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Freeloader Friday: 91 Free Things To Do This Weekend

A big beard contest, free movies, tree lighting at Union Depot, and tons of holiday happenings.

Union Depot|

Aw yeah, tree fireworks!

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

Beards!Build a Beard Competition


Build a Beard Competition

Month-long facial hair party Movember may be over, but this December 1 the Minnesota Beard & Moustache Coalition is still celebrating the cool stuff dudes can do with their faces. Expect a beauty pageant of sorts, with categories including mustaches, shorter beards (6 inches or less), long bears (6+ inches), creative face hair, and masc folks in the brewing industry with face hair (isn’t that a prerequisite?). Prizes for best hair growin’ ranges from beer, to beer, to beer. It’s free to watch, but folks who want to compete will want to sign up here for $10. 6-9 p.m. Dual Citizen Brewing Company, 725 Raymond Ave., St. Paul. —Jessica Armbruster

The Nitty Gritty

Vinyl tunes from DJ Brian Engel and Blue Funk. 10 p.m. Dusty's Bar,  1319 Marshall St. NE, Minneapolis.

Samuel John 

Covers and original country and rock.  7 p.m. Padraigs Brewing, 945 Broadway NE, Minneapolis.

The Matt Arthur Contraption

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

Alina Maira, Oftener, Kate Malanaphy 

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

Navidad Bash

Christmas is a stressful time of year, so be sure to take breaks between the chaos. One such opportunity to do so will be this weekend at La Doña, and this celebration has got a little bit of everything going for it. Got an ugly sweater? Throw that bad boy on for a chance to win prizes in the ugly sweater contest. Got a sweet tooth? Try a few beer and Christmas cookie pairings on the menu, or go for the special Navidad beer cocktail available today. Need to shop? They got you covered, too, with a vendors’ market featuring artisan and handmade gifts from staff. Other fun to be had includes family photos with Santa, face painting, and plenty of beer on tap. Free. 3-9 p.m. La Doña Cervecería, 241 Fremont Ave. N., Minneapolis.—Jessica Armbruster

Friday Night Open Mic

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

A few examples of previous years sales.Raging Art On

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.

Holiday Party Dress Pop-up + Happy Hour

Shop vintage holiday dresses all weekend, plus Friday’s happy hour features bubbly, guests vendors, and more. 4-7 p.m. Olio Vintage, 21 Fifth St. NE, Minneapolis.

Annual Nordic Julemarket 

Shop from over 25 Nordic and Nordic inspired makers. 4-8 p.m. Fri.; noon to 8 p.m. Sat.; noon to 6 p.m. Sun. Utepils Brewing Co, 225 Thomas Ave. N., Minneapolis.

Holiday Pop-up Series

Shop unique makers each weekend. Find the schedule of guests here. 5-8 p.m. Fri.; 1-5 p.m. Sat. through Dec. 16. Fair State Brewing, 2506 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis.

Deck the Walls at 2010 Artblok 

Open studio holiday shopping, with free cider and coffee, building tours, art demonstrations, and more. 5-9 p.m. Fri.; noon to 8 p.m. Sat.; noon to 5 p.m. Sun. Artblok, 2010 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis.

Olde World Christmas: Shiny and Bright 

With vintage Christmas items, decor, and gifts. Free. Find more info at 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fri.; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sat.; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sun. Haupt Antiek Market, 7570 147th St. W. #400, Apple Valley.

No Coast Craft-o-Rama

One of the O.G. makers’ market, this two-day fest returns to Midtown with over 60 vendors sharing their wares. Find more details here. Free. 4-8 p.m. Fri.; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sat. Midtown Global Market, 920 E. Lake St., Minneapolis.

Do the Dow 

Featuring work by 50+ artists in the studios and the gallery, plus activities for all ages, tarot card readings, and music. Free. 5-9 p.m. Fri.; noon to 8 p.m. Sat. The Dow Arts Building, 2242 University Ave. W., St. Paul.

European Christmas Market

This huge holiday market event features local makers and crafters selling traditional gifts; entertainment including live music, and dance; visits from Krampus, sled dogs, Santa, and reindeer; tons of food; traditional hot beverages; beer and gluhwein; Santa’s post office; an extended holiday market called Santa’s Village; and more. Bonus: Score a free Metro Transit ride to the event at 4-9 p.m. Fri.; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sat.; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sun (11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 8). Union Depot, 214 Fourth St. E., St. Paul. Nov. 24-Dec. 17.

Daytons Holiday Market

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.

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. 

NSCA Holiday Gift Market 

Featuring over 80 local makers. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thu.-Sun. through Dec. 17. North Suburban Center for the Arts, 110 77th Way NE, Fridley.

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


Santa Cycle Rampage

The concept is simple: Deck your bike out in holiday decorations, throw on your best Santa gear, and get sloshed during this 10th annual bike bar crawl intended to spread Christmas cheer. The eight-hour ride kicks off bright ‘n’ early at North Loop’s The Loop before heading to Surly, Sociable Cider Werks, 56 Brewery, Broken Clock, and, finally, Fulton. Organizers have added a toy drive for ‘23, and encourage participants to remember: “Don't forget to bring your lights and embrace a festive Xmas Cheer Attitude.” (Capitalizations theirs.) Temps are projected to push 40 with plenty of sunshine, making this seasonal salute to Santa, alcohol, and bike culture especially tempting. Free. 10 a.m. 606 N. Washington Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Jay Boller 

Punk Rock Christmas Concert

Featuring Landfillharmonik, The Staboteurs, Zombabies, + PUNX. 7-10 p.m. 56 Brewing, 3055 NE Columbia Ave., Suite 102, Minneapolis.

The Symptones, The Get Together, Wish Wash

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

Union Depot Tree Lighting and Movie Night

Featuring the St. Paul Winter Carnival 2024 Button reveal, a holiday performance by The Mistletones, fireworks, sing-a-long, craft stations, fun for kids, free hot cocoa, and a screening of Elf at 7:30 p.m. 5 p.m. Union Depot, 214 Fourth St. E., St. Paul.

Juliet and The Monagues, Emmy Woods & The Red Pine Ramblers

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

Papa Bleu

7 p.m. Inbound BrewCo., 701 N. 5th St., Minneapolis.

Alanna Stapelton, 'Too Big (To Fit In)'

Open Door XVIII 

The annual group show returns with an artists’ reception from 7-10 p.m. Rosalux Gallery, 315 W. 48th St., Minneapolis. 

Winter Salon

Featuring new works by 21 artists. 2-5 p.m. Groveland Gallery, 25 Groveland Terrace, Minneapolis.

EAR CANDY: VOL. 4: A Live Electronic Music Series

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

Goodbye Mordecai

With Flowerstalks, Unattractive Giant Monster. 9 p.m. White Squirrel Bar, 974 W. Seventh St., St. Paul.

This: But with less snow.Fat Bike Ride Day

Global Fat Bike Day: Adventure Coffee

After a November that nearly set records for its lack of snow, Global Fat Bike Day might not look quite like it does during snowier years. But don’t let the dry paths keep you down—might as well get that bike out and ready for the season anyway! On Saturday morning, hit the trails along the Mendota side of the Minnesota River. At some point before, during, or after your ride, you’ll find Minneapolis Bike Parks, Angry Catfish, and Bone Saw Cycling Collective hosting a fire with donuts, hot chocolate, and Northern Coffeeworks coffee on the banks of the river. (“We will be posted up at the old overturned car between the Sibley House and the 494 bridge, you won't miss us.”) Whether you kick off your ride with a donut and coffee or celebrate the end of it with a mug of hot cocoa, it’s another reason to get out there and enjoy the cold weather on your big bike! Free. 10 a.m. to noon. Find more info and RSVP here.—Em Cassel

Christmas in Germany 

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

Totally Rad Vintage

Holiday and Farmers Markets

Vintage Wonderland 

Shop ‘80s, ‘90s, and Y2K clothing, home goods, records, toys, memorabilia, and more from local vendors, all organized by Totally Rad Vintage Fest. Free. 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sat.; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sun. Mall of America, Huntington Bank Rotunda. 

Summit Avenue Artisan Festival

Featuring 40+ local artists and artisans, kids activities, carolers, foods, and more. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. St. Paul's United Church of Christ on Summit, 900 Summit Ave., St. Paul. 

11 Wells Holiday Market 

Shop from 40+ different vendors each week, plus tunes and cocktails. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 2, Dec. 9, and Dec. 16. Find the lineup here. 11 Wells Spirits, 704 Minnehaha Ave. E., St. Paul.

Marché de Noël

Shop from 16 vendors who will be donating 10% of sales to Alliance Française. 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Alliance Française, 227 Colfax Ave. N., Minneapolis.

Holiday Makers’ Market

Two weekends of gift shopping. Noon to 6 p.m. Dec. 2 and Dec. 9. Broken Clock Brewing Co., 1712 Marshall St. NE #100, Minneapolis.

Bizarre Bazaar: Winter Edition

Shop from 20+ different artists each day. Noon to 6 p.m. The Ivy Arts Building, 2714 E. 27th St., Minneapolis.

56MAS + Punk Rock Christmas 

Featuring special beer releases, live jazz runes while you shop, artisans and other local markers, and a fire pit with s'mores, followed by a punk rock show at 7 p.m. with Landfillharmonik, The Staboteurs, and Zombabies. 1 to 5 p.m. 56 Brewing, 3055 NE Columbia Ave., Suite 102, Minneapolis.

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.

TC Record Show

Twin Cities Record Show Holiday Pop-up 

Shop 45s, CDs, memorabilia, and more. Free. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sat. Midtown Global Market, 920 E. Lake St., Minneapolis.

Market Collective MN Makers Market
Shop from BIPOC and queer vendors and allies. 1-5 p.m. Insight Brewing, 2821 E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis.

Holiday Saturdays

Yee-haw! Shop from hundreds of artists at this weekly holiday happening. Noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 23, as well as extended hours starting at 10 a.m. Dec. 2 and Dec. 9. Northrup King Building, 1500 Jackson St. NE, Minneapolis.

The Artful Present 

This holiday pop-up features 27 artists. The opening party features bubbly and live jazz from 5-7 p.m. Otherwise, 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.

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.

A Handmade Holiday Market

Minneapolis Craft Market hosts local artists and makers. Noon to 5 p.m. Sat. through Dec. 10. Lakes & Legends, 1368 LaSalle Ave., 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

Field and Festival Holiday Market

Another Minneapolis Craft Market jam, with local farmers, foodies, and artists. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sat.-Sun. through Dec. 17. Wagners Garden Center, 6024 Penn Ave. S., 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;

Lowertown Farmers Markets

Lowertown’s pride and one of the state’s largest markets. 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays; 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays. Through Nov. 19. 290 5th St. E., St. Paul;

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;

Corpse Reviver


Corpse Reviver

3-5 p.m. 331 Club, 331 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis.

Brass Messengers

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

Standup Sundays

Hosted by Grant Winkels and Courtney Baka. 7:30 p.m. Fair State Brewing Cooperative, 2506 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis. 

The Warmup Beer Garden

Vikings pregame features draft beer from Indeed Brewing, food from Giulia, live music with appearances from DJ Mad Mardigan, a Bloody Mary bar, lawn games, and more. 9 a.m. to noon. Hotel Emery, 215 Fourth St. S., Minneapolis.

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. 

Mpls Vintage MarketDarin Kamnetz

Holiday and Farmers Market

Mpls Vintage Market

Shop two floors of vendors. With coffee and DJ tunes. 11 a.m. to  4 p.m. Machine Shop,

300 Second St. SE, Minneapolis.

Boom Island Brewing Makers Market

Featuring 12 artisans and beer. Noon to 4 p.m. Boom Island Brewing Company 5959 Baker Road #320, Minnetonka, MN 55345

Holiday Makers’ Market

Shop 20+ different vendors and makers. Noon to 6 p.m. Urban Growler, 2325 Endicott St., St. Paul.

Twin Cities Record Show Holiday Sale

Shop vinyl, CDs, gig posters, and more. Noon to 4 p.m. OMNI Brewing Co., 9462 Deerwood Ln., Maple Grove.

Northeast Farmers’ Market’s Winter Market

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Quincy Hall, 1325 Quincy St. NE, Minneapolis.

The Midway Holiday Emporium 

This maker’s market and vendor fair features 20 creatives working in mediums including ‘zines, candles, buttons, print art, jewelry, cocktail mixers, and more. Free. Noon to 5 p.m. Dual Citizen Brewing Co., 725 Raymond Ave., St. Paul.

Xchange: A Sustainable Holiday Shop and Swap Experience 

With locally made goods and vintage in the ballroom, sweets and other treats in another room, and a group swap of gently used items, with embroiderers on hand to personalize items. There will also be DJ tunes, a tree lot in the alley, and holiday drinks for sale. For the swap, people will get a “swap” ticket for every item (worth $20 or more). Check online for more details and swap drop-off times. Free. 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.  Hewing Hotel, 300 N. Washington Ave., Minneapolis.

Market Collective MN Makers Market
Shop from BIPOC and queer vendors and allies. 1-5 p.m. BlackStack Brewing, 755 Pryor Ave. N., St. Paul.

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