Black Friday Alternatives – Plenty to Do in the Twin Cities

Buy Nothing Day was created as a way to protest the consumerism of Black Friday. This movement has been joined by the #optoutside movement, which was created by REI, who chooses to close on Black Friday so its customers can go outside instead of shopping. Others have renamed the day Green Friday to encourage socially uplifting activities over consumerism. Whatever you want to call the day after Thanksgiving (November 29th in 2019), we can help you make it a family fun day with Black Friday alternatives. We’ve come up with some ideas for spending the day together that do not require shopping.

No Judgment, if you are interested in Holiday shopping — we have some of those ideas here.

Give Back on Black Friday

• Volunteer @ Feed My Starving Children Various Time Slots I had so much fun packing meals with my coworkers this month, that I want to get back with my family sometimes soon Donations Accepted

#Opt Outside – Black Friday Alternatives

• Opt Outside  @ Lebanon Hills Regional Park 10am-4pm Open-house-style, free family event at Lebanon Hills offers drop in activities outside (and a few inside), including a superhero scavenger hunt, a code-cracking geocaching mission, and a medallion hunt with riddle clues FREE.

#OptOutside Spear Throwing @ The Landing • 10am-4pm • Throw a spear using an atlatl and practice this historic hunting technique. Test your knowledge with extra atlatl activities or hike along the river. Enter through the west entrance. • FREE • Activity #4LAN0065. (Free Activities at the Landing are Rare!)

• Our Wild Neighbors #OptOutside @ Dodge Nature Center 10-11am Learn about local wildlife like raccoons, squirrels, deer and wild turkeys, do some hiking and enjoy the great outdoors $3/pp; Pre-Registration Required.

Black Friday Alternatives @ Dodge Nature Center

You will probably need to wear a jacket, but there is still fun to be had at Dodge Nature Center.

Free Park Friday @ State Parks • Entrance to all 75 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas is free! Join a free naturalist program, take a hike, relax in the woods with some good reads, or (possibly) take in a free wild turkey sighting.

Step Off that Stuffing Hike @ Interstate State Park • 1pm-2pm • Go on a one-mile all-ages hike. Enjoy some trail trivia about nature’s most impressive eaters. Meet at the Taylors Falls Community Center. Stick around for for the Lighting Festival events in the town of Taylors Falls. (State Parks have waived vehicle fees).

Black Friday Adventure Mystery Hike @ Lowry Nature Center, Victoria 1pm-4pm • Instead of a Black Friday buying spree, #OptOutside on an adventure hike with your family. Try geocaching, visit parts of the park you may not have seen before, and uncover clues to solve a nature mystery. Ages 8+ • FREE

 Nature’s Black Friday Fun @ North Mississippi Regional 11am–3pm Participate in naturalist programming and self-guided nature exploration activities. Hike the park, build a fort, go on a scavenger hunt, play games and more! FREE.

Celebrate "Buy Nothing Day" in the Twin Cities at North Mississippi Regional Park

Life-size Lincoln Logs at North Mississippi Regional Park

Indoor Fun 

Drop-In Creative Play @ Snapology 10am–8:30pm • Children ages 5+ may be dropped off. Children under the age of 4 are welcome to play with adult supervision. Creative play is priced at only $8 for unlimited play if parents stay. If parents drop off, the price is $6/hour. I know this is a “Buy Nothing Day” article, but I would feel remiss if I didn’t mention that you can get a year of unlimited play for $99 • Otherwise its $8/child per visit.

Black Friday Alternatives @ Snapology Minnesota

Family Gift Making @ Leonardo’s Basement, Minneapolis 2pm–4pm Ages 5+. Sign up to make gifts in the workshop. If you miss this date, you can try again for December 14th. • ($20/pp) Register Here.

50% Off Day Admission @ Eagan Community Center (Home of the Blast Indoor Playground) – get 50% off daily admissions. Must purchase in-person.

• Open Skate @ Charles M. Schulz Highland Arena and Vadnais Sports Center 1pm–2:30pm All Ages. Open skating for all ages at Charles M. Schulz Highland Arena and Vadnais Sports Center. FREE ($5/Skate Rental)

• Open Libraries include: Dakota County, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Saint Paul,

• Open Historical Sites include:

  • Alexander Ramsey House: 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (Holiday programming)
  • James J. Hill House: 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. (Holiday programming)
  • Mill City Museum: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Minnesota History Center: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Short Road Trip: Charles Lindbergh House and Museum: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Holiday programming)
  • Long Road Trip: Split Rock Lighthouse: 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

(Kind-Of) Shop on Buy Nothing Day!

Green Friday: Holiday Toy Exchange @ Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park (Hennepin County Side) 10am-12pm We have participated in this toy exchange, and it was a fun way for siblings to get gifts for each other by trading in their own toys. Simply bring gently used toys to the nature center for an even toy exchange. After you’re done inside, you can explore this beautiful park. (Event #4CRD0050)

Celebrate "Buy Nothing Day" in the Twin Cities @ Coon Rapids Dam

Get outside after the toy exchange for some nature play

TWEEN/TEENFelted Holiday Stocking @ Gale Woods Farm, Minnetrista • 1pm-4:30pm • Use traditional wet felting and your imagination. Felt around a “resist” using wool roving to create a stocking ready for gifts. Cost is $45 and reservations are required by seven days prior. Call 763-559-6700 to make a reservation. This program is for ages 12+.

Visit a Museum

Black Friday @ Mia 6am-10am  Complementary treats and coffee from our Agra Culture, create a gratitude journal, and FREE access to two special exhibitions: Artists Respond: American Art and the Vietnam War and Artists Reflect: Contemporary Views on the American War. Tickets are available first come, first served, on site at the museum only. FREE. 

We call it the "Block Room" - A great reason to visit the MIA.

Take a break in the family room to play with pillows and blocks.

Thanksgiving Break: Brickmania @ Minnesota History Center 12-4pm Besides all the regular exhibits, see a scale model of First Avenue made with Bricks and then help create lego portraits of famous musicians • Admission $6-$12/pp.

Black Friday Alternatives @ MN History Center

Kids can be kids on Black Friday at the Minnesota History Center

Special Black Friday Science Studios Hours @ The Bakken 10am-4pm Make a brain hemisphere hat, a pointer finger bone model, play what’s that sound, extract some DNA, give a centrifuge a spin and use all of your senses • Admission $5-$10/pp.

A final note. Some of the metro libraries, museums and recreation centers are closed for the holiday. We always recommend calling ahead if you are planning an outing on this or any other holiday weekend. I’ve learned the hard way that sometimes even the websites are not clear about closings.

Closed Libraries Include: Anoka County (including Columbia Heights), Carver County, Scott County, Washington County.



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