Best Places to See Holiday Lights in Saint Paul

Best Places to See Holiday Lights in Saint Paul

An insider guide on where to catch the most stunning light displays this holiday season.

Immerse yourself in the holiday spirit this winter by taking a journey through Saint Paul’s best light shows. From Summit Avenue to the East Side, these displays are sure to dazzle you with all of their festive glory.


1. Rice Park

The switch for Rice Park powered by Xcel Energy will be flipped on during a lighting ceremony on Nov. 19, turning the park into a twinkling winter wonderland. Don’t let the season pass you by without making plans to experience this festive scene in downtown Saint Paul.

2. Mears Park

Take a stroll through the colorful lights at this beautiful and beloved park

3. Union Depot

Just down the block from Mears Park you’ll find Union Depot’s giant holiday tree, the perfect backdrop for some socially distanced photos! 

4. Summit Avenue

Home to the Minnesota Governor's Residence and some of the state’s most historic homes, the 4.5-mile stretch is a great destination for a cool winter walk or for those looking to experience the lights from the warmth of their cars.

Find a similarly lit tree a few blocks off Summit at Cathedral Hill's Boyd Park. 

5. Cathedral Festival of Lights | Dec. 15-19 

Be awed and amazed by this immersive light show projected on the exterior of the Cathedral. The Beginning tells the Christmas story of wonderment and joy on the 150-ft tall eastern facade. The 12-minute show runs on a continual loop for pedestrians to view - Dec 15-19. 

6. Experience the Twin Cities All is Bright Holiday Lights Tour

Bundle up for this open-air fun bus tour — with a covered top and open sides, it’s the perfect way to view twinkling lights along brightly decorated streets in a fun safe way. Choose your date and time slot to book the bus for your private party of up to 13. Every weekend through Dec. 26.

7. York Avenue

Make a stop at 1526 York Ave. to see 60,000 lights choreographed to “Rockin’ Rudolph” on 91.5 FM. The display is put on by the Schultz Family and runs nightly from 5-10 p.m., Nov. 26 to Dec. 31. Don’t forget to bring some canned goods — the site supports the Greater East Side by collecting food for the Merrick Food Shelf.

8. GLOW Holiday Festival

This brilliant event for the whole family is a 1-mile drive-thru with a dozen seasonal scenes featuring over a million holiday lights, sELFie Plaza, three-story ice palace, bike-powered tree and other attractions. The festival runs through Jan. 2. 

9. Nature Illuminated

Minnesota Zoo has a magical world waiting for you with Nature Illuminated, a one-of-a-kind drive-thru experience featuring stunning light work and larger-than-life animal art installations. The display is up through Jan. 16. 

10. Saint Paul Park

While the judging of Saint Paul Park’s annual holiday lights contest only runs from Dec.16-20 (with lights on each night from 5-10 p.m.), you can enjoy the views all season long. Keep an eye on the city’s website for a complete list of nominated homes.


We'd love to see where you're checking out the lights this season. Share your holiday cheer with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #MYSAINTPAUL!

Main image by @jsmphotographymn on Instagram.

Union Depot Attractions/Things to Do Union Depot
Minnesota Zoo Attractions/Things to Do Minnesota Zoo