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Freeloader Friday: 67 Free Things To Do This Weekend

Dog Santa, Santas on bikes, and a goth makers' market.

Headflyer Dogs with Santa

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 our picks of the week's best events, price be damned, click here.

Looking for our shop local mega-list? You can find that here.

European Christmas Market


European Christmas Market

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 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

Celebrating Southeast of Saturn, Vol. 2

Featuring a collection of music from Detroit’s space-rock/shoegaze/dream pop scene of the ‘90s. 5 p.m. Electric Fetus, 2000 Fourth Ave. S., Minneapolis. 

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.

Courtney Yasmineh, Demitri Rallis

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

Space Hug

Space Hug @ Holidazzle

5:30 p.m. Loring Park, 1382 Willow St. S., Minneapolis. 


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

Four Pints Shy 

7 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Kieran's Irish Pub, 85 N. Sixth St, Minneapolis.

Friday Night Open Mic

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

Olio Vintage

Holiday and Farmers’ Markets

Sequins & Champagne Holiday Party & December Vendor Launch

Sip punch and bubbly while shopping holiday and winter wear from resident vendors @blacknvni, @saltymplsvintage, and @rosella.vintage; handmade gifts by local makers; vintage holiday decor; and the shop’s December guest vendors Everyday Ejiji, Caitlin Karolczak, Flicker and Fizz, and more. Bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate if you can. 4-7 p.m. Olio vintage, 21 NE Fifth St., Minneapolis.

No Coast Craft-o-Rama

This market features tons of indie artists doing their thing. Added bonus: You can have a really lunch from one of the tenants here afterward. Find more details at 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Midtown Global Market, 920 E. Lake St., Minneapolis.

7th Annual Nordic Julemarket 

Find yer Nordic goods here, from drinking horns to wool mittens. 4-8 p.m. Friday; noon to 8 p.m. Saturday; noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Find more info at Utepils Brewing, 225 Thomas Ave. N., Minneapolis.

11th Annual Raging Art On 

This all-local mega-show features over 50 artists, including Bekah Worley, Rockin’ Octopus, Black Daze, Emily Forbes, Hello Cross Stitches, Linnea Maas, Malleus Pottery, Melissa Sisk, Pompa Goods, Russ White, Imaginary Conservatory, AND SO MANY MORE. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, Dec. 2-Dec. 23. Gamut Gallery, 717 S. 10th St., Minneapolis; or shop online at

Soo Art Mart 

Shop from a variety of colorful local artists. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Friday; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 30. Soo Visual Arts Center, 2909 Bryant Ave. S., Minneapolis.

Hey, Santa costumes are pretty warm...Santa Cycle Rampage


Santa Cycle Rampage 2022

It’s December, and you know what that means: It’s time to put on a Santa costume and tear around the Twin Cities by bike! The ninth annual MSP Santa Cycle Rampage will kick off from The Loop food hall and, per the results of this year’s poll (democracy in action!), take participating cyclists to Dangerous Man, 56 Brewing, Bauhaus Brew Labs, Minneapolis Cider Company, and Fulton. Throw a little tinsel on your top tube, pop a Santa hat over your helmet, and drink some beer while spreading Christmas cheer. Even if you don’t ride, the bar crowd at any of these locations should make for festive tomfoolery today. Find all the event info here. 10 a.m. Free. 606 N. Washington Ave. #100, Minneapolis. –Em Cassel

2022 FIFA World Cup: USMNT V Netherlands

Sports! 9 a.m. Ninth Street Soccer and Coffee, 801 9th St. SE, Minneapolis.

Santa's Sweet Celebration

Meet with Santa in a candy wonderland. With live reindeer, character meet and greets, holiday craft projects, s'mores, carolers, and a free goodie bag to the first 200 kids. Bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to Toys for Tots if you can. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Woodbury Lakes, 9020 Hudson Rd., Woodbury.

Christmas in Germany

Featuring Lebkuchen cookies baked by the GAI Damenklub, Haus brewed Glühwein (mulled wine), beer and traditional foods, German carols sung by the Minnesänger Chorus and 4Winds quartet, and seasonal goods for sale by various vendors. Events are outdoors and indoors. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sat.-Sun. Germanic-American Institute, 301 Summit Ave., St. Paul.

Free First SaturdayEmmet Kowler for Walker Art Center

Free First Saturday: Material Messengers

Featuring art kits, activities, film screenings, and more. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Walker Art Center, 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis.

Dog Photos with Santa

Featuring free pet photos with Santa (donations collected will benefit Underdog Rescue), plus a small local vendor mart. Noon to 6 p.m. Headflyer Brewing, 861 E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis.

A Christmas Special

Right after the Holidazzle fireworks. Tunes from R&B/soul vocalist Lamont Keten. 7 p.m. Loring Park, 1382 Willow St. S., Minneapolis. 

Confucisaurus, The Johnson Brothers

9 p.m. White Squirrel Bar, 974 W. Seventh St., St. Paul.

Aw yeah, tree fireworks!Union Depot

Tree Lighting and Movie Night

This weekend, the Union Depot is celebrating 10 years since reopening after its major renovation. Since then, the space has been home to a variety of shops, bars, and restaurants, and hosted festivals, weekly yoga sessions, movie nights, and, yes, train rides. Saturday’s daylong celebration kicks off at 3 p.m. in the Waiting Room, where guests will be treated to tons of freebies, including commemorative gifts, hot cider, and live music. At 5 p.m., the Saint Paul Winter Carnival will reveal its 2023 button, followed by kids' activities and a festive concert from The Mistletones. At 7 p.m., head out to the North Plaza for the big tree lighting, which will be followed by what organizers are calling a “short but thrilling fireworks display.” Inside, at 7:30 p.m., the event finishes back in the Waiting Room, which will be screening millennial holiday fav Elf. Added bonus: During all of this the European Christmas Market will be up and running, offering old world shopping, traditional eats, and hot mulled wine for sale. All events are completely free. 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Union Depot, 214 Fourth St. E., St. Paul. –Jessica Armbruster

Ugly Sweater and Ornament Party

In 2018, just ahead of the pandemic, MAAHMG opened in north Minneapolis with a mission of providing essential history and insight into the “achievements, contributions, and experiences” of African American Minnesotans. If you’ve not visited and have kids, this super fun holiday event is the perfect excuse to check it out. Supplies for ornament making will be provided, as will cookies and festive tunes. The ugliest of the ugly sweaters attendees are encouraged to wear means they’re eligible for a grand prize. Free. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Minnesota African American Heritage Museum & Gallery, 1256 Penn Ave. N., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Jay Boller

Druzy Rose, Lyla Abukhodair, AfroGeode & the Gemstones

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.

The Nightmare Before Christmas Holiday Market

Holiday and Farmers’ Markets

The Nightmare Before Christmas Holiday Market

Edie Makes Things and AnnaBOMBB host this shopping event featuring more than 30 “elder emo, alternative adult, and grown goth artists, makers, and bakers.” There will also be live music, complimentary cocktails, and more. Boozy and spooky. Noon to 8 p.m. Dec. 3 and Dec. 10. Artspace Jackson Flats, 901 18 1/2 Ave. NE, Minneapolis.

11 Wells Holiday Market

Shop from 30+ different vendors each week, plus tunes and cocktails. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 3, Dec. 10, and Dec. 17. Find the lineup here. 11 Wells Spirits, 704 Minnehaha Ave. E., St. Paul.

The Winter Markets at Viking Lakes 

The Minnesota Vikings campus gets festive with a holiday market featuring 20 or so vendors each weekend, themed cocktails, live music, and family-friendly fun. Find more deets at 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 18. 730 Vikings Pkwy., Eagan.

Holiday Saturdays at the Northrup King Building 

Featuring open studios, special sales, receptions, and more. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 3 and Dec. 10; noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 17. 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. Dec. 3, Dec. 10, Dec. 17. Lakes & Legends, 1368 Lasalle Ave., Minneapolis.

Olde World Christmas: Christmas Sparkle

With vintage Christmas items, decor, and gifts. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec.1-4. Haupt Antiek Market, 7570 147th St. W. #400, Apple Valley.

The Vintage Village

Featuring an ever-changing lineup of vintage sellers and makers every weekend throughout the holiday season. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through December 18. 50th & France, Edina.

Holiday Saturdays at the Northrup King Building

Featuring open studios, special sales, receptions, and more. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays  through December 10; noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 17. Northrup King Building, 1500 Jackson St. NE, Minneapolis.

Keg & Case Holiday Market

This weekend market boasts 20 local artisans, as well as a tree farm. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays through December 23. Keg & Case, 928 Seventh St. W., St. Paul.

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.


Adoption Event at Lakes and Legends

Meet our adoptable dogs and puppies. 2-4 p.m. Lakes & Legends, 1368 Lasalle Ave., Minneapolis.

Holiday Tree Lighting at Firemen's Park

Featuring a 50-foot holiday tree, bonfires, s’mores, hot cocoa, Santa, and goodie bags. 6-7:30 p.m. Firemen's Park, 3210 Chaska Blvd., Chaska.

Curve, MURF, Upright Forms

8-11 p.m. White Squirrel Bar, 974 W. Seventh St., St. Paul.

Corpse Reviver

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

Old St. Anthony Holiday Bazaar

Shop handmade goods from the gang at Minneapolis Craft Market. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Machine Shop, 300 Second St. SE, Minneapolis.

How Bazaar: Holiday Market

Enjoy coffee, baked goods, or a beer while doing your holiday shopping from 18+ local makers and businesses. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastlake Craft Brewery, 920 East Lake St. (Midtown Global Market), Minneapolis.

Bold & Brazen Bazaar

Shop natural Christmas trees from Tree Ranch in the back alley (Sat.-Sun.), photos with Santa, and a hotel lobby shop with MN makers and vintage curators. 2-6 p.m. Hewing Hotel, 300 N. Washington Ave., Minneapolis.

Holiday Pop-Up at Fair State 

This Sunday series features two unique makers each weekend. December 4 is illo week with Bench Pressed (hand-drawn, hand-printed letterpress cards) and illustrated prints cards, stickers and pins from Alexis Politz. Noon to 3 p.m. Fair State Brewing Cooperative, 2506 A Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis.

Winter Gift Market at Saint Paul Brewing 

Every Sunday now ‘til Christmas features a different group of 5-6 local vendors. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. through December 18. Saint Paul Brewing, 688 Minnehaha Ave. E., St. Paul.

Wild Grind Craft & Brew Holiday Market

11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wild Grind, 6031 Pillsbury Ave., Minneapolis.

Maker’s Market

Shop from Rae and Jane Boutique, Sparkle to the Max, Paula’s Mittens, Bare Honey, Lake Harriet Cookie Co., Hello Cross Stitches, Hop Headed Brewelry, Simply Waggin’, and more. Noon to 6 p.m. Urban Growler, 2325 Endicott St., St. Paul.

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