Ugly sweater parties, holiday pop-up bars, dark beer parties: 35 free things to do this weekend

Lawless Distilling

Lawless Distilling

Enjoy these free weekend happenings.

Dark beer at Day Block

Dark beer at Day Block Image courtesy event organizers


Night Block: Winter Solstice Celebration
Winter Solstice is ushered in with darkness—not just as the longest night of the year, but also with brewpubs using it as an excuse to celebrate dark beers. Day Block in downtown Minneapolis will start their festivities early and drink into the dark night. Go with the candy cane porter, a beer that’s definitely in the holiday spirit, or try one of the more decadent-sounding brews, such as the imperial milk stout, the mocha stout, or the raspberry stout. Six new pints in total will keep you warm and fuzzy through the cold, dark evening. 11-12 a.m. Dec. 21; Free. Day Block Brewing Co., 1105 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-617-7793. –Jessica Armbruster

Smack Shack North Loop
Score a free drink when you wear an ugly Christmas sweater to the bar. 3 to 6 p.m. 603 Washington Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612-259-7288.

El Le Faunt
With Paul Fonfara and Spider Hospital. 9 p.m. 331 Club, 331 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis; 612-331-1746.

Stress of her Regard
With Wastrels and Dirty Frames. 9 p.m. Hexagon Bar, 2600 27th Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-722-3454.

Ugly Sweater Party
Featuring the release of Bald Man's Killer Queen Imperial IPA, live music from Wreckless, a dance floor, and an ugly sweater contest. 21+. 5-11 p.m. Bald Man Brewing Company, 2020 Silver Bell Rd., Eagan; 651-600-3164.

Miracle at Lawless
A Christmas-themed pop-up cocktail bar that serves holiday cocktails in a festive setting. 4 to 10 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Miracle at Lawless Distilling, 2619 28th Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-276-1000.


Holidazzle Dusty Hoskovec Photography

Holidazzle 2018
Despite its many transformations over the years, Holidazzle continues to thrive. Once a nightly parade, these days Holidazzle is a yuletide village that celebrates Minnesota’s unique character. Hosted by Loring Park, the festival boasts an array of diversions for all ages, including complimentary ice skating, outdoor movie screenings, live music, and fireworks. Santa Claus will be making the rounds, and there will be a special kids’ zone stocked with slides, mazes, and a climbing wall. Adults will find their own form of refuge in the Fulton beer garden, where the Minneapolis brewery is tapping the Holidazzle exclusive Proper Porter. Those hankering for further sustenance will find a wide assortment of local vendors serving up a smorgasbord of food and drink. At the holiday market shoppers can peruse handcrafted gifts, jewelry, apparel, and more. As for those seeking a reminder of Holidazzle’s classic light shows, Christopher Lutter-Gardella’s Wolf and Moose, an interactive twinkling art installation (made from 90% recycled materials), will return. For the daily lineup and more info, visit 5-10 p.m. Fri.; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sat.; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sun. Free. Loring Park, 1382 Willow St., Minneapolis. --Brad Richason

Can Can Wonderland Karaoke
Hosted by Silly Miss Tilly. All ages. 5:30-8:30 p.m. Every Fri. Free. Can Can Wonderland, 755 Prior Ave. N., Ste. 4, St. Paul; 651-925-2261.

Holiday Flower Show
Annual show which began in 1925, this year featuring a Victorian theme with all red poinsettias, purple salvia, lavender, and scented geraniums. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Daily from Nov. 30-Jan. 6; Free. Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park, 1225 Estabrook Drive, St. Paul; 651-487-8200.

Bring the Sing on the Winter Solstice
Community event featuring choir featuring professionals and novices singing carols and holiday songs, led by PaviElle and Jerry Rubino. More info at 5 p.m. Dec. 21; Free. Como Lakeside Pavilion, 1360 N. Lexington Parkway, St. Paul; 651-488-4920.



SooVAC Artists' Holiday Shop
Find gifts made by local artists through the holidays. 11 a.m. each day. Soo Visual Arts Center, 2909 Bryant Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-871-2263.

2018 Holiday Gallery Shop
Featuring arts and crafts from over 100 local and global artists, holiday gift ideas, demonstrations, hands-on activities, and work by featured artist Elsa Jo Ellison. Daily from Nov. 1-Dec. 24; Free. Textile Center, 3000 University Ave., Minneapolis; 612-436-0464.

Raging Art On 2018
Raging Art On is back this week at Gamut Gallery with an ongoing sale sure to please artsy types. The gallery will be packed with the work of 50 or so artists. Pieces will be hung floor to ceiling, with booths selling jewelry, pottery, and other items. 1-7 p.m. Every Thu., Fri., and Sat. from Dec. 6-22; Free. Gamut Gallery, 717 S. 10th St., Minneapolis; 612-367-4327.

Images courtesy the City of St. Paul

Images courtesy the City of St. Paul

Wells Fargo Winter Skate
Once again, the Landmark Plaza and Rice Park in downtown St. Paul will become a winter wonderland for the season. As the temperature drops, the rink will grow more busy, with open skate sessions, broomball and hockey leagues, and free lessons taking over the space throughout the coming months. Things kick off this Saturday, November 17, with a party open to all from 3:30 to 7 p.m. Festivities include live holiday music, free hot cocoa, DJ sets from KS95, a performance from pro figure skaters, and a giant Christmas-tree lighting ceremony capped with fireworks in Hamm Plaza. For weather updates and schedules, visit Skate rentals are $4, or score a free rental when you flash a Wells Fargo debit or credit card. The rink is open Christmas Eve from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., closed Christmas Day, open on New Year's Eve 11 a.m. to 4:50 p.m., and closed New Year's Day. Daily from Nov. 17-Feb. 3; Free. Landmark Plaza, 379 St. Peter, St. Paul, Minnesota; 651-266-6400. --Jessica Armbruster

Retro Game Show Night
Play classic game shows hosted by local comedy celebrities. 9-11 p.m. Fri. Free. Can Can Wonderland, 755 Prior Ave. N., Ste. 4, St. Paul; 651-925-2261.

Shot Put Santa
Benefit for the Tofteland Family and the ALS Association, featuring multiple stations for kids of all ages to experience track and field events, with Minnesota track athletes and coaches instructing them. In Hamline's Walker Fieldhouse. Registration and more info at 6-9 p.m. Dec. 21; Free. Hamline University, 1536 Hewitt Ave., St. Paul; 651-523-2800.

Tappy Hour
Group tap dance lessons. 4-6 p.m. Fri. Free. Can Can Wonderland, 755 Prior Ave. N., Ste. 4, St. Paul; 651-925-2261.

The Comedy Corner Open Mic Night
10 p.m. Every Fri. Free. The Corner Bar, 1501 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-339-4333.

8:30 p.m. Dec. 21; Free. Schooner Tavern, 2901 27th Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-729-4365.

Duke Albert

Duke Albert


Yule Wanna Be Here!
Featuring last minute holiday gifts, jewelry, apothecary, candles, and funky goods, plus Italian vintage from Moth Oddities. Noon to 5 p.m. Duke Albert, 2516 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis.

Ugly Sweater Party
Featuring an ugly sweater contest, beer, holiday music, fun activities, and a bonfire on the patio. 7 to 11 p.m. Bull's Horn Food and Drink, 4563 34th Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-208-1378.

UG Holiday Sweater Party
With seasonal brews, and $1 off your first pint if you're wearing an ugly sweater. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Urban Growler Brewing Company, 2325 Endicott St., St. Paul; 651-340-5793.

Riley Rose Grand Opening
Featuring a free pair of lashes from House of Lashes (while they last), a free tote bag filled with beauty samples when you spend $60, cotton candy, raffles, and more. Saturday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mall of America, 60 E. Broadway, Bloomington; 952-883-8800.

Said Kelley
With Rachel Kurtz and Carl Franzen. 9 p.m. 331 Club, 331 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis; 612-331-1746.

Extraterrestrials, the Age of Being Good Together, Hidden Beach, Bloodshot
9 p.m. Hexagon Bar, 2600 27th Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-722-3454.

Handmade Holiday Market
At the Handmade Holiday Market, revelers can shop local while listening to live music and imbibing Belgian-style beers. 12 p.m. Every Sat. from Dec. 1-23. Free. Lakes & Legends Brewing Company, 1368 LaSalle Ave., Minneapolis; 612-999-6020.

Last Call at the FOOD Building

Last Call at the FOOD Building L-R: ROMI Apothecary, Kinoko Kids, Everthine Jewelry

Last Call: A Holiday Market
It’s the Saturday before Christmas and you’re freaking out. But don’t worry; you don’t have to resort to shopping at a gas station yet. The FOOD Building is hosting a market for all you procrastinators, so there’s still some time to find a thoughtful gift for everyone on your list. Local vendors will offer wares including jewelry (Everthine), home decor items (Pink Linen), children’s toys (Kinoko Kids), self care products (ROMI Apothecary), and stocking stuffers for foodies (Serious Jam). Gift yourself with Fulton brew and eats from Lowry Hill Meats. Be sure to stop by the free gift-wrap station. 3-8 p.m. Dec. 22; Free. Food Building, 1401 Marshall St. NE, Minneapolis; 612-545-5555. –Jessica Armbruster

New Hope Community Farmers Market
8 a.m.-1 p.m. Every Sat. Free. New Hope Farmers' Market, 4300 Xylon Avenue N., Minneapolis; 763-531-5196.

The Brian Naughton Band
8:30 p.m. Dec. 22; Free. Schooner Tavern, 2901 27th Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-729-4365.

Fair State Brewing Cooperative.

Fair State Brewing Cooperative. Star Tribune


Fifth Annual Festivus Celebration
This Sunday, Fair State celebrates the newest holiday: Festivus. Born from an episode of Seinfeld, this celebration doesn’t have a set date (Town Hall honored the event last week), but its traditions are clear. There will be an aluminum pole, which folks will gather around to air their grievances. Talk about people who did you wrong, life’s little irritations, and anything else that grinds your gears. After a verbal rant, let it out even more with feats of strength, as Fair State will test your physical and emotional mettle. Wash it all down with delicious beer and toast to the holiday. 7-10 p.m. Dec. 23; Free. Fair State Brewing Cooperative, 2506 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis; 612-444-3209. –Jessica Armbruster

With Plagued Insanity. 9 p.m. Hexagon Bar, 2600 27th Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-722-3454.

Blues Jam
7-11 p.m. Every Sun. Free. Schooner Tavern, 2901 27th Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-729-4365.

Festivus and Other Twisted Holidays
Featuring Seinfeld-inspired and holiday music by the Larry McDonough Quartet and an Airing of Grievances between sets. 7 p.m. Dec. 23; Free. Black Dog Cafe, 308 Prince St., St. Paul; 651-228-9274.

Mumblin' Drew
Weekly residency with a variety of special guests and opening acts. 7-9 p.m. Every Sun. Free. Palmer's Bar, 500 S. Cedar Ave., Minneapolis; 612-333-7625.

Zacc Harris Trio
7-9 p.m. Every Sun. Free. Riverview Cafe & Wine Bar, 3745 42nd Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-729-4200.