Once you’ve decided to hold an event, the first question is, “where”? Over the years, our Heroic Productions crew has worked in just about every event venue in Minneapolis. When it comes to creating a memorable event, having the right venue can make a huge difference.
Your event venue will affect what you can do from a staging and production standpoint. It will also impact other event components like attendee access, load-in time, and production costs. So naturally, some of these locations stand out above the crowd, each for their own unique or practical reasons.
With our expertise and insight, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite venues in Minneapolis.
This venue is not only a favorite of ours, but also a favorite with meeting planners. It has the largest ballroom of any hotel in downtown Minneapolis, holding as many as 1500 people. Plus, you can keep attendees all within one facility for both meeting and sleeping if overnight stays are part of the equation.
Our Heroic team enjoys working at this venue specifically for the spacious size of the ballroom. On the creative side, we are free to use the entire ballroom, depending on the expected attendee count. On the functional side, we usually have plenty of space for projection and storage, especially since the ballroom was remodeled and the chandeliers are no longer a tricky projection obstacle. The new fixtures are higher in the ceiling and have a much lower profile.
With that, we can add more scenic elements – painting the ceiling with light using gobos or patterns, for example. The results are more effective and easier to produce. Another big plus is that the remodel established well-thought-out rigging points within the ballroom. That makes it easier for us to design and plan while saving precious time during set-up. Yet another plus for us (and other vendors) is the efficient loading docks. The positioning and location of the docks allow our team to have a seamless setup process and event planners to reduce cost by saving time and labor on load-in and load-out.
Style: Classic, Elegant
Capacity: Up to 1500
- Large, customizable space
- Well-planned rigging points
- Efficient loading docks
- Easy hotel access
In terms of atmosphere, you might say that Aria is the antithesis of the Hilton’s ballroom. Whereas the Hilton offers high-end fit and finish, Aria is au naturel. The venue’s exposed brick, big beams, and overall weathered look is genuinely authentic, dating back to horse and buggy days in downtown Minneapolis. The look is a perfect foil for both casual and elegant event set-ups. It also offers some fantastic lighting opportunities. The walls take light well, which enhances the grittiness of the surface.
Aria is a more intimate venue, with a capacity of around 300-400. Though its capacity is smaller than others, it offers its own brand of sass. One of the events our Heroic team produced at Aria was for the Super Bowl Committee. Our goal was to transform the space into “Northern Minnesota,” so of course, we painted the walls with light to replicate the northern lights. It was stunning, and perfect example of an immersive setting. Another event we serviced there was for the X Games, so it had an entirely different flavor of edge and epic partying.
All that design opportunity does come with a price, however. From an AV production standpoint, the ceiling has a definite weight limit, which affects rigging options. And load-in is a convoluted process with the location of the loading-dock.
Style: Industrial, Urban, Eclectic
Capacity: Up to 400
- Historic venue
- Great from dramatic lighting and stylizing
Sometimes the only way to go is big. And when your event is huge, or you need numerous breakout spaces, the Convention Center is the venue for you.
The design of the venue allows maximum efficiency at maximum capacity. There are 50 loading docks (heavenly from our point of view), so it’s easy to get in and out. Something to keep in mind, the Convention Center is a union house, meaning their crews do all the loading/unloading and moving for us (and you).
Another contributor to why the Convention Center is one of our favorite venues is the that there is the ample amount of power, another essential need for AV.
Capacity: Up to 6,000
- Plenty of space for meetings, breakouts, and main stage features
- High capacity venue
- LOTS of loading docks
4. The Depot
Many cities around the country have done an outstanding job of preserving their historic and enduringly handsome train stations. Minneapolis is no exception, and The Depot has become a must-see as well as a must-book for event planners.
The recent remodel accentuated the stunning architecture, and there are now multiple event spaces, so it can accomodate both large and small groups. Even a 900-person event can function smoothly, using the lobby for registration and cocktails, then moving down the ramp to the “shed” for dinner and program.
Since The Depot is tied to the Renaissance Hotel, sleeping rooms and parking are easily accessible. We do wish they had put in loading docks. But for event planners and guests, The Depot is pretty cool.
Style: Industrial, Historic
Capacity: Up to 900
- Unique, interesting historic Minneapolis space
- Lots of options for pre-function events
One of the biggest challenges AV crews typically face is acoustics. Venues that are ideal in other ways for events can be problematic when it comes to ensuring sound is crisp and audible to everyone in attendance. Luckily, that’s not the case at Bell Museum’s Whitney and Elizabeth MacMillan Planetarium. It is, quite simply, acoustically perfect for listening, mixing, and performing.
The Whitney and Elizabeth MacMillan Planetarium makes an exceptional venue for small music concerts or an album release party. And the lobby works nicely for receptions. Not only that, but the space is also unique in character, offering a non-traditional but highly engaging atmosphere for all sorts of gatherings. All those rounded and textured surfaces invite painting and washing with light.
Style: Unique, Engaging
Capacity: Up to 120
- Excellent acoustics and lighting options
- Engaging atmosphere
Room for every event expression
Your event venue has to be the right size, with the right configuration options and, hopefully, conveniently located for vendors, as well as attendees. But let’s face it, most importantly, what you really want is a place that brings something else to the table. Cachet.
Minneapolis has it all. From mammoth to intimate, fun and funky to elegant and sophisticated, there is a notable venue just waiting to give your event that special something. And our Heroic team? It’s our job to help you transform the space you choose into an environment that tells the story you want to unfold.