Prince’s Crib & The Birth Of Lizzo – All The Reasons You Should Visit Minneapolis
Why should you go to Minneapolis? Just ask Lizzo.
Minneapolis. Is it just another sprawling medium-sized American City in the Midwest, inhabited by characters like those from Coen Bros’ Fargo? We all have our own preconceptions about places we haven’t been - and we can definitely say ours was not what this unique city is about.
So, what makes Minneapolis a go-to city?
For starters, there’s the creative culture and talent of the place matched by a host of amazing venues to experience it. The city punches way above its weight, particularly when it comes to nurturing and stimulating music of all types - from the familiar to the new, attracting worldwide stars as well as local talent, all wanting to put on shows in the special atmosphere this city generates.
The city has nurtured some megastars and has been a setting that has shaped many artists in their early careers. We all know about Prince, but did you know Bob Dylan’s career also took off here? Fans can still follow in his footsteps, where he lived, loved and played, right here in Minneapolis.
It doesn’t just stop with them, there are many more recent artists beginning their journey here. Lizzo also owes much of her success to the city, describing it as ‘the place I learned how to be an artist’: “There’s something magical here that allows you to find the parts of you that are special and weird and turn that into your art.”
So, Minneapolis has a great musical heritage but it also has many great places to visit. Here are our top picks of things to do...
Visit Paisley Park, The Home Of Prince
Ever wanted to check out Prince’s crib? Get a glimpse of the star’s private estate and production complex? First impressions are misleading from the outside, as it’s a fairly anonymous building located in a quiet suburb just outside Minneapolis. However, it’s not your average house, even for a rock star. It’s a $6.7 million complex extending to 65,000 square-feet - that’s four times the size of Elvis’ Graceland. The grandiose property has an almost dream-like quality to it, drenched in his trademark purple.
As the tour gets going you get to see the multiple recording studios, his iconic wardrobe and guitars, his eclectic art, the kitchen where he enjoyed watching reruns of New Girl and even his own full-sized nightclub. Then at the rear, a door opens to the ‘performance space’, his own theatre the size of an aircraft hanger.
Head To Mainroom At First Avenue
Check out First Avenue, the most iconic music venue in the state. Known for its deep-rooted history and connection with the music scene in Minneapolis, the exterior is emblazoned with stars bearing the names of the renowned musicians who have sold out the venue. Prince’s star stands out as it was adorned in gold leaf by fans after his passing.
First Avenue houses two performance spaces - the Mainroom and 7th St Entry. Open nightly and with 1000’s of gigs each year, it showcases a massive variety of musical acts and styles as well as offering up some of the best local talent around.
LOADS Of Music Festivals
If you time it right, you can experience the unique energy and atmosphere of one of the city’s regular outdoor music festivals. Hip-hop lovers can check out Soundset, one of the largest annual hip-hop music festivals in the country. For Indie/rock lovers, head to Rock the Garden, with artists performing in the Walker Art Sculpture Garden all day long.
And for lovers of good beer, go off the beaten track to Surly’s brewery. Not only is it a big and lively place for eating and drinking, it hosts its own Summer of Sound Series, with the likes of Tame Impala performing in their backyard this summer.
Record Shopping At Electric Fetus
If it’s records you’re after, get yourself to Electric Fetus, a strange title for one of America’s finest record dealers, which was established back in 1968. If you collect vinyl you’ll never want to leave this place, and even if you are not a collector, you’ll find it a quirky and interesting place to visit, catering for all tastes in music. Prince was a regular, visiting almost every month, even in his last days.
Where to stay
As for places to stay, there’s plenty of choice and the standards are high. Check out the seven-bedroom boutique Hotel Alma, a former firehouse in the oldest riverfront neighbourhood in Minneapolis, owned by award-winning chef Alex Robert.
If you are only in Minneapolis for a few days head to the AC Hotel Bloomington. Perfectly situated near the airport and The Mall Of America - the largest mall in the US (which includes its own indoor theme park!)
That’s our experience of what Minneapolis has to offer but it’s only a sample. There’s plenty more things to see and do in the city. Check out www.minneapolis.org & www.visittheusa.co.uk/music for more info.
MTV Travelled with... British Airways. Flights from London Heathrow into Minneapolis and returning from Austin from GBP 541.52 return. BA does not serve Minneapolis directly, travel is via Chicago onward with American Airlines. For further information, please visit www.britishairways.com