By Jay Gabler, 89.3 The Current
This article was produced in collaboration with 89.3 The Current, Minnesota’s non-commercial, member-supported radio station playing the best authentic, new music alongside the music that inspired it. Find this article and more great music at thecurrent.org.
No major musician has ever been as proudly Minnesotan as Prince. He was born here, he played his most significant shows here, and he recorded most of his music here. The list of local destinations for Prince fans to visit could run into the dozens, but here are the top five you absolutely can’t miss.
7801 Audubon Rd., Chanhassen
Literally the house Prince built: the studio complex that would allow Prince to realize all of his recording, performing, and filmmaking ambitions under one roof. There’s no place more quintessentially Prince, and though it will never have the same aura of mystery and wonder as it did during his lifetime, Paisley Park is still the place where you can most directly channel Prince’s spirit. Now run as a museum, Paisley Park is open for daily tours and frequent special events, including the annual “Celebration” series of talks and concerts celebrating Prince’s legacy.
701 1st Ave. N., Minneapolis
After Prince’s death, a local artist covered Prince’s silver star with gold leaf, and that was so obviously right that it’s stayed gold ever since. By filming Purple Rain at First Avenue, and even recording some of its songs live there (including the title track), Prince turned the downtown Minneapolis “danceteria” into one of the world’s most iconic rock clubs. It’s still hopping, still one of the best places in America to see live music, and still looks much the same inside as it did when the Revolution played there in 1984. Take a tour, or even better, catch a show. (While you’re making your Super Bowl week concert plans, also note the Prince-associated artists playing at Super Bowl LIVE and the Dakota Jazz Club, another of Prince’s favorite local venues.)
Prince’s childhood homes and the Capri Theater
Homes: various locations
Capri: 2027 W. Broadway Ave., Minneapolis
Prince was born in South Minneapolis and grew up in North Minneapolis; most of his childhood homes are still standing — including the apartment building where he first lived, the house where he first started to make music, and the place where he crashed with his friend André Cymone after Prince’s parents divorced. (These are still private homes, so be sure to be respectful of their residents’ privacy when passing by.) While you’re in North Minneapolis, stop at the Capri Theater, where Prince played his debut solo show in 1979. From Jan. 27 through Feb. 5, the venue is offering special “Prince legacy tours” for fans who want to see where the magic happened.
Purple Rain house
3420 Snelling Ave., Minneapolis
It only provided the exteriors for the house where the Kid lived in Purple Rain, but this Minneapolis house meant so much to Prince that he he bought it himself when it went up for sale in 2015. Gawk, reminisce, snap a pic. You can’t go inside, but that’s okay: you’re not missing much.
Schmitt Music mural
10th and Marquette, Minneapolis
Just as Prince was emerging onto the national stage, he posed for a Robert Whitman photo shoot that included an instantly iconic shot of him standing in front of a wall-sized music mural. That mural is still there: on the wall of the former Schmitt Music building at 10th and Marquette in downtown Minneapolis. Replicate the Prince pic for the ultimate proof that you walked in his purple footsteps.