First Timer's Guide to Orchestra Hall

First Timer's Guide to Orchestra Hall

We know what you're thinking. An orchestra concert. Audiences formally clad in tuxes and gowns. A light smattering of polite applause. An uncomfortable seat with lots of shushing. Not an ideal way to spend your Saturday night, right?

Forget about it.

We’re proud that Orchestra Hall is a welcoming environment for all. Here are a few frequently asked questions that will help make your first Orchestra concert experience more comfortable.

What do I wear?

We get this question a lot, but rest assured, there's no dress code at Orchestra Hall. You might see tuxes and gowns for special celebratory performances. You might see business casual or professional looks for folks on a special night out. You might also see regular street clothes. Be you. Be comfortable.

When should I arrive?

The earlier the better! Doors open two hours before your performance, and activities typically begin an hour before the first notes. Whether its a chat with a guest artist, an interactive exhibit or a performance, each pre-concert activity is designed to provide context to what is happening on stage and build connections with our community.

Do I need to know anything about the program?

Our musicians envy those who are experiencing this great music for the first time. There are surprises around every corner. Sit back or lean in.

Getting to know the program before the concert is a great way to get the most out of your concert experience. Your program magazine is a treasure trove of information about each piece of music and the musicians on stage. We'll also email you the week of the performance with your ticket details along with some extra info about your concert.

When should I clap?

Half-hearted applause has no place in Orchestra Hall. We love and are extremely grateful for an enthusiastic and energetic audience, no matter the piece. We do, however, ask that you hold your applause until the very end of each piece.

Take a quick peek at your program to see if there are multiple movements, or section of the larger work, listed next to each piece of music. If so, hold your applause to the last movement on that list. If you’re nervous, wait for cues from those around you. Our superfans will show you the way.

When can I take pictures or video?

Think movie theater etiquette. While we don't allow videos or photos while the musicians are performing, we highly encourage you to capture your time with the Orchestra before or after the performance, or during intermission. Use #MNorch so we can give them a like and share our favorites!

When can I use my phone?

Two hours device free? Sounds like paradise.

If device separation gives you a little anxiety, we get it. Please silence your phone when you enter the hall and try not to look at your phone while the musicians are performing. The light from your screen can be a little annoying for your seat neighbors.

How long is the intermission?

Most concerts include a 20-minute intermission. Plenty of time to use the restroom, stretch your legs, pick up a drink, or skim through your program to get hyped for the second half.

Where can I ask more questions?

At Orchestra Hall, we have incredible ushers and volunteers, always standing by to answer any questions that come up. If you have questions before your performance, reach out to our ticketing team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or find us on social media.

About Orchestra Hall

Our bright, beautiful and expansive lobby provides plenty of space to roam around and explore before and after your concert. Stop by a bar to grab a drink or snack, check out the merchandise cart, or explore the pre-concert activities.

Orchestra Hall, home of the Minnesota Orchestra since 1974, is known as one of the best acoustic spaces in the world. In 2012, the hall was renovated to create long-awaited upgrades and additions throughout the building. There are 114 cubes on the ceilings and walls. They bounce the sound all over the place so everyone can hear our Orchestra play. But that also means that if you talk from your seats, the musicians can hear you too!

Enjoy your performance! We’re looking forward to welcoming you to Orchestra Hall.

Minnesota Orchestra Staff