Twin Cities Art and Theater Weekend

By Explore Minnesota

Take a long weekend in Minneapolis and St. Paul to immerse yourself in culture, theater, music and fine dining. Getting out on the towns will stimulate all of your senses.

DAY 1: Mill City Museum and Guthrie Theater

Guthrie TheaterDAY: Visit the Mill City Museum, located along the picturesque Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis. The museum is built into flour mill ruins, and tells the story of the flour industry, the river and the city. Explore the riverfront area while here.

EVENING: Choose from three dining options at the Guthrie Theater to suit your taste buds or pocketbook: Sea Change is an upscale seafood restaurant; Level Five Café is a more casual option, and Express offers sandwiches and coffee. The Target Lounge is the place for cocktails and an extraordinary view of the Mississippi riverfront from the cantilevered bridge. Other restaurants are within walking distance.

Alternatives for live theater abound in Minneapolis. Check the lineups at downtown theater district venues such as the historic State, Orpheum, and Pantages theatres. Others in Minneapolis neighborhoods include Mixed Blood Theatre, Children’s Theatre Company, Pillsbury House Theatre, Ten Thousand Things Theater and more.

DAY 2: Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Russian Museum of Art, Night of Music

DAY: The MIA is the Twin Cities’ encyclopedic museum, housing more than 80,000 objects spanning 5,000 years of world history. Look for the clever Art ReMixes: contemporary art mixed within the historical collections, revealing connections across time and culture. The Museum of Russian Art, located in a beautiful, remodeled church, hosts exhibits of all types of Russian art and culture. Both museums are located in south Minneapolis.

EVENING: Indulge at one of the many fine restaurants on or near Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis, and select the perfect venue to experience the Minneapolis music scene. Orchestra Hall presents classical and pops by the Minnesota Orchestra and other programs with artists such as Bobby McFerrin. The Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant features top international jazz artists and local talent and some artists outside of the jazz genre. First Avenue and Fine Line Music Café present hip and established acts ranging from alt-rock, punk, funk, hip-hop and electronica styles.

DAY 3: Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Chambers, St. Paul Theater

Spoonbridge Cherry SculptureDAY: Walker Art Center is internationally renowned for its contemporary art collection, exhibits, performances, films and programs with leading art world figures. While there, don’t miss the next-door Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, one of the largest urban sculpture parks. The garden’s centerpiece is Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s Spoonbridge and Cherry, which has become a Twin Cities icon. Head back into the heart of downtown and visit Le Méridien Chambers Minneapolis to see contemporary art displayed throughout the hotel, including its art gallery.

EVENING: For your last evening, head to St. Paul for dinner and a performance. Find fine restaurants in the Rice Park area, including Pazzaluna, Meritage, Sakura and the St. Paul Grill in the historic Saint Paul Hotel. Stroll through Rice Park to a show at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts. The Ordway is home to award-winning musicals, touring Broadway shows, and events featuring The Minnesota Opera, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Schubert Club. Alternative downtown venues include the History Theatre, the Fitzgerald Theater and Park Square Theatre. Penumbra Theatre Company, one of the nation’s preeminent African American theatres, is located west of downtown St. Paul.

TRIP EXTENDERS: Minnesota Fringe Festival, Suburban Art & Theater

Plan a trip during Minnesota Fringe, the Midwest’s largest performing arts festival. More than 1,000 artists present theater, comedy, dance, storytelling and other performances at more than a dozen venues in Minneapolis and St. Paul over 11 days in August.

Soak up art in communities just outside of the metro area. In the western suburbs, check out  the Minnetonka Center for the Arts, Old Log Theater, Plymouth Playhouse, and Hopkins Center for the Arts. South of the Twin Cities, explore the Burnsville Performing Arts Center and Caponi Art Park, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres and Bloomington Center for the Arts. A great summer destination is the 20-acre Franconia Sculpture Park, about 45 minutes northeast of the Twin Cities.