37 Best Christmas Light Displays in Minnesota

Entertainment Everything Else Outdoors Power Rankings


Christmas time is here, filled out lights and cheer. Holidays and snowy days, and friends from far and near. Snowfakes in the air, another list of 37 things for all who care. Walking paths that lead to Santa’s lap, there’s magic everywhere.

It’s called the most wonderful time of the year for a reason. We get Chris Hawkey Christmas speeches, gifts, time away from work, and time to spend with our family and friends. One of the ways I like to spend that time is checking out the best Christmas light displays in Minnesota. This list isn’t in order of worst to best. It’s really not in any order at all, outside of my vote for number 1. That one, for me, is the best Christmas light display in Minnesota and you can’t beat it. The rest of this list is just displays that look incredible. I know how much time and effort gets put into a Christmas light display. I tried my best to mix in as many holiday light displays that are put on by homeowners are possible. Those are the ones made from passion, not for profit.

But that’s not the case for everything on this list. Finding really good, local light displays is rather challenging so if you know of one I missed, by all means, reach out to me on Twitter @NickLewis37


So here’s my list of the 37 best Christmas light displays in Minnesota, in mostly no order. And if you’re big into lists, and particularly lists of 37, I have good news for you

Related
You could check out 37 Must Eat Foods in Minnesota
Maybe you’ll like 37 Best Chips Ranked
Or there’s 37 KFAN T-Shirt Ideas
And finally, 37 Must Eat Minnesota State Fair Foods

But that’s enough of that. 37 best Christmas light displays in Minnesota, here we go!

37. Nature Illuminated at the Minnesota Zoo

Photo credit u/MaxPaynesRxDrugPlan on Reddit

Apple Valley, Minnesota
Dates – 12/2 – 1/2
Drive-thru and new walking experience
Cost: Yes
Website: https://mnzoo.org/ni-2021/

From their website: “Back by popular demand, Nature Illuminated is a magical narrated journey through brilliant, oversized lit displays of your favorite animals. Join us for the return of this light spectacular of the wildest kind. Reserve your tickets now for the driving tour or our new walking experience!”

36. Christmas in Color at Valleyfair

City of Shakopee
11/19 – 12/31
Drive-Thru
Cost: Yes
Website: https://www.valleyfair.com/events/christmas-in-color

Drive through millions of lights perfectly synchronized to holiday music. They have giant candy canes, snowmen, arched pathways, and more! Take your time enjoying this lighting extravaganza.

35. Cairl Family Christmas Lights in Andover

2342 145th Ave. NW Andover, MN 55304
11/25 – 12/4
Synchronized show to music
Cost: Free
Website: https://www.facebook.com/cairlfamilychristmaslights/

These are the kind of displays I love. Family-run Christmas light displays that are free to view and made with love and passion. With more than 50,0000 lights synchronized to music, this spot has its own radio station, 99.1, and runs Sunday – Thursday from 5:30-9:00 pm and Friday and Saturday until 10 pm. This year they are accepting donations for St. Jude’s Children’s Medical Research Hospital.

34. Durrant Family Lights in Blaine

1750 130th Ave NE, Blaine, MN 55449
11/26 – at least Christmas (Sorry, couldn’t find an end date!)
Synchronized show to music
Cost: Free
Website: https://www.facebook.com/durrantfamilylights/?ref=page_internal

Another family-run show that is sure to amaze. They also have a radio station and have light shows to such songs as Winter Wonderland… BY SNOOP DOGG. This spot also does a Halloween light display.

Check out a video here

33. Holiday Lights on 20th Street in St. Michael

1159 20th St. NE, St. Michael, MN 55376
11/26 – 12/31
Synchronized show to music
Cost: Free
Website: https://www.facebook.com/holidaylightson20thst/

The 2021 season will mark this spot’s 13th year and that’s a full-on tradition at this point. Holiday Lights on 20th also has a radio station for a synchronized light show, and they added 7 new songs this year. Donations are collected that go directly to the Hanover food shelf, they accept food, cash, or donations via Venmo.

32. Langness Lights in Forest Lake

Picture courtesy of Langness Lights Facebook page. The picture is nice but check out the video for the full effect!

9610 223rd Street North, Forest Lake, MN 55025
11/26 – at least Christmas
Synchronized show to music
Cost: Free
Website: https://langnesslights.remotefalcon.com/remoteFalcon


This show runs from 6-9 daily (nice) and has more than 3 hours of music programmed for your enjoyment.

Check out a video here

31. Barno Family Lights

4102 88th Ln NE Circle Pines, MN 55014
11/26 – at least Christmas
Synchronized show to music
Cost: Free
Website: https://barnofamilylights.com/

The Barno family plans their light shows all year and it shows. Offering 20,000 individually controlled pixels all mapped to the songs they’re broadcasting on 106.7FM. They collect donations for the Ronald McDonald House and have a QR code on-site if you’re interested.

30. Christmas on Savana in Chaska

Photo courtesy Christmas on Savanna Facebook page.

4441 Savanna Trail, Chaska, MN
11/20 – 12/26
Synchronized show to music
Cost: Free
Website: https://www.facebook.com/ChristmasOnSavanna/

With more than 20,000 lights and a 20-foot nutcracker, this is absolutely one of the best Christmas light displays in Minnesota. There’s plenty of things to see packed into the front yard so swing by and check it out!

29. Exhibition Drive Holiday Sound & Light Show in Duluth

2725 Exhibition Drive, Duluth, MN 55811
11/26 – 12/31
Synchronized show to music
Cost: Free
Website: https://www.facebook.com/exhibitiondrive

Everyone has heard of Bentleyville in Duluth, but this show has won Duluth’s Best Lighting Contest in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and was named Duluth’s Grand Master in 2017. The entire music set will take you about 25 minutes to see and runs Sunday through Thursday from 5-10 pm and Friday and Saturday until 11 pm.

Check out a video of the show here

28. Spirit of the Lights at Glensheen Mansion (Indoor and Outdoor Tours Available)

3300 London Road, Duluth MN 55804
11/26 – 1/1 (there are some dates that they’re not open. Make sure to check the website on this one!)
Walking Tour
Cost: Outdoor is free but you must purchase tickets to tour the mansion
Website: https://glensheen.org/tour/spirit-of-the-lights/

From their website:

Spirit of the Lights is Glensheen’s enchanting outdoor light display. This outdoor display is FREE and open to the public. Glensheen has been home to Spirit of the Lights since 2018, before then you may have known it as Marcia Hale’s famous Park Point Light Display. 

The display is celebrated for its intimate and natural feel. Many of the motifs and displays are in memory of individuals or in recognition of meaningful moments. To say this is a uniquely special display is an understatement. 2021 marks the third year that Spirit of the Lights’ home has been at Glensheen. We can’t thank Marcia enough for choosing Glensheen as the new home for these lights, which have such a storied past.

Please note that only the outdoor light display is free. To experience the magic of an evening candlelight tour at Glensheen click HERE.

27. Holiday Lights of Woodbury

Photo courtesy Holiday Lights of Woodbury Facebook Page

8846 Glacier Road, Woodbury, MN 5512
11/26 – 1/1
Synchronized show to music
Cost: Free
Website: https://www.facebook.com/HolidayLightsWoodbury/videos/?ref=page_internal

Running Sunday through Thursday from 5 to 10 pm and Friday and Saturday until 11 pm, tune your radio to 97.9FM and watch the four large faces on the garage sing your favorite Christmas songs! They also do a Halloween show in October so it’s full of holiday light display!

26. Celebrate the Light of the World in Willmar

Photo courtesy Celebrate the Light of the World Facebook Page

945 US BUS 71 Willmar, MN 56201
11/25 – 1/1
Drive-thru show
Cost: Free
Website: http://celebratethelight.net/

This display includes more than 800,000 lights that take more than 1,000 volunteer hours to set up. The show runs daily from 5 to 10 pm at Robbins Island and they accept donations for the Salvation Army in Wilmar, Habitat for Humanity of West Central Minnesota, the Kandiyohi County Food Shelf, and the United Way of West Central Minnesota.

25. Winter Lights at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Photo courtesy umn.edu website

3675 Arboretum Drive, Chaska, MN 55318
11/18 – 1/2 (but there’s a lot of special nights and off nights within those dates. Check the website first!)
Walking Tour
Cost: Yes
Website: https://arb.umn.edu/winterlights

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is beautiful already but when it’s decorated for Christmas, it’s magical. There are 16 outdoor light displays, a fire at the midway where you can roast marshmallows, a gift shop, and even a cafe to grab some food. They have a Winter Music Series. It really is one of the best Christmas light displays in Minnesota.

24. Sever’s Holiday Lights in Shakopee

3121 W 150th St. Shakopee, MN 55379
11/25 – 1/2
Drive-thru
Cost: Yes
Website: https://seversfestivals.com/events/holiday-lights/

Sever’s display boasts more than 2 MILLION lights along with festive food and drink vendors. The course is half a mile long and there’s an observation lot after you drive-thru to watch the show again. Plus with your paid entrance, you’re welcome to drive the course as many times as you would like. They recommend you purchase your tickets as early as possible and I will tell you now, it’s a busy spot so give yourself extra time.

23. Candy Cane Lane in Roseville

Photo courtesy Candy Cane Lane’s Facebook page.

1994 Herschel Street, Roseville, MN
12/1 – at least Christmas
Drive-by and walking path
Cost: Free
Website: https://www.facebook.com/Candycanelanemn/

Their walking path is open daily from 9 am to 9 pm and obviously, the lights come on once it’s dark. Luckily in Minnesota, this happens pretty early. They started this as a tribute to their dear mom/grandma who left them too soon and her favorite movie was National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. They light up the block in her memory. This is also an annual fundraiser for Rescued Pets Are Wonderful which is an animal rescue near and dear to their hearts. They have fostered more than 100 animals with them. RPAW takes the hard medical cases that no one else will and gives those animals a second chance at a wonderful life, just like their own dog, Archie!

22. Valley Lights at Rockpoint Church

5825 Kelvin Ave. N Lake Elmo, MN 55042
11/26 – 12/31
Drive-through and wagon rides.
Cost: Free
Website: https://rockpoint.church/valleylights/

With more than 100,000 lights choreographed to music, this is a great spot to check out the best Christmas lights in Minnesota right from your car! Or if you go on a Friday or Saturday, you can go through the display on a wagon ride.

21. Holiday Lights in Motion at Sportsman’s Park

North of Sleepy Eye Lake on Highway 4
11/25 – 12/31
Drive-thru and walking path
Cost: Free
Website: http://www.sleepyeyeonline.com/holidaylights/

Donations are accepted and encouraged but everything at this spot is free. They have concessions, wagon rides, horse-drawn carriages rides, and more than 300,000 lights all for the cost of nothing. As you can see from the video, this is a solid option. Certainly one of the best Christmas light displays in Minnesota!

20. Shakopee Winter Wonderland

Photo credit Shakopee Winter Wonderland Facebook page.

921 Shakopee Avenue East, Shakopee, MN 55379
11/27 – 12/31
Drive by and walking path
Cost: Free
Website: https://www.facebook.com/ShakopeeWinterWonderland/

Owner Roger Schmidt makes his home really stand out during the month of December. He custom makes most of his display which means you’re likely to see things at his place you won’t see anywhere else. There’s an awesome walking path or you can drive by and view everything from the street.

19. Loss Family Light Show in Ramsey

Photo credit Loss Family Light Show Facebook page

5635 156th Lane NW Ramsey, MN
11/27 – at least Christmas
Synchronized lights to music
Cost: Free
Website: https://www.facebook.com/Loss-Family-Light-Show-104231674849635/

Another house that set up their lights to music. Here’s a video of them testing the show but it’s ready to rock and roll now.

18. Sertoma Winter Wonderland at the Northland Arboretum

You know I took this picture from their Facebook page. Just assume that’s the case for every picture from here on out. Also, I know the sign says $15 in this picture but it’s $20 now. You can get discounts if you check their Facebook page though.

14250 Conservation Drive, Baxter, MN 56425
11/25 – 12/31 (But not open every night. Check the website for full schedule)
Drive-thru
Cost: Yes
Website: https://www.facebook.com/SertomaWinterWonderland/?ref=page_internal

$20 at the gate but they make it super easy to save $10 if you buy in advance. All the money earned goes to the local nonprofits Mid-Minnesota Women’s Center, CampConfidence, Northland Arboretum, and Crisis Line & Referral Service.

17. Palmer’s Christmas Light Display

I took this photo from a screengrab of this video

49307 Clover Trail, Rush City, MN 55069 (nice)
11/19 – 1/1
Drive-thru
Cost: Free
Website: https://www.facebook.com/Palmers-Christmas-Lights-Display-166703180590592/?ref=page_internal

I’ve got mad respect for this Christmas light display. The owner Roger hand-builds this entire display. I can’t figure out how to build furniture from Ikea and this dude is casually custom-making an entire drive-thru Christmas display. Unreal. You go, Roger!

16. Lights and Letters in Sauk Rapids

Yes, I did.

1101 10th Avenue North, Sauk Rapids, MN 56379
11/5 – 1/30
Drive-by display
Cost: Free
Website: https://www.facebook.com/Lights-and-Letters-light-display-100898748558804

45,000 lights, plenty of inflatables, plenty of Christmas.

15. Good Neighbor Light Show

Thanks, Facebook!

110th Avenue NE, Blaine, MN 55434
12/1 – 12/31
Synchronized show to music
Cost: Free
Website: https://www.facebook.com/Good-Neighbor-Light-Show-100351305258208/

A cool spot in Blaine to see some Christmas lights and as a bonus, they have a red mailbox outside of their light show for you to send letters to Santa! I don’t know how they got his address, but I’m impressed.

14. CSE Winter Light Show at the University of Minnesota Campus

Photo credit this website

500 Pillsbury Dr. SE, Minneapolis, MN
12/9, 12/10, 12/11
Walking tour

Cost: Free
Website: https://cse.umn.edu/college/news/student-designed-winter-light-shows-begin-dec-9-university-minnesota

This display is put on by the science and engineering students at the University of Minnesota and you only have a few nights to see the show. Row your boat over the campus to see more than 250,000 lights set to music that was also written and recorded by University of Minnesota students.

Row the Boat, Ski-U-Mah, Go Gophers.

13. GLOW Festival at the Minnesota State Fair Grounds

Photo credit https://www.glowholiday.com/

Minnesota State Fair Grounds
Now – 1/2
Walk-thru
Cost: Yes
Website: https://www.glowholiday.com/

Last year this was a drive-thru experience and I won’t lie, I did not love it. This year’s walking experience looks like a total game-changer. If you want to see everything on a computer screen before you go, here’s a 16-minute video of the thing. There’s a ton of walking paths and things to see this year. The Sky Glider is open, there’s a spot for s’mores, state fair food court,a three-story ice palace, a holiday maze. The VIP tickets have full liquor service, so if you’re a degenerate like me, that’s a must. GLOW was a no last year but we’re a full go on GLOW now.

12. Cathedral Festival of Lights

239 Selby Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55102
12/15 – 12/19
Light and music show
Cost: Free
Website: https://cathedralheritagefoundation.org/news/cathedral-festival-of-lights-returns/

Maybe you want to mix up the Christmas light display. This isn’t just a house decorated with some lights, it’s a massive cathedral with a Christmas show being displayed on it. The outdoor show is free and runs from the 15th through the 19th. There’s also an indoor show that you need tickets to.

11. Holidazzle Yeti at Peavy Plaza and Holidazzle in Loring Park

Photo credit https://www.holidazzle.com/

There’s a lot of information to take in on this one. Your best bet is to just visit their website for the correct dates to each site, the right time, and the locations. Visit the website here: https://www.holidazzle.com/about/

I still maintain the OG Holidazzle parade was the best but the revamped Holidazzle is pretty cool as well. The Holidazzle is back to being an in-person event this year but it’s still a truncated version with only one weekend happening in Loring Park. You’ll be able to eat, shop, and even ride some rides! Plus you can sign up for virtual Santa visits.

10. Trista Lights by Epic Light Show

Photo credit Trista Light’s Facebook page

4386 Trista Bend, Minnetrista, MN 55331
12/3, 12/4, 12/11, 12/17, 12/25, 12/31
Synchronized show to music
Cost: Free
Website: http://epiclightshows.com/tristalights.html

This, my friends, is a treat. Trista Lights remains the only light display in Minnesota to be featured on ABC’s The Great Christmas Light Fight (here’s a video) and they’re also the brains behind the Sever’s drive-thru display. When it comes to computerized light shows, these folks know what they’re doing. The is not a nightly show so make sure you check the schedule which they’ve posted on their Facebook page before heading out. It runs from 5-9 and lasts about 15 minutes. There will be a line for the show so they ask that you enjoy the show and then exit promptly so others can enjoy it as well.

9. Light up Princeton at Riverside Park

300 N Rum River Drive, Princeton
11/27 – 1/1
Drive-thru
Cost: Free
Website: https://www.facebook.com/MNPACC


The Princeton Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of Princeton put together this drive-thru American Legion Holiday Light Loop display free of charge and it runs daily from 6 pm to 9 pm (nice). Donations are accepted. As long as you’re cruising through Princeton, the PACC also put together a list of more houses nearby you can check out.

8. County Lights Festival in Sartell

FB is great for pictures.

850 19th St. S Sartell, MN 56337
12/3 – 12/31
Walking Tour
Cost: Free
Website: http://countrylightsfestival.org/

The City of Sartell doesn’t mess around when it comes to its Christmas lights. You can walk through 33 acres of them to see what I mean. with more than 1 million lights, they also have hot chocolate, girl scout cookies, train rides, and fire pits! I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a pretty good time to me!

7. Holiday Lights on York Avenue/Schultz Family Lights

Did I grab this from their Facebook page? Yes.

1526 York Avenue Saint Paul, MN 55106
11/26 – 12/31
Synchronized show to music
Cost: Free
Website: http://www.schultzfamilylights.com/

York avenue in St. Paul has 11 yards decorated for the holidays, featuring around 90,000 lights in total. In most neighborhoods, neighbors hardly even talk to each other. York Avenue is different. Head to York Avenue and check out what happens when a community comes together! 5-10 pm daily.

6. Koran Family Christmas Display

Snagged this from a sweet drone video. Watch it here.

35855 Lincoln Road, North Branch, MN 55056
11/28 – 1/9
Drive-thru
Cost: Free
Website: https://www.facebook.com/koranfamilychristmas

With more than 35,000 lights and 600 lighted blow mold figurines, the Koran Family Christmas display is a real treat. Another bonus is this display runs later than most. Sunday through Thursday, 5 – 11 pm, and Friday and Saturdays until Midnight!

5. Christmas in Wadena

Yes, I took this picture from their Facebook page.

414 3rd St. SW, Wadena, MN 56482
11/26 – 1/1

Synchronized show to music
Cost: Free
Website: https://www.christmasinwadena.com/

This place is bananas. 385,000 lights and each has a purpose. A lot of people do synchronized lights on their house but I’m not sure if there’s anyone who does it better than these folks. Their website says “where the lights come to life” and they’re not lying. Amazing.

4. Spirit of Winter: Festival of Lights at Sovereign Estate Winery

Photo courtesy Souverign Estate Wine’s Website


9950 North Shore Road, Waconia, MN 55387
11/21 – 1/2
Walking path
Cost: Yes
Website: https://www.sovereignestatewine.com/spirit-of-winter

This spot is awesome. More than 20 acres covered in sprawling lights and see many different attractions. A ton of photo opportunities, a children’s ice maze, winter llamas, a gingerbread house… oh did I mention this is at a winery?! You can take a guided tour on the Holly Trolley. Sip on some mulled wine, boozy hot cocoa, local brews, or their full range of wine from their Polar Bear Bar. Want food? WELL, THEY HAVE THAT, TOO! Check out the full menu here. You can also rent a Christmas cabana if you want to be super extra.

3. Bentleyville Tour of Lights

Photo credit Bentleyville website

700 Railroad St. Duluth, MN 55802
11/20 – 12/27
Walking tour
Cost: Free (but parking is $10)
Website: https://www.bentleyvilleusa.org/

Arguably the most well-known holiday light display in Minnesota, you cannot make a list of the best Christmas lights in Minnesota without including Bentleyville. The free admission also comes with free hot cocoa and coffee, free cookies, free popcorn that they pop on-site, free marshmallows to roast and you’ll even run into Santa and Mrs. Claus! (I hope it’s the Tim Allen version. That would really be something).

2. Kiwanis Holiday Lights at Sibley Park

Photo credit SPX Sports

900 Mound Avenue, Mankato, MN 56001
11/26 – 12/31
Drive-thru or walking path
Cost: Free
Website: https://www.kiwanisholidaylights.com/

1.8 million lights, live reindeer, the lights are choreographed to music, and there’s a skating rink in the middle! I live in Mankato so this is an annual tradition for me but wherever in Minnesota you live, the Kiwanis Holiday Lights are worth the trip. I usually park and walk through first–it’s about a half-hour of walking to get around the entire thing. Then we will jump back in the car and do the driving loop on our way out. It’s my second favorite Christmas light display in Minnesota, Want to know what number one is? Well, let’s find out.

1. The Christmas House in Hopkins

Photo credit: MYSELF. I actually took a picture, wow.

324 10th Avenue North, Hopkins MN 55343
11/25 – 1/1
Static show/drive-by
Cost: Free
Website: they don’t have a fancy website. They don’t even need it.

So we’ve made it all the way to #1. The best Christmas light displays in Minnesota comes down to the only house on this list with an actual ranking. This, for me, is what Christmas displays are all about. There are no computers to make the display look fancier than it is. There is no radio station to tune into for this house (because Christmas KOOL 108 is the best option anyway). This is roughly 37,000 lights, hung by hand, that do nothing but look pretty.

Clark Griswold’s house didn’t need a computerized light show and neither does this one. There’s a 25-foot Rudolph, a Christmas dragon, and dozens of homemade decorations, all placed with purpose. Both the front and back are decorated and it’s been a staple in Hopkins for my entire life. I know this because this is the house I grew up in and my father still puts this display up, mostly himself, every year.

Plus the neighbors have a good sense of humor

So is there a little bit of nepotism in this ranking? You’re damn right there is. But I apologize for nothing. My love for Christmas lights stems from growing up with this place as my standard. He lights the display up every year on Thanksgiving night and he’ll disappear multiple times throughout the night to sneak out front and check out his display. He takes pride in it and he should. I’m proud of him every year for creating something that brings such an immense amount of joy to not just myself, but everyone that comes across it. This will always be number one to me. Good on you, old man Lewis.

Honorable Mentions

These are things I know nothing about but they sure look cool. Or I know about them but they weren’t in Minnesota.

Larger Than Life Lights at the Superior Zoo

What is this? I have no idea. But it’s lights at a zoo, it must be cool. Learn more here.

Sam’s Christmas Village

Y’all, Wisconsin may not have an axe right now, but this place has EIGHT MILLION LIGHTS! This probably would have bumped old man Lewis’ house out of the number 1 spot, but it’s located in Wisconsin and I’m surprised they even have the capabilities to power this place. Check it out here

Rotary Lights Holiday Display in La Crosse

Another spot right across the border with more than 3 million lights. Honestly, I’m guessing the Wisconsin power grid is broken down like this:

40% – Lambeau Field
30% – Miller Brewing Company
10% – Bars
10% – Sam’s Christmas Village
5% – Rotary lights
5% – Everything else

But my slander aside, it looks awesome. Check it out here.

Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers

Fact: Christmas lights are red and white. Fact: the lights outside of Raising Cane’s are red and white. The only logical conclusion here is that Raising Cane’s not only offers the best chicken fingers in the game but also one of the most beautiful Christmas light displays ever… and they do it year-round. Amazing.