Discounts, concerts and art galore: A&E’s guide to seeing it all as a student this fall

Stay on campus or explore the cities via Metro Transit or bike — the world, or at least the Twin Cities metro area, is your oyster.

Illustration by Jane Borstad

Illustration by Jane Borstad

by Maddy Folstein

If you’re new to the Twin Cities, exploring can be a little intimidating. Do you stay on campus and see a football game? Take the Green Line to downtown St. Paul? Support some of the art students on campus or hit up a happy hour?

Luckily, you have time to see it all. Here’s A&E’s breakdown of what you have to look forward to this semester, from cheap tickets to day trips around the city.

Because you need to discover that WAM is more than just the most striking building on campus:

The Weisman Art Museum is always free; take advantage of its galleries when you pass it on your way home from class. Luckily, you have a few ways to engage with the museum beyond checking out the latest exhibits every few months.


Get a glimpse of the magic of the Weisman at this Friday night’s WAM-O-RAMA. It’s an annual celebration of the museum and introduction to what you can experience year-round, from live music to performance art and screen printing with Bohemian Press.

Where: Weisman Art Museum, 333 E. River Rd., Minneapolis
When: 6 p.m. Friday
Cost: Free

Art-surrounded study night (at home or not!):

The Weisman and its student organization, the WAM Collective, host monthly study sessions complete with snacks, music and — of course — art. The first event of the semester will fall on Sept. 19.

That same night, the Weisman will host the launch party of its student-specific HOMEWORK art rental service. If your walls are looking a little bare this semester, you can rent up to two pieces of art for $15 each. 

Where: Weisman Art Museum, 333 E. River Rd., Minneapolis
When: Sept. 19, 5 – 8 p.m.
Cost: Free

Because it’s not just about the museum:

The music, dance, visual art and theatre arts departments are located in their own section of the West Bank campus, also known as the West Bank Arts Quarter. These departments are an accessible, affordable way to see some of the newest work being done in the Twin Cities. Here is a sampling of what the arts departments have to offer:

“On Purpose: Portrait of the Liberal Arts” 

The College of Liberal Arts is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. In honor of the occasion, the University will host an exhibit dedicated to the power and scope of the liberal arts. Located in the Regis Center for Art’s Katherine E. Nash Gallery, the exhibit will be composed of life-size portraits by photographer Xavier Tavera. If you’d like to connect more with the art department on campus, you can attend an opening reception and artist talk with Tavera on Sept. 13, which starts at 5:30 pm.

Where: Katherine E. Nash Gallery at the Regis Center for Art, 405 21st Ave. S., Minneapolis
When: Sept. 12 – Dec. 8
Cost: Free

West Bank Arts Quarter Festival

Here’s a great introduction to the work created on the West Bank. For a few hours, performances, installations and exhibits will take over the area, giving you a glimpse into the talents of University students. The first half of the night is directed by faculty, and then the students take over for the final hours. 

Where: West Bank Arts Quarter, 21st Avenue South and Fourth Street South, Minneapolis
When: October 11, 6:30 – 10 p.m.
Cost: Free

18th Annual Collage Concert

This free, non-stop concert will feature over 300 students and faculty, making it a great introduction to classical music on campus. Just be sure to arrive early if you’d like to get a good seat — tickets are first-come, first-serve.

Where: Ted Mann Concert Hall, 2128 Fourth St. S., Minneapolis
When: Oct. 20, 7:30 p.m.
Cost: Free


University alumna Savannah Reich wrote this newly-devised play about denim and its connections with American history, democracy and class struggles. “DENIM” is described as “a play (with music),” and it runs from late November to early December. There’s no better way to take your mind off of the semester’s upcoming finals.

Where: Rarig Center, 330 21st Ave. S., Minneapolis

When: Nov. 29 through Dec. 9

Cost: $7 student tickets 

University Dance Theatre

The dance department on campus focuses on dance through a global lens. This annual performance, directed by Senior Teaching Specialist Erin Thompson, can introduce you to a variety of the department’s work. 

Where: Rarig Center, 330 21st Ave. S., Minneapolis

When: Dec. 7 through 9

Cost: $7 student tickets

Because work study pay day is every other week 

Even when your budget is tight, it’s easy to find a discount around the cities. Just bring your U-card and always ask for a deal, even if they don’t have one posted. Here’s a selection of A&E’s favorite deals for students, whether you’re looking for an affordable date night or an accessible way to see some of the best performances in town. 

St. Anthony Main Theatre: $6 student tickets always, $5 tickets on Tuesdays. The St. Anthony Main Movie Theatre offers one of the best selections of films in town, from blockbusters to movies from the Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul. 

Loring Bar & Restaurant: 20% off your meal, if you need a splurge-y break from the dining halls. You can also get an all-you-can-eat brunch on Sunday for only $15 — so much better than cereal or scrambled eggs at home. 

Walker Art Center: $10 admission with a student ID. Or, for an art-filled start to a weekend, you can go on Thursday nights for free. (The Minneapolis Institute of Art is always free, too.)

Guthrie Theater: $3-$6 off your ticket price, depending on which area of the theater you sit in. You can also try picking up rush tickets 15 to 30 minutes before the show opens — these tickets range from $15 to $25 each. 

Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra: You can see the renowned Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra for free, always. They perform at multiple venues across the Twin Cities, frequently at the Ted Mann Concert Hall on West Bank. 

Because Gopher football is out of town this weekend, and you’re not even a football fan to begin with:

Head over to the Gold Medal Park area: It’s the neighborhood home to the Guthrie Theater, the Mill City Museum and some of the most beautiful sights in the city. You can walk over from West Bank or, if you’re located closer to Dinkytown, walk down University Avenue to take the Stone Arch Bridge. 

Once you reach the neighborhood you can sample Izzy’s Ice Cream, experience the river views from the Guthrie Theater or flip through new reads and zines at Open Book, home to the Loft Literary Center, Milkweed Editions and more. 

Stroll around the lakes: Make the most of the final warm days by spending a Saturday at the Chain of Lakes Regional Park — it’s the area that connects Bde Maka Ska, Lake Harriet, Brownie Lake, Cedar Lake and Lake of the Isles. Bike, pack a picnic or grab lunch at one of the many restaurants in the area. You can easily get to the park by taking the 6 bus line from Dinkytown and getting off in Uptown. 

See a concert at one of the area’s many venues: There are just so many to pick from! From the famed First Avenue and 7th Street Entry to the recently re-opened Varsity Theater in Dinkytown, you’re bound to find something that suits your musical preference. 

Dessa with the Minnesota Orchestra? Florence and the Machine at Target Center? Mitski at First Avenue? It’s all happening here this semester.