There's more than one way to view holiday lights.
For the budget-friendly version, you could pack the kids in the car for a drive around the neighborhood and see what you see. If you don't mind spending a few bucks, you could head over to CHS Field for the Glow Holiday Festival or to Shakopee for Sever's Holiday Lights to see professional public light displays.
If you want to ride in style, however, metro-area transportation companies can drive you — in a bus, a trolley or a limo — to light displays, while you sip a glass of Shiraz.
For example, Executive Transportation creates custom tour routes, depending on the start and end locations.
This year, the company has partnered with Bear Cave Brewing in Hopkins, Schram Haus Brewery in Chaska and AxeBridge Wine Co. in Minneapolis to "provide paired offerings for guests who would like to enjoy a drink and food before or after the light tour," said Jessica Reinhardt, marketing manager, noting that "guests are welcome to enjoy beverages along the tour route as well."
Chauffeurs are knowledgeable about the holiday displays and may even be dressed as Mr. or Mrs. Claus. The tours, which include a holiday soundtrack, typically last two to three hours.
Minneapolis Trolley Tours also does a lights circuit on Friday nights in Minneapolis and Saturday nights in St. Paul. The Minneapolis tour winds through various neighborhoods where owners have illuminated their homes and yards. The St. Paul tour includes the southern suburbs as well as Summit Avenue in St. Paul.
Here are some options for companies that will take the wheel so your group is free to "ooh and ahhh" at light displays:
1st Class Transportation: Travel in style with this local company. 1stclass-transportation.com
Twin Cities Sightseeing Tours: Gather a group of 13 for an exclusive holiday light experience for $175 on the Twin Cities' only open-air bus. For $350, 14 guests can experience a 2.5-hour tour with singalong music and candy canes. twincitiessightseeingtours.com
Executive Transportation: Everything from a sedan for just you and your sweetie up to luxury mini-coaches that fit up to 30. $298-$766. executivecarusa.com
Minneapolis Trolley Tours: Tours aboard a festively adorned vehicle. $14-$29. minneapolistrolleytours.com
Renee's Limousines: Tour options from two to four hours in a variety of vehicles. $611-$1,092. reneeslimousines.com
Town Car MN: A town car or limo ride takes passengers on a tour past Minneapolis' illuminated spectacles; $200 hourly with a minimum of three hours. towncarmn.com