Creating A Scene: Guide To Holiday Family Photo Spots

I realize many people have already taken care of their requisite holiday photo by this point in the year, but if you are like me you’re just now realizing that the holiday season is upon us and you’re scrambling to get a perfect portrait of your brood. Don’t worry. There’s still time to snap a picture and get a photo card designed and ordered all before St. Nick arrives in town.

You don’t have to spend a fortune or go to a studio to get a great shot. If you want to use a professional photographer call a few, ask for a mini session and negotiate a package price for about 15 minutes of their time and a handful of photos for you. Otherwise, grab a friend to tag along to snap the photos or do it yourself with a handy small, bendy, twisty, Gorillapod.

Here are a few festive locations that will help get your creative juices flowing whether you plan to take photos of just the kids or attempt a shot of the whole family.

hero courtyard night Creating A Scene: Guide To Holiday Family Photo Spots

(credit: Mill City Museum)

Mill City Museum

704 S. 2nd St.
Minneapolis, MN 55401
(651) 259 - 3000

Hours: Tues – Sat 10a.m. – 5p.m.; Sun 12p.m. – 5p.m.

This old mill turned museum has an industrial feel to it in the large, spacious lobby with great light streaming through the floor to ceiling windows. If the weather isn’t too nasty, you can also step outside into the interior courtyard for interesting outdoor shots too.


1959 Suburban Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55119
(612) 861- 7333

Hours: Mon – Sun 6 a.m. – Midnight
Call for Holiday Hours

During the holidays, Bachman’s is always completely decked out with lights, garlands, wreaths, fantastic winter floral arrangements and beautifully decorated trees, flocked trees, skinny trees, fat trees and lots and lots of trees in different sizes. There’s even a scene of Santa’s home for the annual Santa show. Bachman’s may not have planned for you to take your family photo here, but there are a number of beautiful settings from which to choose your backdrop.

entrance4 Creating A Scene: Guide To Holiday Family Photo Spots



3675 Arboretum Drive
Chanhassen, MN 55317
(952) 443-1400

Hours: Grounds: 8a.m. – 8p.m. ; Buildings: Mon – Sat 8a.m. – 4:30 p.m. ; Sun 10a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Whether you stay outside in the Arboretum’s winter wonderland of gardens or venture inside to the find special exhibits and decorations, you’ll surely find a beautiful spot for a photo. If you aren’t a member of the Arboretum, you’ll have to pay a fee to get in, unless you go on Thursday, when it’s free all day from November through March.

115922990 Creating A Scene: Guide To Holiday Family Photo Spots

(credit: Thinkstock)

Stone Arch Bridge

Sixth Ave SE and Main St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
This beautiful old bridge spans the St. Anthony Falls of the Mississippi River. It offers fantastic views of the Mississippi, downtown Minneapolis, the Guthrie Theater, etc. It’s open to foot traffic only. This landmark site provides unlimited possibilities for photo opportunities.

93229192 Creating A Scene: Guide To Holiday Family Photo Spots

(credit: Thinkstock)

Rice Park

West 5th and Market St
St Paul, MN 55102

This tiny island-like park is a glistening, snowy white wonderland in the winter with twinkling lights gently swaying in the trees. It’s found in the center of downtown St. Paul and is surrounded by the St. Paul Hotel, the Ordway Center, the Landmark Center and the St. Paul Public Library. Rice Park has a distinct European feel to it, no matter what season it is, and during the holidays it’s an especially lovely place to stage a holiday photo.

105487459 Creating A Scene: Guide To Holiday Family Photo Spots

(credit: Thinkstock)

St. Paul Hotel

350 Market St
St Paul, MN 55102
(800) 292-9292

While you’re in the neighborhood, stop at the grand St. Paul Hotel for another photo opportunity. The magnificent lobby is especially lovely, warm and bright during the cold holiday season with festive decorations and a big, crackling fire in the fireplace.

aa003948 Creating A Scene: Guide To Holiday Family Photo Spots

(credit: Thinkstock)

Mall of America

8100 24th Ave. South
Bloomington, MN 55425
(952) 883-8800

Hours: Mon-Sat: 10 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. Sun: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Whether you have Santa in the photo with the kids and snap your own or ask to use their background scenery for a photo with the whole family, Santa’s set is sure to be a great photo backdrop. This will work at any mall that is convenient to you. Or if you have time, you could try several malls in the area until you find the scene you like best.

Anna Berend is an attorney and the author of Motherly Law Blog. On Motherly Law, Anna writes about legal issues that affect families and offers tips and resources that pertain to those legal topics. On occasion, inspiration strikes and Anna writes about something totally unrelated to the law. You can find Anna at, on Facebook at Motherly Law and on Twitter @MotherlyLaw.


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