Mason City, Iowa

Members of the Burnsville City Council who express perennial skepticism about the existence and finances of their city’s Burnsville Performing Arts Center might market their main drag as the metro area’s “3rd Downtown,” with an emphasis on its ease of access from north of the Minnesota River.

The Center is one of my favorite Twin Cities venues, and I was reminded while driving by that its proximity is a relative state of mind.

From my house, five blocks south of the Minneapolis Convention Center, the trip south across the Minnesota River to the BPAC at 12600 Nicollet Avenue takes 21 minutes. Upon arrival at the Heart of the City Parking Ramp, parking is free.

By comparison, and depending upon traffic, the trip from the house to downtown Minneapolis can take 12 to 27 minutes, with event parking costing from $6 to $13. To downtown St. Paul, think 15 to 35 minutes, and parking rates similar to Minneapolis.

Special note: In the absence of precipitation, a walk from home to Minneapolis’ Orchestra Hall takes 20 minutes at best, there are no parking costs, and one receives the added benefit of free exercise.

Burnsville’s performing arts center has much to offer, including a 1,014-seat proscenium stage, 150-seat black box, 2,000 sq. ft. art gallery, and panoramic lobby views of the Minnesota River Valley and the Minneapolis skyline. VenuWorks manages the venue for the City of Burnsville.

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