Holiday shopping tips and to-dos

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December 20, 2004 // UPDATED 4:56 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Rochelle Baltzer and sue rich
Rochelle Baltzer and sue rich

Park free

Ever noticed those small, green "Do the Town" signs on certain Downtown parking ramps and lots? What they really should say is: "Spend $20 Downtown and park here for free."

Here's how they work: Enter a "Do the Town" facility after 4 p.m. Spend $20 or more at one of the nearly 150 participating stores or restaurants (you have to plunk down an Andrew Jackson in one spot; the receipts aren't cumulative) and ask for a free parking voucher at the place of purchase. (NOTE: receipts alone do not cut it, you've got to get the official voucher.) Exit by 2 a.m. and hand the voucher to the cashier instead of your hard-earned cash.

All stores and sit-down restaurants in Gaviidae Common and City Center on 6th & Nicollet are participating, as well as dozens of independent retailers and restaurants. For a complete list of participating retailers and restaurants, and a map of "Do the Town" parking places, go to, select "How to get there" and then click on the green "Do the Town" icon.

Check out 'Snow White'

Whether you've got wee folks in tow or you just need to be able to look at pretty things and not worry about how much they cost, check out the 8th-floor auditorium at Marshall Field's, 700 Nicollet Mall. This year, Marshall Field's is celebrating the holidays Snow White style.

Guests are invited to wander through 16 animated vignettes, styled in 17th-century Normandy d/cor, recounting the Grimm Brothers' classic "Snow White." However, be prepared for a few modern twists -- the seven dwarfs' (referred to in politically correct fashion here as "little men") diamond mine turns into a disco at night, among other surprises.

Following the display, guests can visit the gift shop or get their pictures taken with Santa Claus through Dec. 24.

The display is free and open through Dec. 31 during store hours. Store hours through Sunday, Dec. 26 are Monday-Thursday and Sunday, 8 a.m.-9 p.m., and Friday, 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

If you're still up for it, pass through the Create a Tree area in Marshall Field's Trim the Home department, featuring decorated trees arranged by color and theme. More than 12 tree themes will be modeled.