Local Current Blog

Infographic: Comparing venue sizes in the Twin Cities

The big news in the Twin Cities music scene this week broke Monday when St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, long a supporter of local arts and culture, announced the city’s plans to renovate and reopen the 97-year-old Palace Theatre on West 7th Place in the heart of downtown St. Paul. The city plans to invest $12 million into the space, which has sat vacant for nearly 30 years, and at a press conference earlier this week it was stressed again and again how crucial a 3,000-person capacity space could be for a concert market that lacks such an option.

And the Palace Theatre isn’t the only venue that’s been in the news lately. This year we’ve lost the historic 400 Bar; we’ve learned that First Avenue (who may also be involved in the Palace) has purchased University Avenue venue the Turf Club; we’ve watched Station 4 shutter, and learned it may reopen as two separate, smaller spaces; and we’ve worried as the future of the Artists’ Quarter still remains quite uncertain.

All of these developments caused us to revisit a conversation we’ve had time and time again here at the Current: Just how do venue sizes in the Twin Cities measure up, and is there an easy way to wrap our heads around all that data?

53 venues are included in this infographic, which isn’t comprehensive by any means, but it does give us a good visualization of just how wide the range is here in town—from the largest concert in recent history, the U2 concert at TCF Stadium (58,000 tickets sold) down to some of the most intimate rooms in town, like the Acadia (capacity 75). As you’ll see, we also included the Palace Theatre in the list to see how it fits in with other options here in the metro area.

Special thanks to Leah Garaas for her work designing the graphic, and Brett Baldwin for helping to research the venue capacities.

For best results, maximize your browsing window, or view the infographic directly.

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  • Amanda B

    Wow who knew, I really hope the Palace Theater opens!!

  • Jason

    The Cedar has a standing show capacity of 625.

    • Andrea Swensson

      Thanks Jason, we changed it on the graphic.

    • Andrea Swensson

      Thanks Jason, we changed our graphic to reflect that number.

  • Craig Barry

    You spelled Northrop wrong

    • Andrea Swensson

      Thank you, it’s been fixed.

    • Andrea Swensson

      Thanks, it’s been fixed.

  • atomrobinson

    Paisley Park?

  • Stuart Blessman

    That U2 concert was epic. Don’t know why more bands can’t play TCF, but glad it was U2 who did it first.

  • Ben Marcy

    This would be awesome if you expanded this with other venues left off the list. So often small theatre groups or bands passing through are looking for venues. I don’t know if there is a single comprehensive list in the TC.

    • Katherine

      Yes! Those of us who are stoked when 30-40 people show up to a gig are always looking for small, artist-friendly venues (like Studio Z, Dreamland Arts, or Honey). I know spacemartmn.org has made an attempt to gather all this info, but there are so many others that aren’t listed, and many more I haven’t yet heard about.

  • Ruth Baker

    Where does Midway Stadium fit into this… seating for 6,000, but at Americanarama this summer it was much greater than that with standing?

    • Dustin Beebe

      We had 14,200 for Bob Dylan, My Morning Jacket, and Wilco for Americanarama.

    • Jason

      My understanding is that was the last concert to be held at Midway, until the reconstruction.

  • Brenda Peters

    Amsterdam Bar & Hall actually has a capacity of 550.

  • chris johnson

    bayport bbq – capacity 60

  • Mark Themig

    This is great info! I think it would be interesting to have a rating scale for each venue as to the quality of the experience the site can deliver. I went to Mill City Nights for the first time this week for the Cyndi Lauper concert and what a horrible space. From the uneven first floor (higher by the bar lower by the entrance) to the stupid TV monitors on the second level (no sight lines to a stage? really?) to the crappy audio the site is, IMO, the worst place I’ve seen a show. Fool me once? Yup. Fool me twice? No way.

  • Larry Sahagian

    you left the driftwood char bar off…..we do live music 6 nights a week…feature awesome local bands….average crowd is 40…the most we’ve done on a single night is 155…just an f.y.i…..all great local bands..witht he occasional traveling circus as well

  • Eric Nelson

    Not that anyone would WANT to play there, but the Dome does fit about 60,000. And there have been some monster shows that were sell-outs.

  • Kyle Borchert

    how bout the pourhouse?

  • semisemite

    Am I the only person who thinks there are too many music venues in the Twin Cities? If there is lessened competition because it’s relatively easy to get a gig, doesn’t it potentially lower the local scene’s quality? And by ‘potentially’, I mean ‘we may have a lot of bands…’

    • Art

      Nope. As a guy who produces lots of new/experimental shows, it lets me try stuff out that I might not be able to in a town like Cleveland that doesn’t have many venues to pick from.

      • semisemite

        And that is precisely the point. While I can’t speak to the quality of what you’ve put together personally, most of the ‘new stuff’ in the Twin Cities should have died in someone’s garage or practice space, and then the more talented people in the scene are more likely to find each other as their previous crappy band meets an unceremonious demise. Instead, too many venues keeps too many garbage bands slightly viable.