It’s the day after Thanksgiving, and your house is bursting at the seams with visiting relatives. You’ve got to get them out and get some fresh air, but where would you go? Good thing the Twin Cities have a ton of great places to enjoy with your family.
Christmas in the 1970s exhibit
Relive the holidays in the Disco Era with a visit to this new exhibit at the Fridley Historic Center. It features a boy's bedroom (complete with Farrah Fawcett poster), a living room decked out for Christmas (with a faux-brick fireplace) and more. Free. Saturdays, 11 a.m.–3 p.m.; Tuesdays, 2–4 p.m., through Dec. 18.
For the kid who loves to touch everything, there’s Minneapolis’ Bakken Museum. Tucked away in a mansion on Lake Calhoun, the Bakken offers fascinating, hands-on exhibits about electricity and how it impacts our daily lives.
Wood Lake Nature Center
Richfield's Wood Lake Nature Center features a variety of activities for all ages. Go snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, take a walk along the paths and spy on wildlife. Or take it inside the building for an interactive bird exhibit and taxidermy display. There are also a few live snakes on display. Skis and snowshoes can be rented for a small fee. For more information, visit the center's webpage on the City of Richfield website.
The Como-Harriet Streetcar Line
After a visit to the Bakken, take a short walk or drive south to Lake Harriet and the Como-Harriet Streetcar line for the last jaunt of the year on authentic,100-year old streetcars. On Friday Nov. 23 through Friday Nov. 25, you can also catch Santa on the Holly Trolly from 1 to 4 pm. Boy Scouts will be selling hot dogs and s'mores for roasting by the bonfire, and members of a local high school choir will entertain you with carols. While you’re there, look for the home of Mr. Little Guy.
Wild Rumpus Book Store
Wild Rumpus' amazing selection of children's and young adult literature paired with its menagerie of live chickens, cats, and other creatures is enough to excite anybody. The decor, including a tiny, Alice in Wonderland style door and a ceiling that bursts open to reveal the sky, gives this store a magical quality unlike any other business in the Twin Cities.
Santa Busts a Christmas Move
At this year's free family holiday play, Santa and his trusted elf Albert present: “Santa Busts a Christmas Move" at Bachman’s Garden Center and Holiday Ideas House. Performances are Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. & 2 p.m. Here’s the scoop: Santa wants to get the boogie-loving Mrs. Claus a special gift for Christmas, by trying to learn how to dance. A holiday tradition at Bachman’s for more than 20 years, this 25-minute play is full of family fun and audience participation, and concludes with a carol sing-along and opportunities to get photos with Santa. (Bring your own camera.)
Head Outdoors at Lebanon Hills Regional Park
Get some fresh air at Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Eagan before the temperatures bottom out this winter. The crown jewel of Dakota County's park system, Lebanon Hills encompasses nearly 2,000 acres, and offers miles of trails and many lakes for year-round outdoor sports, recreation and environmental education. Even in the winter, this massive expanse of nature is gorgeous.
Take the family down to Lake Street’s Midtown Global Market this year, and show them the bright, multicultural explosion that is Minneapolis. If you come for lunch, make sure you bring as many relatives as you can, in order to help you try the dozen or so food stands and restaurants showcasing the city’s many different cuisines. Favorites include Salty Tart bakery, Los Ocampo, Safari, and Manny's Tortas. Once you wrap up your meal, enjoy some awesome window shopping at stands featuring everything from saris and hijabs through homemade gift cards.
Sugar Sugar Candy Shop
Sugar Sugar at the corner of 38th Street and Grand Avenue South is the world's most delicious time warp. Walking into the store feels like stepping back fifty years with its vintage décor, glass jars, and incredible selection of popular candies of the past. The shop strikes a perfect balance between nostalgia and novelty that anyone can enjoy.
Drop the kids off at ARTrageous Adventures on Friday for a fun Spirit of Native America art camp while parents can shop local! 2121 West 21st Street in Minneapolis' Kenwood neighborhood, right next to The Kenwood restaurant and National Book Award winning author Louise Erdrich’s bookstore, Birchbark Books. Call the studio at (612) 423-7554 to reserve a spot.