There are a lot of factors that contribute to a killer night out listening to live music. The vibe of the crowd, the look and feel of the surroundings, the sight lines, the sound quality, the food and drink selection…not to mention the music itself! From up-and-coming to the legendary locale, we’ve got your guide to Minnesota’s best places to enjoy indie rock. Check with each venue directly for the musical acts they’ll be featuring soon.
701 First Ave. N.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
How can you start a list of the best places to see indie rock in Minnesota and not include First Avenue and 7th Street Entry? This storied structure in downtown Minneapolis has welcomed iconic musicians for the last 45+ years, including local legend Prince, U2, The Ramones and others. In fact, First Avenue was the setting for Prince’s “Purple Rain.” Today, indie rock artists and other musicians continue to play to packed audiences in the two performance areas here – the Mainroom, which can entertain up to 1550 people, and the Entry, which has the capacity for 250.
1308 4th St. S.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55414
The intimate setting, gorgeous décor and ambiance of the Varsity Theater make it a favorite of music lovers in the Twin Cities. The quality of sound, great sight lines from multiple viewing areas (including the sought-after mezzanine) and large dance floor also contribute to the popularity. Set in Dinkytown in the heart of the University of Minnesota’s Minneapolis campus, you’ll find plenty of college kids here but an eclectic mix of other music fans as well. Being a larger venue for the area, national acts and larger local bands are the norm for the Varsity.
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1931 Nicollet Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Reverie is lesser known as a music hot spot but it’s a must-try for those in seek of a laid back, local vibe. Enjoy indie rock, jazz and more after 9 p.m. nearly every night. Craft brew lovers will appreciate the solid beer menu and the plant-based food selection will surprise and delight traditional meat-eaters. Plus, the location on the corner of Franklin and Nicollet is easy to get to, with nearby bus lines and free lot parking.
6th St. & Wabasha
St. Paul, MN 55102
Amsterdam hosts musical acts in a space that transforms from an intimate setting for as many as 125 fans to a gathering hall for up to 600. The vibe here is hipster and the crowds descend upon the venue at night for show times. That is not to say that Amsterdam isn’t worth the visit earlier in the day. The eclectic international menu satisfies hungry patrons for daily lunch and weekend brunch as well, and features favorites like frites (fries), broodjes (sandwiches) and delectable ‘pot’ brownies.
629 Cedar Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55454
While First Avenue and the Varsity Theater showcase bigger acts, the Triple Rock Social Club features up-and-coming artists. Loud music and a wide selection of drinks make this a popular spot to see your favorite indie rock bands, metal groups and other genres. Triple Rock also happens to have good eats and an expansive vegan menu. Meat-eaters will also be thrilled with a kitchen open until midnight on weekends, serving up burgers, po’ boys and wings.
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