Best alternatives to Black Friday shopping in St. Paul, Minneapolis
Hennepin Theatre Trust

Black Friday has become a popular day for shopping, but for people who prefer spending their time in other ways, there are a number of entertainment possibilities in the Twin Cities. The entire family can enjoy The Nutcracker Ballet, Irving Berlin's White Christmas and the Zuhrah Shrine Circus. Visit Santa at Santaland at Macy's and at the Mall of America. The physically fit might prefer to burn calories at the Ugly Sweater Run at Harriet Island.

The Continental Ballet Company The Nutcracker is at the Bloomington Arts Center on Saturday- Sunday, Nov. 29-30 and Dec. 6-7. The Nutcracker Ballet is a holiday tradition that has been beloved by generations during the Christmas season.

The Zenon Dance Company performs at Cowles Center on Nov. 28-30.

Irving Berlin's White Christmas is performed twice a day at Orpheum Theatre on Nov. 25-30. The Christmas classic will be performed twice a day on Nov. 28, 29 and 30.

Festive attractions Holidazzle Village and the Holiday Market open on Black Friday at Nicollet Mall. Holidazzle Village is a colorful Christmas village with lights, reindeer, rides and more to delight the entire family.

Macy's Santaland is open at Macy's in downtown, Minneapolis. The magical, animated display of "A Day in the Life of an Elf," tells the story of Santa's elves as they prepare for Christmas. Visit Santa and have a picture taken with the Jolly Old Elf. Photo packages range from $13.99 to $39.99.

Mall of America offers activities beyond shopping. MOA will offer fun for the family on Thanksgiving night at Nickelodeon Universe, with $10 Unlimited Ride Wristbands from 6 p.m. to midnight, with sales benefiting Folds of Honor. Enjoy six hours of unlimited thrills while benefiting the charity that gives scholarships to families of service men and women. On Black Friday, there will be a performance and autograph signing by the British Boy Band Rixton, at 2 p.m. and a Twitter generated indoor snowstorm that requires social media participation. Santa will be at Santaland so the family can get photos with Santa.

The Zuhrah Shrine Circus is at the Target Center in Minneapolis on Nov. 28-30. There are seven shows over the three day period, featuring animal and human performances designed to delight kids of all ages. Tickets range from $18 to $30.

The Twin Cities Ugly Sweater Run, is on Saturday, Nov. 29 (11 a.m.), for a holiday themed fitness event. Rummage up the Ugliest Sweaters you can find and celebrate the Holidays by participating in the best 5k of the year. This is a great way to burn off the Thanksgiving calories. Racers receive hot chocolate and a choice of Sam Adam’s Winter Lager, Boston Lager, or Angry Orchard Hard Cider. Register online in advance to sign up ($35) or at the gate ($40) if there are still openings. Package pick-up is at Sports Authority on Friday, Nov. 28. The race is at Harriet Island, 200 Dr. Justus Ohage Blvd. in St. Paul, Minnesota.