Make Your Way through Holiday Land

Miracle at Lawless Distilling
Miracle at Lawless Distilling

The holidays bring forth all kinds of memories, including games received as gifts or played together at the table. Remember Candy Land? It’s a walk through a gumdrop and licorice village, with twists and turns and surprises as you go. As you step into this festive season, enjoy the stops along the way — from bustling markets to beautiful concerts, to giving moments and goofy fun. This guide is filled with ideas of things to do, so take a step forward, into Holiday Land!


MARKETS & SHOPPING


Holiday Gallery Shop

Peruse eco-friendly handmade fiber gifts from over 100 artists. Find wearables, home decor and gifts — plus books, professional art supplies and tools, fiber craft kits and other unique finds. See work from artist Wendy Richardson, who specializes in over-dyed vintage textiles, accessories, apparel and quilt fabrics.  

When: Nov. 1–Dec. 24. Monday–Thursday, 10 a.m.–7 p.m.; Friday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Sunday, noon–4 p.m.

Where: Textile Center, 3000 University Ave. SE

Info: textilecentermn.org, 436-0464. Parking lot at 3018 University Ave. SE. 


Plate & Parcel Holiday Market 

Formerly the Linden Hills Holiday Market, Plate & Parcel takes place in the spacious greenhouses of Wagner Garden Centers every Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 22.
Bustling with Christmas trees, festive winter home and garden decor and the wares of over 60 different vendors, it’s a one-stop shop for holiday lists and decorating.

When: 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 22 

Where: Wagner Garden Centers, 6024 Penn Ave. S.

Info: mplscraftmarket.com. Large on-site parking lot plus free street parking.


Up North Holiday Gift Gallery 

Explore the creations of regional artists while you get a head start on holiday shopping. The gallery space is transformed into a market filled with handmade items including mittens, jewelry, pottery, aprons and paintings. Stop in on Nov. 16 to be part of a raffle of artisan-crafted items.

When: Free opening reception 5–8 p.m. Nov. 14. Open 9 a.m.–9 p.m. Monday–Friday; 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Saturday through Dec. 27 (closed Nov. 28, Dec. 24–25).

Where: Edina Art Center, 4701 W. 64th St., Edina

Info: edinamn.gov/150/Art-Center, 952-903-5780


Merry Thriftmas

Merry Thriftmas

Find festive fashions, holiday decorations, bakeware and more — all at thrifty prices. Personal shoppers are on hand to help you put together a holiday outfit for less than $25. Buy baskets or vintage coolers to use instead of gift wrap. 

When: 9 a.m.–9 p.m. Monday–Friday; 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Open through Dec. 31 (closed Nov. 28, Dec. 24–25) 

Where: Arc’s Value Village, 6528 Penn Ave. S.

Info: arcsvaluevillage.org


Mill City Farmers Winter Market

Pop inside to stay warm and still experience this farmers market that has goods from over 40 local farmers, food makers and artists. Enjoy live acoustic music while you shop for handmade gifts including body products, jewelry and homeware. Kids can take part in the Power of Produce veggie-tasting club, then help you pick out weekly groceries from local and organic vendors. 

When: 10 a.m.–1 p.m., Nov. 16 and 23 and Dec. 7 and 14 

Where: Mill City Museum, 704 S. 2nd St.  

Info: millcityfarmersmarket.org, 612-341-7580


Northern Clay Center Holiday Open House 

Get the holiday gift wheels turning as you peruse ceramic pots in the gallery, watch artist demonstrations and participate in free hands-on clay activities. Enjoy locally made treats, cider and Somali coffee — plus complimentary gift wrapping on anything you purchase. 

When: Noon–4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17

Where: Northern Clay Center, 2424 Franklin Ave. E.  

Info: northernclaycenter.org, 339-8007


MN Christmas Market

MN Christmas Market 

Shopping with a charitable twist: It’s a merry way to multitask. The homegrown brands and makers at this annual holiday pop-up donate 7% of sales to a local charity. This year’s charity is The Reel Hope Project, an organization that is committed to helping kids in foster care find forever homes. 

When: 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17

Where: Nicollet Island Pavilion, 40 Power St. 

Info: mnxmasmarket.com


The Artful Present Veronique Wantz Gallery

The Artful Present: Holiday Art & Gifting Event 

Browse sculptures, wood-fired stoneware serving dishes, wax and resin jewelry and paintings at the gallery — many are in smaller sizes to make them easily giftable. Artist Kei Gratton will sell her tarot paintings (and do readings for a few lucky guests). This building-wide holiday market also includes neighbor stores ŪMEI and Spring Finn & Co., plus three pop-up shops and live jazz music. 

When: Noon–6 p.m Friday, Nov. 22, and 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23 

Where: Veronique Wantz Gallery, 901 N. 5th St. 

Info: veroniquewantz.com, 254-2838


Green Gifts Fair

Seeking green this holiday season? Head to Midtown Global Market for this annual event whose theme this year is My Green Community. Check out holiday gift ideas from 80-plus vendors, enjoy live music and stage demonstrations and peruse over 30 global food options. A family exploration space and a passport to fill out for prizes keeps it fun for kids, too. 

When: 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23

Where: Midtown Global Market, 920 E. Lake St.

Info: doitgreen.org. $1 donation accepted at the door.


The Hook Holiday Market

Stop in at this former fire house (now music venue and arts hub) for an art fair featuring the work of 20+ local artists. Peruse both the main theater and the Mission Room to find rock posters, prints, magnets, fine art and more. With kids activities, community painting, food and the Douala Soul Collective DJs in each room, it’s a bring-the-whole-family event. Stay for one or both of the live music concerts that follow the art fair in both spaces.

When: Nov. 30, 12–6 p.m.

Where: Hook and Ladder Theater and The Mission Room, 3010 Minnehaha Ave.


Julmarknad 

A delightful holiday market — with a nod to Sweden, of course — the Julmarknad offers cozy strolling over cups of coffee or mulled wine. More than 55 talented local and regional artists offer handmade items as Nordic music and dance groups perform and on-site cafe FIKA serves festival-style food (including a holiday bake sale). New: a Friday night preview party to tour the holiday exhibition, where you can get first dibs on shopping, talk with curators and enjoy appetizers and glögg. 

When: Preview party, 6–8:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6; Julmarknad, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, and 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8 

Where: American Swedish Institute, 2600 Park Ave. 

Info: asimn.org, 871-4907. Tickets: $15 adults, $10 seniors, $6 ages 6–18. A.S.I. members and children under 5 get in free. Preview party tickets: $75.


Nordic Julemarket 

You don’t need to have Scandinavian roots to shop and drink your way through the festive scene at the fourth annual Nordic Julemarket. Taking cultural inspiration from the five Nordic countries — Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden — this holiday market adds traditional folk music and dancing into the shopping mix. And for energy: food trucks onsite.  

When: 3–8 p.m Friday, Dec. 6; noon–8 p.m Saturday, Dec. 7; noon–6 p.m Sunday, Dec. 8 

Where: Utepils Brewing Co., 225 Thomas Ave. N. 

Info: nordicjulemarket.com


Winter Market 

Stop in to Downtown Minneapolis’ Sisyphus Brewing for a cozy afternoon of crafty vendors, a warm taproom and all kinds of tastings of their craft brews. Will a stout, pilsner or ale help you make better gift-buying decisions? Well, since there’ll be 15 vendors’ wares to choose from, let’s go with yes. 

When: Noon–5 p.m Saturday, Dec. 7 

Where: Sisyphus Brewing, 712 Ontario Ave. W.

Info: sisyphusbrewing.com


A Handmade Holiday Market

Bring the kids, bring the dog, order a beer and make holiday shopping fun (and a family affair). Talk with local artists and makers while you try the Belgian-style beers that are the specialty of this handsome Loring Park brewery. Every Saturday has a different lineup of vendors, so you can check back as you check off your list. The final Saturday market’s aptly named Procraftinate. 

When: Noon–5 p.m. Dec. 7, 14 and 21 

Where: Lakes & Legends Brewing, 1368 LaSalle Ave.

Info: lakesandlegends.com or mplscraftmarket.com, 999-6020


Linden Hills Wine and Stroll

A festive evening for adults, the third annual December wine and stroll lets grown-ups pop in and out of area shops, enjoying a glass of wine as they make headway on holiday shopping. Businesses offer discounts, special offers, gifts or swag bags, and the streets outside are filled with music as St. Kate’s a cappella group Femme Vocale sings holiday carols. 

When: 5–9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12 (Individual store hours may vary.) 

Where: 43rd Street and Upton Avenue South, Linden Hills

Info: explorelindenhills.com


RedHot Art Market 

Let the fires and spirits warm you at this unique center dedicated to the world of fire arts. At their fourth annual holiday market, find unique gifts while supporting local artisans — past wares have included ceramics, paintings, sculpture and 3D printed puzzles. The center offers classes and studio rental, and 30% of the proceeds from the holiday market go toward their scholarship fund. 

When: 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14 

Where: Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center, 3749 Chicago Ave. 

Info: cafac.org, 294-0400


Women's Art Festival

Women’s Art Festival

Starting in 1992 with a handful of artists, the Women’s Art Festival has grown to this year’s 136 vendor booths and a full live music schedule. The bright, airy space where it’s been held since 2014 supports the festival’s mission to provide a welcoming place for local women artists to show and sell their creations. Food, beverages and treats are available from a women-owned coffee shop.  

When: 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14 

Where: Colin Powell Youth Leadership Center, 2924 4th Ave. S. 

Info: womensartfestival.com. Free covered parking in the Wells Fargo ramp one block away.


ACTIVITIES & DISPLAYS


Lutefisk Dinner 

If you’ve never been to a lutefisk dinner, well…there’s no time like the present! Experience a Scandinavian-American holiday tradition of having lutefisk baked and served with cream sauce and melted butter. And if fish isn’t your thing (or lutefisk isn’t your thing), there are other choices including Swedish meatballs, potatoes, homemade lefse and more. Kids activities, a photo booth, and live music round out the day. Norweigan sweaters encouraged. 

When: 3:30–7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 16 

Where: Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 4100 Lyndale Ave. S.  

Info: bethlehem-church.org, 312-3400. Tickets: $21 adults, $16 young adults 18–28, $8 youth 8–17, free for children 7 and under.


Museum of Russian Art

Christmas with the Tsars

View Imperial-era Christmas ornaments, greeting cards and other Christmas memorabilia at the Museum of Russian Art. Imperial porcelain from the Romanov household is also on display. And don’t miss the tree decorated with Faberge-themed ornaments. 

When: Nov. 16–Jan. 26

Where: Museum of Russian Art, 5500 Stevens Ave.

Info: tmora.org, 821-9045. Tickets: $12 adults, $10 seniors 65+, $5 students, free for children 13 and under. Free for museum members.   


Holiday Feztival of Trees 

Take a walk through beautiful and unique trees at this third annual event that’s both fun and a fundraiser for the Zuhrah Shriners’ operational needs. In between the ooh-ing and ahh-ing at trees, you can purchase a raffle ticket to win a tree (including everything under it), and St. Nick is there for the kiddos, too. Holiday shopping choices are on hand, plus food and beverage for purchase. 

When: 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21; noon–8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 22 and 23

Where: Zuhrah Shrine Center, 6120 Blue Circle Drive, Minnetonka

Info: holidayfeztivaloftrees.com. Free.


Miracle at Lawless 

If “subtle” isn’t in your vocabulary when it comes to Christmas decorations, make sure you stop at this South Minneapolis distillery to experience their holiday version of a tiki grotto. It’s a Christmas-themed pop-up cocktail bar with kitschy decor and the holiday libations to match. If you want to blend gift shopping into the mix, stop in on a Sunday night in December for the Hygge Holiday Market (4–8 p.m., Dec. 1, 8, 15 and 22). 

When: Begins at 4 p.m. Monday, Nov. 25; open seven days/week. 

Where: Lawless Distilling, 2619 28th Ave. S.

Info: lawlessdistillingcompany.com, 276-1000


The Wish Tree

The Wish Tree

Help a child have a nicer holiday by choosing a wish off the beautiful Christmas tree that stands tall in the IDS Center’s Crystal Court. Kids gather by the tree, sing, meet Santa and then place wishes on the tree. Through this Parents in Community Action program, anyone is welcome to choose a wish (either on that day or in the weeks that follow), then purchase the item and place it under the tree. Get warm fuzzies in this classic, heart-of-Minneapolis locale. 

When: 1 p.m. Monday, Nov. 25 

Where: IDS Center Crystal Court, 80 S. 8th St. 

Info: ids-center.com


Paper Engineering for Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare Patients 

Create unique cards to send to kids and families receiving care at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare over the holidays. Part of the new exhibit “Designing for Life,” it’s a hands-on experience that helps visitors learn about assistive technologies by transforming paper from 2D into 3D pop-up greeting cards.

When: Nov. 29 through mid-December, during museum hours 

Where: Bakken Museum, 3537 Zenith Ave. S.

Info: thebakken.org, 926-3878. Free with cost of admission to museum. Admission: $10 adults, $8 seniors, $8 ages 13–24, $5 ages 4–12, free for children 3 and under. Free for museum members. 


Wells Fargo WinterSkate 

If it’s been a while since you went ice skating (where are those old ice skates, anyway?), no problem. WinterSkate lets you use skates at no charge, and everyone will be so busy admiring the Minneapolis skyline that they won’t notice your rusty skills. Skate sizes vary and are available in the warming house on a first-come, first-served basis. 

When: Nov. 29 through early March. Skating is open during all Loring Park hours of operation. CenterPoint Energy warming house is open 3–9 p.m. Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–9 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Sunday. Reduced hours noon–4 p.m. Dec. 24 and noon–6 p.m. Dec. 31. Closed Christmas Day. 

Where: Loring Park, 1382 Willow St.

Info: mplsdowntown.com/winterskate. Free.


Holly Trolley and Vinternatt

Hop aboard a magical visit into the past, when streetcars were the norm. Decked out for the holidays, it’s a fun 20-minute ride for the whole family—plus Santa, who visits with each child on the trolley. Vinternatt is an evening version, with 500 luminary and lighted Christmas trees along the route. Get free marshmallows for toasting over a fire; refreshments available for purchase.

When: Holly Trolley runs noon–3:30 p.m Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, 7 and 8; Vinternatt runs 6–8:30 p.m. Dec. 7 

Where: Lake Harriet Trolley Depot, 4200 Queen Ave. S.

Info: trolleyride.org. Holly Trolley is $4 and guests are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots; Vinternatt is $5. 


Holiday Doubles Mixers at InnerCity Tennis

Balance out the cookie-eating and couch time of the holiday season by gathering a group together to hit some tennis balls. InnerCity Tennis is hosting adult holiday doubles mixers that end with a light dinner and drinks, plus one-evening camps to polish your serving, returning or net play skills. While you’re there, explore the options at this center whose focus is creating opportunities for kids to reach their greatest potential. 

When: Doubles mixers: 6–8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30, and Friday, Dec. 27. Serve and return camps: 6–7:30 p.m. and 7:30–9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 26, Net play camps: 6–7:30 p.m. and 7:30–9 p.m. Monday, Dec. 30. 

Where: 4005 Nicollet Ave. S. 

Info: innercitytennis.org, 825-6844. Doubles mixers, $35; skills camps, $25.


Winterlight Tours of Purcell-Cutts House 

Tour this 1913 Prairie School-style house as it’s decorated for the holidays to reflect the upper-middle class “progressive” lifestyle of the Purcells around 1915. The tour is 45 minutes and led by costumed docents explaining the gifts, toys, food and social traditions of the period. The home has been restored and is now part of the collection of the Minneapolis Institute of Art. 

When: Weekends, Nov. 30–Jan. 5

Where: Tour begins at Mia, 2400 3rd Ave. S. (shuttle service to house leaves 15 minutes before tour) 

Info: tinyurl.com/winterlight-purcell, 870-3000. Tickets: $5 adults, free for K–12 students and children under 6 and for Mia members. Due to its historic design, parts of the house are inaccessible to some people with limited mobility.


Holiday-themed Family Day 

Mark your calendar for the second Sunday of every month — Family Day at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. December’s theme is “Make Play,” and the focus is on being merry. It’s a chance to do hands-on art activities including creating your own puppets and making them come to life.

When: 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8 

Where: Minneapolis Institute of Art, 2400 3rd Ave. S.

Info: tinyurl.com/dec-family-day, 888-642-2787. Free.


Cookies and Cocktails with Santa 

While grown-ups have a cocktail — Royal Foundry produces spirits in the classic British tradition — kids get to decorate cookies, get their faces painted and meet Santa. Plus, there’s balloon artistry, snacks and glitter tattoos. Cheers to that! 

When: 3–5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8 

Where: Royal Foundry Craft Spirits, 241 Fremont Ave. N. 

Info: royalfoundrycraftspirits.com, 208-1042. Tickets in person or online: $20 children ages 3 and up, $10 adults, free for children under 3. 


Reindeer Day

Bundle up the whole family (or a bunch of friends) and head to Linden Hills to roast marshmallows by the fire, browse specials in the stores, pause to listen to carolers in the village and visit with Santa. And get the camera ready: There are real live reindeer.   

When: 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7 

Where: 43rd Street and Upton Avenue South, Linden Hills

Info: explorelindenhills.com/events/linden-hills-reindeer-day 


Santa in the Taproom

Santa for the kids, interesting beer for you. Stop into this South Minneapolis taproom so the little ones can tell their wishes to Santa while the big kids check out a range of beers including sour, farmhouse, saison and other rustic-style ales designed to buck convention and stretch the flavor profile. 

When: 3:30–5:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8 

Where: Wild Mind Artisan Ales, 6031 Pillsbury Ave. S.

Info: wildmindales.com, 286-1777.


Canadian Pacific Holiday Train

Pick a stop on the route to see the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train coming through town, decorated for the holidays and raising awareness about hunger. At each stop, there’s free live music (and plenty of colorful lights), and attendees are asked to donate money or food to their community food banks. Performances at the stops listed below are by Meghan Patrick, Tanika Charles and Kelly Prescott. 

When: Dec. 11. Arrival times: Golden Valley, 4:45 p.m.; St. Louis Park, 6 p.m., Minneapolis, 8 p.m. 

Where: Full U.S. schedule of stops: cpr.ca/holiday-train/schedule-united-states


Reindeer Run

Reindeer Run

Runners and walkers are welcome to join the fun at this 32nd annual gallop into the holidays. Choose from 5K, 10K, 15K or Kids’ Run and enjoy the fresh air (maybe a good time to wear the hat with antlers) as you make your way en masse around Lake Harriet. Kids (10 and under) each receive a drawstring bag and finisher medal, post-race snacks and a picture with Mr. and Mrs. Claus. 

When: Saturday, Dec. 14, start times vary based on run 

Where: 4135 W. Lake Harriet Parkway

Info: reindeerrun.com. Toys for Tots: Please bring a new unwrapped toy to the north end of the heated tent (new clothes and toys for teens are needed). Kids’ Run: $15 online, $20 race day. Adult fees start at $30. Prices increase on Nov. 22.


Santa and Pancake Brunch

What to do on a chilly Saturday in December? Problem solved. Bundle up the whole family and head to this pancake brunch that includes arts and crafts, plus visits with Santa.

When: 10 a.m.–noon Saturday, Dec. 14

Where: Painter Recreation Center, 620 W. 34th St.

Info: minneapolisparks.org, 370-4911. Tickets, $5. 


PCYC Children’s Gift Sale 

Help kids experience the joy of giving. This event lets kids pay $1 to pick out five new gifts for their loved ones. A volunteer guides them through the process. If you’d like to help, you can donate your money, gifts or time. Over 3,000 gifts and 150 volunteers are needed to transform the PCYC campus into a gift store.  

When: 9 a.m.–1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14 

Where: Plymouth Christian Youth Center, 2210 Oliver Ave. N.

Info: pcyc-mpls.org, 643-2000. 


Festival of Lights

Let someone else do the driving as you sit back and take in the holiday lights. Bryant Square staff hosts adults on this tour of area houses, from the comfort of a van, followed by a stop at a local coffee shop for a hot drink. 

When: 5–9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19 

Where: Bryant Square Recreation Center, 3101 Bryant Ave. S.

Info: minneapolisparks.org, 370-4907. Fee: $20 for Minneapolis residents, $30 for non-residents. 


12 Bars of Charity 

Gather up some friends for a night of charitable toasting in Uptown. This second annual event is a friendly competition between eight local charities, with everyone winning. Participants pick a charity to support, don a sweatshirt in the color of the charity and take a shuttle to participating bars in Uptown. The $15 donation goes to the charity of your choice. There will be drink specials and free admission at all bars. 

When: 8 p.m.–midnight Friday, Dec. 20; check-in 6–10 p.m.  

Where: Night begins at James Ballentine VFW, 2916 Lyndale Ave. S. 

Info: tinyurl.com/12-bars-charity


ON STAGE


Family Dinner

Have a wacky family dinner (somebody else’s, for a change) at this improv theater. The setup: A family comes home for the holidays, each person with a secret. The clincher? It’s the audience suggesting the secrets, and this skilled improv troupe takes it from there. 

When: Nov. 15, 22, 29 and Dec. 6, 13, 20, 27; all shows start at 8 p.m. 

Where: HUGE Improv Theater, 3037 Lyndale Ave. S. 

Info: hugetheater.com, 412-4843. Tickets: $15. 


Miss Bennet

A charming holiday romance that picks up where “Pride and Prejudice” left off, “Miss Bennet” welcomes you into the Darcy home for Christmas. Middle sister Mary unexpectedly encounters shy bookworm Arthur de Bourgh, who has more than one admirer. Discovering she is hardly his only suitor, she must learn to be the heroine of her own story in this funny tale that resonates with modern themes. Written by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon. 

When: Nov. 20–Dec. 29; various dates and times.  

Where: Jungle Theater, 2951 Lyndale Ave. S.

Info: jungletheater.org, 822-7063. Tickets from $40. Preview performances (reduced ticket prices) Nov. 20 and 21. 


Elf the Musical, Jr.

Follow Buddy the elf in his hilarious quest to find his true identity after being raised as a would-be elf in the North Pole. He’s oversized (for an elf) and can’t make toys well, but his heart of gold reminds everyone of the true meaning of Christmas. 

When: Nov. 22–Dec. 28, various show times. 

Where: Stages Theatre, 1111 Mainstreet, Hopkins

Info: stagestheatre.org, 952-979-1111. Tickets: $21–33. Check schedule for special performances including pay-what-you-can, sensory-friendly, ASL-interpreted and audio-described. 


Trashy Little Xmas Show and Crazy for Xmas CD Release 

Be part of Minneapolis honky-tonk history by joining Trailer Trash as they release their new CD “Crazy for Xmas.” Song titles include “Ugly Xmas Sweater Polka” and “Santa Says Keep It Cool,” which the band describes as the world’s best song about Christmas and climate change. Always tongue-in-cheek and always a rollicking good time, the show can get anyone (Grinches included) into the holiday spirit. Check site for additional show dates. 

When: 8–10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29 (doors open at 7 p.m.) 

Where: Parkway Theater, 4814 Chicago Ave.

Info: trailertrashmusic.com or theparkwaytheater.com, 822-8080. Tickets: $20 advance, $25 at the door, $55 VIP.


Holidays Under Glass 

Pass through the stunning, airy Crystal Court in Downtown Minneapolis to see the beautiful Christmas tree and menorah — and to hear live music over the lunch hour. Different groups and individual musicians perform all month long, bringing holiday sounds to the center of Downtown. Plenty of benches offer seating on the ground floor. Pause at the skyway level for a view of the festive scene from above. Santa Claus visits on Saturdays following the music, so kids can chat or take a picture (1–3 p.m.). 

When: Noon–1 p.m. Nov. 29–Dec. 24 (excluding Sundays) 

Where: IDS Crystal Court, 80 S. 8th St. 

Info: ids-center.com. Free. 


A Very Die Hard Christmas

A Very Die Hard Christmas

The movie “Die Hard” recently celebrated its 30-year anniversary, so it seems like a good time to take in a Die Hard-themed holiday show. Running for its seventh season, this offshoot of the John McClane flick includes singing, dancing, action, suspense and … OK … bloodshed. Yippee Ki Yay, Father Christmas! Bryant Lake Bowl hosts several other holiday shows; see site for the full schedule of seasonal fun. 

When: Various dates Nov. 30–Dec. 21 

Where: Bryant Lake Bowl, 810 W. Lake St. 

Info: bryantlakebowl.com, 825-8949. Tickets from $18.


Travis Anderson Trio

Travis Anderson Trio: Celebrates Guaraldi Holiday & George Shearing Centennial 

Kick off December with an evening of energetic jazz exploring both Vince Guaraldi’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and the musical legacy of pianist George Shearing. Guaraldi’s music for the “Peanuts” cartoon fills one of the most beloved holiday albums of all time. Blended with the music of Shearing, who mixed jazz and classical influences to become one of the most popular pianists of the bebop era, it’s an evening to uplift spirits and get toes tapping. 

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3, 

Where: 1010 Nicollet Mall

Info: dakotacooks.com, 332-5299. Tickets from $15.


Kari Tauring Yuletide Celebration

A Yuletide Celebration Concert 

Join Kari Tauring as she captures the beauty of the winter season by singing all the songs off her album “A Yuletide Celebration” at its 20-year anniversary. In addition to these original songs for the winter solstice, she’ll perform Scandinavian songs and will be joined — at the show’s finale — by Matt Yetter for pop holiday favorites.

When: 7–9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, 

Where: Riverview Cafe, 3753 42nd Ave. S.

Info: karitauring.com or theriverview.com, 722-7234. Tickets: $10. 


Junie B. Jones

Junie B. Jones in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells 

First-grader Junie B. Jones is super-excited about the upcoming Holiday Sing-Along and Secret Santa gift exchange at her school — but tattletale May keeps ruining all of her fun. When Junie draws May’s name for Secret Santa, she comes up with a plan to get back at her. Will the Christmas spirit prevail? This show is written by Allison Gregory and based on the books by Barbara Park. 

When: Dec. 6–22, various show dates and times. 

Where: The Conn Theatre, 1900 Nicollet Ave. 

Info: youthperformanceco.org, 623-9080. Tickets: $15 adults, $12 children/seniors, $10 weekend groups, $10 weekday groups.


Mick Sterling

Mick Sterling Presents: ‘At Christmas’ 

Sit back and smile as you take in an evening of stories and music that will ring true with family members of all ages. Top-notch musicians join Twin Cities favorite Mick Sterling as he presents an evening with beautiful music, laughs and a feeling of togetherness.  

When: 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 9 

Where: Dakota Jazz Club, 1010 Nicollet Mall

Info: dakotacooks.com, 332-5299. Tickets from $15. 


Big Band Holidays: Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis 

Fifteen soloists, ensemble players and arrangers make up the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and they’ll bring beloved seasonal songs to the stage for this annual concert. Hear soulful, big band versions of classics like “Jingle Bells” and “Joy to the World” — plus spice-it-up tunes like “Brazilian Sleigh Ride.” 

When: 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, 

Where: Orchestra Hall, 1111 Nicollet Mall

Info: minnesotaorchestra.org, 371-5656. Tickets from $50. Note: The Minnesota Orchestra does not perform in this program. 


Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus: Bell Boys

Expect holiday favorites mixed with contemporary works in this bell-themed show that the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus describes as ap-peal-ing! It features the premiere of a new Hanukkah work, “The Coming of Light,” plus festive songs accompanied by The Bells of the Lakes handbell ensemble. 

When: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 13 and 14; 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, 

Where: Ted Mann Concert Hall, 2128 4th St. S. 

Info: tcgmc.org, 624-2345. Tickets from $27, with special pricing for wheelchair seats; see site for full info. 


It’s a Wonderful Knife

A Stocking Full of Awesome IX: It’s a Wonderful Knife

Safe to say it’s a Christmas show you won’t forget. The Danger Committee combines comedy, juggling and thrilling knife-throwing to create a holiday extravaganza. They’ve appeared on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” E’s “Talk Soup” and multiple Las Vegas stages. For this show they’ll bring classic elements and some brand new material. Order up an adult beverage and sit back. If you dare, choose the VIP couch seating near the action. 

When: Dec. 14–Jan. 4, various dates and show times. 

Where: Minnsky Theatre, 1517 Central Ave. NE

Info: minnsky.com, 930-1517. Tickets from $35. Wheelchair accessible with priority seating for special-needs individuals. Free on- and off-street parking (see website). 


Handel’s Messiah

Experience the Messiah as performed by St. John’s Oratorio Chorus, a community chorus drawing singers from the entire metropolitan area. Music Director Kira Winter directs this annual concert in its 30th year, held in the beautiful sanctuary of St. John’s, featuring warm woodwork and stained glass windows.

When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, and 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15 

Where: St. John’s Lutheran Church, 4842 Nicollet Ave. 

Info: stjohnsmpls.org, 827-4406. Free.


An Early American Christmas 

The Rose Ensemble presents harmonious American music, honoring the style of music that gave birth to bluegrass. Instrumentalists and singers — including special guest Dan Chouinard — in this eight-member ensemble evoke the warmth of hearth and home in this holiday chapel concert. 

When: 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15 

Where: St. Joan of Arc Church, 4537 3rd Ave. S.

Info: saintjoanofarc.org (search “concert series”), 823-8205. Tickets: $25 adults, $10 students.


Kolyada

Kolyada: Winter Songs from the Black Sea

Experience the diverse music of the Black Sea region at this all-ages winter concert performed by a mix of local music ensembles and artists. Take in the unique folk instruments from the region like the toaca, taragot and gadulka in both secular and sacred music. Marking the solstice, the concert will move from darker tones to a lighter and more joyful feel as the evening progresses.

When: 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15 

Where: The Cedar Cultural Center, 416 Cedar Ave. 

Info: thecedar.org, 338-2674. Tickets from $20.


Civic Orchestra of Mpls Holiday Concert 

In collaboration with the Normandale Lutheran choir, this afternoon concert features Christmas carols for orchestra and chorus that have been arranged by St. Olaf professor John Ferguson. In its 68th season, the Civic Orchestra of Minneapolis was the first organized community orchestra in Minneapolis and has served as a model for the dozens of orchestras that have followed. 

When: 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15; pre-concert music at 2 p.m. 

Where: Normandale Lutheran Church, 6100 Normandale Rd., Edina

Info: civicorchestrampls.org. Free; donations accepted. 


MN Jewish Theatre Co Hanukkah Lights in the Big Sky

Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company: Hanukkah Lights in the Big Sky

When a brick is thrown at a menorah set in a child’s window for Hanukkah, community leaders of all faiths come together to help spread a message of tolerance and peace, and 10,000 families display menorahs on Christmas. Based on true events that occurred in 1993 in Billings, Montana, this family play, commissioned by MJTC in 2004, is newly adapted for ages 6 and up. 

When: 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15 and 22. (Additional daytime shows for school groups Dec. 6–22; call for info.) 

Where: Highland Park Community Center, 1978 Ford Parkway, St. Paul. Enter through the doors facing Ford Parkway; proceed up the ramp toward the theater. Fully accessible (wheelchairs included). Free parking on site. 

Info: mnjewishtheatre.org, 651-647-4315. Tickets: $20 or $15 with a season passbook.


Minnesota Boy Choir

Winter Concert: Minnesota Boychoir

Take in the magical voices of the Minnesota Boychoir. With a reputation for excellence over 55 years, the choir has performed with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony, the Prague Philharmonic and more. Their full winter schedule includes a worship service, a Celtic Christmas concert and a show with a band; check website for details. 

When: 7–8:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15 

Where: Plymouth Congregational Church, 1900 Nicollet Ave. 

Info: boychoir.org, 651-292-3219. Free (donations accepted during the concert in support of the Minnesota Boychoir.)