There’s a reason why we call it Black Friday: It’s a gloomy and exhausting consumer blowout that will leave you feeling empty, just in time for the holidays. Take a load off. Instead, shopping local and patronizing Small Business Saturday events is neighborly fun and an opportunity for far more creative gift-giving strategies. There might still be some elbow-bumping involved, but that’s because you're shopping small, remember? Yes, it is the thought that counts. All markets are free unless noted, and don’t forget to also support your favorite independent local book and record stores this holiday season, as Saturday is also Indies First Day.
Holiday Sugar Plum Bazaar 2018
McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue
Friday, November 23, 1 to 9 p.m.
Saturday, November 24, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
RSVP at eventbrite.com
One of Denver’s most respected artisan markets, the Sugar Plum has grown exponentially since its inception in 2011. This year’s version hits the McNichols Building with perfect timing, by opening on Friday, with evening hours coinciding with downtown Denver’s Grand Illumination holiday lighting extravaganza, including Light up the Lights at the adjacent Denver City and County Building. Get a head start on Small Business Saturday while beating the Black Friday vibe (or come back on Saturday itself) with more than 100 independent vendors selling a broad display of handmade items, and don’t miss Hey Hue’s Small Wonders pop-up affordable-art exhibit, showcasing dozens of well-regarded Colorado artists. Do the right thing, shopping-wise, and bring the whole family.
Union Station Holiday Market by Denver Flea
Union Station, 1701 Wynkoop Street
November 23 through December 16
Fridays, 4 to 9 p.m. November 23, and 5 to 9 p.m. thereafter
Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
$5, free for children ages twelve and under (tickets are good for entry/re-entry for the specific weekend for which they are purchased).
On the other end of the 16th Street Mall, the Denver Flea’s Union Station Holiday Market will also join in with Grand Illumination festivities: Union Station will light up its forty-foot Christmas tree and facade after dark, during the market’s debut. It’s the first of four immersive Denver Flea weekend markets with a changing mixture of vendors, with music, food and drink opportunities. Come on Sunday, and Santa will also be ready to take gift lists in the station’s Great Hall between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
After Dark Market
Rosehouse, 14 South Broadway
Friday, November 23, 7 to 10 p.m.
On a much smaller scale, the eclectic South Broadway plant and herb shop Rosehouse will give you a reason to venture out on Black Friday for a no-stress experience. The shop’s bi-monthly Friday open house, which normally offers an evening of divinations, drinks and tunes, throws in a small collection of giftables from vendors Premye Herbals, Beast of Burden Jewelry and the Blu Saint, along with tarot reader Porsche of Urania Universe. Feel the vibe.
Arna Miller and Julio Alejandro, The Sun Don’t Shine in Your TV
Sally Centigrade, 445 South Saulsbury Street, Lakewood
Opening Reception: Friday, November 23, 6 to 9 p.m.
Sally Centigrade gets in the holiday spirit with a gallery show of affordable pieces by two Denver artists: screenprinter Arna Miller and cartoony expressionist Julio Alejandro. It’s a rollicking duet, and Sally Centigrade’s Scott and Myah Bailey are so certain that these works will fly out the door on opening night that they’re offering the option of cash-and-carry purchases and a gift wrap station to seal the deal.
Edge Gallery, 7001 West Colfax Avenue
November 23 through December 21
Opening Reception, Friday, November 23, 6 to 9 p.m.
Artful gifts are also in the stars at Edge Gallery, where the Small Wonders small works exhibition covers the walls with affordable art by gallery members and guest artists.
2018 Horseshoe Holiday Market
Highlands Masonic Temple and Event Center, 3550 Federal Boulevard
Saturday and Sunday, November 24 and 25, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
If you’re looking to make good this year on the local-shopping objectives of Small Business Saturday, the 2018 Horseshoe Holiday Market is one of the best places to start, though it can get a bit crowded. But folks are there for good reason, thanks to the Horseshoe’s curated vendors of vintage and artisan goods, 120 of whom will be set up over the weekend in the nooks and crannies of the Highlands Masonic Temple or outdoors in heated tents. Food trucks and a cocoa station will keep you fueled and ready to shop, which is great, because the Horseshoe is never a disappointment, remaining ever true to its heartfelt promise of “Lucky Finds.” Admission is free, but donations will be accepted at the door for the Ponzi Creative Arts Therapy Program at Children’s Hospital.
Fifth Annual Tennyson Holiday Passport Crawl
Tennyson Street between 38th and 46th avenues
Saturday, November 24, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The homey local-merch gift shop Jolly Goods celebrates its fifth year overseeing the Tennyson Holiday Passport Crawl, a fun shopping event where you can pick up a passport and start collecting stamps when you make purchases at the more than twenty participating businesses (they’ll be marked by an identifying poster in the window). Each stamp is the equivalent of a raffle ticket, entering you in a drawing for special goodies from different businesses; along the way, you’ll also find discounts and freebies for shoppers. Turn in your passport at Jolly Goods, 4020 Tennyson Street, by December 2 to officially enter the drawings. The crawl coincides with the Annual Berkeley Tree Lighting, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. (tree lights up at 5 p.m.) in front of Brazen, 4450 West 38th Avenue. A roaming Santa, hot chocolate, coffee and cookie-decorating are all part of the festivities.
Broadway Holidays Small Business Saturday
Broadway, between Fifth and Alameda avenues
Saturday, November 24, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
For hip and funky shopping, the eclectic Baker neighborhood stretch of Broadway is the place to be any time of the year if you’re looking for something different, but what you might not know is that not only are many of the retailers and other businesses along the street indie and local, but at least twenty of them also woman-owned. If that mass contribution to the local economy is not reason enough to give them your business, consider that the whole neighborhood is pitching in with holiday incentives, special activities and an open-house atmosphere on SBS. Start at the Wizard’s Chest, 451 Broadway, and end at Illegal Pete’s, 270 South Broadway, where you’ll get a free margarita or beer with your meal purchase, when you show off your receipt from shopping at a small business on Broadway. And on your way south, learn more about the new Hope Slinger’s Guide to Denver, a directory of women/person-of-color/LGBTQ-owned businesses in Denver, at Hope Tank, 64 Broadway.
The Other Art Maker’s Market
The People’s Building, 9995 East Colfax Avenue, Aurora
Friday and Saturday, November 24 and 25, noon to 6 p.m. daily
There’s something revolutionary about the idea of an “other” art maker’s market, especially when it’s happening at the People’s Building, and maybe it’s true: When the market opens for business over the weekend, up to thirty local artist-vendors will rise up from the underground to show off their wares while giving back to downtown Aurora’s local economy. Sweet!
Small Business Saturday at Stanley
Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas Street, Aurora
Saturday, November 24, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Stanley Marketplace shelters more than fifty independently owned businesses under its roof, including retailers, services, eateries and fitness studios. Therefore, Small Business Saturday is one of the Stanley’s most important days of the year, and those very shops and restaurants, salons and more, can’t wait to offer you special deals and discounts, giveaways, fully stocked shelves and racks to browse, and plenty of places to take a load off and peruse your purchases over food and drink. Hey Hue’s Small Wonder Art Pop-up will also be in the house all day until 8 p.m., with an incredible array of affordable work from an army of Denver artists.
MissMe Art Pop-Up
Source Hotel and Market Hall, 3350 Brighton Boulevard
Saturday and Sunday, November 24 and 25, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily
In-your-face guerrilla street artist MissMe wears a mask while emblazoning walls with bold wheat-pasted feminist imagery, but she also makes prints and other merch that your mural-digging friends would die to own. You’ll have a rare chance to peruse the Montrealer’s prints and find the perfect hipster gift during this two-day pop-up market at the Source. Will she leave anything behind on the walls of RiNo? We’ll just have to see. In the meantime, hear MissMe explain herself during an artist talk at Big Trouble in Zeppelin Station, 3501 Wazee Street, on Monday, November 26, at 7 p.m., which doubles as a last chance to purchase her prints.
RiNo Made Art Market
Bigsby's Folly, 3563 Wazee Street
Saturday, November 24, noon to 5 p.m.
Free, $10 VIP at eventbrite.com
While you’re in RiNo, amble into the Small Business Saturday RiNo Made Art Market, where you can wine and dine while checking out giftable art by twelve artists working in the RiNo district. RiNo Santa will be posing for pics while you shop; pay up for VIP admission and you’ll get a free glass of local wine and a free photo with the jolly one.
Small Business Saturday!
Bella Luna Gifts & Gallery and FireBrand Forge, 2045 Downing Street
Saturday, November 24, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Bella Luna and FireBrand Forge share space for two very different businesses, but husband-and-wife team Crystal O’Brien and Michael Penny make it a labor of love that really works. Small Business Saturday will showcase both sides of the coin. Help O’Brien celebrate the Bella Luna boutique’s second anniversary by shopping the beautiful store with its Mexicolor walls for global and fair trade treasures, and visit Penny in the forge, where Kirikomi Cutlery’s JM Wands will demonstrate his blacksmithing skills to create a knife from recycled steel, and Penny and fellow artists Robin Wren and Jeff Penny will showcase stone art, jewelry and laser works.
Small Business Saturday, Cherry Creek North
Cherry Creek North, from First to Third avenues, between Josephine and Steele streets
Saturday, November 24, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For a tonier Small Business Saturday shopping day, consider that behind its shiny facade, Cherry Creek North is home to more than 175 small businesses, which make up 70 percent of the shopping district’s retail makeup. While actual SBS shopping hours will vary from store to store, CCN’s Small Business Saturday Headquarters, at 2401 East Second Avenue, Suite 150, will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Small Business Saturday, Larimer Square
Larimer Square, between 14th and 15th streets on Larimer Street
Saturday, November 10, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Larimer Square is stepping up for Small Business Saturday with a variety of discounts, freebies and gift-wrapping services at sixteen retailers and restaurants. Stroll the square, have a bite, and treat the kiddos to a visit with Santa between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Small Business Saturday, Louisville
Saturday, November 24, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Check out Main Street and beyond in Louisville, where one-of-a-kind mom-and-pop businesses keep things lively with a small-town feel. Enjoy discounts and giveaways all around town, and shop for yourself at Found Underground Consignments, downstairs at 901 Main Street, where doughnuts and coffee will be served in the morning and wine in the afternoon while you take advantage of Five Dollar Day discounts.
Small Business Saturday at Devil’s Head
Devil's Head Distillery, 3296 South Acoma Street, Englewood
Saturday, November 24: Shop Local Saturday, 3 to 6 p.m.; Shopping and Live Music by Dave Connelly, 7 to 10 p.m.
Support a small array of local micro-businesses — and have a stiff drink — at Devil’s Head, where you can shop for soaps, jewelry, prints, candles, knit items and holiday decorations at your leisure and feel good about your purchases when you walk out the door. In the evening, looping artist Dave Connelly will provide live music to shop by.
Small Business Saturday in Manitou Springs
Downtown Manitou Springs
Saturday, November 24, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
The artsy community of more than ninety local downtown Manitou retailers and eateries will open their doors early for Small Business Saturday, to show off specially designated “Manitou Made” items by local makers and other merchandise ready for the picking. Santa will pose for free pics at the Spa Building, 934 Manitou Avenue, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the holiday lights switch on after dark.
Small Business Saturday at Aar River
Aar River Gallery, 3707 West 73rd Avenue, Westminster
Saturday, November 24, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Aar River artists host an ongoing holiday art market throughout the shopping season, but for Small Business Saturday, they’ll welcome folks to the Westminster gallery with cookies and cider and lots of beautiful handcrafts and traditional artworks suitable for giving to grandmas, great-aunts and all lovers of old-fashioned — but never sappy — gifts. Visit the Aar River Gallery website for more events happening during the run of the market.
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Museum Store Sunday Sale
Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art, 1201 Bannock Street
Sunday, November 25: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. members, noon to 5 p.m. non-members
Yes, Virginia, there is something called Museum Store Sunday. It might be a little more obscure than Black Friday or Small Business Saturday, but this is a day to visit your favorite museum shop and savor the upscale, intellectually stimulating and sometimes educational wares they sell. The Kirkland will be offering 25 percent discounts on a variety of gifts, books, jewelry and more; if you’re a member, you get an hour’s shopping jump-start on the non-member hoi polloi. Stick around and bask in one of Denver’s loveliest museums.
Unique Markets Holiday Pop-Up Denver
The Hangar at Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas Street, Aurora
Sunday, November 25, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
$5 at eventbrite.com, free for children under age twelve
As a coda to Small Business Saturday, Stanley Marketplace is hosting the Unique Markets Holiday Pop-Up Denver, a market that touts itself as an antidote to malls, flea markets and craft fairs. In an attempt to be its own animal, the Unique gives you a lot for your five bucks: a free tote, drinks, DIY gift tags, gift wrapping, photo booth fun and lounges where you can get away from it all and take a micro-holiday from the holidays.
Holiday market lists will run weekly through Christmas. Do you have an event you want included? Send the details to email@example.com.