So, it is the day after Thanksgiving, which, over the last few years, has become synonymous with overconsumption and consumerist lust, with stories of people being killed over cheap consumer goods, fighting each other for the chance for some paltry savings after bloating themselves on poultry. It’s all over the media, so much so that this year, my grandmother was literally frightened by these menacing reports on “Black Friday” and the violence that was sure to result as big box retailers goad people to buy. That much of this is over reported hype and the that real story may be the loss of family time as employees and consumers alike abandon the holiday early to work or buy in the big box stores. In the Twin Cities, there are strikes at WalMart and other retailers to rally for employee rights and higher wages, as exemplified by being open on the holiday itself. It is a definite good idea to stay in today, relaxing, eating leftovers, and doing some reading, and after all, the libraries are open!
However, for those looking for something else to do early on Friday the 28th, support local institutions on top of maybe getting a few savings on a gift, or just take advantage of cool stuff, there are definitely some fun things to do to avoid the crowds. The Minneapolis Institute of Arts holds a Black Friday event for an hour, from 6 am to 7 am, offering discounts on the museum store and free admission into the special event, this year the intriguing Italian Style: Fashion Since 1945.
As one of my favorite places to explore in the Twin Cities, it was great to support them. Arriving before dawn, the museum building was lit up and the awakening skyline of Minneapolis glowed through the glass windows. With some complimentary coffee and cookies, we explored the beautiful and interesting fashion designs currently on display, chatting with a Star Tribune reporter interested on why people were here this morning, rather than Target. As we left, dawn was breaking and we had breakfast nearby at another favorite place, the French Meadow. Kind of an institution itself in the Twin Cities, the cafe and bakery is probably my favorite place to get breakfast, it offers plenty of vegan and vegetarian offerings for those who don’t care for bacon and eggs (though they do have those too). After a hearty breakfast we got back home before ten and have the rest of the day to relax. I would highly recommend this as a choice for next year!
Minneapolis Institute of Arts: 2400 3rd Ave S. MPLS, Tue-Sat, 10-5 (normally), Sun 11-5, admission free (except for special exhibit)
French Meadow Cafe and Bakery: 2610, Lyndale Ave S. MPLS, Sun-Thu, 6:30 am-10pm, Fri-Sat 6:30-11