Make the most of the winter holidays by enjoying the best Minnesota has to offer. Here are five exciting special events, combined with unrivaled cuisine and lodging choices, rolled into one getaway guide for the holidays. Out-of-towners traveling to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport (MSP) can find taxi, limousine service or rental cars. Your lodging destination should be no more than 20 minutes away. Flyers to Duluth airport can choose between taxi or car rental to get to their destination.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Best of Duluth for the Holidays

Bentleyville Tour of Lights
Bayfront Festival Park
700 Railroad St.
Duluth, MN 55802
(218) 740-3535
Dates: Through Dec. 28, 2013

Fitger’s Brewhouse
600 E. Superior St.
Duluth, MN 55802
(218) 279-2739

Canal Park Lodge
250 Canal Park Drive
Duluth, MN 55802
(218) 279-6000

Three million lights and the tallest Christmas tree in the U.S. are less than a 2.5-hour drive north of the metro area. Its only 45 minutes by plane. New York City’s famous Rockefeller Plaza Christmas Tree is only half the height of this Duluth-based monster. America’s largest walk through a lighting display is spectacular and best of all, it is free. Warm up after the walk with a burger and beer at Fitger’s Brewhouse. The more adventurous can try an elk burger, a Lake Superior smoked fish wrap or a vegetarian specialty. Wash it down with Witch Tree E.S.B. or Big Boat Oatmeal Stout, two cask-conditioned medal-winning ales. Spend the evening with local or touring entertainment. That’s all anyone would need for a long winter’s nap at Canal Park Lodge. Get a room with a beautiful view of Lake Superior and relax in a whirlpool.

Best Family Kwanzaa Celebration

Minnesota History Center
345 W. Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55102
(651) 259-3000
Date: Dec. 28, 2013
 from noon to 4 p.m.

Plan for a day of storytelling, music, dance, fashion, crafts, food demos and an art activity with family and friends. Kwanzaa celebrates seven basic values of African culture over seven days. The History Center chooses one of the seven days of Kwanzaa each year to celebrate the value of that day. The seven core principles are unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.

Best Family New Year’s Eve Celebration

Miracles of Mitch Foundation New Years Eve Celebration
Date: Dec. 31, 2013 from 5 p.m. to Midnight

Join 500 people in a kid-friendly New Year’s celebration made especially for children with cancer. Miracles of Mitch Foundation makes this event possible. Starting with a social hour at 5 p.m., followed by a special banquet, the kids will have a hard time waiting for the magician and comedian at 
7:30 p.m., activities, dance and snacks, culminating in a balloon drop at midnight. You can take in another great party at Rock the Universe by going next door to Mall of America. Meet Nickelodeon characters, dance, sing with a party band and then start the family countdown to 2014 at 10 p.m. The next day, back at the Hilton, executive chef Eric and the hotel staff will welcome New Year’s Day with a fabulous brunch.

(credit: CSB)

(credit: CSB)

Best of Minneapolis

Marquette Hotel
710 Marquette Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55402
(612) 333-4545

La Belle Vie

510 Groveland Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 874-6440

The 2013 British Arrows Awards
The Walker Art Center
1750 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 375-7600
Date: Through Jan. 6, 2014

Brit’s Pub
1110 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 332-3908

Pull into the IDS Center parking ramp at Seventh and Marquette in the middle of downtown Minneapolis. After settling into your suite, enjoy the ambiance at the MARQ VII Lounge. Or go to Basil’s Restaurant for a nice dinner while overlooking the Crystal Court in the IDS Center. The next morning, enjoy a free breakfast buffet for two. Then, head for the Skyway level and grab a Starbucks. Get on the Minneapolis Sky Way System to Macy’s, JB Hudson Jewelers, Gaviidae Common Shopping Mall or Saks Off Fifth all within a block. Take your car or cab a few blocks away to the Walker Art Center for a matinee screening of the 2013 British Arrows Awards. Formerly called the British Television Advertising Awards, this eclectic mix of wit and genius from across the pond cites the best television, online, outdoor and cinema ads. After the show, you are ready to go across Hennepin Avenue to La Belle Vie. It is the “ultimate Twin Cities dining experience,” according to Jeremy Lggers of the Star Tribune. Plan for at least a three-hour experience. You will never forget it. End your evening with an after-dinner drink at Brit’s Pub on the way back to the hotel and recount the Arrow Awards.

Related: Good Question: What’s On Top Of The IDS Center?

Best of St. Paul

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

The St Paul Hotel
‪350 Market St.
‪St. Paul, MN 55102‬
(651) 292-9292

Historic Cathedral Hill – Dacotah Building

W.A. Frost and Co. Restaurant
374 Selby Ave.
‪St. Paul, MN 55102‬
(651) 224-5715

American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition
Minnesota History Center
345 W. Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55102
(651) 259-3000

Date: Through March 16, 2014

Check in at a Minnesota landmark, the St. Paul Hotel, on Market Street. Then see the first comprehensive exhibition about an era that is talked about with great nostalgia to this day. “American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition” relives the simultaneous struggles and success of the suffragettes and the temperance movement and the passage of the 18th Amendment in 1919. Vivid accounts of Carrie Nation, rumrunners, bootleggers and legends like Al Capone show what it was like to live in the much-storied era. Where else would one go, once imbued with a vivid memory of the earlier era, than the historic Dacotah Building, likely to have been frequented by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the most famous chronicler of those times and places.

Related: Best Holiday Travel Tips For People From Minnesota

Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from Richfield High School and then the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at