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Minneapolis-St Paul Nightlife


The Twin Cities' nightlife is concentrated mostly in Minneapolis. While St Paul has a number of relaxed bars and pubs and a few live music venues, it tends to be much quieter and goes to sleep earlier than its counterpart across the river.

Minneapolis buzzes at night, with enough bars, clubs, pubs, restaurants and live music venues to satisfy those with voracious cultural appetites. Minneapolis' nightlife is concentrated in several neighbourhoods, each with its own personality: the Warehouse District is an up-and-coming hotspot with trendy restaurants, clubs, and cocktail bars for those who like to see and be seen; Nicollet Mall has some of the city's longest-running music venues, like the Dakota Jazz Club, next to Orchestra Hall and a number of top restaurants; the Hennepin Theatre District is home to the Block E collection of restaurants and bars, along with Minneapolis' big three theatres, the State, the Orpheum, and the Pantages. A more offbeat experience can be had at the Wabasha Street Caves in St Paul, which served as speakeasies during prohibition and now host swing dancing on Thursdays.

Minneapolis is known as a hub of theatre and classical music in the midwest United States, with several venues, like the Guthrie, Ordway, State and Orpheum Theatres, enjoying national reputations. The Minneapolis Fringe Festival happens every August and showcases highlights from local companies. The Minnesota Opera, the St Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Minnesota Dance Theatre are all highly regarded, and the various universities in the area stage various productions during the school year.

Dinkytown is the place to go for a cheap and funky night out, as long as classes are in session. The neighbourhood is dominated by students from the nearby University of Minnesota, and there are a few buzzing venues that draw big crowds, like the Loring Pasta Bar and the Varsity Theatre, which hosts indie bands, film screenings, and dance nights.

Uptown is the ultimate hip destination however, with quirky clubs and music venues that create a unique atmosphere. While some come and go, there are established favourites like Famous Dave's BBQ, which hosts live blues music; and the Bryant Lake Bowl, which combines food and live music with bowling.

The Twin Cities are a major concert destination, with the biggest events happening in the Target Center and the Xcel Energy Center. Those arenas host everything from rock concerts to circuses to sporting events and rodeos.

Grab a free copy of The City Pages for the latest entertainment listings while you're in town.

Our Travel Expert

An American expat currently living in South Africa, Anya Klaassen has travelled widely as a musician and writer.

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