2019 Minnesota Holiday Lights Display Guide

Scroll below for more than 50 MN holiday light shows and displays. All of these holiday light displays are verified for 2019 by the organizers or homeowners — nothing is outdated!

Give Me The Mike’s 2019 holiday lights display guide is presented by Sam’s Christmas Village & Light Tour

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Sam’s Christmas Village & Light Tour is home to more than 4 million Christmas lights! It’s located less than 20 minutes northeast of Stillwater in Somerset, Wisconsin. If you go on a Monday or Tuesday night, you are able to drive-through their display, making it more accessible for those who aren’t able to walk around the half-mile light tour. Between Wednesday and Sunday nights, Sam’s Christmas Village is closed off to vehicles and is a walk-through experience.

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Read more about my visit to Sam’s Christmas Village & Light Tour.

Sam’s Christmas Village & Light Tour
710 Spring Street
Somerset, WI 54025

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  • November 29th, 2019 – January 5th, 2020 (closed December 24th – 25th)
  • Tickets: $10 adults, $5 kids ages 4 – 10, free kids 3 and under
    • $8 for those 65 and older
    • $5 for members of the military (bring your military ID)
  • Parking is $10 Wednesday – Sunday nights
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 9:00 pm Monday and Tuesday, 5:00 – 9:00 pm Wednesday – Thursday, 5:00 – 10:00 pm Friday – Saturday, 5:00 – 9:00 pm Sunday)
    • Monday & Tuesday are drive-through only
    • Wednesday – Sunday are walk-through only
  • Supporting the following non-profit organizations: The Pinky Swear Foundation, The Best Christmas Ever, Toys for Tots, and Somerset Community Food Pantry
  • Dogs are allowed!

Submit information about your holiday light display here.


View all of these light displays on an interactive map!

View 2019 Holiday Light Display Guide in a full screen map


Albert Lea

Carter Christmas Lights Show
1905 Brookside Drive
Albert Lea, MN 56007

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The Carter Christmas Lights Show in Albert Lea loops every 10 minutes. Submitted photo.
  • November 23rd – December 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 9:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 10:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • The homeowner asks that you use Bayview Drive for optimal viewing and traffic flow. More information can be found here
  • The 2019 display has 4,000 more lights (38,000 total) and features four jumbo stockings, a mistletoe, along with Santa and his reindeer on the roof
  • Turn your radio to 93.5FM to hear music that goes with the synchronized light display
  • The light show runs every 10 minutes
  • 100% of donations will be donated to JDRF, an organization looking to find a cure for type 1 diabetes

Albertville

Albertville Lights
5669 Large Avenue
Albertville, MN 55301

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Sing, choir of (blow mold) angels! Submitted photo.
  • November 28th, 2019 – January 6th, 2020
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 10:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 12:00 am Friday – Saturday)
  • Stop by to see 20,000 lights and “too many blow mold figurines to count”
  • Weather permitting, see 20 foot tall inflatables, too
  • Turn your radio to 89.1FM to hear synchronized music

Andover

Cairl Family Christmas Lights
2342 145th Avenue Northwest
Andover, MN 55304

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Check out a 20′ tree at this display in Andover. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th, 2019 – January 4th, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 5:30 – 9:30 pm
  • Includes 54,000 LED and flood lights synchronized to music. Tune in to 99.1FM
  • New this year: a 20 foot pixel mega tree
  • The display raises awareness and money for the 23rd Veteran, a non-profit dedicated to providing happier, healthier lives for veterans living with trauma

Apple Valley

Lights on Flagstaff
13452 Flagstaff Avenue
Apple Valley, MN 55124

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Lights on Flagstaff has over 100 blow mold figurines. Photo credit Lights on Flagstaff/Facebook.
  • November 28th, 2019 – January 1st, 2020
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 9:30 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 10:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • The display includes more than 100 figurines on the lawn
  • The owners are using their display to raise awareness for Lyme disease. After being misdiagnosed several times, the owner received a diagnosis about two years ago

Apple Valley

Porter’s Holiday Light Show
13596 Hollins Court
Apple Valley, MN 55124

  • November 28th – December 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights at week (5:00 – 9:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 10:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • See more than 20,000 lights and a 20 foot tall mega pixel tree
  • Turn your car radio to 88.9FM to hear 27 songs synchronized to the lights
  • Reminder to avoid blocking driveways and to turn off your car’s lights when you approach the display

Blaine

Durrant Family Lights
1750 130th Avenue Northeast
Blaine, MN 55449

  • November 29th, 2019 – January 1st, 2020
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 9:30 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 10:30 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • Features more than 10,000 lights
  • Tune in to 87.9FM to hear tunes

Bloomington

Dancing Trees
10201 Rich Road
Bloomington, MN 55437

  • November 30th, 2019 – January 5th, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 9:00 pm
  • Includes 10,000 lights

Chaska

Christmas on Savanna
4441 Savanna Trail
Chaska, MN 55318

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A 20′ nutcracker is a highlight at this holiday display in Chaska. Submitted photo.
  • November 22nd – December 25th, 2019
  • 7 nights a week (6:00 – 9:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 9:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • Display includes 20,000 lights
  • Tune your car radio to 91.1FM to hear music synchronized to lights
  • You won’t be able to miss the 20 foot inflatable nutcracker!

Chaska

Winter Lights at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
3675 Arboretum Drive
Chaska, MN 55318

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Indoor and outdoor light displays await for you at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Submitted photo.
  • Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays November 22nd, 2019 – January 5th, 2020
    • Also open Monday, December 23rd and daily from December 26th, 2019 – January 2nd, 2020
  • 5:00 – 9:00 pm
  • Tickets: $15 for those 16 and older, free for those 15 and under
    • Members of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum are free
  • Stroll through eight miles of lights
  • Buy a s’mores kit to roast over a roaring fire, warm up with hot cocoa in the Visitor’s Center, and take a photo in front of the Arboretum’s 25 foot poinsettia tree
  • A free shuttle is available on Friday and Saturday nights. Learn more here
  • Parking at the Arboretum is free with admission

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Circle Pines

Barno Family Lights
4102 88th Lane NE
Circle Pines, MN 55014

  • November 29th, 2019 – January 1st, 2020
  • 7 nights a week (6:30 – 10:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 6:30 – 11:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • Includes 30,000 lights
  • Turn your car radio to 106.7FM to hear synchronized music
  • The family is collecting donations for the Ronald McDonald House Charities

Duluth

Bentleyville “Tour of Lights”
Bayfront Festival Park
700 Railroad Street
Duluth, MN 55802

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Bentleyville, located on the shores of Lake Superior, is the country’s largest free walk-through light display. Submitted photo.
  • November 23rd – December 28th, 2019
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 9:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 10:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • With 5 million lights, Bentleyville is America’s largest free walk-through lighting display
  • It’s located at Bayfront Festival Park, a 20-acre park located on the shores of Lake Superior
  • Complimentary hot cocoa, cookies, popcorn and roasted marshmallows are provided
  • Get your photo taken with reindeer
  • Kids 10 and under who visit Santa receive a knit hat
  • Bentleyville is an official collection site for the Salvation Army. Bring a non-perishable food item or new, unwrapped toy when you visit. Donations are distributed to Salvation Army Corps in Duluth, Cloquet, Virginia, Grand Rapids, Hibbing, International Falls, and Superior, WI

Duluth

Exhibition Drive Holiday Sound and Light Show
2725 Exhibition Drive
Duluth, MN 55811

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This home has won Duluth’s lighting contest every year since 2013. Submitted photo.
  • December 1st – 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 10:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 11:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • They have won Duluth’s lighting contest every year since 2013
  • Includes 10,000 lights
  • Tune your car radio to 99.9FM as you pull up

Duluth

Spirit of the Lights at Glensheen
3300 London Road
Duluth, MN 55804

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The Spirit of the Lights now has a new home at Glensheen in Duluth. Submitted photo.
  • December 10th – 28th, 2019 (closed December 24th – 25th)
  • 4:00 – 9:00 pm
  • Spirt of the Lights is an outdoor light display that was previously located at Park Point in Duluth. It now has a new home at Glensheen
  • Includes 300,000 lights
  • Admission to the grounds of Glensheen is free

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Eagan

Cinnamon Ridge Circle Lights
4462 Cinnamon Ridge Circle
Eagan, MN 55122

Cinnamon Ridge
This lawn is full with more than 100 blow molds and 25 inflatables. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th – December 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 10:00 pm Monday – Thursday, 5:00 – 11:00 pm Friday – Sunday)
  • Includes more than 100 blow mold figurines, 25 inflatables and 4,000 lights

East Bethel

Manners Magnificent Lights
19509 Rochester Street NE
East Bethel, MN 55011

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Check out this display of 20,000 lights in East Bethel. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th – December 30th, 2019
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 10:00 pm
  • Includes 20,000 lights
  • Turn your radio to 90.9FM to hear synchronized music

Eden Prairie

Christmas Lights at Sunrise
15482 W Sunrise Circle
Eden Prairie, MN 55347

  • November 28th, 2019 – January 6th, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 pm – 12:00 am
  • Includes a show of 10,000 lights designed by the homeowner’s son who designs the circuit boards and enhanced by his dad who welds the trees on display
  • Turn your car’s radio to 89.7FM

Elk River

Warnke Christmas Lights
17978 Fresno Street NW
Elk River, MN 55330

  • Thru January 1st, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 10:30 pm
  • More than 3,500 red and white LED lights synchronized to music

Ham Lake

Mellem Family Christmas Lights
17438 5th Street NE*
Ham Lake, MN 55304

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60,000 lights are on display at this home in Ham Lake. Submitted photo.
  • November 30th – December 26th, 2019
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 9:00 pm
  • * = This house is in a new development and Google Maps does not recognize a new road built. See the below image for directions. Do not rely on Google Maps!
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The blue line is a brand new road (173rd Lane NE) that does not exist on any maps program yet. It can be accessed from 175th Avenue NE or 175th Lane NW. You can also search 599 175th Avenue NE, Ham Lake, MN 55304 in Google Maps and it will take you to the entrance of the neighborhood. Submitted photo.
  • Includes 60,000 lights synchronized to music; set your radio to 88.1FM
  • Raises awareness and funds for HOPE 4 Youth

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Inver Grove Heights

Doocy’s Winter Wonderland
8020 Claymore Avenue
Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076

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Check out Santa’s Workshop and Disney characters in Inver Grove Heights! Submitted photo.
  • Until December 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 10:00 pm
  • Stop by to see many Disney characters, Santa’s workshop and upwards of 5,000 lights!

Inver Grove Heights

Lundell’s Lights
3892 72nd Street E
Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076

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View 6,500 lights on display outside of this home in Inver Grove Heights. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th, 2019 – January 5th, 2020
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 pm – approximately 10:00 until mid December, then 5:00 pm – dawn until January 5th)
  • Includes 6,500 lights

Inver Grove Heights

Radant Xmas Display
8160 Carmen Avenue
Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076

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This is one of many homes with bright lights in Inver Grove Heights. Submitted photo.
  • November 27th, 2019 – January 5th, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 6:00 – 10:30 pm
  • Includes more than 5,000 lights
  • Santa makes an appearance on the weekends
  • The homeowners collect donations for Toys for Tots

Inver Grove Heights

Soldier’s 6 Christmas Light and Santa Display
8238 Copland Way
Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076

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  • Through January 1st, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from dark until 11:00 pm
  • Appearances by Santa and a special reindeer on select dates
  • Includes 2 18′ inflatables and 2 15′ inflatables
  • Raises awareness for Soldier’s 6, an organization providing service dogs to police officers, military vets, firefighters, 911 dispatchers, corrections officers and EMS at no cost
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Support Solider’s 6 at a Breakfast with Santa on December 8th.

Inver Grove Heights

Strandlof’s Christmas Lights
7050 Blaine Avenue
Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076

Strandlof
There’s a 19-foot ferris wheel at this home in Inver Grove Heights. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th, 2019 – January 1st, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 10:00 pm
  • You can’t miss a 19′ ferris wheel!
  • Display includes over 10,000 lights
  • Turn your car radio to 87.9FM to hear synchronized music

Inver Grove Heights

Waldhauser’s Christmas Lights
2005 67th Street East
Inver Grove Heights, MN 55077

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Lights actually cross the road at this display in Inver Grove Heights. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th, 2019 – January 2nd, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 10:00 pm
  • Includes 5,000 lights

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Jordan

Trellis Lights
1135 Trellis Street
Jordan, MN 55352

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7,000 lights are synchronized to music outside of this home in Jordan. Submitted photo.
  • November 29th – December 25th, 2019
  • 7 nights a week from 6:30 – 9:30 pm
  • Includes 7,000 lights
  • Tune in to 87.9FM to hear synchronized music

Kasson

Nevala Family Christmas Light Show
406 Sixth Street Court NE
Kasson, MN 55944

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The Nevala family hosts a kids coloring contest when their light display is up. Two lucky winners get bicycles! Submitted photo.
  • November 22nd – December 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 9:00 pm
  • Includes 32,000 lights
  • Turn your car radio to 88.1FM to hear Christmas tunes synchronized to the lights
  • The family will collect donations for Kasson Fire & Rescue
  • Kids can participate in a coloring contest with two winners receiving new bicycles!

Lake Elmo

Rockpoint’s Valley Lights
5825 Kelvin Avenue N
Lake Elmo, MN 55045

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Valley Lights at Rockpoint Church has 100,000 lights along with free wagon rides on select dates in December. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th – December 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 10:00 pm
  • Free to attend
  • Includes 100,000 lights!
  • Tune your radio on 97.9FM to listen to music synchronized to the lights
  • Check out free wagon rides on December 6th, 7th, 13th and 14th from 6:00 – 9:00 pm

Lino Lakes

Cinnamon Teal Holiday Lights
7188 Cinnamon Teal Court
Lino Lakes, MN 55014

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Cinnamon Teal Holiday Lights in Lino Lakes will get a visit by Santa every Friday and Saturday night between November 29th and December 21st. Submitted photo.
  • November 22nd – December 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights a week from 6:00 pm – 1:00 am
  • Includes 15,000 lights
  • Collecting donations for the Centennial Food Shelf along with toys for local churches
  • Santa will make an appearance on Friday and Saturday nights from 6:00 – 9:00 pm November 29th – December 21st

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Mankato

Kiwanis Holiday Lights
900 Mound Avenue
Mankato, MN 56001

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Over 1 million lights along with a skating rink, horse drawn wagon rides and live reindeer await at Kiwanis Holiday Lights in Mankato. Submitted photo.
  • November 29th – December 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights at week (5:00 – 9:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 10:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • Features 1.8 million lights!
  • Upon entering Sibley Park, turn your car radio to 88.1FM to learn about Kiwanis Holiday Lights and listen to holiday music. Once you’re in the loop, flip over to 90.1FM
  • For more information on how to get to Kiwanis Holiday Lights, click here
  • Admission is free for all vehicles. You can also walk through the display
  • In addition to all the lights, stop by for a skating rink, horse drawn wagon rides, live reindeer, and Santa Claus

Minneapolis

CSE Winter Light Show at the University of Minnesota
Civil Engineering Building Courtyard
500 Pillsbury Drive SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

UMN CSE LightShow
Students of the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering design and program a show with 250,000 lights on select dates in early December. Submitted photo.
  • Select dates: Thursday, December 5th, Friday, December 6th, Saturday, December 7th and Saturday, December 14th, 2019
  • 5:30, 6:00 and 6:30 pm on nights listed above
  • The students of the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering design and program a winter light show featuring 250,000 lights. If you’re seeing this in time, it’s a must-see
  • The shows are free and open to the public. No ticket necessary
  • On Friday, December 6th from 5:00 – 6:30 pm, they are hosting a premiere party in the Civil Engineering Building on the second floor. Stop by for free hot chocolate and cookies

Minneapolis

House on Howard
2418 Howard Street NE
Minneapolis, MN 55418

  • November 29th – December 29th, 2019
  • Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights from 6:00 – 9:00 pm
  • Includes more than 11,000 lights

Montrose

Mindy Lane Holiday Display
135 Mindy Lane
Montrose, MN 55363

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30,000 lights are used for this display in Montrose, located off of Highway 12 in the west metro. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th, 2019 – January 5th, 2020
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 10:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 11:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • Includes 30,000 lights
  • Tune your car radio to 105.9FM to hear music synchronized to lights on display

New Hope

Larson’s Lights
3549 Ensign Avenue North
New Hope, MN 55427

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Enjoy this New Hope light display by foot — with outdoor music speakers — or in your car. Submitted photo.
  • November 29th, 2019 – January 3rd, 2020
  • 7 nights a week (4:30 – 10:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 4:30 – 11:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • Includes more than 25,000 lights
  • Outdoor speakers will stay on until 9:00 pm. You can also listen to music on 87.9FM
  • The homeowner tells Give Me The Mike they will not run the show in the rain. Check their Facebook page before you go to see if the show is canceled the night you would like to go

North Mankato

Omega Ct Christmas Lights Display
14 Omega Court
North Mankato, MN 56003

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The homeowners at this light display are collecting toys to be donated to a hospital pediatric ward on December 19th. Submitted photo.
  • November 26th, 2019 – January 5th, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 10:00 pm
  • Includes 100,000 lights
  • Turn your radio to 88.1FM to hear the 11 minute loop of music synchronized to the lights. There are also outdoor speakers if you decide to hop out of your car
  • The homeowners are collecting unopened toys (no plush toys, please), which will be donated to the pediatric ward of a local hospital on December 19th

Oakdale

Christmas Fantasy
6953 26th Street Court N
Oakdale, MN 55128

  • December 2nd – December 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights a week from 4:30 – 10:00 pm
  • Check out 27 hand painted wood signs on a 60 foot fence along Stillwater Boulevard near Hadley Avenue
  • A Nativity scene and hand painted figurines are in the front yard, along with 10,000 lights
  • Word is that Santa stops by occasionally

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Owatonna

Murray Street Lights
1014 Lincoln Avenue
Owatonna, MN 55060

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This is one of three homes in a close proximity that goes bright for the holidays. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th – December 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 10:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 11:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • Includes three homes! One on Lincoln Avenue and two around the corner on Murray Street
  • The radio station for the home on Murray Street is 94.7FM

Plainview

Hanson Family Christmas Lights
315 Fifth Street W
Plainview, MN 55964

  • December 1st, 2019 – January 1st, 2020
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 9:30 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 10:30 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • Includes 400,000 lights synchronized to music
  • Turn your car radio to 88.1FM

Plymouth

PD Shimmers
4120 Juneau Lane
Plymouth, MN 55446

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PD Shimmers has a light for every person in the United States diagnosed with Parkinson’s this year. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th – December 28th, 2019
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 10:00 pm
  • The show contains window displays from the old Dayton’s store in downtown Minneapolis
  • Tune your car radio to 97.9 FM to hear music synchronized to the lights
  • Display includes more than 60,000 lights — one for each person in the United States diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2019. The display raises money for the Mike Justak Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease.

Plymouth

Joy of the Season
4810 Orchid Lane North
Plymouth, MN 55446

  • November 27th, 2019 – January 1st, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 6:00 pm – 12:00 am
  • The show of 5,000 lights lasts about 15-20 minutes
  • Raises awareness and funds for the Animal Humane Society

Plymouth

Quantico Christmas
535 Quantico Lane N
Plymouth, MN 55447

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11,000 lights are on display at this house in Plymouth. Submitted photo.
  • November 26th, 2019 – January 2nd, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 4:30 – 10:00 pm
  • Santa and his reindeer make an appearance on the roof every night!
  • Your kids can leave letters for Santa
  • Display includes 11,000 lights and 10 blow up displays

Prior Lake

Ken’s Kreation
16424 Fillmore Avenue SE
Prior Lake, MN 55372

  • Thru January 1st, 2020
  • 7 nights a week (4:30 – 10:00 pm Sunday – Thursday,  4:30 pm – 12:00 am Friday – Saturday)
  • Display also on from 4:00 – 8:00 am 7 days a week
  • Includes more than 6,000 lights

Prior Lake

Lights at the Cove
3490 Cove Point Circle NW
Prior Lake, MN 55372

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  • November 28th – December 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 10:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 11:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • Includes 5,000 lights
  • Listen to music synchronized to light show on 91.9FM

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Ramsey

Sedok House
5716 162nd Crossing NW
Ramsey, MN 55303

  • December 7th – 28th, 2019
  • 7 nights a week from 6:00 – 9:00 pm
  • Stop by to watch a 25 minute projection video featuring Rudolph, Frosty, Elsa, Christmas Vacation, Trans Siberian Orchestra and the Nativity story.
  • The whole show is set to music — tune your radio to 98.7FM
  • Candy and small toys will be handed out to those who stop by

Rosemount

Kojak House
13826 Addison Avenue
Rosemount, MN 55068

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Over 25,000 lights are on display outside of this home in Rosemount. Submitted photo.
  • November 23rd, 2019 – January 2nd, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 4:30 – 10:30 pm
  • The homeowners lost count at 25,000 lights
  • They do have a drop box for Toys for Tots donations

Saint Michael

Holiday Lights on 20th Street
11594 20th Street NE
Saint Michael, MN 55376

holiday lights on 20th
If you visit this display in Saint Michael on the weekend, bring a non-perishable food donation for the Hanover Food Shelf. Submitted photo.
  • November 29th – December 29th, 2019
  • 7 nights a week (5:30 – 9:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:30 – 9:30 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • Includes 25,000 lights
  • Turn your radio to 99.3FM to hear synchronized music
  • If you go on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, bring a donation for the Hanover Food Shelf

Saint Paul

Canadian Pacific Holiday Train at Union Depot
214 Fourth Street E
Saint Paul, MN 55101

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The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train rolls into Union Depot on Tuesday, December 10th with a free concert at 7:00 pm. Submitted photo.
  • Tuesday, December 10th from 6:45 – 7:30 pm
  • Stop by to see the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train and enjoy a free concert from 7:00 – 7:30 pm
  • VIP tickets are $10 and get ticketholders access closest to the stage. Click here to purchase
  • Those attending are encouraged to bring a cash or heart-healthy food donations for Merrick Community Services

Saint Paul

Holiday Lights on York Avenue
1526 York Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55106

  • November 29th – December 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 10:00 pm
  • Includes 65,000 lights
  • Tune your car radio to 91.5FM
  • Bring a non-perishable donation for Merrick Food Shelf

Saint Paul

Illumination at the Science Museum of Minnesota
120 W. Kellogg Boulevard
Saint Paul, MN 55102

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The Science Museum of Minnesota has a whole new take on a light show with Illumination. Submitted photo.
  • November 29th – December 28th, 2019
  • Friday – Saturday nights from 5:00 – 10:00 pm
  • It’s a holiday “light” show in a new sense. Experience large-scale and hands-on experiences, glow-in-the dark cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages, a puppet shadow room, and more
  • Illumination is included in the cost of admission to the Science Museum of Minnesota ($19.95 adults, $13.95 ages 4 – 12 and seniors). You can buy tickets in advance online

Saint Paul

Rice Park powered by Xcel Energy
At Rice Park
109 W 4th Street
Saint Paul, MN 55102

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The lighting of the holiday tree in Rice Park is accompanied by a fireworks show. Photo credit Visit Saint Paul.
  • Holiday tree: November 23rd, 2019 – February 9th, 2020
  • Lighted trees: November 23rd, 2019 – March 17th, 2020
  • 7 days a week from 6:00 – 8:00 am and 4:00 pm – 12:00 am
  • The holiday tree has 15,000 lights

Shakopee

Sever’s Holiday Lights
3121 50th Street West
Shakopee, MN 55379

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Sever’s Holiday Lights is new in 2019. Submitted photo.
  • November 8th, 2019 – January 5th, 2019
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 9:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 10:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • Drive through a display with more than 1 million lights synchronized to holiday tunes
  • $5 per person, $20 per car maximum (tax not included)
  • Vehicles with more than 8 people are charged $35 (tax not included)
  • The route is a half mile
  • Plus, enjoy hot cocoa, mini donuts, caramel popcorn from Drew’s Concessions and more

Shakopee

Shakopee Winter Wonderland
921 Shakopee Avenue East
Shakopee, MN 55379

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A ferris wheel of light! Photo credit Shakopee Winter Wonderland/Facebook.
  • December 1st – 25th, 2019
  • 7 nights a week from 6:00 – 9:30 or 10:00 pm
  • Stop by between December 13th – 24th for crafts, cookies, hot cocoa and Santa

Also on Give Me The Mike…

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20 Mexican restaurants in Minnesota worth the trip


Sleepy Eye

Sleepy Eye Holiday Lights in Motion
Sportmens Park
West side of State Highway 4 (northwest side of Sleepy Eye and the north side of Sleepy Eye Lake)

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Sleepy Eye Holiday Lights in Motion. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th, 2019 – January 1st, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 9:00 pm
  • Includes more than 300,000 lights
  • You can drive through the park to enjoy the lights. Tune your car’s radio to 89.1 FM to hear synchronized music. The music is also broadcast throughout the park if you want to get out of your car to see things up close.
  • Everything is free! That includes wagon rides, free concessions, and free horse drawn carriage rides on December 14th and 21st. Donations are accepted.

Waconia

The Spirit of Winter at Sovereign Estate
The Winery at Sovereign Estate
9950 North Shore Road
Waconia, MN 55387

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Over 20 miles of lights are on display at this winery in Waconia. Submitted photo.
  • November 21st, 2019 – January 5th, 2020
  • Friday – Sunday nights plus Monday, December 23rd
    • 4:00 – 9:00 pm Friday – Saturday
    • 4:00 – 8:00 pm Sunday
  • Over 20 miles of lights on display!
  • View lights and see Santa, play boot hockey, and sip on wine
  • Tickets are $5 for ages 3 and older. You can buy them online or at the door (cash only at the door)
  • The Winery at Sovereign Estate donates tickets so kids can attend on Thursday nights

White Bear Lake

Our Last Holiday Light Show
5590 West Bald Eagle Lake Boulevard
White Bear Lake, MN 55110

  • Until January 9th, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 6:00 – 10:00 pm
  • The homeowner trimmed down the light display, but it still includes 100,000 lights

Willmar

Celebrate the Light of the World
Robbins Island Regional Park
Highway 71 North
Willmar, MN 56201

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Celebrate the Light of the World is ranked as one of the 5 best holiday light displays in Minnesota. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th, 2019 – January 1st, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 10:00 pm
  • Celebrate the Light of the World is a free, drive-through display featuring 800,000 lights
  • When you drive-through, turn your car radio to either 88.7FM or 90.3FM to hear music
  • Freewill donations will be collected for the Salvation Army of Willmar, Habitat for Humanity of West Central Minnesota, Kandiyohi County Food Shelf and The Link

Woodbury

Crazy Christmas Display
7401 Wyndham Way
Woodbury, MN 55125

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150 pieces line the lawn of a Crazy Christmas Display in Woodbury. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th – December 30th, 2019
  • 7 nights a week (dusk – 9:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, dusk – 10:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • Includes 10,000 lights and 150 pieces on the lawn

Woodbury

Holiday Lights of Woodbury
8846 Glacier Road
Woodbury, MN 55125

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You can’t miss this bright yard in Woodbury. Submitted photo.
  • Through January 1st, 2020
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 10:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 11:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • Tune your radio to 97.9FM to hear synchronized music

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The 5 best bakeries in Minnesota

I tallied your votes for the best bakeries in Minnesota. Most of them are outside of the immediate metro (none are in Minneapolis or Saint Paul) and they all have been around for generations.

I was on KSTP-TV’s Twin Cities Live to share their stories.

Hanisch Bakery & Coffee Shop, Red Wing

  • Originally opened at Quandt’s Bakery in the 1920s
  • The white bread recipe they are currently using goes back to the owners from the 1970s
  • Hanisch has 70 kinds of pastries and donuts
    • They sell over 50 dozen raised donuts a day, with twice that amount on the weekend
  • They’re known for their Presidential Cookie Poll
    • On a Presidential Election Day, Hanisch will sell cookies for the main party candidates
    • They have correctly predicted the winner of the popular vote based off cookie sales since 1984

Emily’s Bakery & Deli, Hastings

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  • Family-owned since 1946 when it was Pitz Bakery
  • Steve and his sister, Norine, own the bakery and both have worked there for over 35 years
  • The shop is named after their grandmother, Emily
  • Their Prison Bars are Emily Bakery’s version of the Scotcharoo. The recipe came from a woman who used to volunteer at a prison and always brought the bars with her for the inmates.
  • The Almond Tarts are a signature item. It’s a butter rich tart that’s filled with an almond paste. It’s one of the best things I had on my tour of all these bakeries.
  • Don’t pass on the Coconut Macaroons. They are also gluten-free.

Hans’ Bakery, Anoka & Blaine

  • Original location in Anoka, satellite location in Blaine
  • The original owner, Hans, passed away from cancer in 1997, just two months after being diagnosed
  • The bakery exchanged hands multiple times and eventually went into foreclosure
  • When the current owner, Kelly Olsen, bought it, it had sat vacant for 4 years. She says “everything needed help”.
  • The community rallied behind the new ownership to help Hans’ Bakery reopen in February 2014. The Food Network caught wind of the buzz and featured them before they opened. On their first day, they sold out of everything they had in the store.
  • The Texas Donuts are the size of your head. And they cost only $5.

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  • The Beehive, and the smaller Beesting, are eye-catchers. The sweet dough pasty is filled with Bavarian cream, topped with candied almonds and dusted with powdered sugar. If you’re really hungry, order it as a cake.

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  • The Whipped Cheesecake is a hidden gem.

Cold Spring Bakery, Cold Spring & Waite Park

  • Original location in Cold Spring, satellite location in Waite Park
  • The original owner, Mel, learned how to bake on a Navy ship
  • After World War II, he found a bakery for sale in the city of Cold Spring
  • Soon it will be passed on to the third generation, as Mel’s granddaughter will take over as head baker
  • Cold Spring Bakery delivers throughout central Minnesota, including many meat markets
  • They will handle 25 to 30 wedding orders per weekend. And that’s not just cakes. Many couples are opting for cupcakes and donut walls now.
  • Their Raspberry White Chocolate Chip Cookie is a soft, tender cookie with raspberries, cream cheese and white chocolate chips. It’s incredible.
  • Their Cashew Brittle is special. It’s not hard like peanut brittle, and tastes a bit like Chex Mix. It’s perfect to bring to a holiday gathering.
  • Kolachies are a tender, flaky pasty baked with a fruit or poppyseed filling. They have a streusel topping and a Danish icing. Think of it like a really good Toaster Strudel.
  • Don’t pass on the Oatmeal Date Filled Cookies.

Benson Bakery, Benson

  • Benson is northwest of Willmar, about 2.5 hours from Saint Paul
  • The building the bakery is in dates back to 1900. It originally opened as a bakery, cafe and hotel.
  • It’s now owned by the third generation of the Johannessen family.
  • There are deep Norwegian roots here.
  • The Peanut Squares are something special. Some refer them as Mocha Bars. It’s a combination of frosting, cake and peanut meal.
  • Don’t miss out on their Sour Cream Raisin and Salted Nut Bars. There are eight to 10 different bars available daily.
  • The Angel Food Cake recipe has been handed down for over 80 years and can be ordered in a variety of flavors. The most popular is lemon.

Check out my other roundups of what’s ‘Worth the Trip’

The best ice cream shops in Minnesota

Every month, Worth the Trip, my series on KSTP’s Twin Cities Live, presents the top five Minnesota spots in a particular category. And since summer is officially upon us, I had to determine who sells the best ice cream in the state.

The winning locations are determined by your suggestions. Thousands upon thousands of votes came in. Honestly, it was a bit overwhelming.

All of the top five vote getters are ice cream parlours, not places where you would go for a soft-serve cone. They are using premium ice cream. But I did notice something peculiar: none of the spots make their own ice cream. It’s purchased from two ice cream wholesale producers in Wisconsin (one shop also tosses in ice cream from Kemps, so there are three producers overall).

I have personally attended many Minnesota shops who make their own ice cream. Many of you are extremely loyal to them. What these top five shops had that some of those shops don’t offer is top-notch customer service. You’re going to be more than a number at these parlors. The owners are always there. They live in the community. And many of the shops were able to rattle off a whole bunch of ways of how they connect with the school kids and the neighborhoods they are situated in. This is far beyond donating a $20 gift card to a silent auction, folks. To the loyalists: I recommend you venture to these shops before you comment back to me with your distain.

The top 5, ranked

1. Cullen’s Ice Cream

10905 Douglas Drive North, Champlin
12085 Hanson Blvd, Coon Rapids

  • Cullen’s received the most popular votes from Twin Cities Live viewers and receives my overall best vote
  • The Champlin shop opened in June 2014 with the Coon Rapids location opening in June 2017
  • Their cases have 48 flavors of ice cream at any given time, the most of any of the top 5 shops
    • Eight of the flavors change monthly
  • Cullen’s uses Cedar Crest Ice Cream, premium small batch ice cream made in Cedarburg, Wisconsin
  • They carry 125 flavors of pop, which can be combined with any flavor of ice cream for a soda float
  • They do make their own waffle cones in-house, putting chocolate chips in the bottom instead of malted milk balls
    • They will make over 10,000 cones in a season
  • Insider: you can split a single scoop into two flavors with no extra charge
  • Cullen’s offers dairy-free ice cream, which is made in-house (it is also vegan)
  • In addition to ice cream, Cullen’s makes their own gourmet popcorn and roasted nuts
  • The owners tell me customers drive from Minnetonka and Wayzata twice a week to get Cullen’s Ice Cream
  • Cullen’s is a seasonal shop, open from the beginning of March through October

2. Selma’s Ice Cream Parlour

3419 Saint Croix Trail, Afton

  • Selma’s is the oldest ice cream parlour in Minnesota, first opening in 1913 and receives my vote for the best ambiance
  • The current owners, the Nickerson family, purchased the bank-owned property in 2011
    • All 6 of their kids have worked there
  • Selma’s has about 35 flavors of ice cream in their cases; they are from Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream, based in Madison, Wisconsin
    • Chocolate Shoppe first started in 1960 and does not sell retail, meaning you cannot buy their ice cream at any grocery store
  • While you’re there, sample:
    • Strawberry — the owners family says “don’t skip it”
    • Blueberry Cheesecake
    • This S&#! Just Got Serious — salted caramel
    • Exhausted Parent — Bourbon Spiked Espresso
    • Carrot Mango Italian Ice — dairy free
  • They have a staff member dedicated to making waffle cones
    • They will sell 400 on a busy summer day
    • They also sell their own milk chocolate and white chocolate dipped cones
  • Gluten-free sugar and cake cones, along with gluten-free ice creams, are available
  • Selma’s also makes their own cakes, ice cream cookie sandwiches and has a coffee bar
  • Selma’s is a seasonal shop, typically open from late March until October

3. What’s the Scoop?

18 Division Street E, Buffalo

  • They are the newest shop in the top 5, opening in September 2017
  • Owner Brady Elsenpeter, a Buffalo native, went from owning a car dealership to running an ice cream shop
  • What’s the Scoop? is in downtown Buffalo in a space which once was a Curves for Women workout studio
  • Their case has 40 flavors from Cedar Crest
    • They have a case solely designated for nut-free flavors
  • They make their own waffles cones and bowls in house, and their waffle cones was the best of any waffle cone in the top 5
  • They do carry gluten-free cones and have dairy-free flavors available
  • The owner’s favorite flavors:
    • Shipwreck — vanilla ice cream with sea salt caramel ribbon and almond splinters
    • Big Muddy — a rich, chocolate ice cream with brownies
    • Scotcharoo — just like the cookie!
  • Ice cream cakes are made to order, including some with Fruity Pebbles
  • What’s the Scoop? is open year-round

4. Two Scoops

1918 Second Avenue, Anoka

  • Two Scoops opened in 2010
  • They have over 100 flavors of ice cream available, with 20 in their case at one time
  • Like Selma’s, Two Scoops uses Chocolate Shoppe ice cream
  • Their most popular ice cream: Cookie Dough
  • Their sleeper hit: Strawberry
    • The owners tell me that the Chocolate Shoppe’s Strawberry ice cream has won national awards
  • They make waffle cones and bowls in-house
  • Two Scoops also makes dipped cones, sundae cones and homemade cakes
  • They specialize in chocolate malts that are heavy on the malt powder
  • Two Scoops does have at least one dairy free Italian ice and has gluten-free ice cream and cones
  • They are also home to The Tornado challenge, where you get 20 scoops of ice cream with toppings (it comes out to about 7,000 calories)
    • One individual has completed it in 6 minutes, 30 seconds
  • Two Scoops is open year-round

5. Nelson’s Ice Cream

920 Olive Street W, Stillwater
454 Snelling Avenue, Saint Paul

  • Nelson’s Stillwater location originally opened as a grocery store in 1923
  • Art Nelson bought it in the 1940s and customers to this day still call it Art’s
  • The currently owners purchased it in 2006
  • Nelson’s is known for big scoops of ice cream — and I mean big scoops — that era started in the 1960s
  • They serve both Cedar Crest and Kemps ice cream
  • Both locations carry 44 flavors
  • You should expect a line when you go to Nelson’s
    • Their manager tells me there’s typically a line at 11:00 when the Stillwater location opens
    • The best time to go is between 5:45 and 7:00 pm during the dinner lull
    • On a busy day, they will go through 450 gallons of ice cream
  • Ice cream is served by dixie cups or cones at Nelson’s
    • They do not make waffle cones
  • Nelson’s does have Rapsberry Italian Ice if you are looking for a vegan or dairy-free option
  • Gluten-free options are going to be hard to come by, but you can get ice cream in a cup
  • Heads up: they only take cash!
  • Nelson’s is a seasonal shop, typically open from the beginning of April until Halloween

Honorable mentions

These are ranked from highest to lowest. Ice cream shops needed to receive at least .6% of the total vote in order to be listed below. 

Check out my other roundups of what’s ‘Worth the Trip’

31 can’t miss events in Minnesota this July

Not much gets better than July in Minnesota! There’s plenty to do with long summer nights. Bonus: you don’t have to spend 20 minutes putting on a parka and scraping ice off your windshield!

I compiled a list of events happening around the state. Many are your suggestions! Is there one I forgot? Let me know! Fill out the form at the bottom of this page. Happy summer!

  1. July and fireworks go hand in hand. Here are Minnesota cities with great 4th of July shows:
  2. Check out a good ol’ fashioned community festival:
  3. Sing with the Twin Cities Beer Choir. The concept is simple and quite fun. The group gathers as a brewery, bar or restaurant and hand out “hymnals” to attendees. The music are melodies you are familiar with, but the words are switched out to involve drinking beer. Many Twin Cities Beer Choir participants are alumni from those really good Minnesota Lutheran college choirs, so as a group, they sound quite good. It’s a very lighthearted time. Their July meetup takes place at Spring Cafe, located at the Como Lakeside Pavilion in Saint Paul. (July 3)
  4. The PGA Tour stops in Minnesota with the brand new 3M Open. The field has yet to be announced when this list was published, but Phil Mickelson has already announced he will play. Tournament play takes place July 4-7, but festivities go all week at the TPC Twin Cities in Blaine. (July 1-7)
  5. Head down to the Mississippi River in Northeast Minneapolis to watch a Twin Cities River Rats show. Every Thursday night, this ski team puts on a free show filled with stunts, jumps and pyramids all on the water. They do have a show on the 4th of July, which is followed by fireworks. They also have a bonus performance on Friday, July 5th. They’re super family-friendly. Bring a blanket! (July 4, 11, 18 and 25)
  6. Little Mekong is the Asian business and cultural district in Saint Paul. It runs along University Avenue between Mackubin and Galtier Streets. At the tail end of the 4th of July weekend, businesses in the area hold the Little Mekong Night Market, which is a huge street festival with really good food,  unique shopping and lots of entertainment. It’s inspired by the night markets you would find in southeast Asia. It runs from 5-10 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. (July 6-7)
  7. The Minnesota Orchestra starts their annual Sommerfest concert series by performing the soundtrack to the Disney Pixar movie, “Coco.” Sommerfest 2019 has a Latin American theme, with concerts throughout the month of July. It should also mark the expected debut of the new Peavey Plaza, the public park space next to Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis. (July 6-7)
  8. If you can’t wait for the Minnesota State Fair to start, check out the Ramsey County Fair in Maplewood. Admission is free. (July 10-14)
  9. There’s no need to head west to catch a classic rodeo! The town of Hamel is just west of Plymouth and since 1981, has hosted a rodeo with barrel racing, steer wrestling and more. More impressive: the Hamel Rodeo is operated by 5 non-profit groups; the large event doesn’t have a single paid staff member. (July 11 – 14)
  10. Kacey Musgraves, Semisonic, Jason Mraz and Hanson headline the Basilica Block Party in Minneapolis. The two-night outdoor concert first started in 1995 to raise money for the Basilica of St. Mary. (July 12-13)
  11. A spot featuring one of the best meat raffles in the Minnesota is hosting a parking lot fish fry. Stop by Bull’s Horn in south Minneapolis on July 13 for a fishing tournament, music, drinks, and of course, fried fish.
  12. Celebrate French independence, Bastille Day, on either side of the Mississippi River. In Minneapolis, Barbette hosts its annual block party from 2-9 pm. In Saint Paul, Alliance Francaise and Meritage host an outdoor family-friendly celebration outside of Landmark Center from 12-6 pm. (July 14)
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      Cafe Lurcat in Minneapolis is one of more than 50 restaurants participating in MplsSt.Paul Magazine’s Restaurant Week July 14-19.
  13. Enjoy $10-25 lunches and $15-35 dinners at some great Twin Cities restaurants during MplsSt.Paul Magazine’s Restaurant Week. Over 50 spots are participating. My personal favorites include 4 Bells, Cafe Lurcat, Corner Table, FireLake Grill House and Cocktail Bar, The Freehouse, Holman’s Table and Lela. (July 14-19)
  14. The Minneapolis Movies in the Park series continues all month with free films shown at parks across the city. Stop by the Nicollet Island Pavilion on Monday, July 15 for “Free Solo,” a National Geographic documentary following Alex Honnold as he attempts to climb El Capitan at Yosemite National Park without any ropes. I recently saw it and it’s riveting.
  15. Once a month, The Spring Street Tavern in Northeast Minneapolis hosts Pundamonium, a pun slam competition. Those who think they are punny are welcome to show off their skills. Participants are selected first come, first serve. The five judges are pre-selected members of the audience. (July 17)
  16. Italian restaurant, Pazzaluna hosts its annual Wheels of Italy street party in downtown Saint Paul on Thursday, July 18. Stop by to see some of the finest street cars along with live music. The car show is free to attend.
  17. Twin Cities Summer Jam at Canterbury Park in Shakopee features three days of big names in music: Tim McGraw, Aerosmith, Pitbull, REO Speedwagon, Soul Asylum, and others. (July 18 – 20)
  18. People from around the Twin Cities will make their way to the Rondo neighborhood of Saint Paul for the Rondo Days Festival and Parade on Saturday, July 20. The parade begins at 10 am with the festival running from 12-7 pm.
  19. Enjoy Celtic music, Highland dance and a bag pipe band competition during the Minnesota Scottish Fair & Highland Games at Central Park in Eagan. (July 19-20)
  20. Minnesota Monthly hosts its Fine Spirits Classic inside Orchestra Hall. Sample cocktails from the best mixologists in the state. (July 24)
  21. Competitive eater Joey Chestnut will be at The Great Midwest Rib Fest at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel in Prior Lake. His mission: to eat more than 13.76 pounds of pork meat in 12 minutes. The three day festival is free to attend and also includes performances by Gretchen Wilson and Sugar Ray. (July 25-27)
  22. The iconic Porky’s drive-in diner in Saint Paul has a new home in Hastings. It’s a part of the Little Log House Pioneer Village, a collection of historic buildings which are restored to make it feel like you are stepping back in time. The village is open to the public one weekend a year. Stop by the last full weekend of July for the Little Log House Antique Power Show, which allows you to walk through the Village. This year, they welcome artifacts from the Cottage View Drive-In in Cottage Grove. (July 26-28)
  23. The British choral group, Libera, is astonishing. Boys range in age from seven to 16 and members are from schools throughout London. They tour internationally and are visiting Saint Paul once again. I had the privilege of hearing them the last time they were in Minnesota and I just wanted to melt in my seat. The venue is ideal, too: the gorgeous Cathedral of Saint Paul. (July 26)
  24. Fitness studio Alchemy 365 is taking over the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and will offer a free class as part of the Minneapolis Aquatennial festivities. All fitness levels all welcome, just bring your own yoga mat. Check in begins at 5 pm with the class starting at 6:00. (July 26)
  25. Watch (or walk in) a parade of dogs in northeast Minneapolis. The gathering point is right on the shores of the Mississippi at St. Anthony Main. (July 26)
  26. Say ‘ooh, ahh’ at one of the largest fireworks displays in the country. The Minneapolis Aquatennial fireworks display start promptly at 10 p.m. on Saturday, July 27. The best viewpoint is near the Guthrie Theater.
  27. The Loring Park Art Festival in Minneapolis features 140 juried artists in a beautiful setting. (July 27-28)
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  28. Avoid downtown Minneapolis traffic by taking a water taxi! That’s right, the Minneapolis Water Taxi is a solar powered boat and is currently privately operated, meaning that you can book it for your group of friends for an intimate ride down the Mississippi River. The Water Taxi can fit two to six people and does private events for up to one hour. It goes from 10 am to 10 pm.
  29. Rent a Lime or Spin scooter for a ride. They’re very simple to use and their max speeds only get to 15 MPH, so it’s hard to lose control. Pro tip: find someone who has already rented the scooters to refer you before you download the app. That way, you both get a free credit!
  30. Be in control of how much beer you want to sample. Stop by the new First Draft Taproom & Kitchen near Target Field in Minneapolis. They have over 50 beers, wines, ciders and kombucha on tap. You get to control how much you would like. If you’re curious, the average pour is about 5 ounces.
  31. Make sure you dine al fresco. Watch my Twin Cities Live segment featuring the 5 best restaurant, brewery and winery patios in Minnesota!Also on Give Me the Mike: Best places to play bingo in Minnesota

Is there something I missed? Please let me know!

 

The best birthday freebies in the Twin Cities

Most of these freebies were verified as of May 2019. Enjoy! If you know of others not listed, please let me know about them. Connect with me with the form at the bottom of this page. Note: I am more focused on adding deals for locally owned or Minnesota-based companies than national retailers.

From a bottle of wine worth your age to free car washes, I rounded up the best freebies you can snag on your birthday. Check out my segment on KSTP-TV’s Twin Cities Live.

Featured spots:

Free bottle of wine worth your age at Tria Restaurant

  • Located in North Oaks
  • Required to purchase two entrees
  • Must go during your birthday week (3 days before until 3 days after)
  • Credit can be used towards a more expensive bottle
  • Don’t want wine? You can get a free dessert instead

$25 towards dinner at Lindey’s Prime Steak House

Up to $1,000 in slot play at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel

  • Located in Prior Lake
  • Must register to be a Club M member and visit guest services the month of your birthday
  • You’ll spin a virtual wheel to win prizes, including free bingo, blackjack play, or up to $1,000 in slot play

Up to $1,000 in slot play and a free buffet at Treasure Island Resort and Casino

  • Located in Welch (near Red Wing)
  • Must register to be a Island Passport Club member and visit a kiosk the month of your birthday
  • You can win up to $1,000 in free slot play
  • You will also receive a free buffet coupon along with a $20 bingo coupon
  • Thanks to Aaron Moy for the tip!

Up to $50 in Grand Play at Grand Casino

  • Note: their freebie has changed since the segment above originally aired
  • On any day during the month of your birthday, head to Grand Casino Mille Lacs or Grand Casino Hinckley
  • Spin the wheel for your chance at $5-50 in Grand Play along with free food based on your Grand Rewards membership tier
  • Go on your actual birthday and receive match points for that day’s play

Free car washes at Paradise Car Wash

  • Locations in Apple Valley, Eagan, Bloomington, Savage, Woodbury and Maple Grove
  • Go on your birthday and be ready to show an ID

Other freebies:

Free concert tickets

  • Even if a show is sold out, you and a friend will get in to a show at the First Avenue Mainroom or 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis for free on your birthday
  • Not only do you get in for free, you will get a bottle of bubbly or a drink ticket
  • This deal also applies to First Avenue’s other venues, the Fine Line in Minneapolis and Turf Club in Saint Paul
  • Don’t forget your ID

Free comedy show tickets

  • At ACME Comedy Company in Minneapolis
  • You and three guests can select to attend one Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday night show for free the month of your birthday
  • You must submit your request online no later than 3 p.m. the day prior you would like to attend

$15 to IKEA

IKEA Family

  • Minnesota location in Bloomington
  • You must be a member of the IKEA Family program
  • The IKEA website says you receive a “surprise on your birthday” that is valid during your birthday month; I can confirm that it’s $15 to IKEA (with no minimum purchase required) along with a free meatball dinner at their restaurant

IKEA Family certificate
Click here to learn more about this amazing freebie

$5 to Arc’s Value Village

  • Available only at locations in Richfield, New Hope and Bloomington
  • You must be a member of their Village Rewards program

Discount on Botox at Uptown Dermatology & SkinSpa

  • Located in Minneapolis
  • They take $1 off of every year of your age on Botox
  • Get $50 off if you’re 50, $65 off if you’re 65, $75 off if you’re 75

Free mini golf at Can Can Wonderland

  • Can Can Wonderland is right off Pierce Butler Route in Saint Paul
  • On a Thursday during your birthday month, bring at least 3 friends to play mini golf and you will play for free
  • You will also receive a birthday drink of your choice
  • If you would rather play in the arcade, the birthday person receive 2 hours of unlimited arcade play along with a birthday drink
  • Note that only the birthday person receives the freebie, all others must pay

$25 to The Local Minneapolis, The Local West End, Kieran’s Irish Pub, or The Liffey

  • You must sign up for Cara Irish Pubs’ Pub Club at one of the above locations. They say you can reverse register online but I got an error when I tried to do so
  • You will have to register your card once you have it
  • You receive a free appetizer upon activating your card
  • Accounts with no activity for 24 months are automatically deactivated
  • Thanks to Jessica Jensen for the tip!

Free filet mignon dinner at Cherokee Tavern

  • Located in West Saint Paul
  • Head there on Thursday night during the week of your birthday
  • You must show proof of your birthday with a valid ID at the hostess stand
  • Someone at your table must order an entree of $15 or more
  • Thanks to Emily DeCorsey for the tip!

A free burger at Red Cow

  • Three locations in Minneapolis and one in Saint Paul
  • You must be a member of Red Cow’s eClub and you will receive an e-coupon for their Ultimate Burger for your birthday
  • If you don’t want the Ultimate Burger, the coupon can be used for a discount of equal or lesser value
  • The coupon expires 3 weeks from the date it was sent. Mine was sent 4 days before my actual birthday
  • You also get a free order of cheese curds when signing up (coupon is good for three weeks from sign up date)

A free burger at Red Robin

  • Locations in Shoreview, Bloomington, Plymouth and Apple Valley
  • You must be a member of the Red Robin Royalty program
  • Credit is loaded onto your account the first day of the month of your birthday

A free Juicy Lucy at Crooked Pint Ale House

  • Minnesota locations in Apple Valley, Chaska, Duluth, Fairbault, Maplewood, Minneapolis, Rochester, and Waite Park
  • You must be a member of their Crooked Rewards program
  • You receive a free Juicy Lucy of your choice for your birthday

A free glass of wine at Red Rabbit

  • Locations in Minneapolis and Saint Paul
  • You must be a member of the Red Rabbit eClub
  • You will receive an e-coupon good for a glass of wine, not to exceed $15
  • The coupon expires 3 weeks from the date it was sent. Mine was sent 4 days before my actual birthday
  • You also get a free New World Margherita Pizza when signing up (coupon is good for three weeks from sign up date)

A free meal at HopCat

  • Minnesota location in Minneapolis
  • You must be a member of their HopCat Rewards program (phone app)
  • You are emailed a free birthday meal on your birthday
  • That certificate is good for 30 days
  • Once you join the program, you also receive a free appetizer. That is good for 14 days after signing up
  • If you know someone who has a membership, have them refer you. They will receive points which can be redeemed for free food

FullSizeRender (4)

Also on Give Me the Mike:
A review of HopCat, the Nicollet Mall bar with 80 beers on tap

Four hours of free beer at Skinner’s Pub

Three hours of free drinks at Wild Bill’s Sports Saloon

  • Minnesota locations in Apple Valley, Blaine, Rochester and Woodbury
  • On the Friday of your birthday week, grab three friends
  • You get free drinks from 9 p.m. – 1 a.m.
  • They will get $3 you-call-its from 9 p.m. – midnight
  • You also get a free t-shirt, mason jar, birthday shot, and birthday toast

A free cannoli at Mario’s Italian Kitchen

  • Located in Watertown
  • You can also get a free drink, but why do that when you can get a cannoli

Free dessert at 6SMITH

  • Located in Wayzata
  • Free piece of chocolate cake with your meal
  • Bonus: let them know in advance you’re celebrating a birthday and they will decorate the table and give you a birthday card that contains $15 off your next visit!

Free dessert at Buca di Beppo

  • Locations in Burnsville, Eden Prairie, Maple Grove, Minneapolis and Saint Paul
  • Sign up for their E-Club and you will receive an email for a free Colossal Brownie dessert on your birthday
    • Colossal Brownie voucher is only valid if you dine-in (no to-go orders)
  • Email comes to your inbox a few days before your birthday and expires at the end of your birthday month
  • You will also get $20 off a purchase of $40 or more
    • Discount can be used on online orders

Free personalized bottle of wine at Pazzaluna

  • Located in Saint Paul
  • You must fill out this form in advance
  • You must dine the week of your birthday (up to 3 days before and up to 3 days after)
  • You receive a bottle of wine from their Birthday Wine List along with a free dessert
  • You are required to purchase 2 entrees

Free entree at Houlihan’s

  • Participating locations in Chanhassen, Eagan and Richfield
  • You must be a member of the Houlihan’s email program
  • You also get a $10 credit when signing up

$10 off your dinner at Sunshine Factory Bar & Grill

  • Located in Plymouth
  • Go in to their restaurant and sign up in person for their email list
  • You will get $10 off your birthday dinner
  • The certificate is valid 2 weeks prior until 1 week after your birthday
  • If you go on the day of your birthday, you will also receive a complimentary appetizer or beverage

Free entree from Acapulco Restaurante Mexicano

  • Locations in Andover, Blaine, Ham Lake, Maplewood, New Brighton, Ramsey, Stillwater and Woodbury
  • You must sign up for their VIP Email Club
  • Heads up: the electronic coupon only good for 10 days from the day they send the email. My birthday is July 1st and coupon was sent and marked June 27th, meaning I only had until July 7th to redeem it.
  • You also get a free order of queso when signing up (coupon is only good for a week)

Free entree from La Casita

  • Locations in Columbia Heights, Coon Rapids, Roseville and Waite Park
  • You get a free entree if another food item of equal or lesser value is purchased
  • It must be redeemed on your actual entree and an ID is required
  • Thanks to Kimberly McKay for the tip!

Free deep dish pizza from Green Mill

  • 19 Minnesota locations
  • You must be a member of the Green Mill Rewards Club
  • You receive a certificate for a small one-topping deep dish pizza

Free pizza from Park Tavern

  • Located in Saint Louis Park
  • You must be a member of their EClub
  • You will receive an e-coupon good for a 12″ pizza with up to 3 ingredients. That coupon expires two weeks after it was sent. Mine was sent and marked June 27th, although my birthday is July 1st
  • You also receive $5 off your next meal when you sign up. That certificate expires 1 month after registering

A pizza worth up to $17 from Old Chicago

  • Locations in Roseville, Eden Prairie, Apple Valley, Saint Cloud and Duluth
  • You must sign up for their OC Rewards program at a restaurant or online
  • You must visit an Old Chicago once in the 12 months prior to your birthday in order for the credit to upload to your account
  • The credit is added to your account 7 days prior to your birthday and stays on up to 10 days after your birthday. For my July 1st birthday, my certificate arrived June 24th and expired on July 9th
  • Any unused credit does not apply towards future purchases

Free appetizer or side of ribs at Texas Roadhouse

  • Locations in Coon Rapids and Saint Cloud
  • You must sign up for their email or text list
  • You also get a free appetizer (cactus blossom, fried pickles, tater skins, cheese fries or rattlesnake bites) when signing up

Free dessert with the purchase of an entree at TGI Fridays

  • Locations in Saint Louis Park, Bloomington, Maplewood, Maple Grove, Burnsville and Coon Rapids
  • You must be a member of the Friday Rewards program
  • You also get a free appetizer or dessert when signing up

$10 at Jake’s City Grille

  • Locations in Eagan, Eden Prairie, Maplewood and Plymouth
  • You must become a Dining Rewards member (not available online)

$15 or $20 at Wildfire

  • Minnesota location in Eden Prairie
  • You must become a member of their Frequent Diner Rewards program
  • According to their website, you must have “recent activity on your account”
  • The credit is added the first day of the month of your birthday
  • Blue and silver level members get $15 off their meal; gold level members get $20 off their meal
  • To be a silver level member, you must spend at least $1,000 a year; gold members must spend $2,500
  • Birthday rewards do not expire, but are not cumulative

$30 at Benihana

  • Locations in Bloomington, Maple Grove and Golden Valley
  • You must join The Chef’s Table email list
  • You receive a $30 credit on a meal when another adult teppanyaki entree is purchased
  • The credit can only be used Mondays – Thursdays
  • The credit is valid 29 days from the date it was issued
  • You MUST print the certificate — it cannot be shown on a phone

A free Grand Slam breakfast at Denny’s

A free Magnificent Seven breakfast at Perkins

$10 at GODIVA

A free bundtlet at Nothing Bundt Cakes

  • Minnesota locations in Blaine, Eagan, Eden Prairie, Maple Grove, Minnetonka, Rochester, St. Paul and Woodbury
  • You must be a member of their EClub

A free cupcake at Lunds & Byerlys

  • 27 Minnesota locations
  • Sign up for their Extras program
  • You will receive an email for a free cupcake that is to be redeemed within two weeks of your birthday

A free cupcake at Nadia Cakes

  • Minnesota locations in Maple Grove and Woodbury
  • You must sign up for their mailing list

A free pastry, croissant, muffin, scone, sweet roll or cookie at Panera Bread

A free half hoagie and beverage at Hogan Brothers

A free sandwich and beverage at Jersey Mike’s

  • You must be a member of their Email Club
  • On your birthday, you will receive a coupon for a regular sub and a 22 oz drink
  • The coupon is good for one year
  • You must confirm your subscription to the Email Club at least 24 hours before the birthdate you provide, otherwise you won’t receive a coupon

A free sandwich at Which Wich

  • You must be a Vibe Club Rewards member
  • You need to sign up for the Vibe Club at least 30 days before your birthday
  • You may not receive a certificate if you haven’t purchase anything using your Rewards account in the last year

$15 at Finish Line

A free beverage at Caribou Coffee

  • You must be a Caribou Perks member
  • The perk can be used on any beverage, in any size
  • You have 7 days from your birthday to redeem

A free beverage or food item at Starbucks

  • You must a Starbucks Rewards member
  • You need to sign up for Starbucks Rewards at least 7 days before your birthday
  • The credit can be used for a handcrafted beverage, a food item or a ready-to-drink bottled beverage
  • You need to make one other transaction using your Rewards account prior to your birthday each year to receive the credit
  • The credit usually appears on your account 1 to 3 days before your birthday

$5 at Dunn Brothers Coffee

$10 off your meal at Timberlodge Steakhouse

  • The chain restaurant collapsed: the only Minnesota location left is in Owatonna
  • Be weary here: I asked the location to verify this deal; they did not respond to my request

Know a birthday freebie not listed? Tell me!

20 Mexican restaurants in Minnesota worth the trip

Nearly 1,000 votes came in from Twin Cities Live viewers suggesting where they like to go for the best Mexican food in Minnesota. I presented the top 5 picks on TV — and those are listed below.

While votes came in, I heard from people saying that certain Mexican restaurants don’t serve authentic food and that you need to go to specific parts of the Twin Cities to find true Mexican food. That theory is garbage. No matter if you’re in Minneapolis or Madelia, every establishment has a story to tell. Save your comments for some other blog.

There are a lot of Mexican restaurants out there, and I encourage you to try out new spots. Underneath the top 5, check out an expanded list of restaurants which made the top 20, including some of my personal favorites. And let me know what you think! You can reach out to me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

  • Boca Chica Restaurante Mexicano y Cantina, Saint Paul
    • Opened in 1964 with just four tables
    • Now has 64 tables and a patio which seats around 75 people
    • They serve a lunch buffet Monday-Friday and a Sunday brunch from 10:00-2:00
    • What to order: Flautas Banderas, Carne a la Tampiqueña, Tacos Monterrey
Boca Chica
  • El Burrito Mercado, Saint Paul
    • Not only a restaurant, but also has a market and cafeteria
    • Opened in 1979
    • Also operate a restaurant and bar in Minneapolis and sell items at Allianz Field in Saint Paul
    • What to order: Chicken Mole, Ceviche de Camaron, Sopes with 3 Guisados
El Burrito Mercado
  • Pajarito, Saint Paul
    • Opened in December 2016 in a building dating back to 1886
    • Stop in for lunch to avoid long wait times
    • Order one of their craft cockails
    • What to order: Chilaquiles, Elote style Brussels Sprouts, Torta
Pajarito
  • La Plaza F!esta, Madelia
    • Originally opened in 2011; a fire completely destroyed the restaurant in 2016
    • They rebuilt and expanded to nearly 150 seats
    • New restaurant includes a grocery store next door
    • All tables and chairs were painted and carved in Mexico
    • What to order: Flaming Cheese, Malcajete F!esta, Seafood Ceviche
La Plaza F!esta
  • Pablo’s Mexican Restaurant, Shakopee
    • Opened in 1986
    • 4 expansions and a remodel later, it features 260 seats
    • Family-owned
    • Closed Sundays
    • What to order: Margarita flight, Ultimate Chimichanga, Surf & Turf with Tamale, 3 Enchiladas & Chile Relleno
Pablo’s Mexican Restaurant

Want more recommended Mexican restaurants? Check out these spots, recommended by your votes!

Check out my other roundups of what’s ‘Worth the Trip’

Twin Cities Restaurant Room Rental Guide

Sponsored content
Some restaurants listed below advertised with Give Me the Mike to be highlighted in this guide. 

It’s a question I get frequently: ‘Please recommend a restaurant where you can rent a private room. I’m planning a birthday party for a friend.’

I get it. It sure beats out inviting randoms into your house — and then having to clean up after them.

After a while, I thought, ‘Heck, there must be an extensive guide out there listing all these restaurants.’  Well, there are a couple. One, from 2016, is extremely out of date. Many of the restaurants listed have closed. Another one I found is good, but it’s limited.

Wedding planners have their own rental guides, but you don’t need to rent out a 300-person reception hall for your cousin Janet’s 50th birthday. So, I did my research and created this guide.

Happy planning! And if you know of a restaurant not listed, let me know! Reach out to me by filling out this form.

Minneapolis

4 Bells

Seafood Platter (1).jpg
4 Bells, just on the edge of downtown Minneapolis, has incredibly fresh seafood.

1610 Harmon Place, Minneapolis 55403
(612) 904-1163, events@4bells.com
More information

Overlooking Loring Park; the sister restaurant to Butcher & the Boar
Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be split amongst guests
Valet parking is available ($11, hosted for $13)
Surface pay lot available next door

Venue: Quarters

Quarters Park
There is lots of natural light in the Quarters Dining Room at 4 Bells in Minneapolis.

Private
Capacity (seated): 24
Capacity (cocktail): Not available
Includes access to smart TV
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $1,000

Venue: Roof Top Atrium

4 Bells Roof top.jpg
Roof Top Atrium at 4 Bells.

Private or semi-private
Capacity (seated): 100
Capacity (cocktail): 130
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, private bar, private restrooms, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on night and time of year (ranges from $1,500-9,500)
Additional experiences: includes indoor and outdoor spaces for guests

Venue: Parkside Room, Lounge Room & Hickory Room

4 Bells Hickory Room
Hickory Room at 4 Bells.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 40 (Parkside), 30 (Lounge), 14 (Hickory)
Capacity (cocktail): 30 (Lounge)
Handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $750-2,500

508 Bar + Restaurant

508 Bar
508 Bar + Restaurant is just one block north of Target Center.

508 North First Avenue, Minneapolis 55403
(612) 339-0036, events@the508mpls.com

Close to Target Center and Target Field
Final bill can be split amongst guests

Venue: Lower Level

508 Bar Lower Level
The Lower Level at 508 Bar + Restaurant has no rental fee and no food and beverage minimum.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 150
Capacity (cocktail): 347
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in music, access to projector, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $0

Venue: Pool Room
Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 40
Capacity (cocktail): 60
Includes access to projector, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $0

Butcher & the Boar

Butcher & the Boar.jpg
The Beer Garden at Butcher & the Boar in Minneapolis.

1121 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis 55403
(612) 338-8888, events@butcherandtheboar.com
More information

Just a couple blocks from Minneapolis’ Theater District
Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be split amongst guests
Valet parking is available ($11, hosted for $13)

Venue: Boar Room

Boar Room table & bar.jpg
The Boar Room in the basement of Butcher & the Boar in Minneapolis.

Private
Capacity (seated): 32
Capacity (cocktail): 40
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, private restrooms, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $1,500

Venue: Butcher Room
Private
Capacity (seated): 18
Capacity (cocktail): not applicable
Includes access to microphone, access to smart TV, private restrooms, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $1,000

Venue: Beer Garden
Private and semi-private options available
Capacity (seated): 80
Capacity (cocktail): 100
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, private bar, private restrooms, private entrance, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on night and time of year (ranges from $2,500-9,500)

Cafe and Bar Lurcat

Cafe and Bar Lurcat, overlooking Loring Park in Minneapolis.

1624 Harmon Place, Minneapolis 55403
(612) 486-5500, lurcat@damico.com
More information

Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Valet parking is available ($12 if hosted, $10 cash)

Venue: Private Dining Room

The Private Dining Room at Lurcat.

Private
Capacity (seated): 55
Capacity (cocktail): 70
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, ability to rent private bar with additional charge, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $1,500 Sunday to Thursday evenings, $6,000 Friday and Saturday evenings — all exclude tax and service charges
Additional experiences: Bose Sound Tower/microphone available for rental; includes access to back patio from June 1st to October 1st for cocktail hour; offers large windows overlooking Loring Park

Venue: Lofted Bar Mezzanine

The semi-private Lofted Mezzanine at Lurcat provides a more intimate setting.

Semi-Private
Capacity (seated): 30
Capacity (cocktail): 30
Includes access to private restrooms
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $500 Sunday to Thursday, $1,000 Friday and Saturday — all exclude tax and service charges
Additional experiences: offers great views of the main bar floor; area for cocktail reception within the space

Venue: Bar Buyout

Planning a big party? Turn Lurcat’s bar into a dance floor!

Private
Capacity (seated): 150-180
Capacity (cocktail): 225
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, private bar, private restrooms, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $500 Monday to Thursday, $2,000 Friday and Saturday, $1,000 Sunday
Food and beverage minimum: $10,000 Monday, $12,000 Tuesday and Wednesday, $15,000 Thursday, $25,000 Friday and Saturday, $12,000 Sunday — all exclude tax and service charges
Additional experiences: part of the restaurant can turn into a dance floor with room for a band

Erte’ & the Peacock Lounge

323 13th Avenue NE, Minneapolis 55413
More information

Venue: Chef’s Table Private Dining Room
Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 20
Capacity (cocktail): not available
Handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $20 per person, minimum of 12 people

Venue: Erte’ Main Dining Room
Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 100
Capacity (cocktail): not available
Includes access to plug in own music, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on night and time of year

Venue: The Peacock Lounge
Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 54
Capacity (cocktail): not applicable
Includes access to plug in own music, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on night and time of year

FireLake Grill House and Cocktail Bar

PDR(1).jpg
FireLake Grill House and Cocktail Bar inside the Radisson Blu Minneapolis Downtown.

31 South Seventh Street, Minneapolis 55402
(612) 216-3473

Located inside the Radisson Blu Minneapolis Downtown

Venue: Private Dining Room

PDR(2)
Private Dining Room at FireLake.

Private
Capacity (seated): 40
Capacity (cocktail): 60
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $600-2,000

Venue: Half Private Dining Room
Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 20
Capacity (cocktail): 25
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $300-1,000

Venue: Board Room

Boardroom
Board Room at FireLake Grill House and Cocktail Bar in the Radisson Blu Minneapolis Downtown.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 14
Capacity (cocktail): not available
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $200-700

The Freehouse

Freehouse Beer.jpg
Guests at the The Freehouse can go on their own on-site brewery tour.

701 North Washington Avenue, Minneapolis 55401
(612) 339-7011, michelle.dimuzio@blueplateco.com
More information

Part of the Blue Plate Restaurant Company
Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be invoiced or split amongst guests
On-site parking is under construction (more details available March 2019)
Valet parking is available ($6)

Venue: Volstead Lounge

Volstead Lounge 3.jpg
Volstead Lounge at The Freehouse.

Semi-private, curtains can be drawn closed
Capacity (seated): 50
Capacity (cocktail): 75
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on night
Additional experiences: go on an on-site brewery tour or add a beer tasting or cocktail class for your group! The Volstead Lounge also offers beer and wine paired dinners.

Venue: Back Bar Area

Freehouse 3.jpg
The Freehouse in the North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 25
Capacity (cocktail): 40-50
Handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $250 per hour

Gluek’s Bar & Restaurant

_DSC3909.jpg
Gluek’s Bar and Restaurant is in the heart of downtown Minneapolis.

16 North Sixth Street, Minneapolis 55403
(612) 338-6621, party@glueks.com
More information

Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be invoiced or split amongst guests

Venue: Banquet Room

_DSC3912.jpg
The Banquet Room at Gluek’s has no rental fee.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 60
Capacity (cocktail): 60+
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on night
Additional experiences: includes access to Beer Garden  

Hell’s Kitchen

hells kitchen.jpg
Hell’s Kitchen is centrally located downtown Minneapolis, within walking distance to downtown hotels, U.S. Bank Stadium, Target Center and the Convention Center.

80 South Ninth Street, Minneapolis 55402
(612) 238-1427, events@hellskitcheninc.com 
More information

Venue: Hell’s Kitchen Underground Room

Underground 2up_
The Underground Room at Hell’s Kitchen comes with a full stage, a 12-foot projector screen, and no rental fee.

Private or semi-private
Capacity (seated): 160
Capacity (cocktail): 325
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies
Additional experiences: full stage; 12 foot projector screen; professional sound system; attached parking ramp which goes into lobby; connected to Minneapolis skyway system

Venue: Hell’s Kitchen Minnesota Room

MNRoom 2up_
The Minnesota Room at Hell’s Kitchen in downtown Minneapolis.

Private or semi-private
Capacity (seated): 135
Capacity (cocktail): 200
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies
Additional experiences: attached parking ramp which goes into lobby; connected to Minneapolis skyway system

Venue: Hell’s Kitchen Far Side Pub

Far Side Pub2up_
Hell’s Kitchen is connected to the Minneapolis skyway system and the restaurant has a parking ramp attached to its lobby.

Private or semi-private
Capacity (seated): 50
Capacity (cocktail): 60
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies
Additional experiences: attached parking ramp which goes into lobby; connected to Minneapolis skyway system

Venue: Hell’s Kitchen Full Restaurant Buyout
Private
Capacity (seated): 345
Capacity (cocktail): 425
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies
Additional experiences: 2 full bars; private restrooms; 12 foot projector screen; professional sound system; attached parking ramp which goes into lobby; connected to Minneapolis skyway system

Masu Sushi & Robata

The Nomu Room Bar and Private Dining 2
Masu Sushi & Robata’s location in Northeast Minneapolis has a private room with no rental fee.

330 East Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis 55414
(612) 332-6278, info@masusushiandrobata.com

Located in the heart of Northeast Minneapolis
Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages (with two weeks notice)
Final bill can be split amongst guests

Venue: Nomu Room

The Nomu Room Private Dining.jpg
The Nomu Room at Masu Sushi & Robata in Northeast Minneapolis has its own bar and private restrooms.

Private
Capacity (seated): 40
Capacity (cocktail): 40
Includes access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, private restrooms, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $1,200

Saint Paul

DeGidio’s Restaurant & Bar

DeGidios 2.jpg
DeGidio’s is located along West 7th in Saint Paul, not far from downtown, but quite accessible for guests.

425 Seventh Street West, Saint Paul 55102
(651) 291-7105, info@degidios.com
More information

Final bill can be split amongst guests
Complimentary on-site parking available
Valet parking is available (for events and after 5:00 p.m. Friday & Saturday nights October – March)

Venue: DeGidio Event Venue

DeGidios 3
The Event Venue at DeGidio’s and seat up to 160 people and does not have a rental fee.

Private
Capacity (seated): 40 to 160
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0 (deposit of $100 required for Sunday – Thursday nights and $500 for Friday – Saturday nights)
Food and beverage minimum: There is a $22 food minimum per adult in the DeGidio Event Venue. Beverages do no count toward the minimum. There is a $1,000 food minimum for events with less than 45 guests on Friday and Saturday evenings. There is a $750 food minimum Sunday – Thursday evenings for events with less than 35 guests. Children under 10 are half price.

The Happy Gnome

Happy Gnome.jpg
The Happy Gnome on Selby Avenue in Saint Paul. Photo courtesy Poppy Seed Photography

498 Selby Avenue, Saint Paul 55102
(651) 287-2018, emily@thehappygnome.com
More information

Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be split amongst guests
Complimentary on-site parking available
Valet parking available as a package

Venue: The Fireside Room

Happy Gnome Fireside Room.jpg
The second level Fireside Room at The Happy Gnome comes with white linens and a roaring fire. Photo courtesy Poppy Seed Photography

Private
Capacity (seated): 80
Capacity (cocktail): 125
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, private bar, private restrooms
Rental fee: $350
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on night — $1,000 Sunday to Wednesday evenings, $2,500 Thursday and Friday evenings, $3,500 Saturday evenings
Additional experiences: room rental comes with linens, candles, coffee service and a fireplace

Holman’s Table

Holmans Table 1.jpg
Holman’s Table is dinner and a show. Diners get a view of the tarmac of airplanes taking off at the Saint Paul Downtown Airport.

644 Bayfield Street, Saint Paul 55107
(612) 800-5298, contact@holmanstable.com
More information

View of the Holman Field tarmac
Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be invoiced and split amongst guests (based on event)
Valet parking available for hire

Venue: Earhart Room
Private
Capacity (seated): 70
Capacity (cocktail): 100
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in music, access to smart TV, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: based on event
Food and beverage minimum: based on event

Bloomington

FireLake Grill House and Cocktail Bar

FireLake Private Dining Room 2.jpg
FireLake Grill House and Cocktail Bar inside Radisson Blu Mall of America.

2100 Killebrew Drive, Bloomington 55425
(952) 851-4040, reservationsmoa@firelakerestaurant.com

Inside the Radisson Blu Mall of America; connected to the Mall by skyway
Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be split amongst guests up to 5 ways
On-site parking is available ($17)
Additional on-site parking is available in the Mall of America ramps
Valet parking is available ($12 event parking, $25 overnight parking)

Venue: Dining Room

FireLake Private Dining Room 1.jpeg
The Semi-Private Dining Room at FireLake Grill House and Cocktail Bar at the Radisson Blu Mall of America.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 60
Capacity (cocktail): 75
Includes access to smart TV (additional fee), private bar (additional fee), handicap accessible
Rental fee: $50
Food and beverage minimum: Varies

Venue: Lounge

FireLake Cocktail Bar Pool Tables.jpg
Guests in The Lounge at FireLake can enjoy a game of pool.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 46
Capacity (cocktail): 100
Includes access to smart TV (additional fee), private bar (additional fee), handicap accessible
Rental fee: $50
Food and beverage minimum: Varies
Additional experiences: includes 2 pool tables

Lela Restaurant

Lela PDR
The Private Dining Room at Lela Restaurant in Bloomington.

5601 West 78th Street, Bloomington 55439
(952) 656-5980, events@lelarestaurant.com
More information

Attached to the Sheraton Bloomington Hotel
Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be invoiced or split amongst guests

Complimentary on-site parking available

Venue: Lela Private Dining Room
Private
Capacity (seated): 36
Capacity (cocktail): 20-40
Includes access to smart TV,  handicap accessible
Rental fee: varies
Food and beverage minimum: varies

Venue: Lela Lounge

Lela Lounge
The Lela Lounge gives you access to happy hour prices.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 58
Capacity (cocktail): not available
Includes access to microphone, access to smart TV, handicap accessible
Rental fee: varies
Food and beverage minimum: varies
Additional experiences: happy hour menu available in this space

Venue: Lela Wine Room

Lela Wine Room
The Wine Room at Lela Restaurant in Bloomington.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 10
Capacity (cocktail): not available
Includes access to smart TV, handicap accessible
Rental fee: varies
Food and beverage minimum: varies

Chanhassen

Chanhassen Dinner Theatres

Chanhassen Fireside.jpeg
Whether your group has 4 people or 300, the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres has a venue to accommodate you.

501 West 78th Street, Chanhassen 55317
(952) 934-1524, randerson@chanhassendt.com
More information

The Chanhassen Dinner Theatres isn’t just for date nights and wedding receptions!
Final bill can be invoiced or split amongst guests
Complimentary on-site parking available
Discounts or packages for groups of 12 or more may be available for performances in the Main Dinner Theatre, Stevie Ray’s Comedy Cabaret, and the Fireside Theatre Concert Series. Call (952) 934-1547 for details.

Venue: The Club

Club1.jpg
The Club at the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres.

Private
Capacity (seated): 175
Capacity (cocktail): 225
Includes access to microphone, access to smart TV (additional fee), private bar, handicap accessible, private entrance
Rental fee: varies
Food and beverage minimum: varies

Venue: Garden, Jonathan and Carver Rooms

Ballroom1.jpg
From 50 to 300 people, the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres can accommodate groups of all sizes!

Private
Capacity (seated): 250 — the rooms can be divided and closed off for smaller parties (as few as 50)
Capacity (cocktail): 300
Includes access to microphone, access to smart TV (additional fee), private bar, handicap accessible (note: dancing area is not handicap accessible)
Rental fee: varies
Food and beverage minimum: varies

Venue: Director’s Suites — available for Main Stage shows at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres

Private
Capacity (seated): 4 or 33 (two Suites available)
Capacity (cocktail): 33
Includes access to smart TV (additional fee), private bar (additional fee)
Rental fee: guests must purchase dinner and show tickets
Food and beverage minimum: a minimum of 20 people for larger space

Maple Grove

Lookout Bar and Grill

Banquet room
The Lookout Bar and Grill in Maple Grove.

8672 Pineview Lane, Maple Grove 55369
(763) 424-4365
More information

Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be invoiced or split amongst guests
Complimentary on-site parking available

Venue: Patioview and Fireside Rooms

patioview 3
The Fireside Room at the Lookout Bar and Grill.

Private
Capacity (seated): 60 (if booked together)
Capacity (cocktail): 70 (if booked together)
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies
Additional experiences: Patioview comes with a private patio space

Saint Louis Park

Park Tavern

Park Tavern.jpg
Throw a bowling party at the Park Tavern in Saint Louis Park.

3401 Louisiana Avenue South, Saint Louis Park 55426
(952) 929-6810, reservations@parktavern.net
More information

Final bill can be invoiced or split amongst guests
Complimentary on-site parking available

Venue: Atrium

Park Tavern Atrium
The Atrium inside Park Tavern.

Private
Capacity (seated): 36
Capacity (cocktail): not applicable
Includes access to smart TV, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $0

Venue: Party Room

Park Tavern Party Room
There is no food and beverage minimum for the Party Room at the Park Tavern.

Private
Capacity (seated): 40
Capacity (cocktail): not applicable
Includes access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $0

Venue: Bowling Lanes

Semi-private or private
Capacity (seated): 200
Capacity (cocktail): not applicable
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, private bar, handicap accessible, private entrance
Rental fee: No flat fee — determined by when event is held
Food and beverage minimum: No flat fee — determined by when event is held
Additional experiences: 20 bowling lanes; 3 buffet areas; children’s arcade; smoking patio

Venue: 11th Frame

Park Tavern 11th Frame
Rent out the entire 11th Frame, which can turn into a private bar for your group.

Semi-private or private
Capacity (seated): 100
Capacity (cocktail): not applicable
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: No flat fee — determined by when event is held
Food and beverage minimum: No flat fee — determined by when event is held
Additional experiences: space includes 13 TVs, 4 pool tables, 5 dart boards, Big Buck Hunter video game, Golden Tee video game, Skee Ball machine, TouchTunes juke box, seasonal outdoor patio with additional 120 seats available

Wayzata

6Smith

294 Grove Lane North, Wayzata 55391
(952) 698-7900, party@6smith.com
More information

Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be invoiced or split amongst guests
Complimentary on-site parking available
Valet parking is available ($8)

Venue: Revel Room

Revel+Room.jpg
The Revel Room at 6Smith includes panoramic views of Lake Minnetonka and a private patio.

Private or semi-private
Capacity (seated): up to 50
Capacity (cocktail): 50
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, private bar upon request, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on time, day of week and time of year (ranges from $1,250-3,000)
Additional experiences: includes panoramic views of Lake Minnetonka, private patio space

Venue: Knotty Room

Knotty+Room.JPG
The Knotty Room at 6Smith in Wayzata.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): up to 14
Capacity (cocktail): 25
Includes access to microphone, access to smart TV, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on time, day of week and time of year (ranges from $500-1,250)

Venue: Revel & Knotty Rooms 

6Smith+Revel+Knotty.JPG
Combine the Revel & Knotty Rooms at 6Smith for additional space.

Private or semi-private
Capacity (seated): up to 86
Capacity (cocktail): 100
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, private bar upon request, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on time, day of week and time of year (ranges from $2,000-4,200)
Additional experiences: includes panoramic views of Lake Minnetonka, private patio space

Venue: The Tavern

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): up to 64
Capacity (cocktail): 50
Includes access to smart TV, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on time, day of week and time of year (ranges from $1,000-5,000)
Additional experiences: includes panoramic views of Lake Minnetonka

Woodbury

Angelina’s Kitchen

Angelinas 1.jpg
Angelina’s Kitchen in Woodbury.

2170 Eagle Creek Lane, Suite H, Woodbury 55129
(651) 998-0474, angela@angelinaskitchen.com
More information

Final bill can be split amongst guests
Complimentary on-site parking available
Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages

Venue: Tuscany Room

Angelinas 2
The Tuscany Room at Angelina’s Kitchen has no rental fee.

Semi-private or private
Capacity (seated): 70
Capacity (cocktail): 100
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart Apple TV, access to private restrooms, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0, a service fee of $30 per hour per staff member will be charged; staff count will be determined by guest count, menu and service style
Food and beverage minimum: private events: $1,500 Monday – Thursday, $2,000 Friday – Saturday; $0 for semi-private

With the crowdsourced list of restaurants below, it’s recommended you visit their websites to ensure they offer the private dining options you need. 

Minneapolis

Saint Paul

Arden Hills

Apple Valley

Blaine

Bloomington

Brooklyn Center

Brooklyn Park

Burnsville

Champlin

Chanhassen

Coon Rapids

Eagan

Eden Prairie

Edina

Excelsior

Golden Valley

Hastings

Hopkins

Long Lake

Maple Grove

Maplewood

Mendota

Minnetonka

New Hope

Plymouth

Richfield

Rogers

Rosemount

Roseville

Saint Louis Park

Savage

Shakopee

Spring Park

Stillwater

Vadnais Heights

Wayzata

Woodbury

The best donuts in the Twin Cities

I appeared on Twin Cities Live with a viewer-selected list of where to find the best donuts in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metro. And it happened to be National Donut Day! Make sure the first Friday of June is circled on your calendar so you can celebrate.

Shops featured: