Minnehaha Falls remains frozen mid-spill as if time stands still. The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden’s pristine grounds are blanketed in several layers of snow. Residents and travelers alike continue to seek refuge from the cold by slipping into award-winning craft breweries, upscale restaurants, and sleek coffee shops. And yet, spring is so close that we can practically see the lapping waves of the newly-thawed Lake of the Isles, smell in the wildflowers inside Eloise Butler Bird Sanctuary, and feel the sun’s golden rays baking our skin for the first time since early October. That’s right: music festival season is practically just around the corner. While there’s never an off-season for music here in the Twin Cities, thanks to First Avenue, Palace Theatre, and the Armory, nothing tops a sweaty, sun-drenched Minneapolis music festival in the heart of summer.
The 3 Best Minneapolis Music Festivals
Two of these hip, wildly popular Minnesota music festivals are no-brainers (Rock the Garden and the Basilica Block Party). However, it’s still worth delving into what makes them so uniquely spectacular. We sadly said “goodbye” to Falcon Height’s Soundset this year, at least for now. Soundset had been one of the premier rap and hip hop festivals in the country prior to its (hopefully) temporary shutdown. In its place, we’ve selected Northeast Minneapolis’ city-wide Art-A-Whirl®, a rapidly-expanding art, music, and food festival that has the ability to satisfy all five senses.
In 2017, the Walker Art Center unveiled it’s newly-renovated Minneapolis Sculpture Garden to thousands of music lovers from across the Midwest. These spectators were all there to see Wisconsin’s own Bon Iver, Prince’s The Revolution, and rising indie stars Car Seat Headrest. The venue is undeniably stunning thanks to the center’s eye-popping architecture and the garden’s many artworks, including the world-famous Spoonbridge and Cherry. Every June, hipsters and metalheads alike gather to support local music while crushing Summit brews and munching on grub from local food trucks. In recent years, Rock the Garden has welcomed Chance the Rapper, The Flaming Lips, The National, Modest Mouse, Wilco, and Trampled by Turtles, efficiently positioning Rock the Garden as the premier Minneapolis music festival.
Basilica Block Party
Whereas Rock the Garden has focused most of its energy on indie rock and underground rap, the Basilica Block Party (located approximately 0.3 miles away from the Sculpture Garden) typically fields an eclectic mix of alternative pop. Everyone from 90s heartthrobs Hanson to Grammy-winning Kasey Musgroves played in 2019. The Basilica of Saint Mary’s front steps are, as you can probably imagine, such a unique venue for a summer concert. Some of our favorite recent performances include Third Eye Blind, Brandi Carlile, Weezer, Panic! At The Disco, Matchbox Twenty, and Goo Goo Dolls.
Art-A-Whirl® narrowly thwarted the Stone Arch Bridge Festival, 96.3’s Go Shows, The Current’s annual Anniversary Party, and the many summertime happenings at Surly Brewing Festival Field. It’s hard to put Art-A-Whirl® into words. There’s nothing quite like it here in the Twin Cities. This free, neighborhood-wide celebration of art, music, food, and beer is something that tens of thousands of locals mark on their calendar, year after year. Most years, many of Northeast Minneapolis’ oldest breweries get the ball rolling by unveiling lineups filled with three days of regional music, food trucks, and a variety of local artworks, featuring everything from eye-catching prints from Chuck U to tattoos inside 612 Brew. But, of course, the free music is typically why the neighborhood turns into a beautiful, colorful madhouse in mid-May. The Twin Cities music scene owes a lot to this reoccurring event, which has swiftly blossomed into one of our three favorite Minneapolis music festivals.
Luxurious Minneapolis Vacation Rentals
The only thing that we’re more passionate about than music is hospitality. Minnestay specializes in everything from fractional ownership to owner-occupied penthouses, many of which are a short taxi ride from the most popular summer concerts in Minnesota. Spend an extended weekend on Lake Harriet, inside a historic Atelier loft, or just 300 yards from US Bank Stadium. Please give us a call today at 612-216-5511 to book a well-deserved spring or summertime escape to the lively Twin Cities!