Highway 61 Revisited: Bob Dylan Tour

By Explore Minnesota

The Bob Dylan mural in downtown Minneapolis
The Bob Dylan mural "Times They Are A-Changin" looms large in downtown Minneapolis / Bill Hickey, courtesy Meet Minneapolis

Follow the trail that leads from Robert Zimmerman to Bob Dylan, from the singer’s birthplace in Duluth to his childhood home in Hibbing, and to hangouts near the University of Minnesota campus where the folk singer crafted his signature sound.

DAY 1: Minneapolis & St. Paul

Biking on Stone Arch Bridge
Start your Bob Dylan tour in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul

University of Minnesota, Minneapolis campus: Dylan was enrolled from fall 1959–fall 1960.

Dinkytown, adjacent to the Minneapolis East Bank Campus:

  • Ten O'Clock Scholar (414 14th Ave. SE, now a parking lot). Dylan played here regularly from late 1959 to the fall of 1960.
  • Gray's Campus Drug (327 14th Ave. SE, now Loring Pasta Bar). Dylan lived here in a second-floor room starting in the winter of 1960.
  • "Positively 4th Street" runs through the heart of Dinkytown.
  • The Podium (425 14th Ave. SE). In 1959, Dylan bought his guitar strings here. In 1974, when Dylan returned to town to record "Blood on The Tracks," the Podium lent him a vintage Martin OO and the Podium staff was tapped to be his backup band during the recording of that album.
  • The Bastille (an erstwhile coffeehouse, formerly near the corner of Oak Street and Washington Avenue on the U of M campus): Dylan played here in the spring of 1960.

South Minneapolis

  • Sound80 (2709 E. 25th St., now another business). In 1974, Dylan gathered Minneapolis musicians to re-record new material for “Blood on the Tracks,” an album he had started in New York.

West Bank

  • Koerner, Ray and Glover, a local folk-blues group famous in the early '60s with whom Dylan hung out and jammed. Koerner & Glover occasionally perform at the West Bank joint, Palmer's Bar.

Downtown Minneapolis

  • At the corner of Fifth Street and Hennepin Avenue, just across from the Warehouse District light rail stop, a mural entitled "Times They Are A-Changin'" depicts Dylan at three stages of his life, painted by Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra in 2015.

St. Paul

  • The Purple Onion Pizza Parlor (722 N. Snelling Ave. at the corner of Minnehaha Avenue, now Hamline apartments). Dylan played here in the fall of 1959 and spring of 1960.
  • Part of the street outside CHS Field in Lowertown St. Paul was renamed Positively 4th Street in 2015.

DAY 2: Duluth, Birthplace of Bob Dylan

Looking toward downtown Duluth from Canal Park
Looking toward downtown Duluth from Canal Park / Ty Miller

First home (519 North 3rd Ave. East). Dylan was born in Duluth May 24, 1941, and lived here until 1948.

Bob Dylan Way DuluthDuluth Armory (2416 London Road). Dylan witnessed the next to last performance of Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens, who played here in February 1959 just prior to their deaths in a plane crash in Clear Lake, Iowa. Now called the Armory Arts & Music Center, it marks the end of Duluth's Bob Dylan Way, a 1.8-mile cultural pathway designated with brown, black and white signs depicting the world-famous singer/songwriter. An exhibit about Bob Dylan Way is at Fitger's, located at 600 E. Superior St. in downtown Duluth.

Bayfront Park (home of the annual Bayfront Blues Festival on Duluth's inner harbor). This is near the Duluth Event & Convention Center where Dylan performed in 1998.

"Highway 61 Revisited." Highway 61 runs for more than 400 miles (644km) in Minnesota from the southeast corner north along the Mississippi River on the Great River Road to Minneapolis-St. Paul and then to Duluth and along the North Shore Scenic Drive to Canada.

DAY 3: Hibbing, Dylan's Childhood Home

Downtown Hibbing
End your trip in Hibbing, Dylan's childhood home / Hibbing Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Childhood home (2425 7th Ave. East). Dylan lived here from 1948-1959.
  • Hibbing High School (800 E. 21st St.). Dylan's second band, The Golden Chords, performed in a talent show in the Auditorium in 1957. He graduated in 1959.
  • Dylan Drive (7th Ave. East), named in 2005.​
  • Hibbing Public Library (2020 E. 5th Ave.). Houses a Dylan exhibit based on his autobiography, Chronicles: Volume I.
  • Zimmerman's Furniture & Electric (1925 Fifth Ave E.) owned by Dylan's father from 1954-1958.
  • The Lybba Theatre (2135 First Ave.). Moviehouse built and operated from 1947-1976 by Dylan's uncles and named after his grandmother. It closed on October 28, 1982. It is now the Sunrise Deli-Lybba.​
  • Braman Music (208 E. Howard St.). Dylan took guitar lessons here.
  • L&B Cafe (417 E. Howard St.). Dylan hangout where he met Echo Helstrom (“Girl from the North Country”).
  • Collier's Barbeque and Bar (1928 E. Fourth Ave.). Dylan and The Golden Chords jammed here on Sundays in late 1957 and early 1958. His final Hibbing band, Elston Gunn and the Rock Boppers, performed here during the summer of 1958. It is now the Hong Kong Kitchen.
  • Memorial Building – Little Theater (400 E. 23rd St.). Dylan performed here with The Golden Chords at the Winter Frolic Talent Contest in February 1958. Now contains the Hibbing Historical Society Museum.