Holiday Arts Guide: Give great gifts this year from local artists’ markets

The local arts scene thrives all year long, but artisans and makers really step up their game around the holiday season.

At pop-ups and vendor markets around the Twin Cities, you can do more than admire local art: You can bring it home. Whether you keep it for yourself or give it as gifts to family and friends is up to you!

Here’s a roundup of some markets, galleries and events to visit and support local artists.

A stall at the 2021 European Christmas Market at Union Depot in Lowertown in St. Paul. (Courtesy of the European Christmas Market)

Now through Dec. 17: European Christmas Market

This annual outdoor holiday market returns with 70 vendors, European-inspired food and drinks and Santa’s Village. The market runs Fridays through Sundays each weekend through Dec. 17. Free admission; full list of vendors and activities at

Union Depot: 240 E. Kellogg Blvd;

Now through Dec. 23: Keg and Case Holiday Market + Happy Land Tree Lot

The embattled West Seventh food hall continues to face a variety of financial challenges and tenant closures, but its annual holiday market is still on. Shop local vendors from 12 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 22 and 23. Plus, the Happy Land Tree Lot is open every day of the week: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays; 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.

Keg and Case Market: 928 W. 7th St.;

Now through Dec. 23: Textile Center Holiday Gallery Shop

The Textile Center, a fiber arts resource just over the Minneapolis border in Prospect Park, is beefing up their gallery store into a full-on holiday shop. Find handmade clothes, winter gear, kitchen items, ornaments and more. Open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, and 10 to 4 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, but they’ll be open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day from Dec. 19 to 23.

Textile Center: 3000 University Ave SE, Minneapolis; 612-436-0464;

The promotional graphic for Holidays on Nicollet, a collection of pop-up markets and window displays in downtown Minneapolis during the 2023-24 holiday season. (Image courtesy Minneapolis Downtown Council)

Now through Jan. 5: Holidays on Nicollet

This year’s holiday plans in downtown Minneapolis are worth crossing the river for. Local businesses will be selling their wares at four pop-up shops: 50 South 6th St.; City Center (33 South 6th St; skyway level), IDS Center (80 S 8th St.) and U.S. Bancorp Center (800 Nicollet Ave., skyway level). Open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Plus, at a holiday pop-up in the former flagship Dayton’s department store (700 Nicollet Mall), nearly 100 local brands, food vendors and flower stands will be open daily through the end of the year.

Additionally, at 10 sites across Nicollet Mall, local artists are building large-scale holiday window displays. Each scene incorporates actual characters and props from the former Dayton’s 8th-floor shows, a longtime winter tradition; some of the characters on display have been hidden away in storage for decades.

Various locations along Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis:

Weekends: Cream of the Crop Artists

Cream of the Crop Artists, a gallery that pops up in the West End Market at the State Fair, will be back in action for the holidays — although they’re spending time on the other side of the river in Wisconsin! They’re open from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays only, but if you’ll be around on a weekday, you can text the owner, and she’ll see if she can swing by to meet you. You can find that info on their website below.

Cream of the Crop: 511 Second St., Hudson; 715-338-6766;

Snow dusts the roofs of the Landmark Center, front, and the Travelers Building in downtown St. Paul on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2023. (John Autey / Pioneer Press)

Nov. 30 – Dec. 2: Old Fashioned Holiday Bazaar

This marks the 45th year of the winter market at Landmark Center, which showcases handmade, giftable holiday items. Entrance is $5 for adults and free for kids 12 and under. The market is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 2. During a “twilight shopping special” from 4 to 7 p.m. on Dec. 1, all visitors also receive a free glass of wine or soda.

Landmark Center: 75 W. 5th St. W.; 651-292-3225;

Dec. 1 and 2: Do the Dow 2023

The Dow Arts Building is hosting its annual open house and festival, with work from 50+ artists plus plenty of family-friendly activities including painting, clay sculpture, balloon art and indigo dyeing. Free; 5 to 9 p.m. Dec. 1 and 12 to 8 p.m. Dec. 2.

Dow Art Gallery & Picture Framing: 2242 University Ave West; 612-607-9203;

Dec. 2 and 3: Christmas in Germany

Well, not across the ocean, of course, but at the gorgeous Germanic American Institute. Sip beer or hot mulled wine; grab foods like pretzels and German cakes; and buy gifts from artisans. Plus, there’ll be an alpaca petting zoo, crafts for kids and music performances at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. The event is free and runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 2 and 3.

Germanic American Institute: 301 Summit Avenue; 651-222-7027;

The interior of the American Swedish Institute’s historic Turnblad Mansion, on Park Avenue in Minneapolis, is shown in this undated photo. The museum is hosting its annual Julmarknad Handcraft Market & Festival in early December 2023. (Photo courtesy American Swedish Institute)

Dec. 2 and 3: Julmarknad Handcraft Market & Festival

The American Swedish Institute’s massive Scandinavian craft market returns Dec. 2 and 3 with plenty of art to buy, plus hands-on projects to do and the Grinch on-site Sunday, courtesy of the Children’s Theatre Company. You’ll have to buy a timed-entry ticket to the market, which does also include admission to the museum and live music performances. $18 for adults, $15 for members and $6 for kids 6 and up.

American Swedish Institute: 2600 Park Ave., Minneapolis;

Dec. 9 and 10: Palace Theatre Holiday Market

More than 50 local artists will set up shop in the Palace Theatre downtown for a two-day craft market, produced in partnership with the folks behind the popular summertime Minnehaha Falls Art Fair in Minneapolis. And don’t forget to go upstairs — even more cool artists are up on the balcony level. Entrance is free and tickets aren’t required; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 9 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 10.

Palace Theatre: 17 W 7th Pl.;

Customers look at a chalkboard menu of bears and drinks at Urban Growler Brewing Company in St. Paul on Friday, June 2, 2023. (John Autey / Pioneer Press)

Dec. 14 and 15: Queer Holiday Market

Thirty LGBTQ+ artists and businesses, plus holiday-themed drag characters and drinks, will spend the weekend at Urban Growler Brewing Company, whose owners sat down with us for a Pride Month Q&A earlier this year. A portion of all vendors’ sales will be donated to The Aliveness Project, a local resource for those living with HIV/AIDS. The market runs 5 to 9 p.m. both days.

Urban Growler: 2325 Endicott St.; 651-340-5793;

Related Articles

Things to Do |

Holiday Arts Guide: Find some festivity and cheer for the whole family at these events

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Previous post Man shot, killed in Boston Saturday morning after woman shot in Hyde Park Friday night
Next post Soucheray: Twinkle, twinkle, little meaningless star