Freeloader Friday: 21 free things to do this weekend (including Christmas)

St. Paul's Winterskate in Rice Park is a fab Christmas date you totally planned weeks ago.

St. Paul's Winterskate in Rice Park is a fab Christmas date you totally planned weeks ago. Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

It's a holiday weekend, but it's not one of those holidays where you drink beer while grilling with friends. Instead, many of us will be buying last-minute presents, biting out tongues when Uncle Bob shares his sophisticated political opinions, and hiding out in the garage when our mom asks us to take out the trash. 

But fear not! While your holiday budget might be blown and the happenings in town this weekend are sparse, you still have some free options should you need to get out of the house. Come take a look.


BEN-efit for Walk In Counseling
Featuring Yoni Yum, Itch Princess, and Helius Ingestus. Dec. 23, 9 p.m. Free. Hexagon Bar, 2600 27th Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-722-3454.

Curtis Blake and the Greazy Gravy Blues Band
Dec. 23, 9 p.m. Free. Schooner Tavern, 2901 27th Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-729-4365.

Debbie Duncan Sings Christmas
Dec. 23, 7:30 p.m. Free. Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, 6161 Hwy. 65 NE, Minneapolis; 763-571-9020.

Holiday Music Festival
Featuring performances from a variety of groups, choirs, bands, and orchestras. For more info and schedule, visit Daily from Nov. 27-Dec. 23. Free. Mall of America Best Buy Rotunda, 365 N. Garden, Bloomington; 952-883-8800.

Holidazzle 2016
Featuring ice skating, food and drink, live entertainment, and more. For more info, visit Every Fri. from Nov. 25-Dec. 24, 5-10 p.m. Every Thu. from Dec. 1-23, 5-9 p.m. Every Sat. from Nov. 26-Dec. 23, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Every Sun. from Nov. 27-Dec. 23, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Free. Loring Park, 1382 Willow St., Minneapolis.

Jazz in the Lobby Bar
Featuring JoAnn Funk on piano with Jeff Brueske on bass. Every Fri. and Sat. from Nov. 4, 7-11 p.m. Free. St. Paul Hotel, 350 Market St., St. Paul; 800-292-9292.

Kelly Blau
Dec. 23, 6:30 p.m. Free. Vieux Carre, 408 St. Peter St., St. Paul; 612-332-5299.

Macy's 54th Annual Santaland
Featuring Santa's elves preparing for Christmas, with photo packages, holiday bakery, toy shop, and meeting with Santa. All donations go to a local Make-A-Wish chapter. Daily from Nov. 19-Dec. 24. Free. Macy's Downtown Minneapolis, 700 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612-375-2200.

Minneapolis WinterSkate
Free public skating rink with a warming house and complimentary skate rental. Daily from Nov. 23-March 31. Free. Loring Park, 1382 Willow St., Minneapolis.

Outdoor Ice Rink
Free ice skating during mall hours through February 19. Daily from Nov. 19-Feb. 19. Free. Southdale Center, 10 Southdale Center, Edina; 952-925-7874.

Party Monster Fridays/Lip Sync Contest
Upbeat dance music in a Gothic horror themed venue, with drink specials, and free cover if in costume. 10 p.m.-2 a.m. $5; free if in costume. Ground Zero Nightclub, 15 4th St. NE, Minneapolis; 612-378-5115.


Wells Fargo Winter Skate
This season, downtown St. Paul is turning into a winter wonderland, full of simple pleasures like twinkling lights and a giant rink open to all. Now through the end of the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, Rice Park will be illuminated each night with a flurry of festive lights strung from tall trees. Meanwhile, over by the Landmark Center, guests will take to the ice, where the rink will welcome casual skaters and hockey teams who reserve a time. Take a date or your family. Bring your own skates, borrow them for free if you bank at Wells Fargo, or pay $4 to rent a pair. For more info, visit Daily from Nov. 19-Feb. 28. Free. Landmark Center, 75 W. 5th St., St. Paul; 651-292-3293.

Said Kelley
Dec. 23, 10 p.m. Free. 331 Club, 331 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis; 612-331-1746.

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

The Lanes
With Dan Israel and Charley Dush. Dec. 23, 7 p.m. Free. Driftwood Char Bar, 4415 Nicollet Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-354-3402.

Annual Carol’s and Barrels
Featuring beer, Potter’s Pasties, coffee, a sing-along, and a hot cider flight for kids. Proceeds benefit Sarah Jane's Music School Scholarship Fund in northeast Minneapolis. 6:30 to 11 p.m. Able Seedhouse & Brewery, 1121 Quincy St. NE, Minneapolis; 612-405-4642.



Staraoke Karaoke
You’ve opened the presents, kissed grandma on the cheek, gorged on dinner, and helped assemble the toys. If you’re still going strong in the energy department, now it’s time to head out of the house for some late-night fun. One place sure to be a blast is the Triple Rock, which will once again be hosting Staraoke Karaoke. Bring your rowdy cousins, invite your friends, and plan your song, as karaoke host ARZU has a book of options that include classic punk anthems, heavy metal shriekers, holiday treats, and some good old hip-hop bangers. Order up a round of liquid courage, be it booze or beer, or stick with pure sugar and caffeine to keep the party rolling along. Either way, the caroling will be untraditional here. 21+. Dec. 25, 9 p.m. Free. Triple Rock Social Club, 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-333-7399.



Last-minute panic shopping opportunities:

Last Call: A Holiday Market
So, you messed up and waited till the last minute to get your holiday gifts. Don’t despair; while Target and Toys “R” Us are probably super picked over, that doesn’t mean you have to make do with gas station gifts just yet. Head over to the Food Building this Friday for a final shopping event where you’ll have a plethora of gift options. Shop for jewelry from local designers like Larissa Loden and Everythine, or beauty treats from the Elixery and Nell’s Remedies. Or give the gift of food, as meat, cheese, baked goods, and other edibles will be for sale. You won’t even have to head home to wrap gifts, as there will be stations set up for shoppers to use. Wash it all down with a beer, cocktail, or glass of wine. You earned it, mighty procrastinator. Dec. 23, 3-9 p.m. Free. Food Building, 1401 Marshall St. NE, Minneapolis; 612-545-5555.

SooVAC Artists' Holiday Shop
Featuring holiday wares and gifts from local artists, with prints, paintings, jewelry, and sculpture. Every Wed. from Dec. 2-30, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Every Thu. and Fri. from Dec. 2-30, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Every Sat. and Sun. from Dec. 2-30, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Free. Soo Visual Arts Center, 2909 Bryant Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-871-2263.

2016 Holiday Gallery Shop
Featuring weekly artist demos and trunk shows, and StevenBe studio gallery takeover. Daily from Nov. 1-Dec. 24. Free. Textile Center, 3000 University Ave., Minneapolis; 612-436-0464.

Strange Boutique Christmas Party
Featuring shopping, music, treats, and freebies. 6 to 9 p.m. Friday. Strange Boutique, 3458 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis; 612-886-1614.