It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No, I’m not just repeating what Andy Williams is saying to me through my headphones, I really do believe it. During this season, the city sparkles—and it’s more than just the hanging lights. It’s the music, the theater, the events, the general festive warmth you feel as you make your way through the streets. Join us, as we celebrate the season.
Morning: Head to Macy’s to feast on a breakfast buffet alongside Santa himself (tickets required). After, take the elevator up to the eighth floor to experience life in “Elf Village” at the department store’s annual holiday event. Here, animated displays show Santa’s elves waking up, making toys, and everything in between. You can even grab a treat from Mrs. Claus’ Bakery on your way out.
Holidazzle Parade; Photo by Todd Buchanan
Mid-day: If you still have people to check off your Christmas list, continue shopping at Macy’s or any of the other many downtown stores accessible by skyway, including a two-level Target and those found in the IDS Center, Gaviidae Common or City Center. If you have a good handle on gifts, lace up your skates and head to the rink at The Depot, named to Fodor’s list of the 15 Best Ice Skating Rinks in the U.S. Or, check out the American Swedish Institute and its current exhibit, Jul to the World: A Nordic Christmas, and learn about the holiday traditions of Sweden, Iceland, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Mexico. For lunch, it depends on where you are. If you’re shopping, try Mission American Kitchen & Bar or Basil’s Restaurant. If you’re at The Depot, dine at the onsite Charley’s Grill. At the institute, don’t miss FIKA café, which serves lauded Scandinavian cuisine.
Evening: If you’re here on a Friday or Saturday, don’t miss the Holidazzle Parade. Filled with music, lights and storybook floats, the parade has been a favorite tradition for 21 years, but sadly this is the last year it will run. Any other night of the week, catch a holiday production. There’s A Christmas Carol at the Guthrie Theater, A Don’t Hug Me A Christmas Carol at New Century Theatre, I Saw Daddy Marry Santa Claus at Brave New Workshop, All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 at the Pantages Theatre or The Santaland Diaries at The Cowles Center. All of these venues (minus the Guthrie) are located along Hennepin Avenue, where you’ll also find a number of restaurants, including Marin, Crave and Solera. At the Guthrie, dine downstairs at Sea Change or across the street at Spoonriver.