Let downtown Minneapolis dazzle you this holiday season

With the holidays approaching, think Minneapolis when you’re looking for places to shop, dine, and enjoy great holiday entertainment. Minneapolis has undergone a major transformation. Getting in and out of Downtown is easier than ever, with new transit lanes, more two-way streets, the new Northstar Rail and an expanded Hiawatha Light Rail line.

Downtown is now also a friendlier to visit, thanks to the new Downtown Improvement District’s ambassadors, who not only help keep the area clean but will help you navigate the many stores, theaters and events taking place all through the holidays.

On Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26, you have a once-a-year opportunity to drive down Nicollet Mall and enjoy the holiday lights and displays. Folks will be able to drive their cars on Nicollet Mall from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday.

Keeping with tradition, Nicollet Mall will come alive with storybook characters as the 2009 Holidazzle parade makes its enchanting return, entertaining kids and adults alike. The parade runs down Nicollet Mall from 12th Street to 4th Street every Thursday through Sunday, beginning Friday, Nov. 27 through Sunday, Dec. 20.

Thanks to world’s largest skyway system, downtown Minneapolis is an easy and comfortable place to window shop regardless of the weather. In total, the skyway system can take you around 80 blocks Downtown where you’ll find hundreds of restaurants, galleries, boutiques and department stores. Extend your stay in Minneapolis and you’ll find many weekend discounts offered by an assortment of downtown hotels, including a number of new boutique and luxury hotels.

Meet Minneapolis, the City's official convention and visitors association, has a host of information and holiday season right here in Minneapolis. You’ll find holiday entertainment ideas, shopping tips, holiday hotel packages, and coupons for Minneapolis establishments.

Parking in downtown Minneapolis is convenient, and if you park at a ramp with a "Do the Town" sign you can get free parking if you spend $20 or more at a Metro Transit bus or the light rail.

Published Nov. 24, 2009