11 drive-thru holiday light displays to check out in Minnesota in 2020
Celebrating Christmas and the holiday season is looking a little different in 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many event changes and cancellations in Minnesota due to safety concerns and Gov. Tim Walz's executive order for restrictions through at least mid-December.
However, several drive-thru light displays are moving ahead, with free and paid events happening across the state.
Here's a look at 11 events to check out (in no particular order!):
- WHERE: Sever's Festival Grounds, 3121 150th Street W., Shakopee, MN
- WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 26 to Sunday, Jan. 3
- COST: $7/person, $25/vehicle max or $40 for 8+ vehicles
The annual display at Sever's Festival Grounds in Shakopee features 1.2 million lights and a giant light-up yeti. Visitors are also encouraged to bring a donation for Toys for Tots.
- WHERE: Valleyfair, 1 Valley Fair Dr., Shakopee, MN
- WHEN: Friday, Nov. 27 to Sunday, Jan. 3 (Closed Christmas Day)
- COST: $30 per vehicle
Also in Shakopee, Valleyfair is hosting Christmas in Color in its parking lot, featuring millions of lights synchronized to holiday music. A portion of the proceeds from the event will go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
- WHERE: Minnesota State Fairgrounds, Falcon Heights, MN
- WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 19 to Sunday, Jan. 3
- COST: $46/vehicle + applicable fees
The GLOW Holiday Festival is underway at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, with more than a million holiday lights, illuminated trees, and art displays. Tickets must be purchased in advance for the drive-thru experience, which lasts about 40 minutes.
- WHERE: Minnesota Zoo, Apple Valley, MN
- WHEN: Thursday, Dec. 3 to Sunday, Jan. 17
- COST: $25/vehicle for Zoo members and $50 for non-members Sunday-Thursday, or $35/vehicle for Zoo members and $60/vehicle for non-members on Fridays and Saturdays
The Minnesota Zoo puts a different spin on the traditional holiday light shows this year, with a drive-thru event featuring illuminated inflatable animals. Guests will learn more about the different species with an audio tour. Ticket prices go to support the zoo.
- WHERE: 700 Railroad St., Duluth, MN
- WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 21 to Sunday, Dec. 27
- COST: $10/vehicle
The annual Bentleyville holiday light show is a fully drive-thru event this year in Duluth. Visitors are asked to stay in their vehicles during the tour. The event is also a drop-off location for food and toy donations for the Salvation Army.
- WHERE: Northland Arboretum, 14260 Conservation Dr., Baxter, MN
- WHEN: Wednesday-Saturday starting Thursday, Nov. 26, and nightly starting Wednesday, Dec. 23 to Thursday, Dec. 31 (see website for full schedule)
- COST: $15/vehicle or $10 in advance, $25/small buses and limos
The Brainerd Area Sertoma Club is hosting its annual Sertoma Winter Wonderland as a drive-thru event at Northland Arboretum.
- WHERE: Bluff Valley Campground, 61297 390th Avenue, Zumbro Falls, MN
- WHEN: Fridays-Sundays starting Nov. 6 through Dec. 20
- COST: $20/vehicle, paid at arrival
The annual drive-thru event features a 1.5 mile light tour, including 450 light displays and more than 200 animated displays.
- WHERE: Robbins Island Regional Park, Willmar, MN
- WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 26 to Friday, Jan. 1
- COST: Free
One of the largest drive-thru light displays in western Minnesota begins on Thanksgiving with more than 800,000 lights, thanks to the help of more than 1,000 volunteer hours.
- WHERE: Sportsman's Park, Sleepy Eye, MN
- WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 26 - Friday, Jan. 1
- COST: Tax-deductible donations accepted
Sleepy Eye's drive-thru light experience will open on Thanksgiving and continue through New Year's Day. Additional activities are on hold during the statewide pause on gatherings.
- WHERE: Westwood Community Church, 3121 Westwood Dr, Excelsior, MN and 6301 Cecilia Cir., Bloomington, MN
- WHEN: Friday, Dec. 4, Saturday, Dec. 5, Friday, Dec. 11, and Saturday, Dec. 12
- COST: Free
Westwood Community Church is hosting safe, socially distant and free drive-thru Christmas light displays at its Chanhassen (Excelsior) and Bush Lake (Bloomington) campuses on the first two weekends of December.
- WHERE: Rockpoint Church, 5825 Kelvin Ave. N., Lake Elmo, MN
- WHEN: Wednesday, Nov. 25 to Thursday, Dec. 31
- COST: Free
Rockpoint Church in Lake Elmo hosts its Valley Lights drive-thru show nightly starting on Thanksgiving Eve. More than 100,000 LED lights are choreographed to music for the free event.