If you are thinking of a holiday getaway, St. Paul Minnesota may be the ideal destination.
As the capital city of Minnesota, St. Paul couples with Minneapolis to make up the ‘Twin Cities’. It is home to the Science Museum of Minnesota, the Minnesota History Center and the Cathedral of St. Paul. With so much to see and do, you can bet it makes a great holiday getaway. Here are some things you can look forward to doing when you’re in town.
St. Paul European Christmas Market
St. Paul is one of the few cities to host a European style Christmas market. The market started in 2011 as a 3-day event with twelve kiosks. It has since grown into a 9-day event with 50 kiosks attracting over 65,00 visitors each year.
The market was created to support local artisans and vendors and it’s a great place to find unique items like ornaments, candles, decorative glass, jewelry, wool mittens and scarves and holiday treats. It is the ideal place to get some holiday shopping done.
GLOW Holiday Festival
This one mile walk through event is filled with over a million holiday lights, icicle and art installations and a drive through food court. All proceeds are donated to local nonprofits with over $9000 in donations being raised in recent years.
Holiday Lights Downtown
Downtown St. Paul is a sight to see during holiday time. The shops and building are lit up with the holiday spirit. While there, be sure to check out Mears Park and Rice Park, both of which will have a festive look for the holiday. In late November, the city hosts a tree lighting at Mears, a festive event the entire family will enjoy.
Nature Illuminated at the Minnesota Zoo
Nature Illuminated is a drive through event accompanied by an audio tour. It is a unique experience that highlights the plights of endangered animals and conservation efforts being made to protect them. It takes you through various wildlife landscapes including temperate forests, grasslands, oceans, tropical forests and arctic zones.
The event features amazing illuminated inflatables designed by a team of professionals whose work has been featured at several award shows and auspicious events. It makes Nature Illuminated a holiday special that is not to be missed.
Union Depot Holiday Tree Lighting
Union Depot is a historic railroad station and transit hub located in the Lowertown neighborhood of St. Paul. Every year it turns into a holiday center offering a Tree Lighting and Movie Night.
The event kicks off with live holiday entertainment. Then guests move outdoors to enjoy the tree lighting and a brief firework display.
Then it’s back inside to catch a holiday themed double feature. Hot dogs, candy and other snacks are available for purchase.
The European Christmas market is located in the East Wing of the depot so you can swing over there at any point during the festivities.
Union Depot also hosts a holiday bake sale which is a great way to enjoy delicious, festive treats.
Cathedral Illuminated: The Manger
The Cathedral of St. Paul is one of the most distinctive cathedrals in the United States. It sits on Cathedral Hill overlooking the city’s downtown area and features a unique copper-clad dome. It is dedicated to St. Paul the Apostle who the city is named for.
Every year the Cathedral features a Christmas story told with large scale light murals accompanied by uplifting music. Images are projected onto the side of the building making for a 12 minute long show that is run in a loop from 6-9 PM over the course of one weekend in December. It is created by an award-winning design company making it a must-see attraction.
All is Bright Holiday Light Tours
If you want to check out the Twin Cities in their holiday finest, the All Is Bright Holiday Light Tour is the way to go. Brought to you by Explore Minnesota, you will ride on and open-air bus with Santa and a lively Elf at your service. You can even BYOB to make the trip jollier.
For a bit more fun, you can have the whole bus to yourself. For $150, you can rent the bus and enjoy the tour with 12 of your best buddies.
Landmark Center Old Fashioned Holiday Bazaar
This holiday bazaar is another great destination for getting holiday shopping done. You can visit the center to pick up unique handcrafted goods like soap, lotions, home décor, jewelry and more. Festive music will be played, and holiday treats will be available for purchase.
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Every year the Hmong New Year is celebrated at the River Centre. This is a lively two-day event that draws thousands of attendees from around the world. It includes dance, crafts, music, vendors and more.
St. Paul has the largest population of Hmong people, a Southeast Asian ethnic group located in the southern part of China. Therefore, it is the perfect location to celebrate the New Year and the vibrant culture of the people.
The event occurs in early December and is open to Hmong people and non-Hmong people alike.
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For many people, it’s just not Christmas without a trip to see The Nutcracker. In St. Paul, a special performance is featured at the Ordway Center of Performing Arts. This contemporary version replaces ballet with hip hop making for an updated version that’s not to be missed.
Check out a schedule of events to see what other holiday performances the Ordway will be hosting during your stay.
St. Paul is a great place to visit any time of year, but the holidays promise to offer tourists even more to enjoy. What will you be checking out when you come to town?