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Freeloader Friday: 82 Free Things To Do This Weekend and Next

Welcome to the last Freeloader Friday of 2023.

7:15 AM CST on December 22, 2023

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.

Holiday LIghts on York

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 22

Holiday Lights on York Avenue

Don’t waste your time seeking out neighborhood Christmas decorations. Save gas and head over to a sure thing: Holiday Lights on York Avenue. Here you’ll find a choir of holiday cheer on a festive family’s lawn, with glowing Snoopys, Santas, angels, elves, and a countdown to Christmas. It’s not just one neighbor here, though. From the looks of images posted online, most of the street gets into celebrating the holidays with feats of electrical magic. In all, you’ll be treated to 90,000 lights, twinkling in time to the holiday tunes blasting from 91.5 FM. Best of all, this drive-by-and-gawk experience is free; but be sure to bring a few canned goods to donate to the Merrick Food Shelf. Find more info online. 5-10 p.m. daily. Schultz Family Residence, 1526 York Ave., St. Paul. Through December 31—Jessica Armbruster

12 Days of Whiskey

The countdown to New Years starts now at O'Shaughnessy, with 12 Days of Whiskey leading up to their annual NYE bash. The distillery and Second Harvest Heartland are asking you to bring a food donation from now through December 31, and, in exchange, you’ll get a complimentary Keeper's Heart Whiskey punch. But there’s additional seasonal fun to be had each day: On December 17 it’s Sip 'N Bloom holiday flower arranging, on December 20 there’s an ugly sweater contest, and on December 26 it’s Elf trivia, with lots of fun on the days in between. They’re also giving you discounts on merch like coffee and barware. Free, though some events (like the flower arranging) have fees. O'Shaughnessy Distilling Co., 600 SE Malcolm Ave., Minneapolis; more info here. Through December 31—Em Cassel

Machinery Hill, Chris Holm

6-9:15 p.m. Sociable Cider Werks, 1500 Fillmore St. NE, Minneapolis.

Open Mic Night

Family-friendly music, comedy, spoken word, and more. 6-8 p.m. Midtown Global Market, 920 E. Lake St., Minneapolis.

Marv Gohman & Kaatwalk

7-10 p.m. Steele & Hops, 2800 39th Ave. NE, St. Anthony. 

Muscle Fork

Muscle Fork, Al Rio Trio, Al Rio Trio+

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

The Johnny Sincerely Orchestra

With The Old Smugglers. 8 p.m. White Squirrel Bar, 974 W. Seventh St., St. Paul.

Festival of Trees

A free walk-through winter wonderland. Mall of America, North Atrium, Level 3. Through January 3

Friday Night Open Mic

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

Last minute shopping is still onGamut Gallery

Holiday Markets

Raging Art On 

Shop all kinds of rockin’ items from local artists. Free. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wed.-Sat. through Jan. 6. Gamut Gallery, 717 S. 10th St., Minneapolis.

A Procrastinator’s Sip + Shop

Featuring pottery from members of Forma, a community clayroom, as well as apothecary goods, screenprints, photography, and more. 4-9 p.m. Brasa, 812 W. 46th St., Minneapolis.

Holiday Happy Hours

Featuring extended hours, drinks and food, and a pop-up clothing/jewelry/housewares vendor The Vintage Bowl. 4-8 p.m. Fridays through Dec. 29. Everyday Ejiji, 4501 34th Ave. S., Minneapolis.

The Santa Experience

Meet Santa and shop his merch, because everyone has merch these days. Through Dec. 24. Mall of America, Level 1, South.

Winter Skolstice at Viking Lakes

Featuring vendors, holiday-themed cocktails, food trucks, free live music, outdoor activities for kids, and more. While some events have cover charges, many happenings are free admission. 4-9 p.m. Mon.-Wed.; 4-10 p.m. Thu.-Sat.; 3-10 p.m. Sun. through Feb. 24. Viking Lakes, 730 Vikings Pkwy., Eagan; find a complete schedule at explorevikinglakes.com.

Dayton's Holiday Market 

Shop from nearly 80 local brands and makers. Free. Daily through Dec. 30. The Dayton’s Project, 700 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis. Through December 30

Holidays on Nicollet

Minneapolis Craft Market hosts this locally-made retail popup experience, plus window displays, entertainment, and more through the holidays. 10 a.m. to 6p.m. Tue.-Sat. through Dec. 30. IDS Center, 747 Nicollet Mall (former Hubert White Menswear store), Minneapolis. 

The Artful Present 

This holiday pop-up features 27 artists. Store hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fri.; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sat. through the holidays. Veronique Wantz Gallery, 901 N. Fifth St., Minneapolis.

Savage Mood

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 23

Savage Moods, Pure Shifter

10 p.m. to 1 a.m. 331 Club, 331 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis.

The Driftless Revelers

With Wyatt Thomson. 1-4 p.m. White Squirrel Bar, 974 W. Seventh St., St. Paul.

Sinead O’Connor Tribute Night

With The Torn Popes, Áit Ait, Jeffery Robert Larson. 8 p.m. White Squirrel Bar, 974 W. Seventh St., St. Paul.

Festivus
A Festivus for the rest of us! Fair State’s Festivus celebration features feats of strength and the airing of grievances—you can sign up here to participate before the 23rd to score a free beer. They’ll also have a Festivus pole and the opportunity to snap pole-aroids with it. Don’t worry: There will be no tinsel. 7-10 p.m. Fair State Brewing Cooperative, 2506 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis.—Em Cassel

Beer Brûlée'd

Toasted marshmallows are delicious. But what if you could do the same thing—hear me out!—with beer? You can find out what happens this weekend at Beer Brûlée. Beer poking, or, as the Germans affectionately call it, bier stacheln, is a 400-something-years-old tradition of taking a pint of (preferably dark and malty) brew and introducing it to the business end of a fireplace poker. The searing heat caramelizes the sugars, turning the beverage into a warm, even maltier drink with a softer, fluffy texture. You might love it or it might not be your thing, but for beer adventurists it’s something that should be tried at least once. Free. 4:30-6:30 p.m. Indeed Brewing Co., 711 15th Ave. NE, Minneapolis.—Jessica Armbruster

Ugly Sweater Party

Score 50% off your first beer or glass of wine if you come to the party in something butt-ugly. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. OMNI Brewing Co., 9462 Deerwood Ln., Maple Grove.

Food Drive and Triple Berry Release

Bring a nonperishable food shelf item and score $1 off your first beer, including the new German-style gose, Triple Berry. Noon. Bent Brewstillery, 1744 Terrace Dr., Roseville. 

Holiday Party 

Featuring ugly sweaters and a meat raffle. Bring a non-perishable item to donate. Noon to 10 p.m. Luce Line Brewing, 12901 16th Ave. N., Plymouth.

Elf Trivia

With Trivia Mafia. 4-6 p.m. Forgotten Star Brewing, 38 Northern Stacks Dr., Fridley. 

Uncanny X-Mas: Queer Outlaw Psychic Dance Party

With music by DJ Darling Nicque, discount psychic readings all night. Party starts at 6 p.m., music starts at 9 p.m. 21+. 3rd Eye Psychic Salon, 910 W. Lake St., Minneapolis. 

Lit Trash at Wild Vintage Market

Holiday and Farmers Markets

Last Merry Minute Wild Vintage Market

Featuring local vendors, in-house deals, and more for last-second shoppers. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Clapping Monkey House of Coffee, 7270 Commerce Cir. E., Fridley.

Final Countdown Holiday Market

Larissa Loden Jewelry hosts this pop-up market of designer and vintage threads, THC and CBD items, pottery, and more. Oh, and there will be friendly llamas from 1-3 p.m. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Larissa Loden, 2032 Marshall Ave., St. Paul.

Holiday Weekend Markets

A rotating group of makers and businesses will show up each weekend, and the Happy Land Tree Lot is open daily. Noon to 8 p.m. Sat.-Sun. through Dec. 23. Keg and Case Market, 928 Seventh St. W., St. Paul.

Holiday Saturdays

Yee-haw! Shop from hundreds of artists at this weekly holiday happening. Noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 23. Northrup King Building, 1500 Jackson St. NE, Minneapolis.

Four Seasons Nordic Village

Four Seasons Nordic Village Market

Eight cabins host a weekend holiday market by MartinPatrick3, with a different variety of makers each weekend. Noon to 4 p.m. Sat.-Sun. through January (except Christmas and NYE). Four Seasons Minneapolis, 245 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis.

Minneapolis Farmers Market

Possibly the city’s largest and most popular market, with hundreds of vendors weekly. 9 a.m. to noon Sat.-Sun. through Dec. 30, plus Jan. 6 and 20, Feb. 3 and 17, March 2 and 16, and Apr. 6, 13, 20, 27, and 28. 312 E. Lyndale Ave. N., Minneapolis; mplsfarmersmarket.com.

Lowertown Winter Farmers Markets

Lowertown’s pride and one of the state’s largest markets. 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. 290 5th St. E., St. Paul; stpaulfarmersmarket.com.

Mill City Farmers Market’s Winter Market

Long running market in the shadow of Mill Ruins Park, featuring local, sustainable, and organic groceries and produce, as well as handmade gifts and goods. For the season, the market is moves inside Mill City Museum (museum admission is not required). Winter Markets are held on the first and third Saturdays of each month, November through April. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 750 Second St. S., Minneapolis; millcityfarmersmarket.org.

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 24

Vikings vs. Lions Watch Party

Noon. Forgotten Star Brewing, 38 Northern Stacks Dr., Fridley. 

Varsity Gaymes

Weekly event features spots on TVs, beer pong, and other bar games. 2 p.m. LUSH Lounge & Theater, 990 NE Central Ave., Minneapolis. 

And here’s a baby Freeloader Friday through next week.

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 29 

Witness (album release), Robot Slide, Lauren Piper

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

Joe Hysell & The Traveling Mercenaries

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

Holiday Lights on York Avenue

Don’t waste your time seeking out neighborhood Christmas decorations. Save gas and head over to a sure thing: Holiday Lights on York Avenue. Here you’ll find a choir of holiday cheer on a festive family’s lawn, with glowing Snoopys, Santas, angels, elves, and a countdown to Christmas. It’s not just one neighbor here, though. From the looks of images posted online, most of the street gets into celebrating the holidays with feats of electrical magic. In all, you’ll be treated to 90,000 lights, twinkling in time to the holiday tunes blasting from 91.5 FM. Best of all, this drive-by-and-gawk experience is free; but be sure to bring a few canned goods to donate to the Merrick Food Shelf. Find more info online. 5-10 p.m. daily. Schultz Family Residence, 1526 York Ave., St. Paul. Through December 31—Jessica Armbruster

12 Days of Whiskey

The countdown to New Years starts now at O'Shaughnessy, with 12 Days of Whiskey leading up to their annual NYE bash. The distillery and Second Harvest Heartland are asking you to bring a food donation from now through December 31, and, in exchange, you’ll get a complimentary Keeper's Heart Whiskey punch. But there’s additional seasonal fun to be had each day: On December 17 it’s Sip 'N Bloom holiday flower arranging, on December 20 there’s an ugly sweater contest, and on December 26 it’s Elf trivia, with lots of fun on the days in between. They’re also giving you discounts on merch like coffee and barware. Free, though some events (like the flower arranging) have fees. O'Shaughnessy Distilling Co., 600 SE Malcolm Ave., Minneapolis; more info here. Through December 31—Em Cassel

Festival of Trees

A free walk-through winter wonderland. Mall of America, North Atrium, Level 3. Through January 3

Friday Night Open Mic

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

Daytons Holiday Market

Holiday Markets and Farmers Markets

Raging Art On 

Shop all kinds of rockin’ items from local artists. Free. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wed.-Sat. through Jan. 6. Gamut Gallery, 717 S. 10th St., Minneapolis.

Winter Skolstice at Viking Lakes

Featuring vendors, holiday-themed cocktails, food trucks, free live music, outdoor activities for kids, and more. While some events have cover charges, many happenings are free admission. 4-9 p.m. Mon.-Wed.; 4-10 p.m. Thu.-Sat.; 3-10 p.m. Sun. through Feb. 24. Viking Lakes, 730 Vikings Pkwy., Eagan; find a complete schedule at explorevikinglakes.com.

Dayton's Holiday Market 

Shop from nearly 80 local brands and makers. Free. Daily through Dec. 30. The Dayton’s Project, 700 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis. Through December 30

Holidays on Nicollet

Minneapolis Craft Market hosts this locally-made retail popup experience, plus window displays, entertainment, and more through the holidays. 10 a.m. to 6p.m. Tue.-Sat. through Dec. 30. IDS Center, 747 Nicollet Mall (former Hubert White Menswear store), Minneapolis. 

Speed Riders

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 30

Speed Riders, MüLLET, Wish Wash

10 p.m. to 1 a.m. 331 Club, 331 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis.

Lucinda Williams Tribute Matinee

With Carolyn Young and West Seventh Band. 1-4 p.m. White Squirrel Bar, 974 W. Seventh St., St. Paul.

Saturday is Instrumental

With Big Trouble. 6-8 p.m. White Squirrel Bar, 974 W. Seventh St., St. Paul.

Chris Parrish’s Birthday Bash

9-11:30 p.m. White Squirrel Bar, 974 W. Seventh St., St. Paul.

Holiday and Farmers Markets

Four Seasons Nordic Village Market

Eight cabins host a weekend holiday market by MartinPatrick3, with a different variety of makers each weekend. Noon to 4 p.m. Sat.-Sun. through January (except Christmas and NYE). Four Seasons Minneapolis, 245 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis.

Minneapolis Farmers Market

Possibly the city’s largest and most popular market, with hundreds of vendors weekly. 9 a.m. to noon Sat.-Sun. through Dec. 30, plus Jan. 6 and 20, Feb. 3 and 17, March 2 and 16, and Apr. 6, 13, 20, 27, and 28. 312 E. Lyndale Ave. N., Minneapolis; mplsfarmersmarket.com.

Lowertown Winter Farmers Markets

Lowertown’s pride and one of the state’s largest markets. 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. 290 5th St. E., St. Paul; stpaulfarmersmarket.com.

Mill City Farmers Market’s Winter Market

Long running market in the shadow of Mill Ruins Park, featuring local, sustainable, and organic groceries and produce, as well as handmade gifts and goods. For the season, the market is moves inside Mill City Museum (museum admission is not required). Winter Markets are held on the first and third Saturdays of each month, November through April. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 750 Second St. S., Minneapolis; millcityfarmersmarket.org.

All the Pretty Horses

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 31

All The Pretty Horses
DJ sets by Vinyl Venus Space Lounge. 10 p.m. 331 Club, 331 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis.

New Year’s Eve at Brit’s

Featuring Beatles tribute band A Hard Day’s Night (8:30 p.m.), local piper James Sherman (6 p.m.), and a complimentary glass of bubbly. In the 3rd floor Clubhouse Lounge. Brit’s Pub, 1110 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis.

New Year’s Eve

With Back Pocket Vintage, BINGO, 120 Minutes. 1-11:30 p.m. White Squirrel Bar, 974 W. Seventh St., St. Paul.

Joe Savage
3 p.m. 331 Club, 331 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis.

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