Don’t Miss This Enchanting, Historic Minnesota Christmas Tree Tour
For many, Christmas is the most magical time of year. A blanket of early-season snow, twinkling lights adorning homes and businesses, and the general spirit and cheer of the season make Christmastime like none other.
This is no more evident than in the "Christmas City" of Duluth, Minnesota. Home to the annual Christmas City of the North Parade, the famous Bentleyville Tour of Lights, and even a charming recently-filmed Christmas movie called 'Merry Kiss Cam', Duluth is definitely on the radar for many across the region during the holiday season.
While Bentleyville and the Christmas City parade get most of the headlines, there's another can't-miss Christmas destination in Duluth that you need to add to your holiday plans - and it is worth a trip to Duluth to visit all on its own.
This particular holiday attraction will have you feeling like you stepped into a classic Christmas painting, with unique and historical beauty around every corner.
What is this other Christmas destination? it is none other than the historic Glensheen Mansion, located right on the shores of Lake Superior in Duluth!
For the past few years, this historic estate has been setting up a series of Christmas trees around the mansion, creating a warm and enchanting series of tour options through the building and around the 12-acre grounds that are guaranteed to dazzle visitors of all ages.
New for 2022, the mansion has refreshed its decorations, making this year's experience a new one for everyone, including those that have been there many times before.
The first of the tour options offered is the "Christmas Classic Tour", which gives you the opportunity to explore the grounds at your own pace on a self-guided tour around the mansion and outside, around the grounds at Glensheen.
This classic tour gives you access to all of Glensheen's most famous rooms on the lower, first, and second floors of the building, along with a chance to explore the outdoor decor on the estate grounds.
When you enter, you're greeted by a friendly member of the Glensheen staff and a stunning 18-foot-tall Christmas tree in the main entry, near the main stairwell of the building.
The tree, which is covered in dazzling lights, vibrant red decorations, and surrounded by the main staircase, not only sets the tone for your visit - but is also an incredible photo opportunity.
The tour features 27 fully-decorated trees, each with its own theme designed to fit the space in which it resides.
Along the tour, there are also a series of sneaky elves, all hidden throughout the mansion. Finding each of the 25 hidden elves around the building adds another element of fun in the form of a scavenger hunt fit for all ages.
You never know where you might find one, so be sure to look around each room before you move on to the next!
The classic tour, like the rest of Glenshen's Christmas tours, is self-guided; which means you can explore and enjoy every detail at your own pace. If you're wondering how long to plan for their classic tour, the team at Glensheen says you should plan on about an hour for the tour.
Another tour option is the evening candlelight tour, where you can find yourself even more immersed in the glow of the Christmas tree lights after the sun goes down. This would make for a cute holiday date night idea!
This tour allows you to explore the lower level, first, and second floors of the mansion, along with outdoor displays around the grounds.
Similar to the classic tour, the estimated time to enjoy the candlelight tour is about an hour.
If you want the ultimate Glensheen Christmas experience, the "Christmas Full Mansion" tour is the one for you. On this tour, you can explore all five floors of the mansion, including the previously-closed third floor and attic, along with the outdoor displays around the grounds.
Besides self-guided access to all five floors of the mansion, there are some extras you get for taking part in the full tour.
As you might expect, the full mansion tour does take a little longer. You should plan on about an hour and a half for this tour.
Available as part of all of the paid tours, or available for free as a stand-alone tour, is their outdoor "Spirit of Lights Tour". Like everything at Glensheen, there is some history with this tour.
The free outdoor lights on display has been a feature at Glensheen during the holidays since 2018, migrating from the home of Marcia Hales, who operated her famous Park Point light display for many years before moving it to the grounds at Glensheen.
Tickets are not needed to explore the outdoor displays on the 12-acre grounds at Glensheen during the holiday season. Don't let the cost fool you, though! Touring the lakeside grounds at Glensheen is a wonderful way to start or end your visit to the mansion, or to do as a standalone activity.
Along with a number of light displays on the grounds, there are some cute family photo opportunities and a few bonfires waiting to warm you up. One of them is even next to the famous shark, Clark, who is waiting by the shoreline for you in a Santa hat!
If you plan on checking out the outdoor tour, be sure to dress for the weather. It gets chilly by the lake, especially if there is a breeze. So, put on those layers, hats, mittens, and boots so you can enjoy your excursion around the grounds!
If holiday light displays are your thing, be sure to check out more must-see attractions around the region this season!