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Freeloader Friday: 35 Free Things To Do This Weekend

Check out gallery shows, do some gay holiday shopping, and take in a screening of 'Elf.'


Freeloader Friday is your weekly guide to having fun no matter what your budget looks like. Each week we have a list of 100% free events like gallery parties, music, and films in the park, as well as free admission events like special happy hours, markets, and more.


Minneapolis Photo Exhibition

Work by GuruShots. There will be an opening reception on Friday, 7-9 p.m.; and open hours are noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Praxis Gallery & Photographic Arts Center, 2637 27th Ave. S., Minneapolis. 

Brian Laidlaw & the Family Trade Release Show

With special guests Dream Horse and Francis Scanner. 7 p.m. Amsterdam Bar & Hall, 6 W. Sixth St., St. Paul.

Friday Night Open Mic

21+. 10 p.m. The Comedy Corner Underground, 1501 S. Washington Ave., Minneapolis.

Northern Hammer, Y Peru, Casey Gerald

21+. 9:30 p.m. 331 Club, 331 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis.

Machinery Hill

5-7 p.m. Mill Valley Market, 1221 Theodore Wirth Pkwy., Minneapolis.

Winter Art Crawl West Side

Shop work from 17 local artists. Friday through Sunday. Villa del Sol, 88 Cesar Chavez St., St. Paul.

Rosalux Gallery

Stock Pile by Areca Roe; Dollars and Sense by Pricilla Briggs

Book launch and sale includes a Q&A with the artists and authors. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Rosalux Gallery, 315 W. 48th St, Minneapolis.

Smoke N’ Mirrors

Jazz/funk/soul. 7 p.m. Indeed Brewing Co., 711 15th Ave. NE, Minneapolis. 

European Christmas Market

Featuring traditional food and drinks, gifts, games, wholesome fun, and more. 4 to 9 p.m. Fridays; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays through December 19. Union Depot, 214 Fourth St. E., St. Paul.

Nordic Julemarket

The annual festival, now in its sixth year, celebrates Nordic culture. Featuring 25 local artisans and small businesses, beer, food, and guests visits from Krampus, Northstar Vikings (Saturday), and others. For more information, visit 4-8 p.m. Friday; noon to 8 p.m. Saturday; noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Utepils Brewing, 225 Thomas Ave. N., Minneapolis.

A French Vintage Holiday Market

Featuring lots of unique home goods, linens, soaps, candles, and other gift items. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday, plus Nov. 26-27, and select days in December. 211 E. Main St., Anoka.

Santa Cycle Rampage


Santa Cycle Rampage

“Santa” and “rampage” are two words you rarely see together–nor do you normally want to. But it makes sense for this event that spreads good cheer via bars and bikes. Each year, a hoard of people, almost all dressed as Santa, hop on their bikes and create an unexpected jolly spectacle that’s way better than a bunch of carolers at your door. If you want in, meet at the Loop. From there, the crew will be cycling their way, bar crawl-style, to places like Utepils, La Dona Cerveceria, Able Seedhouse and Brewery, Sociable Cider Werks, and Modist. Don’t have a Santa suit? No worries. Although this ride is known for bringing Santas together, elfs, reindeer, Krampus, and other festive creatures are also welcome. Or simply rock an ugly holiday sweater and deck your bike out in lights. Free. 10 a.m. The Loop, 606 Washington Ave. N., Minneapolis. –Jessica Armbruster

Psychic Vampire, LocKGnaR, Tubal Cain

21+. 10 p.m. 331 Club, 331 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis.

Holiday Party

Featuring a makers’ market, free open play on ping pong tables and the pickleball court, and music from the Riverside Hitman at 7:30 p.m. 2-10:30 p.m. Minneapolis Cider Company, 701 SE Ninth St., Minneapolis.

Tree Lighting & Movie

Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la: It’s true, Christmas is in the air. Nowhere will that be more true than at St. Paul’s Union Depot this Saturday. That’s where, in highly specific order: The Winter Carnival will kickoff with hot cider, live music, and kiddo giveaways; organizers will flip some sort of switch to illuminate a big ol’ tree on the North Plaza, followed by a “short but thrilling” fireworks display; then, at 7, Will Ferrell’s stone-cold 2003 classic Elf will screen inside (chairs provided; concessions available; blankets encouraged). As an early X-mas gift, Racket will provide you with the following trivia: Ferrell reportedly turned down a $29 million offer to reprise his role of Buddy in Elf 2, in part, because the premise was “not good.” Good call, buddy. Anyway, this free tree/movie event sounds quaint and magical. Free. 4:30 to 9 p.m. Union Depot, 214 Fourth St. E., St. Paul. Find more info here.—Jay Boller

Holiday No Coast Craft-o-Rama

As far as annual artist-run craft markets go, No Coast is one of the most epic and enduring. For nearly 15 years, makers, artists, designers, and other small businesses have brought an “etsy live and in person” vibe for this special holiday event. This Saturday, you can shop, eat, drink, and knock off items on your gift list. The event will feature over 40 booths to explore, winding through the halls of the Midtown Global Market. Highly giftable items include wooden toys, gorgeous ceramics, rock ‘n’ roll screen prints, practical purses, and sparkly jewelry. For a complete list of vendors, check out Free. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Midtown Global Market, 920 E. Lake St., Minneapolis. –Jessica Armbruster

Pine & Fire

Pine & Fire

Covers and originals. 4-6 p.m. Broken Clock Brewing Collective, 3134 California St. NE, Minneapolis.

A Handmade Holiday Market

Shop local vendors. Click here to RSVP for free tickets. Noon to 5 p.m. Lakes & Legends, 1368 Lasalle Ave., Minneapolis.

5th Annual Bizarre Bazaar

Featuring quirky local artists and their stuff. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This year’s event is at both Betty’s Danger’s (2501 Marshall St. NE, Minneapolis) and Psycho Suzi’s (1900 Marshall St. NE, Minneapolis).

Sip and Shop

Featuring local vendors, food trucks, drinks, and music. Noon to 4 p.m. Sinclair on Grand, 1903 NE Grand St., Minneapolis.

Dot's Cutie Patooties

Make the Yuletide Gay

Shop for cool stuff from LGBTQ+ Twin Cities makers. Items includes soaps, pins, ceramics, artwork, and more. Click here from 10 a.m. Saturday to 10 p.m. Sunday for a link to start shopping. 

Holiday Fest

Featuring a market, pictures with Santa, a walk-through parade, tree lighting, and fireworks. Find more deets here. 1-5 p.m. Downtown Shakopee.

Free First Saturday

Featuring a scavenger hunt, art in the galleries, hands-on activities, and short films. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Walker Art Center, 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis. 

Holiday Market

1-4 p.m. Mercy Vineyard Church, 725 Harding St. NE, Minneapolis. 

Giftshoppy Holiday Sale

Giftshoppy Holiday Sale

Shop local art for the holidays. The kick-off party is from noon to 4 p.m. Regular hours will be 3-7 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, and noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through December 23. Rosalux Gallery, 315 W. 48th St, Minneapolis.

Plate & Parcel Holiday Market 

The Linden Hills Farmers’ Market and Minneapolis Craft Market team up for a market featuring food, holiday decor, Christmas trees, and handmade gifts. You’ll need to RSVP to attend, but it is free; visit 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through December 19. Wagners Garden Center, 6024 Penn Ave. S., Minneapolis. 

Mill City Farmers’ Market

With local farmers, artisans, ceramics, giftables, food, and more. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mill City Museum, 704 S. Second St., Minneapolis.

Minneapolis Vintage Market


Old St. Anthony Holiday Bazaar

Hosted by Minneapolis Craft Market. Click here to RSVP. Noon to 5 p.m. Machine Shop, 300 Second St. SE, Minneapolis. 

How Bazaar Holiday Market

Noon to 5 p.m. Eastlake Craft Brewery, 920 East Lake St. (Midtown Global Market), Minneapolis.

Winter Markers Market

With handmade bags, postcards, prints, artisan teas, screenprints, risograph zines, art books, and more. Noon to 5 p.m. Light Grey Art Lab, 118 E. 26th St., Minneapolis.

Holiday Bizarre

Featuring DJ tunes, art, and jewelry. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 2714 E 27th St, Minneapolis

Corpse Reviver

21+. 3 p.m. 331 Club, 331 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis.

Saint Paul Brewing’s Winter Market

Shop local artists, makers, and vintage vendors. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays through December 19. Saint Paul Brewing, 688 Minnehaha Ave. E., St. Paul.

Open Mic Night

Music, poetry, comedy, whatever is welcome. Sign up at 4:30 p.m. The Cave at Keg and Case Market, 928 W. 7th St., St. Paul.

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