One of Best Christmas Displays in the Country is 3 Hours From Rochester
If you're looking to get in the holiday spirit, only one Christmas display in Minnesota was ranked one of the best in the country, and it's only a little over three hours from Rochester.
The Bentleyville Tour of Lights is entering its 18th year in 2021 and is one of the biggest holiday light displays and festivals in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Though it started nearly 20 years ago with a holiday display at Nathan Bentley's home in Esko, these days the festival is located at Bayfront Festival Park in Duluth (a little over 3 hours northeast of Rochester.)
As its website says, Bentleyville isn't just one of the largest walk-through holiday light displays here in Minnesota, it's one of the premier holiday events in the country. It won USA Today's Best Holiday Displays' poll in 2019, and this year was noted by Esquire magazine, which just put the city of Duluth at #3 on its list of the 27 Best Christmas Towns in America.
Esquire said that Minnesota's fourth-largest city (behind Rah-Rah-Rochester) offers "Hallmark Christmas movie-worthy magic" with its holiday displays, including Bentleyville as well, as well as other events like a scenic train journey along the North Shore of Lake Superior, as well as a bustling Christmas village set up in front of the historic Glensheen mansion.
2021 Rochester Area Holiday Guide
If you're heading up to check it out this season, the Bentleyville Tour of Lights is once again reverting back to a walk-through format (after offering a drive-through version last year, due to the pandemic) and will be open evenings from 5 to 9 pm November 20th through December 27th, and from 5 to 10 pm Saturday and Sundays.
The festival itself is a non-profit organization and it collects food and toys are each night which supports the Salvation Army for the communities of Duluth, Cloquet, Hibbing, Grand Rapids, Virginia, and International Falls in Minnesota, plus Superior, Wisconsin.
Admission is free, and though parking in any of the three lots near Bayfront Festival Park costs $10. And if you don't want to make the drive to Duluth, keep scrolling to check out another amazing holiday display (featuring one million lights) that's a little closer to home here in southeast Minnesota.