There are a lot of great and not-so-great musical acts that have lived in and developed their sound in Minnesota—and in Minneapolis, especially. From Hüsker Dü to Lipps, Inc to The Hold Steady and Lizzo, Minneapolis has been a hotbed for all kinds of music.
But no musician stands as tall over the city of Minneapolis as the one and only Prince. Lots of people make pilgrimages to Minnesota to feel some of the spirit that Prince brought to the world, but they don’t always know the best Prince things to do in Minneapolis.
If you want to be a Minnesota prince, you need to know where to go and how to best channel The Purple One’s spirit. So here are some tips for you to experience the best Prince attractions Minneapolis has to offer.
Experience Live, Local Music
The first thing you need to remember about Prince is that he loved live music. He loved playing it and he loved supporting it. One of his favorite things about the live music scene in Minneapolis was that it was so diverse.
In four nights in Minneapolis, you can see a rock band, a jazz show, a great DJ, and hopping Bluegrass concert. There is so much to see and experience. And when Prince was alive, he loved experiencing all of it.
The two most famous Minneapolis venues that Prince would frequent that are still going today are First Avenue and The Dakota. Both are located in beautiful Downtown Minneapolis and definitely top the list of Prince things to do in Minneapolis.
First Avenue is famous for being the location where much of Purple Rain was filmed—and it’s also where the album version of the song Purple Rain was recorded live. The building is covered with silver stars displaying the names of acts that have performed there. But it has one golden star—the one with Prince’s name.
But that’s not the only Prince nightclub Minneapolis has to offer. The Dakota is an intimate jazz club that Prince loved to frequent. He was often seen at The Dakota supporting the local jazz scene and experiencing unforgettable, one-of-a-kind performances.
But making a princely pilgrimage isn’t just about visiting the places he frequented. It’s about going where he would go if he were still alive. There is no official “Prince’s Club Minneapolis,” but there are great clubs that have great music night in and night out.
There are amazing venues in Northeast, Uptown, and Downtown Minneapolis that give live music, great DJs, and out-of-town acts a stage. For example, The Pourhouse has hosted all kinds of great musicians over the years, including artists doing Prince tributes, and you would be a fool to ignore their event calendar.
And if you want to add to your music collection, Prince loved independent record stores. He was a frequent customer at The Electric Fetus and he would likely love all the great stores that populate the Twin Cities like Cheapo, Agharta, and many more.
Famous Prince Places
Aside from checking out music stores and watching live musicians at the many cool venues in Minneapolis and its surrounding area, there are a lot of locations that are deeply tied to Prince’s history.
To find some of these places, you’ll have to leave the city itself, but it will be worth it. Prince’s influence stretched well beyond the Minneapolis city limits, after all.
The biggest location to make the trek out to see is Paisley Park. Located just a little ways south of the cities, Paisley Park was Prince’s home and studio. Many of his greatest ideas and innumerable songs that he never released for whatever reason were recorded there.
Paisley Park is now a museum dedicated to Prince and his legacy. It’s open five days a week and has displays dedicated to everything from the instruments he played to the incredible, custom-made shoes that he wore.
And of course, no list of Prince things to do in Minneapolis would be complete without mentioning the purifying waters of Lake Minnetonka. That beautiful lake is located just a few miles west of Minneapolis and is worth every minute of the trip to get there.
This is not to say that you can only find Prince landmarks Minneapolis adjacent. There are many places to see within the city itself. The buildings Prince grew up in are still standing in South and North Minneapolis—as is the home that served as the exterior for his house in Purple Rain.
However, these are private residences. So even though it is easy to find the addresses, if you decide to visit these locations, please be respectful of their residents’ privacy.
One great spot to visit is the Capri Theater. It was built in the 20s and was the location of Prince’s first, major solo performance in 1979. It’s a great location to learn about both Prince’s history and the history of the city he loved.
Minneapolis is a city that is known for working hard to make art accessible to the public. The famous Sculpture Garden outside the Walker Art Center is a prime example of this, but there are many public art pieces around the city dedicated to Prince.
Prince tributes in Minneapolis can be found in several locations. There is a huge mural near the Target Center, which is just across the street from First Avenue. Other murals can be found in Minneapolis’s North Loop neighborhood and at 26th and Hennepin, in the Uptown neighborhood that Prince famously sang about.
If you head out of the city, you can also find prominent murals in Chanhassen, not too far from Paisley Park and in the little town of Henderson. That last one may seem odd, but Henderson is where they filmed the famous “Purify yourself” scene from Purple Rain. Fun fact: that scene was filmed alongside a river—not anywhere near Lake Minnetonka itself.
But perhaps the most fun thing to do with a piece of public art is to recreate Prince’s famous series of Robert Whitman portraits outside what used to be the Schmidt Music Building at 10th and Marquette Downtown. The building’s name has changed, but the mural remains.
Always Plenty of Prince Things to do in Minneapolis
From visiting important places from his life to carrying on his spirit of support for the local and independent music scene, there are always great Prince things to do in Minneapolis.
Minneapolis is a great city to walk around in. Downtown even has a system of skyways if you come by during the long winter—or if you show up during one of those times it snows in April that Prince sang about.
The famous locations outside the city itself are easy to get to and the locations within the city are easy to find. So when you decide to make a list of Prince things to do in Minneapolis, get ready to look at beautiful art, cool buildings, and listen to some unforgettable music.