2016 Guide to Bentleyville


From its early Duluth beginnings to becoming a true Minnesota icon, Bentleyville brings visitors from near and far to Duluth during the holidays. We have everything you need to know from date night dining & recommended lodging, to transportation & what to expect once you walk through those twinkling gates. We hope you and your family can get out and enjoy one of Duluth’s finest landmarks!

2016 DMB Guide to Bentleyville

{Photo provided by Bentleyville}

  • Did you know Bentleyville is completely FREE?! It is America’s largest free walk through lighting display! Bentleyville is a non-profit organization and all donations go directly to the operations and purchases of new light displays. Visitors are encouraged to bring a new unwrapped toy or non-perishable food item for the Salvation Army and to contribute a donation. 

Bentleyville is open to the public every night – including Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Night:

November 19th – December 26th, 2016 

Sunday – Thursday: 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm 

Friday & Saturday: 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm

  • Attire- How you dress is extremely important at Bentleyville. Bentleyville is completely outdoors and can be very cold. Dress for both strong winds and warmth. If weather is inclement, sometime the park even has to close. 
  • Candy Sale- Get your Bentleyville candy bar for $1 at your nearest Holiday store for a chance to win one of several prizes including 10 Golden Ticket packages, Bentleyville Sweatshirts, $10 Holiday Gift Cards, Grandma’s Restaurants Discounts, and Plush Toys from Bentleyville’s Gift Shop. Find out more about the candy sale here
  • Handicap Access- The entire Bayfront Festival Park is handicapped accessible with paved walkways.  Wheelchairs are available on a first-come-first-served basis. The chairs can be picked up at the Food & Toy donation drop off near the entrance to Bentleyville.

2016 DMB Guide to Bentleyville

{Photo provided by Bentleyville}

By Car- There are several parking lots including the Bentleyville lot, the DECC, or the Great Lakes Aquarium. All cost $5. Free parking is available at many downtown parking ramps after and at parking meters after 5:30 pm

By Train- For a truly magical experience, ride the train to Bentleyville! Board at Fitger’s and take a trip unlike any other under the Aerial Lift Bridge directly to Bentleyville and back again. You can ride the train from November 25th to December 17th on Fridays & Saturdays at 5:00, 6:30, and 8:00. Cost is $7, ages 2 and under are free. Register in advance HERE

By Bus- The Jingle Bus is a free shuttle service that takes you directly to Bentleyville on Friday and Saturday evenings. There are two routes: red & green. Red is the Canal Park route that picks up every 20 minutes from 4:30 pm – 9:50 pm on Buchanan Street near Canal Park Drive. Green is the Downtown route that picks up every 30 minutes from 4:30 pm – 9:30 pm at Greysolon Plaza, Holiday Center, and Radisson Hotel. 

On foot- Park at the Holiday Inn & Suites, Maurices Parking Ramp or the DTC and walk through the skywalk to avoid traffic.

Click here for all the maps and directions you need to get to Bentleyville!


2016 DMB Guide to Bentleyville

{Photo provided by Bentleyville}

  • Bonfires & S’mores- Roast complimentary marshmallows at one of the many fire pits. S’more kits are available for purchase. 
  • Free hats- Children 10 years old and younger that visit Santa receive a knit Bentleyville hat from Santa along with a bag of cookies. Children receiving the hat must be present, no exceptions.
  • Free cookies- The Cookie House offers complimentary coffee, hot chocolate, and cookies. Cozy up by the fire and enjoy!
  • Free popcorn- Get a bag to munch on as you stroll through the lights from the Polar Popcorn House.
  • Naughty or Nice list- For a $5 donation, put your child’s name on the ultimate Naughty or Nice list – which you can visit near the Santa line at Bentleyville! Lists are updated weekly and posted each Thursday. 
  • Photo opportunities- Get a picture with various characters walking around the grounds, and of course with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Find your favorite characters displayed within the lights and snap a photo! Displays range from storybook characters to your favorite movie scenes, from patriotic tributes to holiday classics. 
  • Santa- Santa visits with guests nightly from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm from November 19th – December 23rd, 2016. The Santa line will close in time for Santa to head home to the North Pole by 9 pm! Be sure to go visit Santa as soon as you enter the park if possible so that you don’t miss him!

2016 DMB Guide to Bentleyville

{Photo provided by Bentleyville}

An evening at Bentleyville can make for the perfect holiday date night. Grab your sweetie and hit the town for a truly magical evening! Here are some of our favorite date night spots:

  • Make reservations at JJ Astors atop the Radisson Hotel for a birds-eye view of the lights. The restaurant revolves on the top of the 16th floor of the hotel and gives you panoramic views of the light show. 
  • Enjoy a meal at The Silos Restaurant and have a front row seat to the lights while fine dining in the cozy atmosphere of the restaurant. It is the only waterfront restaurant with a front seat to Bentleyville!
  • Step into Bellisio’s Italian restaurant and wine bar for a bite, stroll through the shops of Canal Park, and head over to Bentleyville to round out the evening.
  • Treat yourself to Lake Avenue Restaurant. Grab a local beer and enjoy locally sourced cuisine.

Date Spots – Downtown Duluth 

Black Woods Grill and Bar 

Hanabi Japanese Cuisine 

Blackwater Lounge 

Sala Thai

Date Spots – near Fitgers, take train to Bentleyville:

Va Benne 

Midi Restaurant 

Pickwick Restaurant


2016 DMB Guide to Bentleyville

{Photo provided by Bentleyville}

Bentleyville draws visitors not only from Minnesota, but from all over the world! Add your location to the visitor’s map! Here are a few lodging recommendations we have as well as a few great holiday spots to visit while you’re in town:


  • Pier B Resort – This brand new hotel is within walking distance of Bentleyville! If you’re looking for convenience, this is your place! Check out their holiday packages here
  • Holiday Inn & Suites – Downtown Duluth – Located within the heart of downtown Duluth, this is Duluth’s largest full-service hotel. Kids under 19 stay for free! Two indoor pools and a kiddie pool are sure to entertain your kids before you head out to Bentleyville at night!
  • Radisson Hotel Duluth – Harborview – Conveniently near Canal Park and provides great views of Bentleyville. Event specific packages offered here
  • For a complete listing of local hotels check them out here.

While You’re In Town… 

  • Breakfast with Santa at Fitger’s: November 26th from 9-10am. Head to Midi Restaurant for a delicious Holiday Breakfast with Santa where each child can meet Santa and receive a fee gift. Reserve your table in advance!
  • Santa and Reindeer at Fitger’s: Offered Saturday 11 am – 4 pm and Sunday Noon – 3 pm from November 25 to December 18, 2016. The live reindeer will be stationed in the Courtyard; Santa will be inside to visit with kids of all ages. Don’t forget your camera! Also check out the shops nearby for some unique holiday shopping.
  • See the Nutcracker Ballet: Offered Dec. 9th-11th at the DECC arena, ticket prices vary. 
  • Glensheen Self-Guided Christmas Tour: Explore this 39-room mansion decked out for the holidays with 25 Christmas trees. Free Christmas cookies and free cocoa & coffee. Offered November 27th – January 3rd on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm. Tickets $15, Children 12 & under free with paid adult.

2 Responses to 2016 Guide to Bentleyville

  1. Patricia November 14, 2016 at 6:27 pm #

    Here’s a tip most people don’t know. When you stop at the Cookie House, you can request a half a cup of cocoa for your really little kids. That will reduce the likelihood of spillage all over mittens and down the front of snowsuits.

  2. DeeDee Grages November 16, 2016 at 5:06 pm #

    Bentleyville is volunteer run and is a great opportunity for families to volunteer. Those under 18, or attached to their phones need to be accompanied by a parent. Weekend set up help even includes lunch!