In downtown Minneapolis, holiday festivities stretch from Loring Park to the Hennepin Theatre District, Nicollet Mall and the riverfront.
Events to catch: Nov. 24-Dec. 24, free Holidazzle village in Loring Park, with fireworks on opening day and Saturdays.
Nightlife: The Dakota music club at Nicollet and 10th schedules many holiday shows.
Details: See A jolly holiday in Minneapolis.
Once upon a time, people in Iowa's Amana Colonies lived simply. Now, people go there to indulge.
These tidy, once-communal villages in east-central Iowa, near Cedar Rapids, are famous for their family-style restaurants, wineries, brewery and shops. During the holiday season, tourists descend on the villages to buy gifts quilts, pottery, chocolates.
Events to catch: Dec. 1-3, Prelude to Christmas.
There's always excitement in the air on and around Madison's State Street, but especially in November, when the holidays are on the horizon.
Where to shop: State Street has great museum gift shops, and Monroe Street,
which heads south from Camp Randall stadium, also has fun shops and
places to eat.
Nightlife: See a concert, play, ballet or touring show at the Overture Center on State Street.
Details: For more, see Shopping in Madison.
Early November is a dangerous time on the Great Lakes. In 1913, a storm called the White Hurricane killed 250 people and destroyed 19 ships between Nov. 7 and Nov. 10. In 1975, the Edmund Fitzgerald sank in near hurricane-force winds on Nov. 10.
Details: For more, see Gales of November.
Red Wing has a charmed location in an elbow of the Mississippi River, in the shadow of boxy Barn Bluff and only an hour south of the Twin Cities. It's a favorite fall destination.
Details: See Roaming in Red Wing.