This summer the Minnesota Orchestra is inviting the entire Twin Cities bicycling community to Bike to Orchestra Hall! Starting with the launch of Sommerfest 2016 on July 8th, show your bike helmet or gear at out Box Office when you bike to Orchestra Hall and get 50 percent off tickets to select concerts (see eligible concerts).
Many of the Orchestra's musicians and staff are avid bicyclists who regularly ride to rehearsals, to concerts, to the office and just for fun! We're delighted to invite you to share the experience. Violist and Inside the Classics host Sam Bergman says: "I love gliding past clogged lanes of stopped cars and arriving at work refreshed and energized!"
When the Minnesota Orchestra performed in Bemidji, several musicians took their bikes along to take advantage of the beautiful scenery. (L to R) Ellen Dinwiddie Smith (horn), Chris Marshall (bassoon), Julie Gramolini Wiliams (oboe), Greg Williams (clarinet)
The OH+ (Orchestra Hall Plus) programming that we launched a year ago has extended the concert-going experience into the lobby and Target Atrium with activities, entertainment and refreshments. Now, the Bike to Orchestra Hall initiative looks beyond our walls, encouraging audience members to turn their trip to Orchestra Hall into an active outing. "It is a fabulous way to get some exercise and hear some great music! I like the fact that people can feel comfortable to come as they are...whether biking, walking or strolling around town" says horn player Ellen Dinwiddie Smith.
Minneapolis is routinely ranked among the top bike cities in the United States by sources as varied as Wired Magazine (#1), the U.S. Census Bureau (#2) and Forbes Magazine (#1). We at Orchestra Hall want to play our part (pun intended) by striving to be a bike-friendly destination. "Most of downtown is completely traversable for cyclists, and it is completely possible to get to Orchestra Hall without ever biking on a street that doesn't have a dedicated lane," says Bergman.
Right now, the Minnesota Orchestra is looking critically at its environmental footprint. One thing we are growing more aware of is the cost of transportation to and from Orchestra Hall. Encouraging audience members to shift the way they think about getting here is a first step toward "greening" our operations.
Treble clef bike racks outside of our Stage Door along Marquette Avenue
As part of our effort to put out the welcome mat to the bike community, Orchestra Hall will be adding temporary bike racks for Sommerfest, and we also have plans in the works to install additional permanent racks. To plan your trip, see our map of bike lanes adjacent to Orchestra Hall, as well as prime bike rack locations within a couple of blocks.
Nice Ride bike sharing is another great option for a hassle-free excursion, with three stations within a block and a half of the Hall. Lockers are available in the ring corridor of the Auditorium for you to stow your helmets and other gear during the concert (ask an usher for assistance).
Never been to a Minnesota Orchestra concert before? Bass player and regular bicyclist David Williamson encourages you to come and try it out. He says "this is an acoustic, unamplified, completely handmade product. You can feel the sound and hear it in a way that is different which you may not have ever hear before." And to all members of the biking community, he says "Welcome to Orchestra Hall!"
If you are uncomfortable riding at night, we recommend one of our morning Coffee Concerts or a Matinee. Haven't been on a bike in years? Follow these tips from Momentum Mag before heading downtown!
Violists Megan Tam and Sam Bergman getting silly with their bikes.