Wander MN: Things To Do Thanksgiving Weekend — Other Than Shop

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Amy Rea Amy Rea
Amy Rea is a freelance writer and author of Minnesota, Land of 10,000...
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You’ve slept off the turkey, you’re not interested in battling crowds on Black Friday, but you have free time and possibly family and friends to entertain. What is there to do this weekend? Plenty. Here is just a sampling of events taking place around the state in the days after Thanksgiving.

The Minnesota History Center has its own take on Black Friday this year. Doors open at 6 a.m., and while you can certainly shop (the History Center’s stores are jam-packed with all things Minnesota), the History Center will be giving visitors a few things too, including free memberships, free knit caps for kids, free gift bags, and the all-important donuts and coffee.

Holidazzle kicks off Friday night in Minneapolis and will run Thursday-Sunday through 12/23. The parade starts at 6:30, but come early for a good spot to watch, and stay after for dinner.

There are a number of other communities across the state that host parades of lights this Friday night, among them: Bemidji’s City of Lights Parade; Melrose has its Mini-Dazzle Parade, followed by fireworks; Little Falls has its Santa Parade; New Ulm has its Parade of Lights; and International Falls hosts the Twas the Lights Before Christmas Parade

On Friday in Aitkin, there’s a different kind of parade: the annual Fish House Parade. This is your best—and likely only—opportunity to stand in one spot and see a huge contingent of decorated fish houses float by.

In Rochester, the historic Mayowood Mansion is decorated for the holidays and open for tours. This was the home of Dr. Charles Mayo, co-founder of the Mayo Clinic.

Saturday marks the opening of the annual Wells Fargo WinterSkate at Rice Park in St. Paul. A grand opening celebration starts at 4:30 p.m. Bring your own skates, or rent them for $2.

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum kicks off its annual holiday extravaganza with Making Spirits Bright, a lavish display in the Great Hall and the nearby grounds. The exhibit opens 11/23, and the weekend features a number of special events and live music. The holiday teas kick off on 11/24—these are very popular, so call for reservations (612-626-3951).

The Wood Lake Nature Center in Richfield has a Turkey Trot Fitness Hike on 11/25. This brisk guided tour will not only burn off some of those Thanksgiving calories, but teach you about the flora and fauna around Wood Lake.

On Saturday, the Charles Lindbergh Home in Little Falls will host a 1918 Christmas with the Lindberghs. Costumed guides will give tours of the home and provide information about the famous family.

If you’re in Duluth, take a ride on the Polar Express. The brightly lit train will take you down the lakewalk to the Lake Superior Railroad Museum for a reading of The Polar Express and a visit with Santa before returning to Fitgers for hot cocoa and a campfire. The Polar Express runs Friday-Sunday through 12/16.

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

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