ABOUT THE PALACE THEATRE
Opened in March 2017, the Palace Theatre in downtown Saint Paul is becoming music-lover’s dream destination, hosting a wide array of contemporary music, comedy, and live entertainment. With a 2,400-capacity split between an open, tiered, standing-room general admission floor, and a seated loge and balcony, the room fills a gaping hole in the Twin Cities’ music venues, with world-class sound and sightlines.
The Palace Theatre has been a fixture in Saint Paul’s cultural scene since 1916. Built as a vaudeville theater, thousands of performers graced the original Palace stage, including Charlie Chaplin, the Marx Brothers, and George Burns. In the 1940s the building was transformed into a popular movie theater known as the RKO Orpheum. The venue has been closed since 1977, with the exception of a short stint hosting Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion in 1984. Now, at long last, the City of Saint Paul has given new life to the 100-year-old Palace Theatre, reviving it into a concert venue co-managed by First Avenue and Jam Productions. When the City of Saint Paul purchased the Palace in the fall of 2015, the building was in a state of deterioration so severe that without renovation, the building would have been condemned in the very near future.
The Palace Theatre is located on West 7th Place, a pedestrian-only block in the heart of downtown Saint Paul near Mickey’s Diner, the Fitzgerald and Ordway Theatres, Rice Park, and many other landmarks. One of the core goals of this project is to enhance the vibrant downtown entertainment district. Expected to attract more than 100,000 people annually, the Palace Theatre will fill a need in the current entertainment venue market.
Many of the amenities in the venue were modernized, including new bathrooms, HVAC system, roof, and more robust bar areas. However, the aesthetics of the building have been frozen in time. Through 2015 and 2016, the crew preserved many of the theatre’s original architectural elements, including pre-cast concrete roof panels stamped with the date April 27, 1916.
The opening weekend at the Palace Theatre kicked off with shows from Atmosphere on March 10, The Jayhawks with The Cactus Blossoms on March 11, and Phantogram on March 12.
Since opening, the Palace Theatre has hosted hundreds of events, with many acts headlining two or more nights already (including Wilco, Death Cab For Cutie, The Pixies, Haim, not to mention Atmosphere, Hippo Campus, Trampled By Turtles, and the Bon Iver/Tu Dance collaboration).