First Avenue: Stories of Minnesota's Mainroom

First Avenue: Stories of Minnesota's Mainroom.
First Avenue: Stories of Minnesota's Mainroom.

May 4, 2019 - May 3, 2020

Ticket price includes admission to all History Center exhibits.
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Your all-access pass to the stars, the shows, and the stories of the legendary club that put Minnesota music on the map.

Exterior entrance of First Avenue, 7th Street Entry. Black and white photo by Daniel Corrigan.

Since 1970, First Avenue & 7th St. Entry have been at the heart of the Minnesota music scene. Celebrate the musicians, the employees, and the regulars who called First Avenue their rock 'n' roll home.

Discover how First Avenue, its staff, and the Minneapolis music scene have changed over five decades.

Around each corner you'll run into a new band, singer, or DJ, brought to life through video, photographs, and artifacts.

  • Hear personal stories from music legends, bartenders, bouncers and more
  • See big-name bands in their earliest days at 7th St. Entry, including The Replacements and Hüsker Dü
  • Watch video clips from the club's first raucous performance by Joe Cocker in 1970
  • Step into the '80s-era office of long-time manager Steve McClellan and learn about the venue's inner workings
  • See Prince's iconic suit from Purple Rain and memorial items left at First Avenue after his passing

Upcoming Events

"Prince: Before the Rain" Exhibit Opening

Minnesota History Center, St. Paul
Sat., Sep 21, 2019, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
First Tuesdays/First Avenue

Prince Panel Discussion with Allen Beaulieu, Dez Dickerson & Kevin Cole

Minnesota History Center, St. Paul
Tue., Oct 1, 2019, 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm

"Jay's Longhorn" Film Screening & Panel Discussion with Local Musicians

Minnesota History Center, St. Paul
Tue., Oct 22, 2019, 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
First Tuesdays/First Avenue

A Day in the Life of First Avenue - Panel Discussion

Minnesota History Center, St. Paul
Tue., Nov 5, 2019, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Thanksgiving Break: Brickmania First Ave

Minnesota History Center, St. Paul
Fri., Nov 29, 2019, 11:00 am - 3:00 pm

Check out these events!

First Avenue merch and resources

Book cover for First Avenue: Minnesota's Mainroom.

The First Avenue book

First Avenue: Minnesota's Mainroom
Chris Riemenschneider

Where Prince and Minnesota made rock ’n’ roll history—a glorious look back at one of rock’s most storied clubs and the thousands of musicians who took the stage there.

First Avenue gray t-shirt with state of Minnesota outline

Other books and gear

First Avenue building in 1930s as a bus depot

MNopedia articles

First Avenue & 7th Street Entry

In the late 1960s, Allan Fingerhut and Danny Stevens leased the old Greyhound Bus Depot in Downtown Minneapolis with the plan to open a rock club. Since then, First Avenue & 7th Street Entry has nurtured a diverse group of musicians, both local and national, and brought together people from various backgrounds. It remains one of the most highly regarded music nightclubs in the country.

See all MNopedia articles related to First Avenue.

Prince: Before the Rain

Minnesota photographer Allen Beaulieu helped shape the icon we know today as Prince. As Prince’s personal photographer and friend, he had access to Prince that few photographers have had, before or since. 

Based on Beaulieu's photography book, Prince: Before the Rain, the exhibit includes album cover outtakes, live performance shots, and rare behind-the-scenes candids. 

See the exhibit

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