MINNEAPOLIS— Minneapolis is known for musicians like Prince, Bob Dylan and Lizzo, who got their starts playing for live audiences right here.
Today, you can listen to music in venues of all sizes throughout the city, where you may just discover the next global phenomenon in a small club or catch the popular live acts on tour in a bigger concert venue. There are brand new spots like the intimate, 150-capacity Cloudland Theater, which opened on East Lake Street this month, and the recently revamped Uptown Theater, which used to draw movie fans to the neighborhood and now has live music and events, help offer even more variety for concertgoers to the city’s thriving music scene. There’s not a night in Minneapolis where you can’t find live music spanning all genres.
From U.S. Bank Stadium to Northrop Auditorium and from Bunker’s to backyard concerts, there are many different places to hear music in Minneapolis. We’re here to help you know where to start. Here are 10 live music venues in Minneapolis that you should know:
One of the longest running, independently owned and operated venues in the United States, First Avenue is a musical paradise and iconic venue that has launched the careers of musicians such as Prince and Lizzo. For more than 50 years, international, national, regional and local acts have graced the stage, and you can see many of their names on the stars painted on the outside of the building. The 7th St Entry is a smaller venue attached to First Avenue, which also hosts national and local bands in a more intimate space.
At one point the most expensive building in Minnesota, the historic Armory hosts a multitude of international and national artists and bands, comedians, sporting events, and more in downtown Minneapolis. Lil Uzi Vert and Pierce the Veil are examples of two upcoming concerts that attract crowds that wind around the building to get the best spots inside.
Like its namesake in San Francisco, catch a national touring band or something more local at The Fillmore in Minneapolis. With 22,000 square feet of space, this venue boasts a spacious and upscale music hall, intimate VIP lounge and a full-service restaurant and bar.
The Dakota has been drawing jazz and other music fans to Nicollet for decades. The intimate venue includes a full-service, chef-driven restaurant and bar paired with live music seven nights a week. The Dakota brings in international stars, such as Grammy Award winners Chris Botti and Rosanne Cash, who have upcoming multi-night shows.
Watch a performance by the Grammy Award-winning Minnesota Orchestra, led by new Music Director Thomas Søndergård, who just began his first season this fall. The modernist design and stunning acoustics make it a memorable night for all ages, including the orchestra’s popular Movies and Music nights, where they perform the soundtrack of popular films as the audience watches the movies.
Fine Line brings nationally and regionally known performers right to North Loop’s Warehouse District. Owned and operated by First Avenue, this venue offers an intimate and lively night. Noname and Kidd G are performing here soon.
In the heart of the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, which is an intersection of East Africans, university students and longtime residents, is the Cedar Cultural Center. It’s a mission-driven, nonprofit music venue promoting intercultural appreciation through global music and dance. The Cedar hosts 200+ shows a year, featuring world legends and up-and-coming artists.
Once a vaudeville house and movie theater, this historic theater is now a well-sought after concert venue in the Dinkytown neighborhood near the University of Minnesota campus. The theater features stunning design concepts, including an award-winning bathroom (that’s true!). It is on the same block where a young Robert Zimmerman (known today as Bob Dylan) lived during his 1959-60 stint at the University and likely inspired his “Positively 4th Street” title.
Located in Uptown, this music venue is filled with greenery, chandeliers, murals and abundant multi-level seating, as well as standing room to hear acts like Kevin Gamble Trio and Accordo. Green Room hosts local and national shows, with events ranging from 18+ and 21+ to all ages nights.
The Skyway Theatre & The Loft
Once a multiplex movie theater, the Skyway Theatre is now host to two music venues on Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis. The main venue features a sloping floor, balcony and amazing acoustics with great views from every angle. The Loft is a smaller venue for up-close performances. Bar Fly, Studio B and The Lyric complete the scene with more intimate shows. Catch upcoming acts like CloZee, Memba and Temptress.