Guide to the Holidays in Saint Paul

Guide to the Holidays in Saint Paul

Looking for some fresh winter holiday traditions to brighten up the season? Saint Paul is ready to help you celebrate.

Whether you’re looking for holiday events, where to shop for the perfect gift, a night out at the theatre, Christmas concerts, the best light displays, or take-home holiday meals, we’ve got a full list of ways to make the season bright. 


Revel in the magic of the season at a holiday event

GLOW Holiday Festival
Nov 18-Jan 2 | Minnesota State Fairgrounds     

Stroll through a dozen seasonal scenes featuring over a million holiday lights, sELFie Plaza, three-story ice palace, bike-powered tree, State Fair Food Court, Sky Glider rides and so much more!. This brilliant event is fun for the whole family. Learn more

Rice Park powered by Xcel Energy Lighting Ceremony
Nov 19 | Rice Park

Live music, food trucks and outdoor games will lead up to the flipping of the giant switch turning downtown Rice Park into a twinkling winter wonderland. Learn more.

Holidays on the Hill
Nov 26 - Dec 31, Th-Sun | James J Hill House

Experience Christmas in 1910—both upstairs and downstairs—in the sumptuous Gilded Age mansion of railroad titan James J. Hill. Enjoy self-guided access to holiday-themed exhibits and a 60-minute guided tour highlighting holiday stories and memories from both the Hill family and their staff. Learn more

Night Trains
Saturdays through Feb 26 | Twin City Model Railroad Museum

For more than 80 years, the Twin City Model Railroad Museum has created to-scale displays of trains and depots. The annual Night Trains events illuminate these tracks at this great family outing. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Learn more  

North Pole Express
Dec 3-5 & 9-12 | Union Depot

All aboard! The North Pole Express is chugging into Union Depot the first two weekends of December. Take a short train ride to the North Pole, meet Santa and his elves and enjoy meeting some entertaining characters along the way! Tickets must be reserved in advance. Learn more

Holiday Tree Lighting
Dec 4 | Union Depot

Union Depot’s Holiday Hub festivities kick-off with this event featuring the unveiling of the St. Paul Winter Carnival 2022 button followed by live entertainment and the Tree Lighting Ceremony. Finish the evening with the classic holiday movie, Elf. The tree will be lit through the remainder of December on the North Plaza, the perfect backdrop for family holiday photos!   Learn more


Holiday Flower Show
Dec 4-Jan 9 | Majorie McNeely Conservatory

The Holiday Flower Show tradition began in 1925 and continues to be the most anticipated and visited flower attraction at the Conservatory. Red, orange, and yellow novelty Poinsettias will fill the Sunken Garden with warmth and light. Learn more

Holiday Open Haus
Dec 4-5 | Germanic-American Institute

Experience German holiday traditions during his two-day event featuring authentic food and drink, local vendors and fun activities for all ages. For the kids, St. Nikolaus will be handing out candy from noon to 2 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.  Learn more

Santa’s Workshop
Dec 12 | Landmark Center

Get a free photo with Santa, and stay for games, gift making for loved ones, JB Eckert reading classic children’s Christmas stories and a festive holiday setting at Landmark Center. Learn more

Cathedral Festival of Lights
Dec 15-19 | Cathedral of Saint Paul

Be awed and amazed by immersive light shows projected on the exterior and interior of the Cathedral. The Beginning uses the 150-ft tall eastern facade as the backdrop to tell the Christmas story of wonderment and joy. With a ticket, you can make your way inside the Cathedral for Starry Night. Also, new this year, shop unique vendors at the outdoor Christmas Market, Dec 16-18. Learn more



Find the perfect gift at holiday markets

Black Friday at the Black Market
Nov 26 | The Case Building

The Black Market invites you to start, or finish, your holiday shopping buying from local, black-owned businesses in the Twin Cities. Shop a multitude of vendors providing services, home goods, personal care items, books, art, gifts and more. With everything from music, market games, space to relax and delicious food, it's a fun atmosphere for the whole community. Learn more

Holiday Market
Nov 26-28 | Schmidt Artist Lofts

Over 30 artists/artisans will be selling inspired hand-crafted gifts for everyone on your list. Good cheer and a healthy dose of holiday spirit will rule the weekend. Learn more

European Christmas Market
Nov 26 - Dec 19, Weekends | Union Depot

This European-inspired, open-aired market and magical Christmas Village at Union Depot is the only authentic Christmas Market in Minnesota running through the advent season. Shop for handmade European crafts or unique gifts from local vendors, drink Glühwein (spiced mulled wine), and taste European-inspired delicacies during four weekends in November and December.  Learn more

11 Wells Holiday Market
Nov 27, Dec 4, Dec 11, Dec 18 | 11 Wells Spirits

Every Saturday morning between Thanksgiving and Christmas 11 Wells is hosting a holiday market. Stop by to get some holiday shopping done and enjoy delicious cocktails while you do. Learn more

Landmark Center Old Fashioned Holiday Bazaar
Dec 2-4 | Landmark Center

In its 43rd year, this holiday tradition is your go-to for finding unique and handcrafted gift items by the area’s finest artists. . Festive music and delicious treats add to the enjoyment of holiday shopping. Learn more

Holiday Market
Weekends, Dec 3-16 | Keg & Case Market

Indoor holiday market with carolers, Sundays with Santa and local artisan pop-ups. Held the first 3 weekends of December. 

Holiday Bake Sale
Dec 11 | Union Depot

Take home treats from the top bakeries in the Twin Cities at the annual Holiday Bake Sale at Union Depot. Shop 30+ local bakeries and food vendors in a day filled with cookies, candy and fun! Enjoy live entertainment, meet local baking influencers and be the first 300 in line for a free gift bag! Learn more

Winter Gift Market
Every Sunday through Dec 19 | Saint Paul Brewing

The brewery hosts a rotating group of local artists, makers, and vintage collectors for a unique shopping experience in a fun setting.



Gather with loved ones for holiday theatre

Christmas of Swing
Nov 20-Dec 19 | History Theatre

In this ALL-NEW reimagining of History Theatre’s holiday classic, the Andrews Sisters open their mailbag, and letters from men and women serving overseas dance their way into the USO show and into our hearts. A streaming option is also available. Learn more

Black Nativity 
Nov 30-Dec 24 | Penumbra Theatre

A beloved holiday tradition is born anew.  Directed by Lou Bellamy, Black Nativity features familiar faces and new talent - including new lead vocals and choreography - backed by the Kingdom Life Church Choir. Learn more

It’s a Wonderful Life - A Live Radio Play
Dec 3-20 | The Saint Paul Hotel

Reconnect with the magic of the holiday season and step back in time with It’s A Wonderful Life-A Live Radio Play. See this classic story brought to life through a live performance as a WCCO radio drama at The Saint Paul Hotel. Don’t miss your chance to experience the magic of this timeless tale with your family and friends. Tickets include dinner and the show.  Learn more

Dec 10-19, Weekends | Circus Juventas

Bring the magic of circus to your yuletide celebrations with Blizzard!, the second-ever holiday performance from Circus Juventas! This Cirque du Soleil-style performance takes you on a mixed-up trip through some of the most beloved holiday stories of all time as trio of careless elves, The Big Book of Holiday Stories, and a blizzard meet up, resulting in winter chaos on the North Pole. Learn more 

Celtic Holiday Hooley
Dec 10-18, Weekends | Celtic Junction

This hosted variety show is a party for all ages with Irish music, stories, sketches, step dance, caroling, and more. Expect wacky good fun with brief guest appearances from holiday characters including The Grinch, and yes, even Santa Claus! Presented by the O’Shea Irish Dancers with a world-class band.  Learn more

Lightwire Theater’s A Very Electric Christmas
Dec 15 | Ordway Center for the Performing Arts

Experience an electroluminescent holiday hit for the whole family as dancing toy soldiers, caroling worms, and performing poinsettias light up the stage in Lightwire Theater’s A Very Electric Christmas.   Audiences of all ages will treasure this magical and captivating tale set to timeless holiday hits.  Learn more

... or a concert

Jim Brickman: The Gift of Christmas
Dec 3 | Ordway Center for the Performing Arts

Bring your family and friends for anything but a silent night as Jim Brickman warms the hearts of all with a  live and joyous concert experience that blends yuletide memories and holiday favorites with his own hit songs. Learn more

Heiruspecs Holiday Classic
Dec 3 | Turf Club

Catch hometown favorites, The Heiruspecs, for some holiday hip-hop, complete with a live band. Local openers Juice Lord and DJ Rowsheen will join them. Learn more

iHeartRadio’s 101.3 KDWB Jingle Ball
Dec 6 | Xcel Energy Center 

It’s 101.3 KDWB’s annual holiday concert, and as always, the line-up is star-studded. Performers will include Lil Nas X, The Kid LAROI, Saweetie, Black Eyed Peas, Tate McRae, Bazzi, Dixie D’Amelio and Tai Verdes. Learn more

Christmas with Cantus: Three Tales of Christmas
Dec 17 | Ordway Concert Hall

Three holiday stories are weaved together with time-honored carols and new classics. Blending narration and song, the program features "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree," alongside the newly-written "Dakota and the Snow Phoenix," offering an opportunity to reflect on the meaning and joy of the holiday season. Learn more

Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Dec 27 | Xcel Energy Center

Multi-platinum, progressive rock group Trans-Siberian Orchestra's highly-anticipated Winter Tour celebrates the 25th anniversary of the group’s landmark album Christmas Eve and Other Stories. . Learn more


Celebrate with a holiday meal from your favorite restaurant

Planning a holiday gathering with friends and family? Here are 10 spots with space for groups that are sure to please your family and friends.

Check out our list of Saint Paul restaurants that are ready to help you create a festive and stress-free holiday dinner with take-out options. Some restaurants may sell-out, so we recommend planning ahead and checking to confirm availability. 


There’s plenty of holiday cheer to share in Saint Paul—we'll let you know what’s coming next on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #MYSAINTPAUL. 


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