In the Spotlight
New performance spaces add to the array of destinations devoted to the arts.
About six years ago, Minneapolis Saint Paul experienced an â€śarts explosion.â€ť Renovations to the Childrenâ€™s Theatre Company, the addition of the new Guthrie Theater, as well as upgrades at local museums, led to a celebration of our citiesâ€™ art and culture. In the last year there has been another round of cultural additions to some of our more than 30 performance venues.
Last fall, the Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts opened in downtown Minneapolis on Hennepin Avenue. This new stage capitalizes on the areaâ€™s rank as one of the top five cities for dance in the United States. Here, the James Sewell Ballet, Minnesota Dance Theatre, Ragamala Dance and other companies take the stage.
But the Cowles Center isnâ€™t the only new kid on the block. The Brave New Workshop, also on Hennepin Avenue, brings more laughs than ever in its new location. Founded by Dudley Riggs, the oldest improvisational comedy theater in the nation boasts alumni such as Senator Al Franken. Just down the street, the New Century Theatre, a flexible black box stage, joins the three historic Hennepin Theatre District stages on Hennepin Avenueâ€”the State, Pantages and Orpheum. Each year, the district continues to draw more than 500,000 patrons to comedy shows, concerts and Broadway performances. Donâ€™t miss hits such as American Idiot (Feb. 21-26), Mamma Mia (April 24-29) and Blue Man Group (June 15-24).
In Saint Paul, Garrison Keillorâ€™s live radio show A Prairie Home Companion is still a hit at the Fitzgerald Theater. Great shows also take the stage of the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, home of the Minnesota Opera and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Catch musical hits such as the Tony Award-winning Memphis (March 12-15) and Fela (June 12-17). The stages of the Park Square Theatre and Penumbra Theatre are always filled with talents. The Penumbra launched the career of August Wilson and is one of only three professional African-American theaters in the country.
The Regional Theatre Tony Award-winning Childrenâ€™s Theatre Company (CTC) in Minneapolis is the premiere childrenâ€™s performance center in the nation, according to Time magazine. This season the CTC brings several favorite tales to the stage, like Harold and the Purple Crayon (Through Feb. 26) and Pippi Longstocking (April 24-June 10). Another Minneapolis stage boasts a Regional Tony Award. The Guthrie Theater, designed by Jean Nouvel, features amazing architectural details, like the Endless Bridge that juts out toward the Mississippi River and provides views of the Historic Riverfront District. The three stages here showcase modern and classic favorites each season, such as Cat On a Hot Tin Roof (Through Feb. 26), End of the Rainbow (Through March 11), Roman Holiday (June 9-Aug. 19) and The Sunshine Boys (July 7-Sept. 2).
Outside the cities, take in dinner and a show at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, known for starting Amy Adams on her Academy Award-nominated career. Just 30 minutes southwest of Minneapolis Saint Paul, the theater complex stages a number of musical theater favorites year round.
Music lovers may soak up sounds at another of our beloved local orchestras. Directed by the internationally acclaimed Osmo VĂ¤nskĂ¤, the 98-member Minnesota Orchestra performs almost 200 programs each year in Minneapolisâ€™ Orchestra Hall. However, Orchestra Hall will undergo extensive renovations during the 2012-2013 season. During this time, the Orchestra will perform in the auditorium of the nearby Minneapolis Convention Center. Alex Ross of The New Yorker had this to say about the orchestraâ€™s Carnegie Hall stop in 2010, when it played Sibeliusâ€™ choral symphony Kullervo in 2010: â€śFor the duration of the evening, the Minnesota Orchestra sounded, to my ears, like the greatest orchestra in the world.â€ť
Minneapolis Saint Paul also has a talented collection of vocal groups to share with the world such as VocalEssence Chorus and Ensemble Singers, directed by the famed Philip Brunelle, or the Minnesota Chorale. Grab a seat and enjoy the show.
Iâ€™m here. Now what?
Known as a hip and trendy destination, Uptown has its own unique atmosphere. Converging at Lake Street and Hennepin Avenue, Uptown is filled with shops, bars and restaurants, and is always bustling with activities like art fairs and festivities.
: Uptown is brimming with great eateries. Spice up your day at Chino Latino
, the local hot spot featuring food from the Caribbean, South America, Africa and more. The skyâ€™s the limit at Uptown Cafeteria and Support Group
. In the summer months, take the glass elevator up to the Sky Bar for a view of the city. Check out Moto-I
for sake and sushi or Bryant-Lake Bowl
for organic food and bowling.
: Visit Calhoun Square
for one-stop shopping at stores like Timberland
and Geetanjoli Sari Fashion
. Stock up on the gear you need for your next adventure at Columbia Sportswear
or spruce up your wardrobe at Local Motion
boutique, which sells wares from local designers. Peruse new and used books at Magers & Quinn Booksellers
or pick up a gift at Patina
: Curious about electricity and magnetism? Make sure to stop by the Bakken Museum
for family fun activities. Find the perfect escape at the art deco Uptown Theatre
and see an indie or foreign language flick.
: Explore the beauty of Lakes Calhoun
and Lake of the Isles
. Take a walk, grab a snack, rent a kayak or sit on the beach. From July 13-21, enjoy the thrill of Minneapolisâ€™ Aquatennial
celebration with many free events at Lake Calhounâ€™s Thomas Beach.
Muse at the Museum
Explore our nearly 60 museums to learn about science, art, history and everything in between.
Minneapolis Saint Paul museums have never failed to impress art aficionados, science geeks or history buffs alike. With nearly 60 museums (only Chicago and Washington D.C. can boast more), exhibits cover a wide range of topics and visitors are guaranteed to find a gallery of interest and inspiration.
Designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum has drawn the admiration of art lovers and the local community for its innovative design and excellent collections since opening in 1993. Gehry returned last fall to expand and renovate the museum, adding two new wings, five more gallery spaces and more stainless steel to the glistening faĂ§ade. Even with all of the improvements at the Weisman, the museumâ€™s dedication to accessibility means that admission remains free and open to the public.
The American Swedish Institute is located in the Turnblad mansion, the former residence of Swedish immigrants. The castle-like structure, built in 1908 complete with turrets and gargoyles, just unveiled renovations to its lower level.
Learn more about the great state of Minnesota at Saint Paulâ€™s Minnesota History Center. Explore exhibits like Minnesotaâ€™s Greatest Generation, where visitors can see the sacrifices made by Minnesotans during the Great Depression and World War II. Minneapolisâ€™ Mill City Museum also provides a good history lesson. Deemed the â€śmost explosive museum in America,â€ť this museum shows how the mills of Pillsbury and General Mills contributed to the growth of the city.
Newsweek considers the Walker Art Center â€śpossibly the best contemporary art museum in the U.S.,â€ť and art lovers from across the country hail it as a top destination. Showcasing amazing multimedia works from the past two centuries, the Walker makes modern art accessible and fascinating for everyone. And with a WAC Pack rental, kids gain a better understanding of modern art as they stroll through the museum. Speaking of strolling, donâ€™t forget to take one through the 11-acre Minneapolis Sculpture Garden right outside of the Walker and admire the iconic Spoonbridge & Cherry and more than 40 other works.
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is also a must-see. With nearly 100,000 pieces covering 5,000 years and several continents, the free museum is home to an encyclopedic array of artistic expressions and collections guaranteed to inspire.
Plan a family fun day at one of Saint Paulâ€™s many museums, which overflow with hands-on activities. On the banks of the Mississippi River, youâ€™ll find the Science Museum of Minnesota. Known around the world for its interactive traveling exhibits and large-format Omnitheater, this museum has countless exciting things to see and do. Explore the Dinosaurs & Fossils gallery to see one of only four real mounted Triceratops specimens in the world or check out Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah from Slave Ship to Pirate Ship (opens Feb. 18). Nearby, your kids can feel free to crawl around, climb on and scamper through the exhibits at the Minnesota Childrenâ€™s Museum. The interactive exhibits strongly encourage the museumâ€™s young visitors to experiment and exercise their imagination.
Saint Paulâ€™s James J. Hill House is also a great walkthrough experience, representing just one of the many historic family homes Minneapolis Saint Paul has to offer. Explore the history, art and science of our many museums and historic homes.
Iâ€™m here. Now what?
Minneapolis is a metropolis that is more friendly and easy to navigate than other large cities around the country. With shopping and activities, downtown has something for everyone. Explore from the street or skyways year round.
: Find out what tasty creations James Beard Award winner Tim McKee has to offer at La Belle Vie
(near the Walker Art Center). Visit The Local
for a taste of traditional Irish cuisine. For authentic Spanish tapas and paella, head to Solera
. Or experience the perfect blend of sophistication, entertainment and dining at Crave
: Hours of shopping fun can be found along Nicollet Mall
, a pedestrian-friendly street with countless cafes, bookshops and boutiques. Head in to Gaviidae Common
for an assortment of high-end shops, including Neiman Marcus. Pick out a rare book at James & Mary Laurie Booksellers
. From May to October, find fruits, veggies and flowers at the Minneapolis Farmersâ€™ Market
as it sets up along Nicollet every Thursday.
: Check out whatâ€™s showing on the stages of the Hennepin Theatre District
in the heart of downtown. Catch a baseball game and cheer on the Minnesota Twins in their outdoor ballpark, Target Field
. Visit the Walker Art Center
, hailed as a top modern art destination by art critics across the country.
: Take in a show at the Mixed Blood Theatre
, which provides no-cost admissions for every mainstage production. Tickets are first come, first serve. Register online or in the lobby before the show for available tickets.