The best way to get to the Minnesota State Fair

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The Minnesota State Fair is the Great Minnesota Get Together, but how do you get two million people to the Fairgrounds?

Unless you arrive when gates open or have handicap parking access, I really do not recommend parking on the Fairgrounds. Traffic near the Fairgrounds is brutal, considering there are so many public buses bringing folks into the Fair.

Speaking of buses, rideshare service Lyft is partnering with Metro Transit in 2019 to get people out to the Minnesota State Fair.

You can save $3 on a Lyft ride to or from a Metro Transit State Fair Express Service location. There are 10 around the Twin Cities:

  1. Blaine: 95th Avenue Park and Ride, 3249 95th Ave. NE
  2. Bloomington: 82nd St. & 24th Ave. S., across from Mall of America East parking ramp
  3. Brooklyn Park: Bottineau Blvd. & 63rd Park and Ride, 7000 63rd Ave. N.
  4. Cottage Grove: Cottage Grove Park & Ride, along Hwy. 61 on W. Point Douglas Rd. between 80th St. and Jamaica Ave.
  5. Minneapolis: Parade Stadium/Dunwoody College of Technology, I-394 & Dunwoody Blvd. (Note:  Weekday service for this site begins at noon)
  6. Minnetonka:  I-394 & Co. Rd 73 Park and Ride, SW corner of I-394 & Co. Rd. 73
  7. Maplewood: Maplewood Mall Transit Center, 1793 Beam Ave. (board on Southlawn Dr.)
  8. West St. Paul: Signal Hills Shopping Center, S. Robert St. and Butler Ave.
  9. Maple Grove: Maple Grove Transit Station, I-94 & Hemlock Ln. (weekends & Labor Day only)
  10. Newport: Newport Transit Station, 250 Red Rock Crossing (weekends & Labor Day only)

You will need to use promo code MNSFEXPRESS in the Lyft app to save.

However, it’s extremely important to note this code is only valid from 8 a.m. to noon. In my opinion, it is a lackluster deal because of the limited timeframe and because it’s already free to leave your car at the Express Service parking lots listed above. If you don’t feel comfortable leaving your car at one of those lots, feel free to take a Lyft and use the discount code.

Note: Metro Transit Express Service bus tickets cost $5 if you buy a ticket via the Metro Transit phone app (worth downloading) or $6 by cash.

You are able to take a Lyft (or Uber) to the Fairgrounds. There are two pickup and drop off zones, but note that both are a bit of a hike away from the Fairgrounds.

My personal recommendation would be to take one of the free Shuttle Service buses (aka Park and Ride) Metro Transit offers. You must plan ahead to figure out which lot you will park at. Some do fill up very quickly, so check the Minnesota State Fair’s Twitter account to see if your lot of choice is full. In 2019, some of the lots have filled up by 9 am.

One of the best Park and Ride lots is at the University of Minnesota. Those buses take a private Transitway to the Fairgrounds, making for a short ride. Note that for 2019, that option is not available on August 29th.

You can have someone drop you off a a free Park and Ride lot. The buses will still run, even if a lot is full.

Traffic around the Fairgrounds in 2019 is some of the worst it’s been in years. I would not rely on using Lyft, Uber or a friend to drop you off or pick you up from the Fair. Buses are able to use the Transitway — cars can’t.

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