousands of lights every winter. One of the most popular drive-thru displays in western Minnesota is open from 5 pm to 10 pm, starting on Thanksgiving and closing on New Year's Day. Visiting the free Christmas Lights experience on Robbins Island is a cherished holiday tradition for many families in the Wilmar Lakes area. With over 800,000 lights illuminating the night, there will be plenty of memories to make and pictures to take.