#50 First Avenue

#50 of 52 Must See Things in Minneapolis.

One of the most iconic spots in Minneapolis, First Avenue is the epicenter for live music and entertainment. The music club originally opened as the Greyhound Bus Depot in 1937 and was known for its art deco flare and modern amenities including public phones, shower rooms and air conditioning. In 1968, the Greyhound found a new home and, in 1970, the Depot found a new focus: music. From disco and DJs to rock and punk, the music carried the club through multiple names and ownerships.

In 1981, First Avenue was born and the spotlight on the Minneapolis music scene heightened. Local bands got the opportunity to play with national acts. Lip sync battles, dancers, and talent contests were hosted at First Ave, expanding its entertainment capabilities. “First Ave” served as Prince’s chosen performance venue and the set and setting of his movie, Purple Rain. As the club expanded, so did its music offerings. You often could go see live punk, hip-hop, rock and a DJ all in the same day between the Mainroom, a 1,550-person capacity venue seeing 200 concerts a year and the 7th St Entry, a 250-person capacity venue that hosts more than 350 concerts annually.

Today, First Avenue has a bustling calendar filled with artists from all different genres and is one of the longest running, independently owned and operated clubs in the United States. Local bands as well as larger, national acts play there. And of course, it’s the location of the iconic star wall, complete with Prince’s name emblazoned on a gold star amongst many other music legends on a sea of silver stars. See a show, take your picture in front of the star wall, and appreciate the history of this Minneapolis legend.