Minneapolis/St. Paul is more often than not a stop for national acts, and we have a thricing local music scene. Here's where to see everyone from big name acts to the latest national sensation, plus local legends and newcomers on the Twin Cities music scene.
Many artists on their national or world tours stop at First Avenue when they come to the Twin Cities. It's the most famous rock music venue in town. The main room of First Avenue has shows from the most popular local underground artists and the most famous touring names. The Seventh Street Entry is a smaller, very intimate venue for lesser-known artists, but the band playing the Entry on any given day is often more famous than any other gig in town that night.
This two-level venue is a favorite haunt for established local bands, up-and-coming artists, and the occasional national act.
In Dinkytown, the Varsity Theater is a great supporter of local bands and artists. The Varsity Theater probably has the most national acts of any of the smaller venues, after First Avenue.
This jazz club is in downtown St. Paul, in the basement of the Hamm building. It was designed by, and is owned and operated by jazz musicians, and has live music almost every night.
Underground acts, both local and national, play the Cabooze in Cedar-Riverside. Folk, punk, rap and rock are represented at this popular venue.
Another venue in Cedar-Riverside, the Cedar is a non-profit organization and voracious supporter of local arts and musicians. Bands and artists from all genres of music play here, and the venue holds art festivals, dance and other performances too. The Cedar mostly hosts local acts, but the occasional national name plays here too.
Also in Cedar Riverside, the Triple Rock Social Club seems to be only as wide as it is high, but that makes your experience with whatever punk, metal or garage rock band playing more intense. If you are seeing a show on Wednesday, stop in the Triple Rock bar next door for drink specials and free bacon. That's right, free bacon.
In St. Paul, this venerable venue hosts many local punk, rock and rap acts, both new and legendary. This is one of the few venues in St. Paul to host national acts, in conjunction with First Avenue. The Turf Club has indie rock, rap, punk and metal, and another room downstairs where jazz acts play.
Another one of the handful of live music venues in St. Paul. Station 4 is a nightclub some of the time, and a venue for mainly rock, hard rock and metal acts. Mostly lesser known local artists, but the occasional up-and-coming national act plays here.
Free music and Pabst Blue Ribbon can be found at locations across Minneapolis. The Hexagon
has been grimey since the 1930s but their monthly Surf Night is awesome, there's live music every weekend night, and never a cover charge.
The 331 in Northeast, and sister venue the 501 Club host the latest bands for the hipster crowd, and it's always free admission. Palmer's Bar, in Cedar Riverside, has a tiny stage so the musicians have been known to end up dancing on the bar. Occasionally there's a cover, but generally free.
Stadiums and Larger Venues
The Twin Cities doesn't have a dedicated venue for large concerts.
The Target Center in Minneapolis, and the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, host the most famous national acts that visit Minneapolis/St. Paul. Both are multi-purpose venues that hold sporting events as well as music, so neither has exceptionally good acoustics, but are otherwise decent places to see live music.