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. For a list our picks of the week’s best events, price be damned, click here.
Looking to do some holiday shopping? Find even more local markets and events in our megalist here.
Trail Magic Taproom Pop-Up
BŪCH Fermentary & Taproom
Back in September, we were super bummed when Able Seedhouse + Brewery announced that they were closing. Then we were intrigued to hear that hard kombucha company BŪCH was moving in. Most recently? We were super excited to find out that BŪCH would be hosting a four- day THC taproom. What a whirlwind of emotions! This week, from Thursday to Sunday, you can catch a different kind of buzz in Northeast, as they’ll have a THC bubbly from 13 different businesses making drinkable weed. That includes varieties from Lakes & Legends, Indeed Brewing, East Lake Brewing, BLNCD and Foundry Nation (read out gummy and bubbly review from these guys here), and Fulton, which released their bottled bevs right before Thanksgiving. Try different brands, take a sneak peek at the space under new ownership, and catch a buzz. 21+. 5-10 p.m. Thursday and Friday; noon to 10 p.m. Saturday; noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. 1121 Quincy St. NE, Minneapolis. Through Sunday—Jessica Armbruster
Holidazzle: Final Weekend!
Holidazzle was once an illuminated parade that ran through downtown Minneapolis. But, like many things that have been around for decades, a few years ago it had to pivot and transform. These days, the event is a festival in Loring Park. Each weekend, there’s a ton of stuff to see and do. A few of their greatest hits include a carousel, a 17-foot-tall illuminated Yeti sculpture, and a beer garden, where you can enjoy wifi and brew and seltzers from Fulton. Kids can enjoy a playground area plus visits from Santa, while teens and grownups might get a kick out of weekly drag bingo. There will also be dog-friendly fun, live music, local artists and makers, and fireworks every Saturday evening. Find the complete schedule here. Free. 5-9 p.m. Fridays; noon to 9 p.m. Saturdays; noon to 6 p.m. Sundays. Loring Park, 1382 Willow St. S., Minneapolis. Through December 18–Jessica Armbruster
European Christmas Market: Final Weekend!
Yeah, Americans know how to decorate a mall real fancy, but Europeans definitely trump us with their classy, old world-style markets. The best attempt at one of these in the Twin Cities is at the Union Depot, where the festive European Christmas Market offers wholesome fun each winter. Events take place indoors and outdoors each weekend, with plenty to see and do. Traditional eats available for purchase include baklava, raclette, pierogi, spätzle, brats, and Glühwein (aka mulled wine). Shop from local and international vendors selling wooden toys, glass ornaments, and other giftables. Traditional music, dance, and other entertainment rounds out the event. Check out stpaulchristmasmarket.org for more info. 4-9 p.m. Fridays; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays. Union Depot, 240 E. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul. Through December 18–Jessica Armbruster
Admiral Fox, Loser Magnet, Kate Malanaphy, Party Foul
21+. 9 p.m. 331 Club, 331 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis.
December Social: Music & Cookie Share
Bring cookies to share and make friends! 6-9 p.m. The Trailhead, 1221 Theodore Wirth Pkwy., Minneapolis.
Who’s Ready for Santa?
Meet Santa and Mrs. Clause, plus enjoy holiday music, kids crafts, kids’ gift wrapping station, and hot cocoa and cookies for sale from the Kitchen by Baked Brand. 5-7 p.m. Midtown Global Market
The Festival of Trees
Walk through a winter wonderland of 80 holiday trees decorated by various local businesses and organizations. Through January 4 at Mall of America.
Friday Night Open Mic
21+. 10 p.m. The Comedy Corner Underground, 1501 S. Washington Ave., Minneapolis.
Holiday and Farmers’ Markets
Queer Holiday Market
This LGBTQ+ makers market features over a dozen artists, queer vibes, festive cocktails, and friendly visit from Drag Santa. Added bonus: A portion of the proceeds will benefit invaluable HIV resource The Aliveness Project. 5-9 p.m. LUSH Lounge and Theater, 990 NE Central Ave., Minneapolis.
Shop local with gift bags by local makers, drinks, snacks, music, and aura readings by Aura Borealis. 6-9 p.m. Les Sól, 1614 W. Lake St., Minneapolis.
Alloy Holiday Market
Featuring local makers and artists, food, and rockabilly holiday tunes from Star Chiefs. 4-9 p.m. Alloy Brewing Company, 2700 Coon Rapids Blvd. NW, Coon Rapids.
Legacy Holiday Part
Featuring vintage items, drinks, music from DJs Kwey and McShellen, and live music from Kinfu and Ness Nite. 7-11 p.m. Legacy, 1610 W. Lake St., Minneapolis.
Motion>Blur and Nude Geographies
Two photography shows open in the galleries. 6-8 p.m. Praxis Gallery, 2637 27th Ave. S., Minneapolis.
Holiday Cocktail Party
Featuring festive beer and seltzer cocktails, Tex Mex eats from MB Foodhouse, and live acoustic sets from local pop band Guytano. Noon to 6 p.m. Headflyer Brewing, 861 E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis.
Christmas Pick & Play
Featuring free toys, face painting, crafts, pictures with Santa and/or the Grinch, fire trucks, games, and more. 3-7 p.m. City of Fridley Public Safety, 7071 University Ave. NE, Fridley.
ASL Night Out
6-11 p.m. Lakes & Legends, 1368 Lasalle Ave., Minneapolis.
Featuring live music throughout the day and four different barrel-aged releases. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. OMNI Brewing Co., 9462 Deerwood Ln., Maple Grove.
Santa and Crafts
Featuring photos with Santa and handmade kids crafts with North Suburban Center for the Arts. Noon to 3 p.m. Forgotten Star Brewing, 38 Northern Stacks Dr., Fridley.
The Long Night: Winter Solstice Bash
We’ve almost done it: Ever so gradually, it’ll stop feeling like midnight at 5:30 p.m. The fine folks at Pryes—one of our favorite local breweries—are celebrating the darkest day by turning the brewery into an “enchanted winter wonderland.” (Technically, the solstice falls on the 21st, but Saturdays are better for drinking than Wednesdays.) We’re talkin’ live music (Cloudchord, Borahm Lee, Molly Brandt & Eric Carranza, Allie McIntosh), fire performers, a live muralist, bottle bar, cookie decorating, food specials, and limited-release brews. And just think: By the end of January, we’ll have already gained an hour of daylight… all the way up to nine hours and 50 minutes. Free. 11 a.m. to midnight. Pryes Brewing Co., 1401 W. River Rd. N., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Jay Boller
Something about the ugly sweater party feels very 2009 to me—it stinks of the kind of almost-annoying self-aware irony that was a product of the era that gave us “the hipster” and “indie sleaze.” But hey, indie sleaze is making a comeback, so maybe the era of the ugly sweater party is back as well. Besides, I know we all still have plenty of ‘em lingering in the back of our closets, moth-eaten and hideously striped. And it is sort of nice to wear a cozy sweater to a brewery in the winter. I guess what I’m saying is, ah… what the hell, I don’t need to be a killjoy. This “old-fashioned” ugly sweater party at Modist seems fun! Free. 2-8 p.m. Modist Brewing Company, 505 N. Third St., Minneapolis.—Em Cassel
The Royal Dumpsters, Greyduck, Lost Evidence
10 p.m. 331 Club, 331 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis.
Yoga at Union Depot
Hosted by Studio 9-to-5. Bring a mat and some water; sign up here. 9 a.m. Union Depot, 214 Fourth St. E., St. Paul.
Holiday and Farmers’ Markets
Last Minute Gifts
Cross-stitch artists Third Daughter, Restless Daughter hosts a last-minute holiday market showcasing 35 BIPOC makers. Noon to 5 p.m. Springboard for the Arts, 262 University Ave. W., St. Paul.
Vendors include home-crafted beef jerky, local cider, apparel, plants, spices, sauces, and more. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sat.-Sun. Graze Provisions and Libations, 520 N. Fourth St, Minneapolis.
7th Annual RedHot Art Market
Give the gift of fire! Or, at least, a gift made by fire. Or, just some cool handmade items from 30-plus artists. This event is also a fundraiser for CAFAC. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center, 3749 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis.
Lake Hiawatha Makers Market
With handmade items by local artists and makers , kids’ craft projects, and eats. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lake Hiawatha Community Center, 2701 E. 44th St., Minneapolis.
Market Collective MN Holiday Makers Market
Shop from 16 local BIPOC and queer makers and allies. 1-6 p.m. Indeed Brewing, 711 15th Ave. NE, Minneapolis.
Extra Drippy Holiday Pop-up
The Black-owned juice bar hosts over 30 local businesses in the space next door. 5-8 p.m. The Dripping Root, 4000 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis.
The Vintage Village
Shop on the Nolan Mains outdoor plaza. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sat.-Sun. 50th & France, Edina.
Saturdays at Solar Arts Holiday Shop
Featuring two floors of merriment, including 40+ artists, a secret Prince Museum, live music from Soot and Scratch by Jesse Barstad (aka Lazerwulv). Noon to 6 p.m. Solar Arts Building, 711 15th Ave. NE, Minneapolis.
Holiday Makers Popup
Local letterpress studio and shop Bench Pressed hosts Indigenous makers, including Makwa Studio and Lillie Nell. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Also Dec. 23. Bench Pressed, 2010 26th Ave. S., Minneapolis.
Honest Studios Holiday Market
Featuring a variety of unique local vendors, snacks and sips, giveaways, interactive workshops, and a festive selfie booth. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Honest Studios, 905 N. Washington Ave., Minneapolis.
11 Wells Holiday Market
Shop from 30+ different vendors each week, plus tunes and cocktails. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Find the lineup here. 11 Wells Spirits, 704 Minnehaha Ave. E., St. Paul.
Holiday Saturdays at the Northrup King Building
Featuring open studios, special sales, receptions, and more. Noon to 4 p.m. Northrup King Building, 1500 Jackson St. NE, Minneapolis.
A Handmade Holiday Market
Minneapolis Craft Market returns for a weekly hang featuring beer and local artists and makers. Noon to 5 p.m. Lakes & Legends, 1368 Lasalle Ave., Minneapolis.
Field & Festival Fall Market
Featuring goods from local farmers, artisan foods, and makers. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through December 18. Wagner Garden Centers, 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.
Meet adoptable dogs. 1-3 p.m. Saint Paul Brewing, 688 Minnehaha Ave. E., St. Paul.
Minneapolis People’s Council & Supply Drive
Community meeting focusing will be on unsheltered homeless people, encampments, and the eviction moratorium. Unhoused voices will be prioritized and platformed. Food and drinks provided, food shelf goods, winter clothing, and other donation items accepted. 2-5 p.m. 4200 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis.
3 p.m. 331 Club, 331 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis.
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.
Holiday and Farmers’ Markets
Holiday Pop-Up at Fair State
This Sunday series features two unique makers each weekend. December 18 will feature Boom Island Woodworking, plus wallhangings, rugs, prints, and pillows from Bitter North Workshop. Noon to 3 p.m. Fair State Brewing Cooperative, 2506 A Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis.
Last Chance Holiday Market
Drink beer and shop. Noon to 3 p.m. Forgotten Star Brewing, 38 Northern Stacks Dr., Fridley.
Awaken Winter Market
Handmade gifts from local makers. 9 a.m. to noon. Awaken Community Church, 506 View St., St. Paul.
The Woman’s Club Holiday Market
Shop handmade goods from over 20 local small businesses, free appetizers, and a cash bar. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Woman’s Club of Minneapolis, 410 Oak Grove St., Minneapolis.
Micro Business Winter Market
Featuring crystals, plants, jewelry, dog goodies, ceramics, and more, plus Tarot readings. Noon to 6 p.m. Inbound BrewCo., 701 N. 5th St., Minneapolis.