Furthering your personal education

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November 15, 2004 // UPDATED 4:40 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Kristopher Wenn, Britt Johnsen and sue rich
Kristopher Wenn, Britt Johnsen and sue rich

Where you can go for noncredit classes in and near Downtown

If you want to take a couple of classes without committing to a full degree or certificate program, consider signing up at one of these community institutions.

The Learning Annex

706 N. 1st St.



Whether you wish to achieve corporate gain or a higher metaphysical plane, there's bound to be something to pique your interest at The Learning Annex. This downtown institution offers 250 new noncredit courses every 60 days. Courses range from "Expanding Your Circle of Good Touch" to "How to Build a PC" or "How to Start Your Own Web-design Company."

On average, the typical one- or two-session six-hour course costs $30. The occasional more extensive or specialized course or trip can run up to $125. Financial aid is not available. However, discounts are available through the VIP membership program.

MacPhail Center for the Arts

1128 LaSalle Ave.



MacPhail Center for the Arts offers accessible, relaxed music courses and lessons. The school has recently seen a spike in the number of busy professionals who get in a quick lunchtime lesson to help the rest of their day go more smoothly.

MacPhail offers hands-on intro-level courses on instruments and genres, one-on-one lessons, and informal and formal recitals for people of all ages with musical skills of all levels.

With over 130 teachers on staff, you can pretty much name your style, pace and instrument (including your voice).

Spring semester starts Jan. 31 and ends June 5. Classes, which can run from eight hours in one day to 100 hours or more over several months, range from $100 to $400. The average class costs about $200. The cost of lessons varies among teachers but is typically $26.75 per half hour. On average, people sign up for one half-hour lesson per week for 16 weeks for a total of $408.

Minneapolis Community Education


(click "Adult Enrichment" and then "Course Catalog")

At an average cost of $25 per class, Minneapolis Community Education (or Community Ed) is hard to beat. Started in 1974 as a way to utilize excess space in Minneapolis public school buildings, Community Ed now serves thousands of students each semester.

Their diverse offerings include most anything an adult learner might be interested in, from mastering the subtleties of Thai cooking to making inexpensive holiday gifts to conquering pesky computer programs.

Class categories include: academic enrichment, cooking, online classes, classes for older adults, family and youth (including classes you can take with your child), personal development, arts and crafts, health and fitness, music, dance and the performing arts, computers, hobby and leisure, trips and tours, consumer and business, and home improvement.

Winter registration will be available Jan. 3. The average $25 class usually involves several two-hour sessions; there are also often free, one-time classes and field trips (which range from historical and antique-ing meanderings to cross country skiing excursions) that cost up to $100.

Classes are held throughout the city at various schools, libraries and businesses.

Community Ed sites convenient for Downtowners include:

- Just off the Penn exit from I-394:

Anwatin Community Ed

256 Upton Ave. S.


- Close to North Loop, the southeast side of North Commons:

North Community Ed

1500 James Ave. N.


- Just east of 35th/36th Street exit from I-35:

Wilder Community Ed

3345 Chicago Ave. S.


- Just off Highway 280 at University Avenue:

Pratt Community Ed

66 Malcolm Ave. S.