The Fitzgerald Theater in downtown St. Paul / Photo by Tylor Boland
Don't Miss the Show.
With more than 440 theaters throughout Minnesota, there is a show for every taste, from drama to comedy to big Broadway musicals, ballet to modern dance, professional to up-and-comers. New venues and new shows provide even more reasons to make going to the theater part of your Minnesota vacation.
From classic holiday shows to community theater festivals, Minnesota’s stellar reputation for the performing arts—theater, classical music and popular music alike—continues to grow.
So grab a friend, get your tickets and enjoy the show!
Explore MN Theater is a partnership between the Minnesota Theater Alliance and Explore Minnesota, sponsored by Twin Cities PBS.
It’s no surprise that Minnesota’s busiest arts scene is in Minneapolis, our largest city. But in smaller college towns throughout the state, students and faculty generate enough excitement for the arts to support destination-worthy galleries, museums, theater and more.
When Sir Tyrone Guthrie founded Minneapolis’ Guthrie Theater in 1963, he was widely recognized as a great name in the tradition of English theater. Before that, there was the Minnesota Orchestra, founded in 1903 as the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra. From roots this deep, Minnesota’s stellar reputation for the performing arts—theater, classical music and popular music alike—continues to grow.
In the performing arts, the history and character of a stage can be as powerful as the act itself. Minnesota is home to a number of older stages that have been lovingly restored and continue to host live music today. Here are five notable venues where spectators can appreciate not only the talent onstage, but also the history of the venue within its community.
Across Minnesota, many historic theaters were built for stage performance and later converted for film. In many older cities and towns, old buildings have been lovingly restored over the decades to entertain generation after generation, from vaudeville to flickering silent pictures and into the era of high-definition digital video. Here are some of the state’s most notable historic theaters, where the action on the screen is only part of the magic.
While New York is synonymous with Broadway, and California is home to Hollywood, Minnesota has earned its rightful place among these theatrical heavyweights. In fact, Minneapolis ranks as the fifth-most “creatively vital” city in the country, right after D.C., LA, NYC and Boston, according to the latest report by the Western States Arts Federation. The Twin Cities aren’t the only place to find notable stages. Of the more than 440 theaters throughout the state, close to 200 are in greater Minnesota. This year, new venues and new shows provide even more reasons to make going to the theater part of your Minnesota vacation.
Performing arts abound in Minnesota, and it’s not just the Twin Cities venues that have audiences cheering. In the northwest part of the state, orchestras, choirs, theater groups and concert halls have a full calendar of impressive performances all year long. Whether you’re headed to Bemidji, Moorhead, Walker, Detroit Lakes, Park Rapids or Thief River Falls, consider adding a live show to your must-see list.
To some, art and theater come across as stuffy, sophisticated and best suited to adults. But not here. Multiple museums, theaters and performing arts groups in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area cater to the littlest ones in the family with special exhibits, performances and events created just for them.
Minnesota’s top-notch professional theater scene gets plenty of well-deserved attention, but there’s a home-town exuberance and excitement that’s unique to community theater—plays performed by amateur actors out of civic pride and love of the art, with auditions open to all.
Arts and architecture are a draw in Winona, in scenic Mississippi River bluff country.