Brown Paper Tickets is big on small business—shops, restaurants, theaters, local makers, movers and shakers. We were the first solution for small businesses to ticket events for free and we continue to offer a wealth of free resources and services to events of any size.
November 29 is Small Business Saturday. Discover what’s new in your neighborhood. Catch a band in your town. Buy gifts at a local craft fair. See what’s shakin’ at the local theater. Shop microbreweries and distilleries.
According to the Retail Merchants Association, for every $1 spent at local businesses, 45 cents is reinvested locally vs. 15 cents or less from non-local purchases. Local stores also tend to hire local people and make neighborhoods more visually appealing.
Not sure where to begin? Here are 20 creative ideas:
1. Take a tour
Relatives in town for the holidays? See your city with fresh eyes and support local tourism with an eclectic walking and riding tour. Learn about local architecture and explore the impact of the Gold Rush.
2. Sign up for sake class
Love sake, but aren’t sure whether it should be warm or cold or what to eat it with? Take a sake education class with friends and support a Japanese eatery at the same time.
3. See, cook, learn
Fascinated by Samurais? Tour the renowned LACMA Samurai exhibit and then get schooled on Japanese cooking techniques at Surfas in Culver City.
4. Catch a Krampus fashion show
Krampus walks are now a thing here in the US. Add a devilish scare to your holiday reverie by watching locally made Krampus costumes take the runway at the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles.
5. Support local theater
There are so many great indie theaters to support; we couldn’t possibly name them all. But this one struck our nostalgic side. Revisit old favorites from the Twilight Zone Live on-stage at Theater Schmeater.
6. Enjoy craft brews + burlesque
Can’t choose if you want to support local beer or local beauties? Do both. Check out Revelry—Seattle’s only Monday night burlesque revue.
New York City
7. Take a bite
New Yorkers are serious about bagels. Explore neighborhood bagel shops and sweeteries with this unique food tour that works around your schedule.
8. Go to the Olde Grand Market
Celebrate the holidays and support a local performing arts center at the Grand Market celebration in Queens. Face painting, holiday portraits and more await.
9. Drink in “A Beer Carol”
Drinking and writing tends to go hand-in-pen. A Beer Carol at the Haymarket Brew Pub combines them both with a theatrical output from craft beer advocates. One reviewer describes it as “awesome and tasty too.”
10. Visit your local Santa
Avoid long lines at the mall to see Santa and support a local bookstore with an Evening with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
11. Pop-in to a pop-up dinner
Chef Bradley Kilgore is opening a restaurant in Wynwood named Alter. Sample an exclusive 4-course fixed menu and help support a new spot.
12. Show regional writers some love
Watch a battle of wits go down at the Laboratory Theater of Florida. In this 24-hour playwriting project, 5 playwrites are given a theme, director and actors. The audience gets to see the writers’ visions come to life when the plays are performed on stage.
13. Spot the liar
Another great indie theater event in the District of Columbia. Four storytellers tell a story and only one is true. Vote and interrogate. Brace for the truth—it may be shocking.
14. Laugh locally
Need a laugh? Support the DC Arts Center by going to see local improv. Separate Beds is a senior-level improv show, so you’re practically guaranteed a few giggles.
15. Catch a cabaret show
There’s no place like home. Recapture the magic seeing this Judy Garland cabaret concert by a critically acclaimed tribute artist.
16. Get to know the North End
Boston is arguably one of the best food towns in the US. Take a neighborhood food tour and get to know the North End’s Italian fare. Find out about new restaurants and established ones you might not have heard about.
17. Go nuts
Do “The Nutcracker,” Austin-style with the Invisible Czars. Audience members are encouraged to dress up and let loose. Prizes are given out to the wearer of the best holiday costume and more.
18. Revisit a classic
Instead of big-box cinema, see a play. Bring the family out to see “Ebenezer’s Journey”—an interactive theatrical presentation in the old buildings of Pioneer Farms.
19. Sip brew made near you
Take a two-hour guided walking tour to the best local breweries in the historic LoDo. Learn the history of beer, how it’s made and maybe pick up a one-of-a-kind gift for the beer lover.
20. Brunch like a local
Forget mimosas. Drink 5 excellent Local Relic beers paired with brunched-up food at the Colorado House in Colorado Springs.
Comment below with your own ideas on shopping or supporting Small Business Saturday.
Photo 1: Shopping in Austin
Photo 2: Literary Affairs event