Padelford Riverboats


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In a Nutshell

  • Family-friendly holiday performance
  • Unique theatrical venue
  • Live caroling

The Fine Print

Promotional value expires Jan 2, 2011. Amount paid never expires. Limit 4 per person. Expires 1/2/11. Reservation required. Subject to availability. Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised goods and services.

For $14, today's side deal gets you one adult ticket for a showboat performance of The Match Girl’s Gift, plus two drink vouchers (a total value of up to $28; normal drink prices vary if purchased in advance), from Padelford Riverboats on Harriet Island.

Presented within the one-of-a-kind confines of the permanently moored Minnesota Centennial Showboat, The Match Girl's Gift beguiles audiences with a theatrical adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s tale of the same name. Early arrivals can nod their heads to the trills of live Christmas carols and sip drinks from the bar before turning their attention to the heartstring tugs of the holiday drama, which follows the tribulations and salvation of young Lizzie, a poverty-stricken child who ekes out an income for her family by selling matches on the street. After resigning herself to spending a chilly night sleeping outdoors, Lizzie meets her grandmother, who whisks her away to a world of comfort and warmth. Produced by special arrangement with The Dramatic Publishing Company of Woodstock, Illinois, the showboat-style performance includes live musical accompaniment. Matinee and evening performances are held Thursday–Sunday, and like most Christmas toys, the show only runs through January 2.


USA Today names Padelford Riverboats one of the 10 great places you won't forget in the Twin Cities. Disney names it an Editors' Pick, and 10best names it one of the best things to do in St. Paul.

  • If trudging through museums and historic sites is not your idea of a great St. Paul vacation, hop aboard one of the riverboats of the Padelford Packet Boat Company. These beautiful boats offer sightseeing tours, sunset dinner and picnic lunch cruises, and educational river trips. Take in summer fireworks, fall foliage, city skylines, and the beauty of the mighty Mississippi River atop a Minnesota riverboat. Oh, and the food is great, too! – 10best

Padelford Riverboats

In 1969, the founder of Padelford Riverboats, Captain William D. Bowell, Sr., launched the Jonathan Padelford steamwheeler into the Mississippi, hoping to bring visitors to the riverfront for leisurely jaunts. After more than 30 years of expanding his fleet and ferrying passengers along the historic waterways, he handed the reigs over to his daughters and nephew. Today, the family operates five boats equipped with dance areas, bars, sun decks, and the nostalgia that William hoped to keep alive. With the Twin Cities' skyline and the rugged, green banks of the river as the backdrop, US Coast Guard–licensed vessels float passengers past sights such as Pig's Eye Cave, Fort Snelling, and Pike Island. Some cruises also include dinner or fireworks, and special holiday cruises are also available.

Customer Reviews

Even though the code doesn't work on their online reservation system, Paddleford was able to get us on the boat right away after arrival. What a great experience! Everyone should do this at least once, the boat is a smooth ride and the concessions are inexpensive. Even the bathrooms were better than expected!!
Christina M. · 2 days ago
Great services beautiful view smooth ride love the food!
Juanita H. · July 6, 2017
Had a great time!!!!
Tina M. · June 20, 2017

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