Turning on the Holiday Lights in St. Paul's Rice Park

I’ve never been to New York City, but if (no, when) I go, I hope to travel there around the holidays because I think Rockefeller Plaza, with its huge tree and ice-skating rink, seems pretty awesome. That said, I feel so lucky to live in the Twin Cities, where we celebrate the holidays in pretty awesome ways, too. Throughout the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas, you’ll find theater, dance, music, parades, horse-drawn carriage rides, and many more traditions. We even have our own winter wonderland, reminiscent of Rockefeller Plaza, and it’s one of my most favorite winter traditions.

Downtown St. Paul pulls out all the stops around the holidays. Each year, Rice Park, set in the center of the capital city, comes to life with millions of sparking lights. The lights flip on November 24 with a grand opening ceremony starting at 4:30 p.m. Then the lights stay on 24/7 through January 1. It makes for a lovely stroll before or after dinner at the St. Paul Grill or seeing Elf The Musical at the Ordway. Even better, we have our own skating rink, too!

The WinterSkate rink set adjacent to the historic Landmark Center offers open skating throughout the winter. Open daily, complete with a warming house, hot chocolate and skate rentals (bring your own skates and it’s free!), the rink offers a fun experience of skating amongst the downtown backdrop. As an added bonus, Rock the Ice brings live music to the rink (Dec. 7, 14, 21, 22, 23 & 28), engaging local music fans and skate lovers alike. It’s truly a family friendly, fun-filled outdoor experience.

Other activities to consider: During the lighting ceremony on November 24, Landmark Center is open and offers complimentary hot cocoa and cotton candy, a bouncy castle, and fun with Legos. Also in St. Paul, Lake Phalen’s Holiday Lights in the Park starts November 20.

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