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When locals should go to ‘super’ events downtown Minneapolis (and how to get there)

Based on previous years, around one million visitors are expected to trek to Minneapolis and Saint Paul in the days leading up to the big game on Sunday, February 4. In perspective, the Minnesota State Fair had nearly two million visitors…over the course of 12 days.

So it’s going to be busy. I get it if you’re leaving town, but that’s not fun. You’ll miss all the excitement as all eyes turn to Minneapolis. So, if you want to check out the festivities, here’s my advice.

Don’t bother driving downtown Minneapolis. If you want to park downtown on February 4, parking spots near U.S. Bank Stadium are going for $100. I visited ramps in downtown Minneapolis on January 27 — they’re already charging $8 – 65 for a spot. Get my recommendations for where to park if you are dead set on driving downtown.

I was on KSTP-TV‘s Twin Cities Live with advice on the can’t-miss events and how to get there!


Super Bowl LIVE and Super Bowl Experience

Super Bowl Live
Super Bowl LIVE is a free 10-day festival along Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. Click here to view this map in full. Photo credit: Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee
  • What is it?
    • The Super Bowl Experience is inside the Minneapolis Convention Center. It’s where you’ll find the Vince Lombardi Trophy, a big NFL pro shop and plenty of family-friendly activities. Tickets are $35 for adults.
  • When should I go? 
    • Super Bowl LIVE and the Super Bowl Experience will be best for Minnesotans to check out the first weekend, January 26 – 28.
      • If you attend the first weekend, you would miss those national broadcasts.
    • I’m predicting a great night to go would be Monday, January 29. Super Bowl LIVE is planning a celebration to Minnesota music icon, Prince. And the Super Bowl Experience should be quieter since it’s a school night.
  • How do I get there?
    • If you want to go on January 27, 28 or February 3, you can take Metro Transit’s suburban Park and Ride service for only $2.50 each way. They leave from spots in Maple Grove, Blaine, Maplewood, Minnetonka and Richfield.
      • You’ll want to bring EXACT CHANGE.
      • Service starts at 9:30 a.m. from each location. Buses leave every 30 minutes. The last bus will leave downtown Minneapolis at 10:00 p.m.
      • You’ll get dropped off at the Leamington Transit Center, which is located at 11th Street and 2nd Avenue in downtown Minneapolis. It’s a two-block walk to both Super Bowl LIVE and the Super Bowl Experience.
    • If you’re interested in Super Bowl LIVE only (the free event), you can take Metro Transit’s light rail. You’ll only have to walk a block to reach the action.
      • I would recommend parking around the University of Minnesota campus. There are plenty of ramps and lots along with street parking. You can hop on either the Green or Blue line to get downtown Minneapolis. You’ll want to head westbound from campus.
      • It’s $1.75 – 2.25 one way, depending on the time of day you go. Those last 2.5 hours. You can also buy passes that buy you more time.
    • I guess you could park downtown. I don’t think you’ll enjoy it. It’s not confirmed whether lots that typically charge $5 or $6 on evenings and weekends will still do so. My favorite ramp in downtown Minneapolis in the winter (when it’s not big game busy) is at the U.S. Bancorp Building. It’s underground and they typically only charge $5 for evening and weekend parking. The ramp next door, LaSalle Court, is good, too. But again, I don’t recommend parking downtown. You’ll either get stuck in traffic or will walk a ton.

How to Navigate Downtown Minneapolis (from someone who lives there)

So I feel it’s not well-known, but just about every east-west road in downtown Minneapolis leads to a major highway or Interstate. So, figure out where you want to head and plan your route before you hop in the car so you can save your sanity!

Nearly every east-west street in downtown Minneapolis leads to an interstate or state highway. Credit: KSTP-TV
  • 3rd Street (traffic goes east to west) — direct access to Interstate 94 westbound and Interstate 394 westbound
  • 4th Street (traffic goes west to east) — direct access to Interstate 35W northbound and the University of Minnesota (both west and east banks)
  • 5th Street (east to west) — non-direct access to Highway 55 westbound (signs are posted)
  • 6th Street (west to east) — direct access to Interstate 94 eastbound
  • 7th Street (east to west) — non-direct access to Highway 55 (turn left on Olson Memorial), direct access to Interstate 94 westbound and eastbound
  • 8th Street (west to east) — direct access to Highway 55 southbound
  • 10th Street (west to east) — direct access to Interstate 35W southbound
  • 11th Street (east to west) — non-direct access to Interstate 394 westbound and Interstate 94 westbound (turn left on Hawthorne)
  • 12th Street (west to east) — direct access to Interstate 35W southbound

9th Street ends at the Greyhound Terminal.

Washington Avenue is another option, but it’s not the only one! It connects with Interstate 35W northbound and southbound, along with Interstate 394 westbound in the North Loop. If you take Washington east over 35W, it’ll wind around and lead you to the University of Minnesota campus and to Interstate 94 eastbound.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Erin S.

    LaSalle parking ramp is an awful option! 8th Street is closed so all lanes dump out on to LaSalle. It took me an hour to get out of that ramp yesterday because of it.

    1. Give Me The Mike

      That’s true — which is why I recommend not parking downtown!

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