MINNEAPOLIS — It's a moment two years in the making: The return of live theater is back in downtown Minneapolis.
"We're celebrating Shelby's birthday from two years ago. We've had these tickets, so we're finally going to get to use them," said Eydie Edberg, who lives in Belle Plaine.
From the Orpheum to the Guthrie, seeing people back out on the streets and theaters, packed to capacity once again, is a welcomed site for both theater lovers and business owners looking to capitalize on the return of visitors in one of the city's most bustling districts.
"It's really been a lot of fun to see how happy people are to come back out and go to restaurants and just interact with people," said Simone Simon, General Manager of the Farmers Kitchen and Bar downtown.
It's a warm return for some, being met with hesitation by others at a time when crime can't be ignored across the city.
"I cant say that it did not enter my mind today," said Edberg.
"In the downtown area we've actually seen a reduction in crime compared to the previous four-year average," said Steve Cramer, President and CEO of the Minneapolis Downtown Council.
From extra police cameras to violence interrupters, leaders with the Minneapolis Downtown Council say they've been working on a more holistic approach to public safety.
"Certainly work very closely with the police department and the sheriff's office and Metro Transit PD, but also investing in community outreach. We have a social worker partnership with Hennepin County and try to bring all the tools to making downtown as safe as possible," said Cramer.
For those who live, work and play downtown.
"You know, I am a woman and I walk to work when its dark, walk home when its dark, and I feel completely safe," said Simon.
It's sites like these that they hope will help the area thrive once again.
"As people come back and put their toe back in the water, whether its for sports or live entertainment or now theater, they're going to have a good experience and that's going to help break down some of the perception about downtown and really accelerate that reanimation process," said Cramer.
If you're planning to catch a show at the Orpheum or Guthrie, standard protocols will be in place for COVID-19. Masks and proof of vaccinations for anyone 12 and older are required.