Bradley Carlin: Minneapolis Live Music — Three Local Music Spots to Check Out this Weekend

The Minneapolis music scene is as diverse as it is ubiquitous. No matter your genre of preference, you’re destined to find a great local spot to enjoy some of your favorite artists, as well as discover new bands and artists just getting started in their careers.

Whether you’re a local or are just passing through, here are a few legendary Minneapolis music venues to check out.

First Avenue

Housed in a remodeled Greyhound bus depot from the 1930’s, First Avenue is actually made up of two venues: the First Avenue main room (capacity 1500), and the more intimate 7th St. Entry (about 250 seats); these rooms tend to feature national and local acts, respectively. Since the first show by Joe Cocker in 1970, tons of music greats have played here, 531 of which are immortalized in stars painted on the building’s exterior. Many now-famous Twin Cities bands got their start here, including The Replacements, Soul Asylum, Semisonic, The Jayhawks, and of course Prince, who filmed much of his 1984 film Purple Rain at the club. With over 550 shows annually, there’s plenty more music to come at First Ave and The Entry.

701 N 1st Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403;


If you’re one who prefers enjoying musical acts alongside a great meal, then Icehouse just might be for you. The restaurant boasts a broad range of musical acts from virtually every genre each week, with many of the afternoon and early evening acts appearing for no cover charge. The club’s chic industrial design provides great views of the stage from practically any seat in the house. And Sunday nights offer a dance party called “Nightchurch” for those who want to move to the latest hip-hop and house music.

2528 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis, MN;

Dakota Jazz Club

The Dakota Jazz Club is an absolute must for fans of the artistry and finesse behind jazz and folk music. Recently, New Orleans-style music and blues have been making more regular appearances on the Dakota stage. This longstanding club gives off a pleasant vibe of refined sophistication without being overly pretentious or stuffy. With music every night of the week and an outstanding food and cocktail menu, it’s a must-see for any jazz afficionados visiting or living in downtown Minneapolis.

1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN;

Brad is statistician and a longtime musician who contributes to several bands throughout the Minnesota area.

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