By Amy Rea

The holiday season has, as it inevitably does, arrived full force again, and there are so many things to do. And just not in the Twin Cities, but all over the state. Here are just a few suggestions of things to do from now through New Year’s, whether you’re hanging out in the metro area or heading outstate for some family holiday time.

The annual Holidazzle Parade will wrap up its 2010 run this weekend, with parades nightly from 12/16-19. You can enjoy the parade even more if you take advantage of some of the wonderful food options, like Vincent’s crepe stand.

If you’re going to be in Duluth over the weekend of 12/18-19, call to see if there’s still availability for the Glensheen Holiday Brunch, which comes with a brief tour of the estate.

The Minnesota Historical Society has plenty of ways to enjoy the holidays. St. Paul’s Alexander Ramsey House offers a Victorian Homecoming Tour on selected days through 1/2. Not to be outdone, the James J. Hill House has Hill House Holidays, a festive tour, on 12/18-19 and 26, and Victorian Christmas Stories on 12/26. Finally, the Oliver H. Kelley Farm in Elk River presents Christmas on the Farm 12/18-19.

For a festive way to see out the holiday season, head up to Duluth and take a train from Fitger’s to the Bentleyville Tour of Lights, offered through 12/26. Held at the Bayfront Festival Park, the Tour of Lights offers a splendid array of holiday decorations, live music — and plenty of bonfires for toasting more marshmallows.

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum has all kinds of things going on Making Spirits Bright events. There’s a wonderful array of nature-oriented decor with a delightful exhibit of gingerbread houses, constructed by some of the Twin Cities top bakers. Live music is frequently offered, and holiday teas will be given through 12/30.

The MLA isn’t the only Arboretum celebrating the season. In Brainerd, the Northland Arboretum has lots going on for Winter Wonderland, including occasional visits from Santa and horse-drawn carriage rides.

If you’re going to be in the northwestern part of the state for New Year’s, check out Grand Fork’s First Night event. A family friendly New Year’s Eve celebration, First Night has live performances, kids’ activities, dances, and fireworks to ring in the New Year.

Looking for a peaceful, soothing New Year’s Eve experience? Head over to Wood Lake Nature Center in Richfield for Candlelight & Ice, and enjoy a candlelit hike followed by hot cocoa and toasted marshmallows.

However you choose to enjoy the season, I wish you the best and brightest! Wander Minnesota will return the first week of 2011 with even more things to do in this great state.

What else is happening in our state? Be sure to check out the 10 p.m. Sunday night WCCO newscasts, where you can learn more in the weekly segment, Finding Minnesota.

Comments (4)
  1. Jeanne says:

    Love all of the suggestions. I’m thinking about the event at the Woodlake Nature Center. Thanks!

  2. Amy says:

    I hear it’s beautiful, Jeanne. Hope it’s not -20F!

  3. tom says:

    it sucks. Santa. is fake. glad I don’t live in that cold ass state.

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