Navigate Our Site
Search Site

Twin Cities Music Scene

Bob Dylan and Prince, Husker Dü and The Replacements, Soul Asylum and Semisonic, Atmosphere and The Bad Plus; First Avenue, the Triple Rock, Myth, and the Dakota; Xcel Energy Center, the Metrodome, and Target Center; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Weisman Art Museum, and American Museum of Art; Guthrie Theater, Theatre de la June Lune, and Minneapolis Children’s Theater.

McNally Smith music college students are often found jamming at the French Press and Artists’ Quarter, enjoying coffee at the Black Dog or catching a show at the 7th Street Station, or the Ordway theater, just blocks away. Saint Paul’s famous Mickey’s Diner is a must for burgers and shakes. The headquarters of Minnesota Public Radio and American Public Media are around the corner, offering convenient music production internship opportunities and a parade of indoor and outdoor concerts and lecture events. Garrison Keilor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” broadcasts live to millions of radio listeners several weeks a year from the world-famous Fitzgerald Theater just across the street from the music college. Read about what’s happening in Saint Paul on Joe’s Blog.

McNally Smith alumni often choose to start their music careers in the Twin Cities, a comfortable and accessible alternative to Los Angeles, New York, or Nashville. A music industry and video distribution hub, the Twin Cities hosts the world headquarters of entertainment retail giants Target and Best Buy. Every major label distribution arm maintains offices here, and a number of independent music distributors and record labels are based in the metro area. Prince’s Paisley Park studios may be the most famous, but a long list of hit songs have been recorded at a variety of Twin Cities studios. Advertising agencies and production houses are another major source of creative activity and jobs for musicians in the area, with international houses like Fallon Worldwide, Carmichael Lynch, and Campbell Mithun located here. There are many opportunities for the working musician in the Twin Cities. Alums form bands or fill in for each other, trading gigs, licks, and tricks as they navigate the challenges and rewards of a career in music.