Minnesota's Top 10 November 2018 Events

The holiday season kicks off with Duluth’s Bentleyville Tour of Lights, Excelsior Christkindlsmarket, Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol, and more

An aerial shot of Bentleyville Tour of Lights.
Bentleyville Tour of Lights

photo by northern images photography

Hot Funky Butt Jazz | 11/2-18

With original tunes, this 2011 play dives into a grooving, 1900s-era story of the tenacious personalities who defied racism and left a hot and funky mark on modern-day music. Set in a New Orleans venue that transforms into the “Funky Butt Hall” after midnight, the plot follows a cast of characters inspired by black cornet player Buddy Bolden and his never-before-heard blend of Congolese, Creole, Afro/Caribbean, and European sounds—a.k.a. jazz. The show is part of the Level Nine Initiative—all tickets are $9 and on the ninth floor—at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis.

A black and white portrait of the band Low.

photo by shelly mosman

Low | 11/2

This Duluth-born indie rock band returns with their 12th studio album, Double Negative, at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul. This collection preserves the heavenly harmonies of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker found on past releases, but the music and production is undeniably jarring. By adding more electronics and studio manipulation, with help from producer BJ Burton, it’s a fragmented and distorted reflection of the world as they see it.

An state of a man from ancient Egypt.
Egypt’s Sunken Cities

photo by christoph gerigk

Egypt’s Sunken Cities | Opens 11/4

The ancient discoveries of a 20-year underwater excavation have risen to the surface. Until 2000, these ruins of long-forgotten Egyptian cities Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus were deep in the Mediterranean Sea—largely due to natural disasters and rising tides that submerged the major Egyptian ports. Now, thanks to archaeologist Franck Goddio and his team, the 8,000-pound colossal sculptures, traditional jewelry, and hand-carved ceramics are on display in a traveling exhibit stopping at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

People running out of Lake Superior at Lake Superior Storm Festival.
Lake Superior Storm Festival

photo courtesy visit cook county mn

Lake Superior Storm Festival | 11/9-11

The whistling wind, wicked waves, and icy shores of Lake Superior welcome the sixth annual celebration of the lake’s infamous stormy season. In true Minnesota fashion, it’s when we go running into the freezing cold water of the North Shore, with nothing to gain but a hefty set of bragging rights, for the annual Wave Dash at Lutsen Resort. For something a little less extreme (and a lot less chilly), check out indoor activities across Lutsen and Grand Marais, including talks with local historians, tales of the gales of November, painting classes, and even a storm-gear fashion show.

Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol | 11/17-18

In a new musical making its world premiere, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol gets moved to Dolly Parton’s East Tennesse homeland. A live acoustic band performs Parton’s new original score to brighten up the grouchy, dreary, cantankerous tale of mining company boss Ebenezer Scrooge at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul.

Prescient Harbingers | 11/17-12/2

Mixed Blood Theater in Minneapolis rotates three provocative, full-length plays by African American playwrights that navigate questions of gender, privilege, race, and creative freedom. Gloria, a Pulitzer finalist, examines Gen Xers and Baby Boomers in the tense, cutthroat working environment of a failing magazine; Hooded, Or Being Black for Dummies unwraps U.S. race relations with edgy humor; and Hype Man features a hip-hop trio trying to make it big.

Digital Extra: I’m Calling HR…

Pulitzer-nominated play Gloria brings scenes of a cruel, bloodthirsty working environment to Mixed Blood Theatre. Hear some of the merciless dialogue.

Bentleyville Tour of Lights | 11/17-12/26

Often dubbed the country’s biggest walk-through light display, this 40-night spectacular of more than 5 million lights takes place along Lake Superior at Bayfront Festival Park in Duluth. After strolling through the light displays, families can sit with Santa or make memories with Mrs. Claus—all while enjoying complimentary hot cocoa, warm cookies, and roasted marshmallows.

Digital Extra: Walk-Through Wonderland

Just how extensive is Duluth’s Bentleyville Tour of Lights? See America’s largest free walk-through lighting display for yourself.

The Fish House Parade in Aitkin, Minnesota.
Fish House Parade

photo by kelly humphrey, brainerd dispatch

Fish House Parade | 11/23

Along Main Street in Aitkin, wacky, out-of-this-world fish houses swarm the streets as lutefisk- and lake-lovers look on from their lawn chairs. Along with the parade, the annual event includes a 5K run (we think adding a swim could be interesting), prize drawings, and live music.

Excelsior Christkindlsmarket | 11/23-25

Each year, this holiday-inspired, three-day festival takes over the Twin Cities west metro. Just behind Excelsior Brewing Company, expect to shop German treasures, snack and sip on European fare, and take to the curb for the Grande Parade. The family-friendly, open-air event features Alaskan reindeer, a Sugar Plum Fairy-themed kids’ center, a North Pole Trolley, and the adult-favorite Biergarten.

Small Business Saturday | 11/24

After Black Friday, support local business owners for Small Business Saturday all across the state. In Minneapolis, the annual jam-packed party outside Sociable Cider Werks features Minnesota artisans, food trucks, local vendors, live music, and unique ciders. Other weekend highlights include the Midway Holiday Pop-Up Shop at the Celtic Junction Arts Center in St. Paul, and the 50th and France Winter Market in Edina.