The holiday season is almost here!
And thinking of the holiday season, one thing we LOVE is holiday light displays!
But COVID-19 is sticking around, so seeing holiday lights are a little different this year. One way they are different is that there are several drive thru light displays in the state!
But there are many that you can walk through as well.
Here are some that I’ve found – if I find more I’ll add them to the list!
This list has been so popular that I’ve created a FREE printable 6-page Christmas Road Trip Activity Set that includes a scavenger hunt and other activities for kids to do while you’re driving around looking at Christmas lights!
Sign up here to get the set PLUS my FREE Christmas Sanity Saver Pack! You’ll be subscribed to my weekly email newsletter for MORE freebies and deals and you can unsubscribe anytime.
(Note: Be sure to check each event before you go in case there are any changes or cancellations.)
The Northern Express – Excelsior and Moorhead!
11am – 8pm Daily
- DEC. 3 – DEC. 5
- DEC. 10 – DEC. 12
- DEC. 17 – DEC. 19
Rustic Oaks, Moorhead
11am – 8pm Daily
- DEC. 11 – DEC. 12
The Northern Express is an immersive holiday experience where all families can experience the magic of Christmas! Explore Santa’s workshop and kitchen, meet reindeer and llamas in the Santa Village, meet and take pictures with Santa himself, get lost in the Christmas Tree forest, and enjoy the European-inspired Christmas market brimming with exceptional local makers!
Armatage Holiday Light Tour – Minneapolis (Free)
Friday, December 10 – Sunday, December 19
5:00 – 8:00pm every night
Enjoy the colorful city streets and light displays of the Armatage Neighborhood this holiday season! The self-guided tour map will be available here by December 9 so you can plan your route.
Drive from decorated address to address.
Celebrate the Light of the World – Willmar (FREE – donations requested)
November 26 – January 1
5:00pm – 10:00pm each night
Willmar is about 1 hour west of the Twin Cities, on highway 12.
Celebrate the Light of the World kicks off Friday, November 26th!! The show will run every night from 5:00pm – 10:00pm from November 26th through January 1st, 2022!
The Christmas Story in Lights – Wayzata (FREE; donations requested)
Wayzata Community Church
125 Wayzata Boulevard East
Wayzata, MN 55391
Fridays to Sundays, December 3 – 19
Christmas Story in Lights is a drive-through experience of the Christmas Story at Wayzata Community Church. See the magic of Christmas come to life as you drive through beautifully lit story stations and listen to the Christmas story from the comfort of your own car. This year we have new lights, scenes and narration for you to experience the story in fresh ways. The experience will be open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings for the first three weeks of December. Invite your family and friends to experience “the light of the world” the Christmas through this beautiful version of the Christmas Story.
• Friday, December 3 through Sunday, December 5, 5:00-8:00 p.m.
• Friday, December 10 through Sunday, December 12, 5:00-8:00 p.m.
• Friday, December 17 through Sunday, December 19, 5:00-8:00 p.m.
Havana Lights Drive-Thru Display – Owatonna (Free – donations requested)
2048 Havana Road
Owatonna, MN 55060
We are open every day from dusk – 10:00 p.m.
There is a free will donation of money, or cat/dog food, kitty litter. Place in the containers provided.
Holiday in Lights Drive-Thru – Anoka (Free)
Anoka County Fairgrounds
December 10th – 26th, 2021
Explore the beauty of the annual Holiday in Lights display at the Anoka County Fairgrounds! This year the event is drive-through only this holiday season! Catch the joy of this beautiful display from Dec. 10-26th from 5-9 p.m.
We went last year (2020) and it was super cute.
Kiwanis Holiday Lights – Mankato (Free)
November 26th – December 31, 2021
Free and open to the public! Back for 2021, it was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID.
Light Up Princeton – Princeton (Free)
November 27 – January 1
See the map on their website with all the decorated addresses.
Drive around looking at decorated businesses and houses!
November 27th KICK OFF event: Santa to visit at the Great Northern Depot from 2-5pm , Mini Dazzle starting at 5:30pm down 1st street, lighting ceremony to take place in Riverside Park at 6pm.
Light Up the Night – Marshall (Free – donations requested)
E Lyon St.
Marshall, MN 56258
November 26th – December 26th
5:00 – 9:00pm
Light Up the Night is at Independence Park in Marshall, starts November 26th and is every Friday, Saturday & Sunday through December. Walking, hay rides, trolley rides or carriage rides through the winter wonderland of lights. The holiday carolers, concessions, Santa, Elves, skating, sledding.
This is a walk-through AND drive-thru event.
A DRIVE-THRU event will be available 5-7pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
Donations requested for Prairie Home Hospice.
Sleepy Eye Holiday Lights in Motion Drive-Thru – Sleepy Eye (Free – donations accepted)
Thanksgiving through New Year’s
5:00pm – 10:00pm
Sleepy Eye is about 2 hours southwest of the Twin Cities.
TUNE YOUR FM RADIO DIAL TO 89.1 prior to entering the park to enhance your drive thru experience.
Nightly from 5:00 – 10:00pm.
Check their website for any updates.
Valley Lights Drive-Thru Display – Lake Elmo (FREE)
November 26 – December 31
The drive-thru takes about 4 minutes. They also have wagon rides on Friday and Saturday nights 7-9pm the weekends of December 3-4; 10-11 and 17-18.
100,000+ LED lights choreographed to music you can listen to from your car. Come out and enjoy this spectacular Christmas display! Valley Lights is open to all and is an awesome opportunity for you to invite your family, friends, and neighbors. Who doesn’t love a great light show during Christmas time? The best part is: it’s totally free!
Bentleyville Tour of Lights – Duluth
November 20 – December 27, 2021
Sun – Thurs 5:00pm – 9:00pm, Fri to Sat 5:00pm – 10:00pm
We’ve loved visiting Duluth and walking through Bentleyville throughout the years. Last year it was a drive-thru experience, but this year it will be a walk-through experience again!
Here we are visiting a previous year:
Admission is FREE! However, parking is $10 per vehicle.
Christmas in Color Drive-Thru – Shakopee
November 19th, 2021 – January 2nd, 2022
Sun to Thurs 5:30pm – 10:00pm, Fri to Sat 5:30pm – 10:30pm
This holiday attraction is back at Valleyfair, and you can enjoy it from the safety of your car!
It’s called Christmas in Color, and it’s a mile-long, drive-through light and music display. It will be in Valleyfair’s massive parking lot.
Cost for Christmas in Color in Shakopee is $35 – $60 per vehicle, but there are discounts!
You have two discount options:
You can use my code FRUGALMOM15 on their website to save 15% on general admission tickets.
OR get the Groupon deal happening right now for a limited time and save up to 37%!
Last year we visited on opening night.
Christmas in the Village – Farmington
Dakota City Heritage Village
Dec. 4-5, and 11-12, 2021
If you like an old-fashioned Christmas, this is the event not to miss! It’s the first 2 weekends in December.
Bundle up your family and travel back in time to experience Christmas like it was in the early 1900s at DCHV’s “Christmas in the Village” event. This four day event features a small town of 22 buildings, decorated inside and out, for an old country Christmas. Warm your hands over wood stoves as you view antique artifacts and listen to costumed interpreters tell about Christmas from 100 years ago! (This event is suitable for all ages and is most enjoyed by families with children ages 3+)
Cost: $5 per person (children 5 and under Free). Tickets will be available online (coming soon) or at the gate. This is a cash only event!
GLOW Holiday Festival Light Experience – St. Paul
Minnesota State Fairgrounds
November 18, 2021 – January 2, 2022
Entry times are hourly between 5:00pm and 8:00pm each night
GLOW is an outdoor walk-through festival event and entry is available hourly from 5-8 p.m. Participate in a dazzling walk-through holiday light experience featuring over a million lights, illuminated trees, art installations, interactive displays, State Fair food and beverages, and other festive attractions.
We went last year when it was a drive-thru experience, and we enjoyed it! Read our review of our visit.
Kids 4 and under (Free)
- VIP admission includes:
- Access to exclusive VIP parking area
- Event center exclusive VIP gallery
- Exclusive full liquor service
- Exclusive indoor restroom facilities
When you purchase on their website, you also pay ticketing fees, but you can skip the ticketing fees and get them CHEAPER on Groupon!
Larger Than Life Lights – Duluth
Lake Superior Zoo
November 26 – December 31
All new event!
Be the first to experience the all-new after-hours event featuring SIX giant (and we mean GIANT) animal inflatables plus an assortment of holiday-themed lights and photo ops! You’ll also get to see animals like our ring-tailed lemurs, black crested mangabey monkeys, sloth, and more. The Tiger’s Paw Gift Shop will be stocked with gifts like light-up gloves, exclusive Zoo hats, local and sustainable unique items, and more! Don’t forget to stop by the Safari Café for specialty hot cocoa and snacks!
- Members: $5
- Non-members: $10
- 2 & Under are FREE!
Lights at Bluff Valley Drive-Thru – Zumbro Falls
November 5 – December 19
5:00pm – 10:00pm
Zumbro Falls is about 1 hour southeast of the Twin Cities and just north of Rochester.
This 1.5-mile drive-through light tour features exciting themed areas with over 450 light displays, over 200 animated displays and a Walk through Light Maze.
Cost is $20 per car! Watch their Facebook page for updates and possibly specials.
Nature Illuminated – Apple Valley
Open most dates from December 2 – January 16
Nature Illuminated is a magical narrated journey through brilliant oversized lit displays of your favorite zoo animals!
There will be a DRIVING TOUR and a WALKING TOUR this year.
Driving Tour December 2 – January 2: $35 – $60 per vehicle.
Members save $15 off per vehicle.
NEW! Walking Experience January 6 – 16: $14 – $20 per person.
The Nature Illuminated Driving Tour, December 2 – January 2, guides you through a world of light and awe all from the comfort of your own vehicle. The Driving Tour is accompanied by an educational and entertaining audio tour which details the power and prowess of the animal kingdom.
The Nature Illuminated Walking Experience, January 6 – 16, is an artfully designed trail where you can set your own pace and enjoy snacks and beverages as you take in the wonder of this light spectacular.
Sertoma Winter Wonderland Drive-Thru – Brainerd
November 25 – December 31
Most nights, 5:30 – 8:30pm (check their schedule)
The Brainerd Area Sertoma Club presents this annual winter wonderland drive-thru experience!
General admission is $20 per vehicle. $10 per vehicle in advance. $25 for small buses and limos.
$10 advance tickets are available at Cub and other locations in the area.
Sever’s Holiday Lights Drive-Thru – Shakopee, MN
November 26th, 2021 – January 2nd, 2022
Sun – Thurs 5:00pm – 9:00pm, Fri to Sat 5:00pm – 10:00pm
Looking for a holiday tradition the whole family will love? Our massive 2,500,00+ holiday light display dances in time to the best songs of the season, and with festive food & drink vendors, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be merry. So go ahead, pile into the car—this is one show everyone will want to see.
We went and here’s a review of our visit last year with a video!
Sunday-Thursday 5:00pm – 9:00pm
Friday-Saturday 5:00pm – 10:00pm
Tickets: $25 per car on weekdays
$35 per car on weekends
The Spirit of Winter – Waconia
The Winery at Sovereign Estate
November 20 – January 2
Times start at 4:30pm each night
A light show at a WINERY? Yes, please!
The cost is $10.00 per person (Ages 4 and under are free).
The Winery at Sovereign Estate invites you to light-up the season with us during our Spirit of Winter: Festival of Lights. The Estate is transformed into a majestic illuminated winter wonderland, with over 20 acres covered in sparkling lights. Guests can stroll the grounds and enjoy a variety of attractions like our Candy Cane Lane, life size Nativity scene, photo opportunity at Santa’s Sleigh, inflatable Snowman Social, children’s Ice Maze, real winter llamas, and Nana’s Gingerbread House!
This is a Family Friendly event that everyone is sure to love! Guests can also purchase Holly Trolley rides for a special guided tour of the decorated grounds and a range of hot treats to keep you warm and toasty! Grab hot chocolate, cookies, or smore kit for the kids! Adults can enjoy mulled wine, boozy hot cocoa, local brews, and our full range of wine! Our Blizzard Bistro will also be serving up items like chili and our famous flatbreads.
Admission must be purchased in advance online.
Winter Lights 2021 – Chaska
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
November 18th – January 2nd
Mondays – Thursdays 5:00 – 9:00pm, Fridays – Sundays 5:00 – 10:00pm.
Opening night is November 18th! Tickets go on sale November 5th.
It will be Mondays to Thursdays 5:00 – 9:00pm, and Fridays to Sundays, 5:00 – 10:00pm.
They also have special nights – Opening Night with a lighting ceremony, Photography Nights on Dec. 1 & 8, Family Nights on Dec. 2 & 9, Date Night on Dec. 16 and New Year’s Eve Party on Dec. 31.
Dress warm as it’s all outside – there are 16 outdoor light displays, featuring flowers, nature and winter fun, on an accessible, stroller-friendly walk that’s just over a half-mile. Embrace all that a Minnesota winter has to offer.
Tickets cost $10 for members, $15 for non-members, free for children ages 15 and younger.
Light Displays in Wisconsin
Miracle at Big Rock – St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin
Through January 2nd.
Walk through or drive through!
Walk Through THURS-SUN.
It costs: $12 KIDS(3 and under free) and $17 Adults.
Veterans are FREE on Thursdays. (Provide valid Military ID)
DRIVE Thru MON-WED
They have so much! Fireworks shows too.
Sam’s Christmas Village & Light Tour – Somerset, Wisconsin
November 26, 2021 – January 2, 2022
Sun to Thurs, 5:00pm – 9:00pm, and Fri & Sat, 5:00pm – 10:00pm
This one alternates drive-through nights with walk-through nights. Families have been loving it!
Cost is $12 for adults, $10 for kids ages 4 – 10, free for kids 3 and under, and 1/2 off with military ID!
Parking is $10.
Check out my other guides:
Perfect for those colder days and to include everyone in your family, especially those who may not be able to walk through displays.
Join my Facebook group, Minnesota Holiday Lights!
Are there other light displays you know of that should be added to this list?