Though Jack and Peter are well past the age of needing to make an annual visit to the Jolly Old Elf, I still get excited this time of year to see that he’s back in town. And though there are a good many respectable imitation Santas around, I’m pretty sure that I know three places he’ll really show up in the Twin Cities in coming days. These also happen to be great Santa stops around which to build an outing, so if you want to make a day out of visiting Santa, these are well worth investigating!
Holly Trolley, November 25, 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Every year, the Como-Harriet Streetcar Line puts on a jolly ride from Lake Harriet to Lake Calhoun and back on its antique streetcars. The cars are decked out with wreaths and ribbons, there are carolers on the platform and in the trolley, and the best passenger of all is Santa Claus! After your ride, you can enjoy a peaceful (if chilly) stroll around Lake Harriet, or head up the hill to Creative Kidstuff (4313 Upton Ave. S.) and Wild Rumpus Books (2720 West 43rd Street), the wildest kids’ bookstore in town.
And if you’re feeling a bit peckish, visit the Scouts of Troop 1, who will be selling hot dogs, ‘smores, and hot apple cider to help replenish their tent fund (full disclosure: I’ll be there until 2:00 PM helping the Scouts).
Mother Earth Gardens, December 1, 10:00 AM to noon and 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Mother Earth Gardens, 3738 42nd Avenue South, is a local garden shop that goes all out for Christmas. Their lot is filled with trees, wreaths, and garlands, the shop is stuffed with gifts for gardeners, and all that pine scent attracts Santa Claus to hold court every year. While you’re in the neighborhood, take in a show at the historic Riverview Theater (I’m not sure what will be showing; “Brave”, “Wimpy Kid: Dog Days”, and “Hotel Transylvania” have been on the marquee this weekend, so it’s a good bet for a kid-friendly movie), grab a treat at the Riverview Cafe, or enjoy a tasty lunch at Turtle Bread. This is also a great neighborhood for some light hiking if the weather is nice: the river road is only a few blocks away, and Minnehaha Falls is about a mile to the south.
Choo Choo Bob, December 2 and December 9, 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
What could be more iconic than Santa Claus sitting among model trains? Choo Choo Bob’s Train Store, 2050 Marshall Avenue, St. Paul, is hosting Santa Claus twice this year. Your young train fans will love this place, with all its rumbling freight cars and clanging bells! Make it a night out with a visit to Trotter’s Cafe or Izzy’s Ice Cream.
Do you have a favorite place to visit Santa? What holiday outings do you make a family tradition? Share your ideas in the comments or at the Facebook page!