While many of the typical holiday parties and gatherings we enjoy this time of year are canceled due to the ongoing pandemic, one entertainment option that are still as strong as ever are light shows. 

Most of them can all be done from the comfort of your vehicle or socially-distanced. So why not fill your mugs with hot chocolate, load up the car with cozy blankets and head out to some of these area light shows. 

1. Christmas in Color at Valleyfair 

Christmas in Color ValleyFair

Christmas in Color will be at ValleyFair Nov. 27 through Jan. 3, open 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

For the first time, the Valleyfair grounds in Shakopee will be home to a drive-through Christmas light show running through January.

For $30 per vehicle, folks can drive through a display of more than 1 million LED lights synchronized to the beat of holiday songs, according to a news release. Guests will tune their car radio to a channel that allows them to hear featured music in real time. In total, the experience lasts about 30-40 minutes. 

Event organizers noted weekends tend to be busier, so in order to avoid long lines, booking a time Monday through Thursday may be a good option.

Tickets cannot be purchased at the gate — online reservations are required. To reserve tickets, you can visit christmasincolor.co/valleyfair.

2. Spirit of Winter light show 

Winery at Sovereign Estate lights

The Winery at Sovereign Estate is lit up for the holiday season.

Waconia’s Winery at Sovereign Estates has opened its Spirit of Winter drive-through music and light show for the holiday season.

Over 20 miles of lights are strung throughout the 20 acre farm, which produces cold climate wines using grapes grown on the estate. Admission is $7.50 per person and comes with a $5 coupon toward a wine purchase.

The show is open until Jan. 2 and is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Reservations not required.

3. Holiday lights at Sever's 


Sever’s Holiday Lights display is seen. The light show is a drive-through experience programmed to music that plays through your vehicle and can be completely contactless by purchasing tickets online in advance.

Sever’s, a fourth-generation family farm located at 3121 150th St. West in Shakopee, will once again offer their drive-through holiday light show through Jan. 3.

Sever’s first began offering its holiday light show last year and this year it will be even bigger with a total of 1.2 million lights.

Vehicles can drive through Sever’s festival grounds to enjoy the lights which are programmed to music that plays through your car. 

Sever’s Holiday Lights will be open from 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, seven days a week including holidays.

Column: I love seeing the Christmas lights around Shakopee

Tickets are $7 per person with a $25 per car maximum. For cars with eight plus passengers, cost is $40.

For more information or to purchase tickets visit seversholidaylights.com.

4. Making Spirits Bright Holiday Light Tour 

Christmas Lights

A Christmas display lights up the 8000 block of Carriage Hill Road in Savage. Residents can check the Making Spirits Bright Holiday Light Tour map to find homes with Christmas light displays throughout Prior Lake and Savage area through the month of December.

The Prior Lake and Savage Parks and Recreation Departments have teamed up to hold the Making Spirits Bright Holiday Light Tour throughout the month of December.

Until Dec. 13, residents can register their homes with the city to be included on a map which will be shared on the city websites on Dec. 15. Residents will then be able to use the map to take a tour of decorated homes throughout Prior Lake and Savage. Registered homes will be entered into a drawing for gift cards to local restaurants and businesses in Savage and Prior Lake on Dec. 28.

The City of Prior Lake usually holds holiday events like the Decembrrr Dazzle and in previous years held a Christmas light contest which allowed residents to submit their address or be nominated by neighbors for their light display.

To submit your address to be included on the map visit www.cityofpriorlake.com/lights. View the map on the same website beginning Dec. 15.

Don't forget to check out the Knotty Oar Marina in Prior Lake to peep the intricately-wrapped tree in lights. 

5. The Arboretum light show returns 

Winter in Bloom

Thousands of visitors saw the “Winter in Bloom” light display at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. A lodging tax has been proposed to establish a Chanhassen visitors bureau.

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum winter lights show in Chanhassen has returned for its fourth year.

The Winter Lights drive-through tour will continue through Jan. 17. An outdoor highlights include a waterfall of water lilies and a 14-foot-tall 3-D apple to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the University of Minnesota's first apple introduction.

The cost is $10 for Arboretum members and $15 for non-members. Children ages 15 and younger get free admission. Each person in a vehicle needs to have a ticket.

To reserve tickets, visit https://arbwinter.umn.edu/.

Digital content coordinator

Rachel Minske is a regional editor and digital content coordinator at Southwest News Media. She's passionate about in-depth reporting and digital audiences. She's a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and enjoys exploring Minnesota.