Winter and holiday events to keep your spirits bright

Loyce Houlton’s Nutcracker Fantasy at the State Theatre


Winter and holiday things, both new and traditional

Here is your winter 2023-24 guide to holiday and winter-related events and things to do. Just like last year, this is a streamlined list, with the same limits. To wit: for online ticket sales, we provide the name (search term) for the website only. In most cases, both the phone number (and sometimes email also) and the location and hours of the box office are given on the ticketing website or web page.
Ticket prices are not given, so be sure and ask about senior, student and children’s discounts, as well as pay-what-you-can programs. Specific times are given only for single events, with a date span given for theater runs and series. If the presenting organization does not have its own venue, the venue will be given after the organization. If there is no “for tickets” link, it might be free, but don’t assume. Check online or call before you go.

Black Nativity at Penumbra Theatre

Live theater – musicals, improv, comedy

Plus one thing that sounds like a panto? (See Cinderella, below.) Panto, short for pantomime, is a family holiday tradition in the U.K. and Ireland. These are multi-faceted performances of fairy tales, with stock characters, silly songs, talking animals, physical comedy, cross-gender performances, and audience participation.

• A Very Bearded Holiday – HUGE Improv Theater – Fridays from 11/11 to 12/29. Tickets online at

• A Christmas Carol – Guthrie Theater – 11/11 through 12/30. Tickets online or phone at or in person at their box office.

Cirque du Soleil: Twas The Night Before…
at Northrop Auditorium

• Away In a Basement – Church Basement Ladies/ Ames Center, Burnsville – one show, 11/16 at 1 p.m. Tickets online at

• Cinderella – A Musical Fairy Tale For All Ages – Sidekick Theatre, Bloomington – 11/20 through 12/29. Tickets online at

• Christmas at the Local – Theatre Latte Da – 11/21 through 12/31. Original work; includes Dylan Thomas’s “A Child’s Christmas in Wales.” Tickets and info at

• ‘Twas the Night Before – Cirque du Soleil/Hennepin Theatre Trust/Northrop Carlson Stage (University of Minnesota) – 11/24 through 12/03. A circus, music and dance performance based on the iconic poem by Clement Clarke Moore. Tickets via or

• Black Nativity – Penumbra Theatre – 11/28 through 12/24. Classic Twin Cities experience, not to be missed. Tickets and info at

• Peter Pan (Broadway musical version) – Ordway Center, St. Paul – 12/05 through 12/31. Tickets online or Ordway box office.

• Dinner for One – Jungle Theater – 12/08 through 12/21. New work by Jungle’s artistic director, based on slapstick sketch comedy and European New Year’s Eve traditions. General ticket sales begin 11/22 (or season pass if you have it already).

Jul at the American Swedish Institute

Dance – all Nutcrackers

These are not quite ALL the Nutcrackers in town, but rather a curated list. If you want more, we suggest the following link –

• Mini Nutcracker – Twin Cities Ballet at Lakeville Area Arts Center – 11/27 through 11/29. At just one hour and with little-kid-friendly music, this makes a great introduction to ballet. Tickets at

• Nutcracker Magical Christmas Ballet – Talmi Entertainment at the Orpheum Theatre – 11/30 through 12/02. Tickets online at

• A Minnesota Nutcracker – Twin Cities Ballet/Ames Center, Burnsville – 12/07 through 12/10 (four shows). Tickets through

• Nutcracker in Wonderland – Ballet Co.Laboratory/Cowles Center for Dance and Performing Arts – 12/08 through 12/10 (four shows). A dance mashup between Nutcracker and Alice in Wonderland. Tickets through

• Metropolitan Ballet Presents Nutcracker – Metropolitan Ballet/Fitzgerald Theater, St. Paul – 12/09 and 12/10. Tickets via

• Loyce Houlton’s Nutcracker Fantasy – Minnesota Dance Theatre/State Theatre, Minneapolis – 12/16 through 12/23. Tickets at

‘Christmas at the Local’ at Theater Latte Da
(Photo/Dan Norman)


As usual, an eclectic mix of music, from Baroque to brokenhearted.

• Decolonize Thanksgiving: A Benefit for First Nations Kitchen – Hook and Ladder Theater and Lounge with a lineup of Native American musicians – 11/24 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets at or

• Julgladje Family Concert – American Swedish Institute (ASI) – 11/25, two shows. Tickets at

• Holiday Music at the Mall of America with a selection of local artists and choirs – in the rotunda – 12/4 through 12/23 except all Tuesdays and 12/8 and 12/9. Free.

• Concordia College Christmas Concert – Concordia College/Minnesota Orchestra (Orchestra Hall) – 12/07, 2 shows at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Tickets at

• Southside Foodshare Benefit featuring Wet Denim, Fletcher Couley, and Saffron Dealer – Palmer’s Bar, Minneapolis – 12/8, 8 p.m. to midnight. Tickets at

• Handel’s “Messiah” – Minnesota Orchestra (Orchestra Hall) – 12/08 and 12/09. Tickets at

• Anthony Shore’s “Christmas with Elvis” – Ames Center, Burnsville – 12/13 at 7:30 p.m. Acclaimed Elvis tribute singing the Elvis Holiday Songbook. Tickets at

• Handel’s “Messiah” at the Basilica – St. Paul Chamber Orchestra/The Basilica of St. Mary, Minneapolis – 12/14 and 12/15. Tickets via

• Handel’s “Messiah” at the Ordway – St. Paul Chamber Orchestra/Ordway Concert Hall, St. Paul – 12/16 and 12/17. Tickets via

• Mannheim Steamroller Christmas – Orpheum Theatre – 12/15 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets and info at

• “Trashy Little Xmas” by Trailer Trash – Hook and Ladder Theater and Lounge – 12/15 and 12/16. For tickets and info, go to the events calendar at

• “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve” – Trans-Siberian Orchestra /Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul – 12/30 (two shows). Tickets at

No Coast Craft-o-Rama at Midtown Global Market

Fairs and markets

• New City and Walker Church Holiday Art Fair – New City Center (former Walker Church). 11/18 and 11/19. Over 20 artists/vendors, live music, soup, bake sale.

• Long Prairie Arts and Crafts Fair – Grey Eagle School – 11/25. Annual arts fair, more info at

• St. Paul Old-Fashioned Holiday Bazaar – Landmark Center – 11/30 through 12/02.

• No-Coast Craftorama – Midtown Global Market – 12/01. See Facebook at

• Julmarknad – American Swedish Institute – 12/02 and 12/03. Swedish-style holiday market; see calendar for December.

• Women’s Art Festival – St. Mary’s University Center – 12/09. See for more information.

• Minnesota Merry Market – Minnesota State Fairgrounds, St. Paul – 12/16 through 12/17. NEW show debuts this year. More info at

Classes, sing-alongs, DIY and other miscellany

A very mixed bag indeed.

Night trains at Twin City Model Railroad Museum

• Night Trains – Twin Cities Model Railroad Museum – Saturdays from 11/4 through 02/24/2024 (plus some bonus days). See for details and admission.

• Indigenous cooking classes – Seward Community Co-op – 11/6, 11/9, 11/13, 11/14, 11/16 and 11/29. See for times, cost and details.

• Eight seasons of the Sami calendar (class) – ASI – 11/12, 2 to 4 p.m. See calendar for December (same for other ASI events in this section).

• Joulu 101, Finnish winter holiday (class) – ASI – 11/15, 6:30 to 8 p.m.

• Jul 101, Swedish winter holiday (class) – ASI – 11/16, 6:30 to 8 p.m.

One of Seward Co-op’s class offerings on Indigenous foods

• Lucia Allsang and caroling (Swedish sing-along) – ASI – 6 to 7 p.m.

• Joululaulut (Finnish sing-along) – ASI – 7 to 8 p.m.

• Julmarknad Preview Party – ASI – 6 to 8 p.m. Preview shopping, live music, treats to buy from Fika, plus ASI’s Holiday Exhibition, “Once Upon a Mansion.”

• Igloo dining experiences – Restaurant 925 at The Landing, Wayzata – November and December. Three-hour, five-course tasting menu with wine pairing for two to six guests, prepaid reservations. In a heated “igloo!” See

• Cut your own holiday tree – various tree farms across the state – most of December. Access a map with dozens of choose-and-cut fresh conifers at–cut-new.


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