Best historic home Christmas tours in Minnesota Glensheen Mansion

Experience Christmas past at one of the top historic home tours in Minnesota. The historic Glensheen Mansion Christmas tour in Duluth, Mansion features 27 trees, hidden elves, and décor from the early 1900s. If you’re a fan of Downton Abbey or Biltmore Mansion, then you’ll love the Gilded Age Christmas Tour in St. Paul’s James J. Hill House. Mayowood Mansion in Rochester, Minnesota offers limited Christmas tours of the beautiful and former home of Dr. Charles Mayo – co-founder of Mayo Clinic.


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Best historic homes to tour this Christmas in Minnesota

Best historic home Christmas tours in Minnesota Glensheen Mansion

The top three historic homes to tour this Christmas in Minnesota include:


While all three of Minnesota’s top historic homes hosted me in the past, opinions are always my own. And my opinion is to visit Glensheen Mansion, James J. Hill House, and the Mayowood Mansion this Christmas or in any season.

For more magical Christmas and winter events, see my related posts:


Glensheen Mansion Top historic home to tour during the holidays in Minnesota

Best historic home Christmas tours in Minnesota Glensheen Mansion exterior winter snow

One of the best Christmas tours in Minnesota, Glensheen Mansion in Duluth, Minnesota is one of the top places to visit in the state throughout the year. This 27,000-square-foot historic estate built in 1905-1908 overlooks Lake Superior. Tours are available throughout the year. However, the holiday tour at Glensheen Mansion is pretty special.

Glensheen Mansion Christmas tour showcases 27 Christmas trees, thousands of lights, and 25 hidden elves for kids of all ages to find. Touring the Glensheen Mansion is a perfect Christmas family tradition.  

Christmas tour options include:

  • Classic Christmas Tour: self-guided tour of the lower level and first and second floors
  • Full Mansion Christmas Tour: self-guided tour of all five floors (including the third floor and attic)
  • Candlelight Christmas Tour: self-guided tour of the lower level and first and second floors in the evening (sold out in 2023)

While Glensheen Mansion graciously hosted me twice, my opinion agrees with America that this historic home is one of the best Christmas tours in the country. Glensheen Mansion ranked number 5 nationally in this year’s USA TODAY 10 Best Holiday Historic Homes competition.

Where is the Glensheen Mansion located? What is the address for Glensheen Mansion?

Glensheen Mansion is located at 3300 London Road, Duluth, MN 55804.

When are the Christmas tours at Glensheen Mansion? What are the hours for the Glensheen Mansion Christmas tours?

Best historic home Christmas tours in Minnesota Glensheen Mansion

Glensheen Mansion holiday / Christmas tours run daily from Nov. 17, 2023 through Jan. 7, 2024. Hours for most tours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with last full mansion tour at 4:30 p.m. and ground closing at 6 p.m. Glensheen Mansion is closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.

The Candlelight Christmas tours are offered Fridays and Saturdays Nov. 24-Dec. 30, 2023. Other dates include Dec. 26-28, 2023. Entry times are 5:15 to 8 p.m. except Christmas Day.

Where can I buy tickets for the Glensheen Mansion Christmas tour?

You can buy tickets for the Glensheen Mansion Christmas tours on their website. Full mansion tours and general admission tickets as well as University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD student, Active Duty Military, Limited Mobility tickets are also available to purchase in person at the Glensheen Mansion ticket house. The ticket house is located near the parking lot.

How much are tickets for the Glensheen Mansion holiday / Christmas tour?

Best historic home Christmas tours in Minnesota Glensheen Mansion bedroom

Ticket prices for the Glensheen Mansion holiday / Christmas tours vary depending on purchase type and tour. Children 5 and younger are free.

  • Classic Christmas Tour: $20/adult; $18/seniors/veterans/UMD students and faculty, $8/youth ages 6-17
  • Full Mansion Christmas Tour: See the Glensheen Mansion website for details.
  • Candlelight Christmas Tour: $25/adult; $23/seniors/veterans/UMD students and faculty, $13/youth ages 6-17

How long is the Glensheen Mansion holiday / Christmas tour?

Allow at least 60 to 90 minutes to take the self-guided tours at Glensheen Mansion. When weather allows, exploring the wintery landscapes at Glensheen Mansion will take more time. Take caution and wear suitable footwear.

Is parking available for the Glensheen Mansion holiday tour?

Yes. Glensheen Mansion offers plenty of parking onsite and it’s free.

Are there other holiday events near the Glensheen Mansion?

Yes! USA Today Readers voted Bentleyville Tour of Lights in Duluth, MN as the best holiday light display in America. Located just 3.6 miles away, Bentleyville is one of the largest walk-through light shows in the United States. This free event is set on 20 acres overlooking Lake Superior.

Where can I learn more about the historic Glensheen Mansion? Is the Glensheen Mansion open throughout the year?

Best historic home Christmas tours in Minnesota Glensheen Mansion dining room with tree

Yes. Glensheen Mansion is open for tours throughout the year. It’s one of the best stops on the scenic North Shore of Minnesota.

See my related post to learn more about Glensheen Mansion: Top things to do in Minnesota: Visit the historic Glensheen Mansion

Take the Christmas tour at St. Paul’s own Downton Abbey – James J. Hill House

James J Hill House Staircase St Paul Minnesota

The prettiest street in the Twin Cities, Summit Ave, features hundreds of Victorian and Gilded Age homes. And this street features the historic home of railroad magnate James J. Hill. Known as The Gilded Mansion of the Empire Builder, the James J. Hill House offers Holidays on the Hill Tour throughout the month of December. Both upstairs and downstairs takes you back to the holidays of 1910.

While a guest of the Minnesota Historical Society, opinions are always my own. And I highly recommend taking this Christmas tour at James J. Hill House.  

Where is the James J. Hill House located? What is the address for James J. Hill House?

The 36,000-square-foot James J. Hill House is located at 240 Summit Ave., St. Paul, MN 55102.

When are the Christmas tours at James J. Hill House? What are the hours for the James J. Hill House Christmas tours?

James J. Hill House offers a combined self-guided and guided Holidays on the Hill Christmas tour on Thursdays through Sundays, Dec. 1 through Dec. 31, 2023. They begin every half hour with the last tour at 3:30 p.m.

Update – sold out! Holidays on the Hill Christmas tour at the James J. Hill House are sold out for the 2023 season. So mark your calendar for next year and get your tickets as soon as they go on sale. Until then, you can still take a James J. Hill House tour beginning Jan. 4, 2024. Additionally, the Nooks and Crannies Sunday tours begin in January 2024.

Where can I buy tickets for the James J. Hill House Christmas tour?

Update – James J. Hill House Christmas tour is sold out for 2023.

You can buy tickets for the James J. Hill House Holidays on the Hill tour on their website or purchase in person. But note that they sell out fast!

How much are tickets for the James J. Hill House holiday / Christmas tour?

Ticket prices for the James J. Hill House Holidays on the Hill Christmas tour are $20 per person. Members save 20% while Children 4 and younger are free.

How long is the James J. Hill House holiday / Christmas tour?

Allow at least 60 minutes to take the James J. Hill House Holidays on the Hill Christmas tour.

Is parking available for the James J. Hill House holiday tour?

Yes. James J. Hill House offers plenty of free street parking on Summit Ave.

Are there other holiday events near the James J. Hill House?

Yes! Summit Ave – the prettiest street in St. Paul, Minnesota in every season – is even more magical during the holidays.

Since you’re in the neighborhood, tour the Cathedral of Saint Paul – home to the Shrine of the Nations. This beautiful church is located kitty-corner from the James J. Hill House. Open to the public, this monument of faith and historical architectural beauty is a must-see.

You can also find a European Christmas market and beautiful Christmas lights in nearby downtown St. Paul, Minnesota. See my related post: Top holiday events in the Twin Cities.

Where can I learn more about the historic James J. Hill House? Is the James J. Hill House open throughout the year?

Yes. James J. Hill House is open for tours throughout the year. Learn more about my tour experience at the historic James J. Hill House.

Reserve your Christmas tour at the historic Mayowood Mansion in Rochester, Minnesota

Mayowood Mansion Foyer Staircase at Christmas tour

Image courtesy of the History Center of Olmsted County and Mayowood Mansion.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Mayowood Manson hosts Christmas tours Nov. 4-Dec. 17, 2023. This 23,000-square-foot home with 38 rooms was built in 1910 by Dr. Charlie and Edith Mayo. Dr. Charlie was a cofounder of the world-renowned Mayo Clinic.

Stunning in every season, the Mayowood Mansion knows how to deck the halls to transport you back to a beautiful Christmas past.

The History Center of Olmsted County and Mayowood Mansion hosted both my husband and me on a tour of this beautiful historic home. While guests, opinions are always my own. And my husband’s opinion? We’ve taken dozens of historical home tours and the Mayowood Mansion tops his list.

Please note that photography is not allowed inside the Mayowood Mansion to protect its artifacts. All historical and interior shots shared in this blog post are courtesy of the History Center of Olmsted County (Minnesota) and the Mayowood Mansion.

Where is the Mayowood Mansion located? What is the address for Mayowood Mansion?

Mayowood Mansion is located at 3720 Mayowood Road SW, Rochester, MN 55902.

When are the Christmas tours at Mayowood Mansion? What are the hours for the Mayowood Mansion Christmas tours?

The 2023 Sing a Song of the Holidays Christmas tours at Mayowood Mansion are Nov. 4-Dec. 17, 2023. Time slots include:

  • Sundays: 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m.
  • Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays: 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m.
  • Saturdays: 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 4 p.m.

Mayowood Mansion also offers candlelight tours after hours where only Christmas lights are illuminated. Unfortunately, all candlelight Christmas tours are sold out for 2023. Mark your calendars for next season so you can purchase your Mayowood Mansion Candlelight Christmas Tour in advance.

Your Mayowood Mansion Christmas tour ticket also allows you free admission to the History Center of Olmsted County through Dec. 17, 2023.

Where can I buy tickets for the Mayowood Mansion Christmas tour?

Tickets for the 2023 Sing a Song of the Holidays Christmas tour are required by phone: 507.282.9447. Walk-ins accepted if space is available.

How much are tickets for the Mayowood Mansion holiday / Christmas tour?

Mayowood Mansion Christmas tour Rochester Minnesota

Image courtesy of the History Center of Olmsted County and Mayowood Mansion.

Ticket prices for the Mayowood Mansion 2023 Sing a Song of the Holidays Christmas tour are $25 (13 years and up), $10 (3 to 12 years). This Christmas tour is not recommended for children under the age of three

How long is the Mayowood Mansion holiday / Christmas tour?

Mayowood Mansion Christmas Tour best historic homes in Minnesota

Image courtesy of the History Center of Olmsted County and Mayowood Mansion.

Allow at least 60 minutes for the Mayowood Mansion 2023 Sing a Song of the Holidays Christmas tour.  

Is parking available for the Mayowood Mansion holiday tour?

Yes. Mayowood Mansion offers plenty of parking onsite and it’s free.

Are there other holiday events near the Mayowood Mansion?

Check out these other holiday events located near Mayowood Mansion in Rochester, MN. .

Where can I learn more about the historic Mayowood Mansion? Is the Mayowood Mansion open throughout the year?

Yes. Mayowood Mansion is open for tours throughout the year.

See my related post to learn more about Mayowood Mansion: Top things to do in Rochester, Minnesota: Tour the historic Mayowood Mansion.

More of the best holiday tours and Christmas events in the Twin Cities

GLOW Holiday Festival in St. Paul Minnesota Christmas lights tunnel

Check out Visit Saint Paul’s holiday picks and recommendations. And Bloomington MN CVB recommends these holiday events in the Twin Cities.

Looking to embrace Minnesota winter this year? Then check out my top 90 things to do this winter after the holiday season is over. And once it gets below zero, take my favorite frozen Minnesota waterfalls tour.

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Best Historic Home Christmas Tours in Minnesota

Best Historic Home Christmas Tours in Minnesota
Author

Twin Cities-based blogger sharing memorable emptynester, solo, family and girlfriend-getaway adventures, as well as my day hiking adventures (including all 66 Minnesota state parks), latest book reviews, and updates on my quest for the best adult mac and cheese. Also two WIPs: historical fiction and psychological thriller

30 comments

  1. Hi fun to visit these gorgeous homes in all their finery! This would be a great thing to do with girlfriends with a lovely dinner to follow. Thanks for sharing!

    1. You’re welcome and my pleasure. Taking a Christmas tour at these historic homes in Minnesota would be a perfect girl’s day or night out!

  2. Oooh these look so pretty! It makes me wonder how many of those decorations are vintage too!? There is something so quintessentially Christmassy about seeing those historic buildings all dressed up for the holidays.

  3. I never thought of looking for historic home tours at Christmas. So fun that there are 3 in Minnesota to help get you in the holiday spirit. They certainly show that I need to do a much better job decorating at home! I will have to check and see if there are any in our area at home.

    1. I love the Christmas decor at these beautiful historic homes in Minnesota…so inspiring! I hope you find some Christmas tours at historic homes near you.

  4. Sounds so charming! We’re all these gilded age home builders railroad barons? I’ll poke around your site to discover more! Good luck with thr mac n cheese quest. I feel that way about carnitas.

  5. I love touring old mansions, especially at Christmas. You captured some of the best historic homes decorated for Christmas.

  6. Home tours sound amazing in Minnesota! I would love to do something like this where I live. These homes are beautiful. I love seeing Christmas decorations!

  7. I’d choose all three to visit on the Historic Home Tours for Christmas. These historic mansions and houses in Minnesota decorated and within the snow settings are different from what I see here.

  8. Incredible, I would feel like I was in my own Hallmark Christmas romance movie 🙂 I love visiting historic buildings and admiring the old world charm. These look beautiful and so wonderfully decorated for the festive season!

  9. This was such a lovely read! I didn’t realise they did tours historic home Christmas tours in Minnesota! I’d love to tick off this experience on my travel bucket list!

  10. I’m always so interested in visiting historical homes, but seeing them at Christmas is such a unique experience! Glensheen Mansion looks absolutely magical! Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. I think you would love the Mayo Mansion at Christmas and throughout the year. It is a very beautiful and elegant historic home.

  11. I love how they’ve dolled these places up for Christmas! What a lovely experience. We have some historic places near by that do similar and even invite you to have ‘dinner’ with an old-time family.

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