Pupper Bowl, Vulcans in St. Paul, Super Bowl parties: 39 free things to do

A Vulcan marches through St. Paul

A Vulcan marches through St. Paul Star Tribune/Jim Gehrz

Looking for free weekend happenings? Check out our list.

Skijoring at City of Lakes Loppet Winter Festival

Skijoring at City of Lakes Loppet Winter Festival Anthony Souffle


City of Lakes Loppet Winter Festival
Winter weather rarely stops Minnesotans from having outdoor fun. In fact, there are plenty of sports that can only be enjoyed in the dead of winter. See a sampling of these things at the City of Lakes Loppet Winter Festival, a three-day celebration of cold-weather athleticism. Most events can be found at Theodore Wirth Park, where folks can watch or compete in a variety of tournaments and races. Those include broomball, fat tire biking, cross country ski sprints, and skijoring, an adorable race wherein humans on skis are pulled by dogs. Other fun to discover includes a snow sculpting contest, a beer garden, a family-friendly festival, and the Luminary Loppet, a nighttime candlelit stroll around Lake of the Isles. For the complete schedule, visit 5-9 p.m. Jan. 31; 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Feb. 1; 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Feb. 2. Prices to race vary; most events are free to watch. Theodore Wirth Park, 1339 Theodore Wirth Pkwy., Minneapolis; 612-230-6400. –Jessica Armbruster

The Great Went
With Goodnight Ritual and Foxbender. 9:30 p.m. Jan. 31; Free. 331 Club, 331 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis; 612-331-1746.

The Personas (EP Release Show)
With Ahem, the Bloodies, and Lovelines. 9 p.m. Jan. 31; Free. Hexagon Bar, 2600 27th Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-722-3454.

"Abracadabra and Other Forms of Protection"

"Abracadabra and Other Forms of Protection" Harriet Bart

Harriet Bart: Abracadabra and Other Forms of Protection
Harriet Bart creates acts of artistic alchemy. Since her first solo exhibition at the WARM Gallery in downtown Minneapolis in 1978 (Bart was a cofounder), she’s been generating profoundly mesmerizing and evocative work (including artist books, mixed-media installations, and object-based totems) using metals, stone, wood, paper, words, and fabric. Her purpose is to commemorate, draw attention to, or signify. At times she is examining aspects of her own life, at others remembering victims of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City or American troops killed in Iraq. In this retrospective, which Bart organized in collaboration with Laura Wertheim Joseph, curator of exhibitions at the Minnesota Museum of American Art, her decades of heart-stopping brilliance and innovative rigor are on full display. Her work is nothing short of awe-inspiring. There will be an opening reception and preview party Friday, January 31, from 7 to 10 p.m. Free. Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, 333 E. River Rd., Minneapolis; 612-625-9494. –Camille LeFevre

With Medhane and Lerado. 7:30 p.m. Jan. 31; Free. Whole Music Club, 300 Washington Ave. SE, Minneapolis; 612-625-2272.

Omar Abdulkarim
8-11 p.m. Jan. 31; Free. The Lexington, 1096 Grand Ave., St. Paul; 651-289-4990.

Saint Paul Winter Carnival

Saint Paul Winter Carnival Shari L. Gross

2020 Saint Paul Winter Carnival
For 134 years, Minnesota has been celebrating winter and showing the world that the weather here isn’t so scary. The party returns this January for 11 days of chilly fun. That includes parades, like the nighttime Vulcan Victory Torchlight Parade and the daytime march for King Borealis. Rice Park is home to the beautiful ice sculptures and the ice bar, where you can order up beer, wine, and specialty drinks. The area will host a slew of happenings, including family festivals, a local makers’ mart, a '90s night, and a dog-friendly happy hour with Hops & Hounds. The Vulcan Snow Park at the Minnesota Fairgrounds is also stacked with things to see and do, such as snow sculpting contests, the giant snow slide and maze, sporting events and competitions, and snowboarding demos. For a complete schedule of events, see the official website,, or call the main hotline at 651-223-7400 for details. Daily from Jan. 23-Feb. 2; Most events are free. Rice Park, 109 W. 4th St., St. Paul; 651-632-5111. --Jessica Armbruster

Skate the Star
Mall of America ice skating rink, located on the North Entrance. All proceeds from skate rentals go directly to the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities. Daily from Dec. 14-Feb. 2; Free; $5 skate rentals. Mall of America, 60 E. Broadway, Bloomington; 952-883-8800.

Tappy Hour
Group tap dance lessons. 4-6 p.m. Every 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.

"Rituals of Regard and Recollection"

"Rituals of Regard and Recollection"

Rituals of Regard and Recollection
Selection of works on paper from the collection of JoAnn Gonzalez Hickey curated by Tricia Heuring. Opening reception and curator remarks 6-9 p.m. Fri., Jan. 31. Free. Macalester College Law Warschaw Gallery, 1600 Grand Ave., Fine Arts Commons 105, St. Paul; 651-696-6416.

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.

Erin Schwab and Jay Fuchs
8:30-11:30 p.m. Every Fri. Free. Birch's Lowertown, 289 Fifth St. E., St. Paul; 651-432-4677.

Pupper Bowl at Bauhaus Brew Labs

Pupper Bowl at Bauhaus Brew Labs liveslow


Pupper Bowl 2020
January was a rough month for Vikings and Packers fans, but the Pupper Bowl has something that will bring people together—even people who don’t know (or care!) what the first part of this sentence means. Pupper Bowl very is loosely inspired by the Super Bowl, but with dogs. The day begins with an adoption event at 11 a.m., sponsored by Ruff Start Rescue, followed by dog... football. There are three weight classes that attendees can buy into for $20 (advance registration recommended). That scores you a beer and a bandana, and you get to watch your confused pet try to score for your team. The competition should be fierce, but adorable. Other canine fun his weekend includes live TV viewings of Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl on Sunday at Stanley’s (there will be mutt loaf on the menu) and at the Block in St. Louis Park. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free to watch; $20 to compete. Bauhaus Brew Labs, 1315 Tyler St. NE, Minneapolis; 612-276-6911. –Loren Green

2 Year Anniversary Party
Featuring a new beer release, an ice bar on the patio, prizes, DJ tunes, a dunk tank, an outdoor weatherproof igloo, Plinko, and gravity foosball. Saturday, noon to midnight. Dual Citizen Brewing, 725 Raymond, St. Paul; 651-330-4750.

Vulcan Victory Torchlight Parade & Fireworks
Saturday, 5:30 p.m. Spectators can watch along Fifth Street, or find a warm place in the skyway. The parade starts at Fifth and Wall, travels along Fifth Street, then ends at Rice Park, followed by a performance on the steps of the James J. Hill Library. Fireworks to follow. 

3rd Anniversary Party
Featuring beer (Springbok), music (Life Without Parole at 3 p.m., Octocopter at 6 p.m.), cake and cupcakes from Thirsty Whale Bakery. Saturday, noon to 11 p.m. Utepils Brewing Co., 225 Thomas Ave. N. 700, Minneapolis; 612-249-7800.

Yoshitoshi, 'Picture of Penance under the Waterfall at Mount Nachi,' (1859)

Yoshitoshi, 'Picture of Penance under the Waterfall at Mount Nachi,' (1859)

Yoshitoshi: Master Draftsman Transformed
In 2017, Mia acquired close to 300 works by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839–1892) from the Edmond Freis collection. Considered by art experts as the last major artist of the traditional Japanese woodblock print, Yoshitoshi’s technical ability to transform changing cultural tastes into exquisitely detailed work is captured in this exhibition of more than 40 works. Sketches, drawings, paintings, and printed works are on display in an exhibition that follows the artist’s career as Japan transitioned from a feudal to modern society. Feb. 1-April 12; Free. Minneapolis Institute of Art, 2400 Third Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-870-3131. –Camille LeFevre

Butter Boys
With Julie Fur and Belly Jelly. 10 p.m. Feb. 1; Free. 331 Club, 331 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis; 612-331-1746.

Brewery Tour Pop-Up: Winter Party
Featuring prizes and fundraising for Save-a-Bull Rescue. Saturday, 2-6 p.m. Minneapolis Cider Company, 701 SE Ninth St., Minneapolis; 612-886-1357.

With Obchod Na Korze and the Stonedest. 9 p.m. Feb. 1; Free. Hexagon Bar, 2600 27th Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-722-3454.

Doggie Depot

Doggie Depot Getty

Doggie Depot 2020
Once again, the Union Depot is hosting a dog party as part of the Saint Paul Winter Carnival. The morning starts off with a dog and human yoga session (sign up online to reserve a spot), followed by things to see and do, regardless of your species. Dog-friendly breweries, restaurants, and peddlers of pup-themed paraphernalia will be in attendance with samples, coupons, and items for sale, and a brewery passport featuring these businesses will also be available for purchase at the event. The happening will culminate with the crowning of the canine king and queen of the carnival. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Feb. 1; Free. Union Depot, 214 E. 4th St., St. Paul; 651-202-2700. –Jessica Armbruster

Dogs of MSP February Meet Up
Noon to 3 p.m. St. Paul Brewing, 688 Minnehaha Ave. E., St. Paul.

Mill City Winter Market
Indoor marketplace featuring local food, ceramics, jewelry, art, music, and home products. More info at 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Feb. 1. Free. Mill City Museum, 704 S. 2nd St., Minneapolis; 612-341-7555.

Staci Lola Drouillard
Author presents her new book, 'Walking the Old Road: A People's History of Chippewa City and the Grand Marais Anishinaabe.' 2 p.m. Feb. 1; Free. Birchbark Books, 2115 W. 21st St., Minneapolis; 612-374-4023.

Free First Saturday

Free First Saturday Photo by Galen Fletcher courtesy Walker Art Center

February Free First Saturday: Cabin Fever
Featuring indoor and outdoor winter activities, with snowshoe tours of the Sculpture Garden, hands-on art making activities, and open library, with free gallery admission, games, and kids' films. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Feb. 1; Free. Walker Art Center, 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis; 612-375-7600.

Fire & Ice Winter Festival
Featuring hayrides, food trucks, pony and sled-dog rides, races, mini golf, snow bowling, ice skating, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, a bonfire, fireworks, and more. Free shuttles to and from the event will run from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. at St. Philip the Deacon Lutheran Church (17205 Cty. Rd. 6) and Parkers Lake Baptist Church (14720 Cty. Rd. 6). Saturday, 3-7 p.m. Parkers Lake Park, County Road 6 & Niagara Lane, Plymouth. 

"Getting There"

"Getting There" Joshua Cunningham

Getting There by Joshua Cunningham
New paintings. Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Groveland Gallery, 25 Groveland Terrace, Minneapolis; 612-377-7800.

The Medium is the Message
Work by Amanda Pearson, Paige Hanenburg, Mandy Madsen, and Chelsea Reeck. In Gallery 427. Noon to 4 p.m. Feb. 1. Free. Northrup King Studios, 1500 Jackson St. NE, Minneapolis; 612-363-5612.

Zacc Harris Trio
8 p.m.-11 a.m. Feb. 1; Free. The Lexington, 1096 Grand Ave., St. Paul; 651-289-4990.

It's a big gay Super Bowl party this weekend at LUSH.

It's a big gay Super Bowl party this weekend at LUSH. Blablo 101


The Big Gay Super Bowl Party
The Super Bowl is all about spectacle, binge drinking, eating trashy food, and laughing at the halftime show. Level up your celebration by adding drag to festivities. While the big sporty soap opera plays live on 11 giant screens, you’ll be able to gorge on a buffet of traditional eats (think wings, nachos, popcorn, and even vegan and vegetarian options). Every touchdown scores you a round of Jell-O shots in the team’s color/flavor. Adding a little glitz to the organized chaos will be sets from queens, including host Victoria DeVille, and a cash bar should ensure that you’ll roll into work on Monday with at least a little bit of a salt or booze hangover. RSVPs are recommended, so call to reserve a spot. 5-10 p.m. Feb. 2; Free; $10 for buffet eats. Lush, 990 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis; 612-208-0358. –Jessica Armbruster

Super Bowl LIV & Puppy Bowl Watch Party
Featuring a $5 burger basket, $3 Nordeast brews, and a free football shaped "muttloaf" for pups. Pupper Bowl screens at 2 p.m., with the Super Bowl at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, 2-10 p.m. Stanley's Northeast Bar Room, 2500 University Ave. NE, Minneapolis; 612-788-2529.

Super Bowl LIV and Puppy Bowl Watch Party
Featuring a $5 burger basket, $3 beer specials, and a free football shaped "muttloaf" for pups. Pupper Bowl screens at 2 p.m., with the Super Bowl at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, 2-10 p.m. The Block SLP, 7007 Walker St., St. Louis Park; 952-767-1117.

Super Bowl Watch Party
Featuring an all-day happy hour with $2 off drinks and $3 off apps. 10 a.m. to midnight. Uptown Tavern & Rooftop, 1400 Lagoon Ave., Minneapolis; 612-824-3333.

Mill City Reading Series
Showcase of works in progress by MFA in Creative Writing students at the University of Minnesota. 5 p.m. Feb. 2; 7 p.m. March 20; 5 p.m. April 19; Free. Magers & Quinn Booksellers, 3038 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-822-4611.

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.

Music Under Glass: The UkuLadies
4:30-6:30 p.m. Feb. 2; Free. Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park, 1225 Estabrook Drive, St. Paul; 651-487-8200.

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