By Matt Sabongi
One of my favorite aspects about the Twin Cities is the amazing music scene here. No matter what genre of music you enjoy, the Twin Cities hosts artists from all over the world to play intimate venues like the Cedar Cultural Center near the University's West Bank or soldout stadiums like the Target Center. Minneapolis and St. Paul are great locations for any kind of music lover.
I am a huge music fan. On a weekly basis I try to go see at least one artist that I have not seen before. Being one of the major metropolitan areas in the Midwest and a enclave for artists of all kinds, the Twin Cities attracts both upcoming and mainstream musicians throughout the year. For those of you who are new to the area, here are a few of my favorite venues around campus that I recommend:
First and foremost is First Avenue and the 7th Street Entry. This is a must-see venue! This club/danceria/concert hall an amazing spot to see any kind of concert. No matter if you're into hip hop, jazz, latin, dance, indie, or folk, First Avenue has a diverse giglist that will interest every music buff. From campus, getting to First Ave. (as we locals like to call it) is an easy 15-minute bus ride into downtown.
Another one of my favorite venues in the area is the Varsity Theater. Conveniently located in the heart of Dinkytown, the Varsity Theater is within walking distance for students anywhere on campus. According to the theater's webpage, this historical venue has been hosting gatherings since 1915. With an amazing sound system and intimate, ballroom setting inside, the Varsity is a phenomanal spot to see any show.
One of my most memorable experiences as a music fanatic actually occurred while seeing a show the University of Minnesota's own venue, The Whole. During my sophomore year, I was able to meet Minneapolis's own Brother Ali during a private Q&A hosted by our student radio station, Radio K. Located on the basement floor of Coffman Memorial Union, The Whole is a quaint, coffeehouse-like venue that hosts local artists from the Twin Cities and small groups traveling around the area. Most weekends throughout the school year, Student Unions and Activities invites artists from all over to perform.
I hope this small list of venues sparks your interest for the vibrant music culture here in the Twin Cities. In addition to these 3 venues, I encourage you to visit some of the many great music establishments while living on or near campus.