Your Guide to Black Friday, Plaid Friday, and Small Business Saturday—plus the Alternatives

Markets are popping up with a focus on local, indie shops.

By Erik Tormoen

Mall of America is closed Thanksgiving but offers giveaways on Black Friday weekend
Mall of America is closed Thanksgiving but offers giveaways on Black Friday weekend

If you plan to do Black Friday like a marathon runner, you probably already know the big-box bargains—at JC Penney (coupons for folks waiting in line before 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day), Best Buy (open 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving), Target (also 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving, with a map for the weird places you’ll find stuff—like TVs in the fitting room), Walmart (starting 6 p.m., Nov. 27), Kohl’s (5 p.m., Thanksgiving), and a slew of others.

Mall of America will make a weekend of it, opening on Black Friday at 5 a.m. Thousands of guests who enter through the north entrance receive Mystery Scratch-Off tickets for a chance to win one of 10,000 prizes (like concert tickets, gift cards, hotel getaways, high-end retail products), worth more than $200,000 in combined value. The first 200 in line get $10-$500 gift cards.

Galleria in Edina will offer shoppers complimentary cotton candy from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, courtesy of Cotton & Whim. A live radio broadcast, featuring myTalk 107.1’s Shop Girls, takes place Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Metro shopping centers will be updating their websites the week of Black Friday with altered hours and deals at each store—including Rosedale Center, where new food hall Potluck stays open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Until then, here’s a guide to some of the markets popping up that weekend. Quick primer: “Plaid Friday” is like Black Friday, but it focuses on local and indie businesses. Small Business Saturday, held the day after, does the same. (And, at the bottom, check out alternative events if you’re opting out of the crowds.)

Plaid Friday/Small Business Saturday Markets

Plaid Market at the Shoppes at Arbor Lakes

When: Nov. 29-30
Where: The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes, 12459 Elm Creek Blvd. N., Maple Grove

Goods from 20 local artisans, beer in an Omni Brewing pop-up taproom, and name brands come together in Maple Grove, covering both Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.

Plaid Friday at Sociable Cider Werks

When: Nov. 28-Dec. 1
Where: Sociable Cider Werks, 1500 Fillmore St. NE, Minneapolis

The Minneapolis Craft Market falls on Sociable Cider Werks’ anniversary, so they’ve merged a celebration—releasing new ciders by the hour—with a shop-local outdoor market, featuring different makers each day.

Black Friday on Broadway

When: Nov. 29-30, 2-8 p.m.
Where: NEON, 1007 W. Broadway Ave., Minneapolis

This fourth annual holiday market sets up Friday and Saturday, spotlighting more than 30 entrepreneurs in the business district of North Minneapolis. Shopping ties into the Northside Economic Opportunity Network’s mission to create marketplace opportunities for those who have historically been excluded.

Buy Black, Buy Africa on Black Friday, Penumbra Theatre

When: Nov. 29, 2-7:30 p.m.
Where: Penumbra Theatre Company, 270 Kent St., St. Paul

The Pan African & Ally Student Summit teams up with Black Bloggers and Creatives for a Black Marketplace, selling art, books, clothes, games, home décor, food, drinks, and more—on the same day as a 7:30 p.m. performance of Penumbra’s Black Nativity.

Textile Center’s Holiday Gallery Shop

When: Nov. 29
Where: Textile Center, 3000 University Ave. SE, Minneapolis

The Textile Center expands its retail space for its annual Holiday Gallery Shop (through Dec. 24), with an upcycle fest for Black Friday. These fiber goods are made of transformed materials—like mittens repurposing upcycled sweaters.

Midway Holiday Pop-up Shop

When: Nov. 30, 2-8 p.m.
Where: Celtic Junction Arts Center, 836 Prior Ave. N., St. Paul

The fifth annual pop-up supports some 50 small Twin Cities businesses, artists, and crafters that operate without a storefront—featuring live music, snacks, and drinks.

Payne Area Wonderland

When: Nov. 30, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Where: Payne Avenue,

Homing in on Small Business Saturday, shops in the Payne Avenue area offer specials and a “wonderland” gathering space. Bingo cards, giveaways, and storytelling by residents and business owners add to a spirit of community engagement.

Small Business Saturday & Tree Lighting Ceremony

When: Nov. 30, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: 50th & France, Edina

Businesses in the 50th & France area offer deals. Santa visits. The Platinum Dance Company performs. Cookies demand decoration. And Edina’s mayor lights the tree.

Shop Local: Small Business Saturday at Fourpost

When: Nov. 29-Dec. 1, 8 a.m.-10 p.m.
Where: Fourpost at Mall of America, 204 S. Ave., Bloomington

MOA’s mini shopping center Fourpost runs deals for Black Friday and celebrates local and online brands throughout the weekend.

Black Friday Alternatives

Black Friday at the Minneapolis Institute of Art

When: Nov. 29, 6-10 a.m.
Where: Minneapolis Institute of Art, 2400 Third Ave. S., Minneapolis

Mia has a tradition of opening the doors of its special exhibits on Black Friday. This year, that means both Artists Respond: American Art and the Vietnam War: 1965-1975 and Artist Reflect: Contemporary Views on the American War. Plus: complimentary coffee, treats, and gift-shop offerings.

Thanksgiving Break: Brickmania First Ave

When: Nov. 29-Dec. 1
Where: Minnesota Historical Society, 345 Kellogg Blvd. W., St. Paul

A scale model of First Avenue, built of Legos, appears at the Minnesota History Center, in tandem with the museum’s exhibit First Avenue: Stories of Minnesota’s Mainroom. Visitors can also help put together Lego portraits of favorite performers.

Beyoncé Drag Brunch (Black Friday)

When: Nov. 29, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Union Rooftop, 731 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis

The parenthetical “Black Friday” in the event name shows how much of a stretch this is. There’s nothing shopping-adjacent about this Beyoncé-themed brunch—but it’s an option.

Celebrating Black Friday with Alpha Consumer

When: Nov. 29, 7 p.m. (doors open)
Where: The Hook and Ladder Mission Room, 3010 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis

Wonky local rock group Alpha Consumer performs at the Hook and Ladder. This is definitely for cynics. “Was gonna post a video of some black Friday shopping messes,” Alpha Consumer said on Facebook, “but then I went to find one and I got pretty upset at how gross it really is. So anyhow, let’s all just hang out and enjoy each other’s company.”

Minnesota Hmong New Year

When: Nov. 30-Dec. 1
Where: Saint Paul RiverCentre, 175 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul

St. Paul brings in food and craft vendors, dancing competitions, and thousands of attendees for an experience rich in Hmong culture, arts, and food.

Opt Outside

When: Nov. 29, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: Visitor Center, Lebanon Hills Regional Park, 860 Cliff Rd., Eagan

The Visitor Center of the Lebanon Hills Regional Park encourages families to get outside on Black Friday, with activities throughout the day. A superhero-themed scavenger hunt runs along a stroller-friendly half-mile trail. There are also geocaching missions and a riddle-cracking medallion hunt. Superhero attire is encouraged.

Light Up the Lake Celebration

When: Nov. 29, 4:30 p.m.
Where: Downtown Wayzata

A tree-lighting ceremony comes after a meet-and-greet with Anna and Elsa from Frozen, holiday music, cocoa, treats, horse-drawn wagon rides, live reindeer, a candy cane hunt, and a parade of lights, followed by photos with Santa.

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