Prince, Bob Dylan, The Replacements – Minneapolis is known worldwide for its famous music scene that helped shape these local musicians into the legends they have become. Within this scene are some of the greatest concert venues in the nation. From Italian-style theaters, to contemporary dance clubs, these Minneapolis landmarks help define and create the modern music culture of today.
This downtown Minneapolis jazz club offers more than just phenomenal live music. “Eat, drink, listen,” is Dakota’s slogan, and they stay true to their word. Brown butter gnocchi, seared tuna, and duck breast are just a few of the gourmet items that distinguish their dinner menu. And the cocktails? That’s a whole different story. The “Amy Winehouse” and “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” are two of our personal favorites. If you are planning on enjoying dinner during the show, it’s wise to make a reservation, the Dakota is easily one of the most popular date destinations in town.
First Avenue & 7th St Entry
Joan Jett, Ray Charles, and Björk (along with countless other musical geniuses) have dazzled audiences at First Ave, making it one of the most historic venues in the country. The renowned club is one of the oldest independently-owned and operated music venues in the nation, and has become an icon for music lovers and venue owners alike. Prince was one of First Ave’s most frequent performers, creating some of his defining musical breakthroughs on its stage, including the first performance of Purple Rain. The venue and its unique history have played a major role in making Minneapolis the city that it is today.
In 1921, the State Theater was recognized as the most technologically advanced auditorium in the nation. Its air conditioning was a rare find in the city, and its stage floor was pure glass, illuminated from beneath to create a mesmerizing view. Today, the glass stage has been replaced and the city is abundant in air conditioned buildings, but the historical venue still holds a special place in Minnesotan’s hearts. Its Italian Renaissance architecture and vast genre of performances have made an impact on Minneapolis’ culture and history, and put the State Theater on the map as one of the city’s great accomplishments.
The University of Minnesota campus boasts one of the music scene’s most important venues: Northrop. Renovated and reopened in 2014, the theater has welcomed artists such as John Legend, Norah Jones, and Father John Misty. Northrop even hosted this year’s NFL Honor Awards during the Superbowl, where stars such as Kevin Hart, Emma Roberts, and Milo Ventimiglia were seen wandering the aisles. On top of this, the building has great acoustics and comfy seats, two necessities for music lovers throughout the city.
Visit the Turf Club for impressive artist residencies, daily happy hours, and the best basement lounge in town. The club has been around since the 1940s and has built an impressive reputation within the city. Though it may not host the mainstream acts of First Ave and Northrop, Turf Club showcases some of the best local and underground artists today’s music scene has to offer. With live shows almost every night of the week, the venue is a favorite among locals, and a destination for tourists.
This restaurant-meets-bar-meets-concert venue is one of Minneapolis’ most eclectic establishments. Visit for brunch on Saturday morning to sip on a Bloody Mary and listen to live jazz, or stop by on a Sunday night for their weekly “Night Church” featuring the best hip-hop, new indie, and house DJs in town. Icehouse truly caters to masses with a menu, apparel line, and event line-up that will empress just about anyone.