Holiday Lights in the Twin Cities Gateway

The short days make winter the darkest time of the year, but thanks to local holiday lights displays, it can also be one of the brightest.  In the Twin Cities Gateway you’ll find a free community lights festival, impressive residential displays, and awe-inspiring ice castles sure to put a smile on your face this holiday season.

Visit the Anoka County Fairgrounds for Holiday in Lights, a festive lights display that transforms the fairgrounds into a winter wonderland.  The Holiday in Lights Festival will be held December 9-11, 2022 from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., with free activities including hay rides and visits with Santa, plus free popcorn, hot chocolate, cookies, hot dogs, cider, and coffee.  The lights display will be open to the public as a free, drive through experience from December 12-26, 2022.

The Coon Rapids Holiday Lighting Contest draws some exciting entries, with separate divisions for still and motion displays.  A map of entries will be available in mid-December to plan your self-guided tour, and winners will also be announced on the city’s website and Facebook page.

Check out the Fridley Winter Lights Contest for more top-notch residential displays.  Maps of the entries (including the winners) will be available on December 16, 2022 online and at Fridley City Hall so that you can create your own custom light tour around town.  

The North Suburban Holiday Light Map is a multi-city extravaganza, featuring displays in Arden Hills, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, St. Anthony, and Columbia Heights.  Maps will be available December 7, 2022 and you can vote online for your favorite entries through December 30, with prizes awarded to the top three displays.

For a unique way to appreciate colorful lights beyond the holiday season, visit Ice Castles at New Brighton’s Long Lake Regional Park.  The experience is scheduled to run January 14-February 20, 2023 (weather permitting), with general admission tickets starting at $15 and children’s tickets starting at $11, with free admission for children ages three and under.  Expect fun activities and photo opportunities, with icy caverns, ice slides, crawl tunnels, and frozen thrones illuminated with color-changing lights.  For adults, there’s an ice bar serving wintery alcoholic beverages.

Conveniently located to Minneapolis and Saint Paul, the ten communities of the Twin Cities Gateway (Anoka, Arden Hills, Blaine, Coon Rapids, Fridley, Ham Lake, Lino Lakes, Mounds View, New Brighton, and Shoreview) offer trails and parks, recreational facilities, cultural attractions, and affordable hotels with free parking.  Book your stay today!