The studio portion of the tour at Paisley Park

Take a Prince-Themed Tour of Minnesota

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Paisley Park

Take a Prince-Themed Tour of Minnesota

By Caitlin Hannah

Prince was a born-and-bred Minnesotan who spent most of his 57 years here — someone who once told Oprah he "will always live in Minneapolis" because winter "keeps the bad people out." Here is how you can take a self-guided tour of the spots that shaped Prince, from his iconic recording studio/residence in Chanhassen to the Minneapolis nightclub immortalized in "Purple Rain".


This ex-Greyhound depot has been the center of Minneapolis’ live music scene for more than 50 years. Featuring more than 500 stars on its facade — the names of acts who have performed there — First Avenue was one of Prince’s main stages to try out his new eccentric sounds.

In 1983, the album version of the song "Purple Rain" was recorded here live. One year later, the venue set the backdrop for the concert footage in the movie of the same name. Prince's star was painted gold after his death, and thousands gathered to celebrate his life there when he passed away at 57 on April 21, 2016.


In 1990, the Glam Slam nightclub premiered in Prince’s movie “Graffiti Bridge”. Even though Glam Slam is no longer in existence, the building and the downtown Minneapolis vibes still remain. Epic Entertainment inhabited the former nightclub until recently. If you're looking for its location at 110 N 5th St, it's on the same block as the country-themed Cowboy Jack's and a gluten-free bakery called Hark! Cafe. 

Prince atrium at Paisley Park

Step into the Prince-themed atrium on a tour of Paisley Park / Paisley Park and NPG Records


Paisley Park, Prince's recording studio/residence/performance venue in the western suburb of Chanhassen, has become a destination for his fans to pay tribute to the late star. Public tours are available throughout the week and include access to Prince's recording and mixing studios, rehearsal rooms, sound stage and private music club. Not to mention a closer look at his iconic outfits, awards, instruments and other memorabilia. 

Self-guided and VIP options are available, as well as special events throughout the year, including the annual Celebration festival that features exclusive panel discussions, concerts, and Paisley Park experiences. 

Bob Dylan recording at Sound 80 studio

Bob Dylan recording at Sound 80 studio


This legendary studio is located in the heart of downtown Minneapolis and has a long history of musical firsts. In fact, they engineered and released the first digital recording, and cut the state's first No. 1 single, Lipps Inc's disco hit "Funky Town". 

Prince recorded several demos at Sound 80 in the late ’70s with his then-manager David Z — songs that helped him land a major contract with Warner Bros. Duluth's own Bob Dylan also re-recorded five songs from his classic "Blood on the Tracks" album here, setting the stage for sessions by everyone from KISS to Cat Stevens. 


According to news reports, Prince's NPG Music Publishing company purchased the small two-story home from "Purple Rain" for j$117,000 in cash less than a year before he died. The 1,348-square-foot space at 3420 Snelling Avenue South is now a private residence managed by his estate, so please be respectful.

Dakota Jazz Club interior

Catch a set at one of Minneapolis's most notable music venues, the Dakota Jazz Club / Jeffrey Newcomer, courtesy Dakota Jazz Club


Just a short walk from First Avenue you will find the Dakota. Prince was known to frequent the intimate club to support local musicians and would often show up unexpectedly. In 2013, he performed a set of shows that sold out a half hour after they were announced.


Fans of Purple Rain will remember the scene where Apollonia is asked to “purify herself in Lake Minnetonka.” Though the scene was actually filmed along the Minnesota River south of the Twin Cities near Henderson, the real Lake Minnetonka is about 30 minutes west of Minneapolis.

A wall of Prince records at Electric Fetus

A wall of Prince records at Electric Fetus


 The Electric Fetus opened in 1968 and also has a location in Duluth. Prince often frequented the popular Minneapolis record store. He would be joined by a few members of his entourage and security, and leave with a handful of new records. In fact, MPR wrote that his last purchase was during Record Store Day and included CDs by Stevie Wonder ("Talking Book"), Joni Mitchell ("Hejira") and Santana ("Santana IV"). 

Capri Theatre

Capri Theatre


The only remaining movie house in North Minneapolis, the Capri was the site of Prince's first concerts as a solo artist in January 1979. The theater still hosts films, open mic nights, and other programming for youth and adults.

Prince mural Uptown Minneapolis

An homage to Prince in Uptown by artist Rock 'Cyfi' Martinez / Courtesy Meet Minneapolis


Artist Rock "Cyfi" Martinez painted a mural of Prince a few days after his passing as "a present to the city of Minneapolis." You can find this mural at 26th and Hennepin in the Uptown neighborhood, behind the Sencha Tea building.

There is also a purple Prince mural on the wall of the Chanhassen Cinema; one in Minneapolis' North Loop that was commissioned by Floyd's 99 Barbershop; and a towering piece near the Target Center by street artist Hiero Veiga, which was unveiled as part of a weekend celebrating what would have been Prince's 64th birthday. 

Prince mural Chanhassen

One of many Prince murals can be found in Chanhassen

The town of Henderson was featured in "Purple Rain" when a scene was filmed along the Minnesota River.  There's now a mural downtown featuring Prince, First Avenue and 7th Street Entry and a little red Corvette. Fans can also pay their respects at a memorial bench surrounded by purple flowers.

Looking for a Prince tour that isn't self-guided? Go sightseeing with The Tour MSP or download the SoundAround app for a museum-style audio tour.

Caitlin Hannah

Caitlin Hannah is Explore Minnesota's senior digital social strategist. When traveling around the state, she likes spending time near the water, hiking, antique shopping, trying new restaurants, and watching hockey.