Watching fireworks remains the favorite way of celebrating America’s independence. Some of the biggest star-spangled bashes in the state take place in Minneapolis, including Red, White and Boom. Taking place near the Stone Arch Bridge, this Park Board-hosted display is jam-packed with more colorful explosions per minute than just about any in Minnesota, attracting more than 75,000 to the shores of the Mississippi River. The full day of festivities also includes a half-marathon, relay and 5K, live music and family activities.
When: 6:30 a.m. races, 6 p.m.–10 p.m. live music and family activities, 10 p.m. fireworks
Where: 100 6th Ave. SE
- Stone Arch and Central Avenue bridges: There’s no better place to watch fireworks than right over the river. Bring a lawn chair and arrive early — the bridges fill up quickly.
- Gold Medal Park: One of the most underrated spots in downtown Minneapolis, Gold Medal Park at 11th & 2nd offers a more traditional viewing experience. Throw a blanket on the grass, toss a ball around and gaze up at the fireworks while you lie down and relax.
- Boom Island: Slightly upriver from where the fireworks are set off, Boom Island Park (724 Sibley St. NE) offers ample space to set up a blanket and picnic and is less likely to be crowded than other areas while still offering a great view of the fireworks.
- St. Anthony Main: Several spots along St. Anthony Main (Main St. SE, located northeast of downtown on the east side of the Mississippi River) make for prime viewing locations, including the area’s many restaurant patios.
The barbershop has long been a cultural touchstone for African-American communities, acting not simply as a place to get a haircut but as a meeting space to discuss ideas and the news of the day and a respite from the outside world. Public Functionary, a boundary-pushing contemporary art gallery in the Northeast arts district, is celebrating the iconography and culture that grew out of the black barbershop with “The Shop,” an exhibition in collaboration with Minneapolis artist Crice Khalil. Khalil’s work takes inspiration from the worlds of hip-hop and graffiti to document the issues and motifs of the pan-African and African-American experience, using them as a lens in which to view race, class and the “American dream.” For “The Shop,” he’s curated works from a broad, multi-generational array of African-American artists from varying artistic disciplines, including paintings, photography, screen prints, drawings and digital art that relate to the barbershop’s importance to the black community.
When: July 1–15; opening reception Saturday, July 1 at 7 p.m.; artist conversation Thursday, July 13 at 7 p.m.
Where: Public Functionary, 1400 12th Ave. NE
Artcrank: 10th Anniversary
For the past decade, Artcrank has transformed bike poster art into an art form all its own, expanding from its original Minneapolis show to pop up in eight more cities across the U.S., plus London and Paris. Attended by art lovers, poster collectors, hardcore cyclists and craft beer drinkers alike, the Minneapolis version of the popular poster art show features prints by 50 local artists in limited-edition runs of 30 at $40 a pop. In honor of its 10th anniversary, this year’s event will showcase the greatest hits from previous shows from artists including Adam Turman, Jennifer Davis and Amy Jo, plus food trucks and free valet bike parking.
When: Saturday, July 8 from 4 p.m.–10 p.m.
Where: Fulton Production Brewery, 2540 2nd St. NE
“Motown the Musical”
Following a national tour that landed in Minneapolis a year after its Broadway debut in 2013, “Motown the Musical” is making a triumphant return to the Twin Cities. Based on the autobiography of Motown record label founder Berry Gordy, the musical follows the personal and professional highs and lows of the hit-maker and his label, and his relationships with Motown artists Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and a Jacksons 5-era Michael Jackson. Bursting with 55 classics from the Motown catalog with a book composed by Gordy himself, the crowd-pleasing, high-gloss production transcends the “jukebox musical” genre thanks to director Charles Randolph-Wright’s excellent production, Patricia Wilcox’s energetic choreography and a powerhouse cast, whose live vocals are said to rival that of the hits’ original singers.
When: July 11–16
Where: Orpheum Theatre, 910 Hennepin Ave.
Info: 800-982-2787 or hennepintheatretrust.org
The New Griots Festival
To get at the heart of the New Griots Festival, one needs simply to look up the definition of the word “griots”: a class of traveling poets, musicians and storytellers who maintain a tradition of oral history in parts of West Africa. Founded in 2015 by Josh Wilder and Jamil Jude, two Twin Cities transplants who felt isolated as young black theater artists in a predominantly white theater community, the New Griots Festival is dedicated to celebrating, advocating and advancing the careers of emerging black performing artists in the Twin Cities. Building off the success of the 2015 festival, the festival has been invited into the Guthrie Theater’s 9th Floor Initiative, a program that transforms its entire ninth floor into a community hub offering affordably priced productions and impactful, relevant new works. This year’s New Griots Festival expands from three to ten days, doubling the number of performances and community classes and adding a live in-studio component as well as networking events and panel discussions about the importance of the work of black artists.
When: July 6–17
Where: Guthrie Theater, 818 S. 2nd St.
X Games Minneapolis
With the upcoming 2018 Super Bowl and the 2019 NCAA Final Four for men’s basketball, the U.S. Bank Stadium is quickly becoming being one of the hottest sports venues in the country. This month, the excitement continues when it hosts the 2017 Summer X Games, which features some of the best skateboarders, BMX bikers and motocross racers in the world. (It’s also slated to host the 2018 edition.) Annually, the games draw more than 100,000 fans and around 250 athletes over the course of the four-day event. Each night is capped off with a concert, which are included with the admission passes for the games. Performers include A Day to Remember (Friday), Flume (Saturday) and Atmosphere (Sunday), plus an off-site concert at the music venue First Avenue on Thursday featuring rappers Prof, Aesop Rock and deM atlaS.
When: July 13–16
Where: US Bank Stadium, 401 Chicago Ave.
Cost: $40–$60 daily; packages range from $100–$750