Spring break activities abound in the Twin Cities

Are you stuck on campus over spring break, forced to wait out the end of winter surrounded by melting piles of snow? Never fear! Northfield and the Twin Cities offer plenty of activities to keep your mind off the weather.

Listen to Live Music at the Contented Cow

Already a regular destination for many Oles, the Contented Cow is a friendly and welcoming Northfield institution. While incentives like the free popcorn are enough to attract college students, the bar also provides opportunities for locals to either take in some live music or play their own tunes for a receptive audience. On Mondays from 7:30 to 9 p.m., the Cow has a “Northern Roots Session,” which is an opportunity for musicians to come in and play music from the Nordic tradition. On Tuesdays from 7:30 to 10 p.m., the Cow hosts an “Acoustic Jam Session” and on Fridays at 5 p.m. they have “Occasional Jazz.” If the weather is finally nice, you can wander around downtown, have dinner at Chapati or Hogan Bros. and then end the night at the Cow which can be found at 302 Division Street.

Check out “Matisse: Masterworks from the Baltimore Museum of Art” at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts

This collection of works by modernist-impressionist Henri Matisse is the largest ever assembled in Minneapolis, according to the MIA website. The works span 60 years and include paintings, sculptures, prints and Matisse’s book “Jazz,” which contains hundreds of paper collages and writings. Other ongoing collections at the MIA, which has free admission, include “Imperial Nature: Flora, Fauna and Colonialism in India” and “The Infinite World: Chinese Figure Painting of the Ming and Qing Dynasties.” Or, if you want to take in some art without leaving campus, check out the ongoing exhibit “River Doctors” in Dittmann Center’s Flaten Art Gallery.

Go see “The Grand Budapest Hotel” at the Uptown Theatre

This widely praised movie from acclaimed writer/director Wes Anderson tells the story of a hotel concierge named Gustave H. who, after being framed for the murder of his much older lover, escapes from prison and attempts to steal back an expensive painting that was left to him upon her death. Set in a fictional country around the time of World War II, this film promises to be as highly stylized and wildly inventive as Anderson’s other films the best of which include “The Darjeeling Limited” and “The Royal Tenenbaums”. As it is in limited release, The Grand Budapest Hotel can only be seen at the Uptown Theatre in Minneapolis.

Visit the Lakeville Area Arts Center

This Arts Center is the former All Saints Catholic Church that was renovated into, according to its website, “a state-of-the-art theater and arts facility” while still “preserving one of downtown Lakeville’s cherished historic buildings.” The art gallery, which features work by local artists, may be worth a look. The center also offers art classes for any age and skill level if you want to hone your own abilities. For any musical theater lovers, the center is putting on a production of “Footloose: The Musical,” which is of course based on the 1984 film of the same name. “Footloose” is playing March 21-22 and 28-30 at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $13 at the box office. The gallery is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.

See a concert at First Avenue

Located at the heart of downtown Minneapolis, this cultural landmark became famous after providing the setting for the Prince film “Purple Rain.” Over the following decades, it has hosted hundreds of music’s biggest names, and playing at the club is still considered a huge privilege for any musician. This week, bands playing at First Avenue include California indie band Young the Giant 3/25, country rockers Drive-By Truckers with Blitzen Trapper 3/27, dream pop band Warpaint 3/29 or, if you’re up on local bands from the 70s, new wave band The Suburbs 3/28. All of these shows are 18+, and tickets are available at etix.com.

Watch stand-up comic Amy Schumer at the Orpheum

Amy Schumer, whose show “Inside Amy Schumer” soon enters its second season on Comedy Central, is known for her edgy sense of humor juxtaposed with her wholesome appearance. A rising star in the world of stand-up comedy, Schumer has been compared to Louis C.K. and Lena Dunham, and the new season of her show will include the likes of Mike Birbiglia, Parker Posey, Paul Giamatti and Jon Glaser in guest appearances. Her tour stops at Minneapolis’ Orpheum Theater on March 27 at 8 p.m. Tickets are anywhere from $37.50 to $45.