Bentleyville: Duluth’s Holiday Light Attraction


Picture it: you’re driving along the 35 near Bayfront Park shortly after Halloween (maybe you’re even fueled up on a couple of fun size Twix bars you snagged from your three year old’s candy stash) and you see it–the Bentleyville tree is up! For years, it’s been one of the biggest hints that the Yuletide season is starting.

Visiting the enormous outdoor light display is a Minnesotan tradition. Whether you’re a seasoned pro, or this year will mark your first trip, Duluth Moms Blog is your biggest resource for all things Bentleyville. Check out the Crowd-O-Meter to plan which day to bundle up for a tour, find recommendations on downtown dining and transportation, and read insider tips from our contributors. Have fun, and we’ll see you under the magic of the holiday lights!

We’d love for you to SHARE this awesome resource so everyone is in the know!

General Information


  • 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 23rd – December 28th, 2019

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, sometimes 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.


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 and 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 29th to December 21st on Fridays & Saturdays at 4:45pm and 6:45pm departure times. 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!

Inside 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 Friday.
  • 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 23rd – December 24th, 2018. 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!

Bentlyville is an extremely popular attraction, and they have created a fantastic resource to let you know what the most popular and quieter nights are. It helps you plan ahead for parking, suiting up for the weather, and how long the Santa line might be. Take a look for the day or days you plan on going!

Please remember: Bentleyville is a weather dependent event. The park will get more crowded the nicer the weather is!

Out of Town Visitors

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:


While You’re In Town… 

  • Santa and Reindeer at Fitger’s: Offered Saturday 11 am – 4 pm and Sunday Noon – 3 pm from November 29 to December 18, 2017. 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. 13th-15th at the DECC arena, ticket prices vary.
  • Glensheen Self-Guided Christmas Tour: Explore this 39-room mansion decked out for the holidays with beautiful Christmas trees. See website for more information including hours and prices.

Want more?

  • For more fun attractions and places to go while you visit Duluth, check out this link here, to see all the fun places to go!

Volunteer Opportunities

2017 Guide to Bentleyville | Duluth Moms Blog

{Photo provided by Bentleyville USA}

If spreading Christmas cheer for all to hear is your thing, consider volunteering! There are multiple spots for helping out and making Bentlyville the best holiday event out there!


Look here for all the opportunities! 

There are SO many things to see and experience at Bentleyville, where to start?! Use this graphic as a guide!

  1. Just hold your finger down on your phone screen and save the image to your camera roll. 
  2. Use a drawing function or gifs to mark off what you have completed. 
  3. Dont forget to share the graphic in your Instagram stories using #momsaroundduluth and tagging @duluthmoms! 
Bentleyville Must- Sees (2)

DMB Team Insider Tips

DMB Tips

Our team of contributors and seasoned Duluthians have their best tips and tricks for you mama! 

“Don’t go on opening night! Haha. Use the crowd o meter!” ~ Alyssa

  • The Red Kettle Karnival offers a chance to get a sneak peek at Bentleyville before the grand opening! Find more information here

“Go later, like an hour before closing. It’s dead. It’s the busiest at 5:00p when they open. Throw the kids in strollers and be in and out in 20 minutes! Also, eat at JJ Astor — it’s so fun to watch the lights from up there.”  ~Sharon 

“We would pack our own thermos of hot chocolate and a few cookies. The lines were always long and the kids wanted hot chocolate, but it was like, death by lava hot chocolate so they never ended up drinking it.” ~Heather

  • This is also a great tip for if you have kids with food allergies and sensitivities!

“We love visiting the aquarium right before the lights are turned on. If you visit the sturgeon touch pools and then hangout by the big glass windows, it is so exciting to see the scenery go from pitch black to fully lit! Plus, then you already have parking.” ~ Andrea

Lighting Challenge 2019 is happening! Register your home or business starting November 1st to participate in the festivities!


2018 Guide to Bentleyville | Duluth Moms Blog

Click here to find all the info.

Voting begins November 30th and winners will be announced December 20th!

Thank you to our generous sponsor, The Edgewater Hotel & Waterpark for making this guide possible!

The Edgewater Hotel & Waterpark is your family-fun attraction in Duluth, MN. With 35,000 square feet, the indoor waterpark includes 2 four-and-a-half-story waterslides, Paradise Playground, vortex pool, 400 feet of lazy river and Tiki Tom’s Oasis & Grill.

Bring your swimsuit, you will get wet!

2017 Guide to Bentleyville | Duluth Moms Blog

2400 London Rd, Duluth MN 

We love bringing this guide to you in partnership with our friends at The Edgewater each year!
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Andrea Jang
A lake girl at heart, Andrea is thrilled to be a Duluthian! She lives in the Hillside with her husband, daughter (plus two angel babies that are with them in spirit), and two rescue pups. As a bi-racial and multicultural family, they have hopes and dreams of visiting her husband’s family in South Korea someday soon. Tiny joys that make her heart happy include: doodling, searching for sea glass, coffee with friends, fiber art, plants, a good vintage thrift find, music and great food & drinks. She also finds purpose in serving on the Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Justice (DEIJ) committee at her daughter’s school, and also on City Mom Collective’s Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) committee. You will find her building community, connections and friendships in the northland as the owner of Duluth Mom. She invites you to visit her on Instagram or on LinkedIn.