Things to Do in MN in November: The List
“Main Street” style holiday shopping festivals.
Festival: The annual Split Rock Lighthouse beacon lighting ceremony takes place Nov. 10 on the anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald. The event is a rare opportunity to see the interior of the lighthouse while the beacon is lit. It has taken place annually since 1985.
Theatre & Arts: Head to Lutsen for the Masters Blue Grass Weekend Nov. 4-6.
The Guthrie Theatre’s annual classic A Christmas Carol has delighted families for more than 35 years. This year’s run begins Nov. 19 and will continue its fresh take on the classic – including a new set and costumes, aerial acts and music – that it introduced last holiday season.
The annual Winona Art Walk also takes place Nov. 19. Tour local galleries with special holiday sales.
Recreation: Minnesota’s firearm deer hunting season begins Nov. 5. More than a half million Minnesotans are expected to participate in this year’s hunt.
The 9th Annual Minnesota Governor’s Deer Opener weekend takes places in Biwabik Nov. 3-5. Events include the Outdoor Olympics skills competition at the Giant’s Ridge chalet, Big Buck Luncheon at the Lodge at Giant’s Ridge featuring Gov. Mark Dayton, an hors d’oeuvres reception and continental breakfast before heading out for the hunt.
Taste: Head to the North Shore for food and wine festivals this month.
Bluefin Bay’s Fall Food & Wine Lovers Weekend is Nov. 4-5. Friday’s highlight is a five-course dinner at the Bluefin Grille featuring items like smoked beef carpaccio and pan roasted Great Lakes whitefish. Saturday afternoon enjoy a wine tasting and stay for a five-course dinner Saturday evening, featuring king crab-poblano chile bisque, smoked bison loin and apple spice cake.
Lutsen Resort’s Fall Food and Wine Weekend takes place Nov. 11-12. Chef Rob and visiting chefs present unique menus with wine pairings Friday and Saturday nights.
Family Fun: Beginning in November, holiday festivals kick off around the state. Enjoy shopping, fresh cider and classic holiday traditions. Here are a few to visit this month:
- Lanesboro’s Holiday Inn Tour is Nov. 19-20. Tour 12 local inns – six on Saturday and six on Sunday. Enjoy appetizers, holiday decoration and downtown shopping. Enjoy a five-course dinner at Riverside on the Root or other restaurant specials, as well as special performances at the Commonweal Theatre. Guests staying in one of the inns during the tour receive additional discounts.
- Redwood Falls Christmas by Candlelight is Nov. 18. Stroll luminary-lined streets, ride in a horse-drawn sleigh and listen to costumed carolers. The event also features a chili dinner, holiday treats and visits with Santa.
- At Rochester’s annual Festival of Trees, Nov. 23-27, view beautifully decorated trees and enjoy live entertainment. The event benefits Hiawatha Homes.
- Houston County’s Festival of the Trees takes place Nov. 24-27. View holiday decorations, visit with Santa, listen to holiday music and purchase holiday baked goods. Entertainment and an auction take place Saturday night, and Sunday features a holiday brunch. Proceeds benefit local charitable organizations.
- Red Wing’s Holiday Stroll takes place Nov. 25. Enjoy shopping and dining, a chili tasting, refreshments and fresh cinnamon roasted almonds. The event features a 50 ft. tree lighting ceremony, horse-drawn wagon rides and a visit from Santa.
- The North Shore’s North Shore Holiday festival takes place Nov. 25-Dec. 25. Each weekend features a different theme, with restaurant and shopping events in Grand Marais, Lutsen and Tofte. Other events include holiday crafts, high tea, sleigh rides, jewelry and fashion shows, and a showcase of unique and handmade gifts.
- Excelsior’s Christkindlsmarkt German-inspired open air market celebrates its fifth season Nov. 25-27. The festival begins with a parade on Water Street, and includes visits from Santa, and numerous gift vendors ranging from modern to vintage and traditional gifts and crafts.
- The 20th season of the Holidazzle Parade kicks off Nov. 25 in downtown Minneapolis. Every Thursday through Sunday evening enjoy dazzling lights and music, and afterwards, head indoors to the Macy’s 8th Floor Auditorium Display featuring the “A Day In The Life Of An Elf” animated holiday display.
- St. Paul’s Rice Park Christmas Tree lighting and opening of the WinterSkate rink takes place Nov. 26. The tree is the largest in the Midwest and is comparable in size each year to the Rockefeller Center tree. More than 20,000 LED lights cover the tree and the entire park is lit for the holidays.
For Adults: Alexis Bailly Vineyard’s annual fall Nouveau Harvest Celebration is Nov. 5-6 and its annual Chocolate, Cheese and Wine event is Nov. 19. Enjoy the vineyard’s wines paired with a cheese or chocolate.
The Three Rivers Wine Trail celebrates its own Cheese & Chocolate Weekend Nov. 19-20. Sample local cheeses and chocolates paired with locally made wines at each winery on the trail. Visit all wineries on the trail during the weekend and receive a complimentary glass of wine and a chance to win a wine gift basket.
The Great River Wine Trail’s Holiday Harvest Wine & Food Festival takes place Nov. 12-13. Participating wineries will pair wines and ciders with holiday foods, like butternut squash soup, pumpkin bars, locally made honey, smoked turkey, locally grown apples and homemade pies, among other items. Tickets are required, and each ticketholder will receive a wine trail glass and a six-bottle wine tote to bring home your favorites at the first winery you visit. Designated drivers receive free admission and free food.
Plan Ahead:Holiday festivals continue in December. Don’t miss Old Fashion Holiday Weekend in downtown Afton Dec. 3-5, St. Olaf College’s 100th Christmas Festival Dec. 1-4, and Northfield, MN’s annual Winter Walk Dec. 8. Stillwater’s Art on Main takes place Dec. 9-10, while Two Harbors’ Holiday Open House is Dec. 10.
Head to the North Shore this holiday season for the North Shore Scenic Railroad’s “The Polar Express” lighted train ride. Enjoy a reading of The Polar Express and return for hot chocolate and cookies by the campfire at Fitger’s. Rides take place weekends Nov. 26 through Dec. 18.
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