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11 drive-thru holiday light displays to check out in Minnesota in 2020

With many Christmas season events changing due to the pandemic this year, several places are offering safe and festive drive-thru options.
Credit: Emily Haavik/KARE 11
One of the holiday light displays at the GLOW Holiday Festival at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.

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.

RELATED: 'Christmas in Color' light show opening at Valleyfair


  • 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.

RELATED: GLOW Holiday Festival twinkles to life

Credit: Emily Haavik/KARE 11
GLOW Holiday Festival at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.


  • 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.

RELATED: Holiday Guide: Celebrating the season in Minnesota


  • 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.

Have a festive light display at your home that you'd like to share? Upload a photo of your display along with your location (so people can find it!) using the KARE 11 app.

RELATED: Holiday festivals across the metro offer safe ways to celebrate the season

Before You Leave, Check This Out