9 Best Thanksgiving Activities and Events in Minnesota!

Thanksgiving marks the start of the holiday season, and few folks do the holidays as well as Minnesotans. So, loosen your belt and get ready to dig in during this beautiful and delicious 2023 holiday season. We'll show you 9 Thanksgiving Activities and Events in the North Star State.

The Velveteen, Stillwater, MN

Finding the Velveteen, a speakeasy-style bar in downtown Stillwater, can take a little work, but it's more than worth it. Craft cocktails—many with 20s-era recipes like Negronis and Vieux Carres—small bites and a cool crowd populate this dark, cozy saloon. Pop in on Thanksgiving Eve and order a Northern Aggression for a smack of cinnamon to celebrate the season.

Rustic Inn Cafe, Two Harbors, MN

If you want the tastiest Thanksgiving pie this year, grab one from the Rustic Inn Café in Castle Danger. You can't go wrong with rhubarb, but the apple-cherry-peach is good. And yes, they have pumpkin, too.

Ferndale Market, Cannon Falls, MN

Ferndale Market has been raising turkeys for three generations. All their birds are locally raised on a natural diet free of hormones and antibiotics. Ferndale's turkeys are also processed naturally with no additives. If you're going to eat a turkey this Thanksgiving, you may as well know where it came from.

Turkey Trot 5k Run/Walk, Chanhassen, MN

November 23, 2023 at 8:15am

Join them at Chanhassen High School on November 23rd for the annual Turkey Trot 5K Run/Walk. Help support Secondhand Hounds, a local nonprofit animal rescue, and be part of an exciting morning event. Come cheer on the kid's dash at 8:15 am, and prepare for a great start to the 5k at 8:30 am.

Lighting Festival, Taylors Falls, MN

November 24 to 26, 2023

For 35 years, Taylors Falls, Minnesota, has hosted the Lighting Festival, a family-friendly celebration of the winter season. The quaint town is the perfect backdrop for this holiday event. Join in the festivities this Thanksgiving weekend to witness the grand lighting of the main street, the Santa Parade with its floats and music, and more. Don't miss the start of this season's holiday celebrations.

Canal Park, Duluth, MN

When you head out to start your holiday shopping, why get stuck in a mall when you can shop with a view? Shops and restaurants line the streets in this compact spit of land that overlooks Lake Superior and Duluth Harbor. You'll find lots of stores—selling everything from toys and kitchen goods to jewelry and Minnesota-themed gifts—in Canal Park, many of them under the same roof at the DeWitt-Seitz Marketplace.

Lower Sioux Agency, Morton, MN

In 1862—the year before President Abraham Lincoln declared that the fourth Thursday of November would be set aside as a national day of gratitude, creating the Thanksgiving holiday—conflict broke out at the Lower Sioux/Yellow Medicine Agency in western Minnesota. Thanksgiving is an excellent time to reflect on the nature of the relationship between immigrants to North America and the people who lived here first—and its consequences. They are available by appointment for tours and special events.

Open Arms of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

Open Arms of Minnesota is the place to put your pre-Thanksgiving spirit to use. This year, as part of YESvember, they are giving individuals in need the opportunity to enjoy a wholesome, homemade turkey dinner with their loved ones. Take part in their mission by donating or starting a Turkey Drive fundraiser and spread some Thanksgiving cheer.

Frontenac State Park, Lake City, MN

Although we’re pretty deep into autumn and kicking at the door of winter when Thanksgiving rolls around in Minnesota, you can still get in a good hike and some late season birding at Frontenac State Park. The Mississippi River valley is a major flyway for all manner of winged wanderers, from bald eagles and other raptors to swans and other waterfowl. With vantages that reach from sandy river bank to forested bluff tops that offer views for miles up and down the Mississippi, Frontenac is an awesome place to opt outside and be grateful that you’re in Minnesota.

This text was created by the author with the assistance of GPT-3, a large-scale language generation model developed by OpenAI. The author reviewed, edited, and revised the draft language to their satisfaction and is fully responsible for the content of this publication.

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