The answer is just a short drive away in Duluth, MN.
Yes, we are telling you to drive north. To Duluth —
The Christmas City of the North. (Or for you G.O.T. fans, the city ‘beyond the wall’.) For the FREE two-day community event held annually the first weekend in December called,
❄ DULUTH WINTER VILLAGE ❄
Where 40+ local Duluth vendors come together in collaboration with event mastermind, Duluth Loves Local, for a magical outdoor Christmas market in a beautiful setting on the historic grounds of Glensheen Mansion.
Duluth Winter Village is one of those events that Minnesotans can relish with their ‘Bold North’ status.
Let us paint the picture of what 17,000+ people experienced in 2017…
Upon entering the century-old estate, Duluth Winter Village guests step into what seems like a faraway European Christmas market. The sweeping sight of a sprawling huddle of finely crafted wood cabins makes one feel momentarily hip and European.
Among the first cabins are Mike & Jen’s all-natural hot cocoa cabin. Suddenly, you are flooded with warm childhood memories of sipping a lovingly concocted cup of hot chocolate after playing outside in the snow. While clutching your drinkable hand warmer, you wander further into the village of cabins and their boastful displays of carefully crafted local wares. Not 100 yards past the hot chocolate, you realize alcohol is an option. But not just any alcohol, your favorite local beer and… Bloody Mary infused vodka from Vikre, a distillery located no more than five miles from where you are currently standing. You quickly slurp the rest of your tasty hot chocolate while watching the bartender garnish your Bloody. Because it’s the weekend, right?
Next, you smell the intoxicating scent of fresh-cut greenery and nimbly find your way to an entire wall of beautifully curated greens created to be your perfect photo backdrop. You think — “The family is actually all here (winning!)” So, you quickly gather the troops and think you might send those Christmas cards out this year after all.
Now, it’s off to see all of the carefully crafted local products that you’ve been eyeing on Instagram. You ninja navigate your way through the sea of smiling faces and duck into a cabin. Before you know it, you’ve found three different stocking stuffers and a handful of in-laws are crossed off your shopping list. Score.
Wait. What’s that? A pang of hunger? The smell of hot sandwiches and soups from one of the local favorites (Sir Ben’s) fills your nostrils and before you know it, your stomach.
You glance up from your soup and sandwich… oh hey! That’s cool, there’s a llama.
It sounds pretty great, right?
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself)
The outdoor market doesn’t end with food, booze and shopping. Duluth East High School Choralaires will roam the estate singing Christmas tunes and bonfires will don the shores of Lake Superior complete with complimentary s’mores from SuperOne. There’s something for everyone with face painting, a custom photo op wall, and live animals each day.
As many favorites return for their third year with the event, there are also plenty of new vendors and things to experience at this year’s Duluth Winter Village, including a mobile sauna by Hiki Hut and the Yule Lodge, a heated dining space where many favorite food vendors will be located.
Wait. Isn’t there a mansion there?
A tour ticket to Glensheen Mansion is not required for event entry. BUT! It is super cool. Especially this time of year.
During the Christmas season, the 39-room mansion is decked out with 25 Christmas trees, 25 hidden elves and hundreds of feet of garland. It’s such a great holiday tour, USA TODAY has named them one of the best in the country. Glensheen is currently sitting at #2 among 20 of the biggest and best historic homes in the nationwide contest.
If visitors would like to tour the mansion, they are encouraged to purchase Glensheen tour tickets online, ahead of time. Tours are in high demand this weekend. Some tours will sell out. Tickets are available for purchase at glensheen.org.
You in? Here are the down and dirty details of getting here
Due to the popularity of this event, we encourage guests to park off site or find alternate means of transportation. The wee little Glensheen parking lot can only hold so many cars.
Complimentary shuttles have been added this year looping continuously from offsite parking locations. (Insert happy trumpets here) We STRONGLY recommend alternate transportation to save your sanity and still be in a good mood when you arrive. The offsite shuttles are FREE.
Offsite shuttle parking is available at UMD in Parking Lot B. Parking is also available at Duluth East High School. Shuttle service will run on a continuous loop from 8:00 am until 6:00 pm both days. For more parking information, please visit, https://duluthwintervillage.com/event-info/parking-and-directions/
Other Transportation options:
• We encourage guests staying at a hotel to utilize the hotel’s shuttle service.
• Transportation apps, Uber & Lyft have drivers available in the Duluth area.
- Duluth Transit Authority’s bus line 22, stops near Glensheen. See it here
Duluth Loves Local is a community of local-loving Duluthians who support the hard-working, independent small businesses that make Duluth such a great place to work, visit and raise a family. Duluth Loves Local is a leader in the grassroots movement of thinking local first and working to positively impact the place they call home.
Glensheen Mansion is a 39-room historic mansion on the shore of Lake Superior. It is owned and operated by the University of Minnesota and is the most attended house museum in the Midwest. The home tells the story of the Congdon family and how they helped shape the Northland to what it is today.