A Minnesotan’s guide to college basketball’s ultimate weekend

The best in college men’s basketball make their way to Minneapolis April 5-8, 2019. Like when Minnesota hosted Super Bowl LII in 2018, there is plenty to do. Here’s a guide of what you can discover.

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I explored the Tip-Off Tailgate and Final Four Fan Fest on Friday. Get my take here.

Know before you go:

  • The big name concerts at the Armory (Katy Perry, Jonas Brothers, Chainsmokers) are sold out. However, there are free outdoor concerts planned to take place on Nicollet Mall. Keep reading for details.
  • U.S. Bank Stadium is free to visit on Friday. You can watch teams practice and see everything all shiny.
  • All of the NCAA sanctioned events (aka U.S. Bank Stadium, the Armory, Nicollet Mall and the Convention Center) are all within a mile of each other. Park once and forget about your car once you are downtown. Downtown Minneapolis has 40,000 parking spots. Plus, unlike Super Bowl LII, the light rail will run on a regular schedule throughout the weekend.
  • If you want to reserve a parking spot, you can through a program called SpotHero. You can use it in Minneapolis year-round. I don’t recommend it — you aren’t necessarily saving money and you have to specifically find that one parking ramp when you get downtown.
  • Saturday update: the parking ramp across the street from my apartment was charging a $8 event rate. I’m 4 blocks from Tip-Off Tailgate on Nicollet Mall and 7 blocks from U.S. Bank Stadium. Not bad.
  • The NCAA has a decent (free) phone app that has details with all of the events they are planning. You can also use it to buy tickets to Fan Fest. It also has an interactive skyway map that’s definitely worth it. Here’s a link to download it.
  • Don’t want to walk? Buick is expected to take fans in their cars from their tents set up around downtown to an establishment or venue for free. The service will take place Friday thru Monday. The driver will not drop riders off at a private resident. Riders must be at least 9 years old or weigh 90 pounds. Cars will go between 5 to 7 miles from the tent to the final destination. As of April 1st, the times and location of operation were not made public.
  • If you end up taking a Lyft or Uber to get downtown, there will be specific points where you should have better luck meeting a driver.
    • LaSalle Avenue and 9th Street (near Nicollet Mall)
    • On 5th Avenue between 4th and 5th Streets (near City Hall)
    • On 7th Street between Chicago Avenue and 10th Avenue (near U.S. Bank Stadium)
  • You will need a clear bag any just about every indoor event planned by the NCAA. That includes the games inside U.S. Bank Stadium, the Fan Fest at the Convention Center and the concerts in the Armory. Leave backpacks, purses larger than 5.5″ x 8.5″ and your State Fair fanny pack at home. Free clear bags will be handed out at hotels, at the Convention Center and U.S. Bank Stadium. They are also for sale at NCAA Final Four merchandise stands.
  • NCAA will have plenty of merchandise stores set up. The Minneapolis Convention Center will have a 7,700 square feet experience at its Fan Fest. There will be a retail store inside the Baker Center (8th Street and Marquette Avenue) and on Nicollet Mall between 9th and 10th Streets. There will also be official stores in over a dozen Twin Cities hotels.

Places you will want to visit:

  • ESPN is scheduled to broadcast outside on Nicollet Mall between 4th & 5th Streets at Xcel Energy Plaza (right off the light rail)
  • CBS Sports will broadcast inside the IDS Center Crystal Court

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  • FINNEGANS, located just 2 blocks from the Armory and 4 blocks from U.S. Bank Stadium, will be open from noon til midnight April 5-8. Their taproom is an official NCAA merchandise site and you can take a photo with a NCAA ladder and hoop right there. They are also teaming up with Pedal Pub to offer 90 minute runs around East Town Friday thru Monday. The cost is $39.

Related content:

Thursday, April 4

State Farm College Slam Dunk & 3-Point Championships

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  • 8:00 p.m.
  • Target Center, Minneapolis
  • Tickets: $15-38

Friday, April 5

Reese’s® Final Four Friday®

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  • 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
  • U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis
  • Free and open to the public
  • Watch all four teams practice before Saturday’s semifinals
  • There is also an all-star game, which starts around 3:30 p.m.
  • Backpacks, purses and fanny packs are not allowed inside U.S. Bank Stadium. Just like Vikings games, you can bring in a clear plastic bag no bigger than 12″ x 6″ x 12″, a gallon-sized plastic storage bag or a clutch purse no bigger than 5.5″ x 8.5″. The same bag policy applies to the concerts at the Armory and the Fan Fest at the Convention Center. View more here.

Final Four Fan Fest presented by Capital One

fan fest

  • Opens Friday, runs thru Monday
  • Runs 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Friday
  • Minneapolis Convention Center, Minneapolis
  • Tickets: Capital One cardholders receive 2 free tickets; otherwise $10 adults, $5 military, $5 60+, $5 college students, kids 12 and under free
  • More than just basketball: participate in a home run derby and scale a rock climbing wall
  • Note: Capital One cardholders get special early access to the event on Saturday and Sunday
  • Backpacks, purses and fanny packs are not allowed inside Fan Fest. Just like Vikings games, you can bring in a clear plastic bag no bigger than 12″ x 6″ x 12″, a gallon-sized plastic storage bag or a clutch purse no bigger than 5.5″ x 8.5″. The same bag policy applies to the concerts at the Armory and the festivities inside U.S. Bank Stadium. View more here.

Tip-Off Tailgate

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  • Opens Friday, runs thru Monday
  • 4:00 – 10:00 p.m. Friday
  • Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis (8th to 12th Streets)
  • Includes a ferris wheel at Nicollet Mall & 10th Street. If you are a Capital One cardholder, show your card to get access to a priority lane

Take a photo with the NCAA Trophy

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  • 12:00-2:00 p.m.
  • Target on Nicollet Mall (2nd floor)

AT&T Block Party

  • 7:00 p.m.
  • Armory, Minneapolis
  • This free concert, featuring The Chainsmokers, is sold out. Tickets were claimed weeks ago
  • Backpacks, purses and fanny packs are not allowed inside the Armory. Just like Vikings games, you can bring in a clear plastic bag no bigger than 12″ x 6″ x 12″, a gallon-sized plastic storage bag or a clutch purse no bigger than 5.5″ x 8.5″. The same bag policy applies to the concerts at the Armory and the festivities inside U.S. Bank Stadium. View more here.

Pizza Toss

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  • 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
  • Kitchen in the Market, Minneapolis (it’s not downtown!)
  • Tickets: $85
  • Learn how to make pizza dough from scratch at home! You are provided all of the ingredients (after a glass of champagne) along with the instruction. Don’t worry, you will be able to enjoy your creation, too!

Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Miami Heat

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  • 7:00 p.m.
  • Target Center, Minneapolis
  • Tickets start at $17
  • All fans in attendance will receive an exclusive 7″ Prince vinyl (photo above)

Bret Michaels

  • 8:00 p.m.
  • Mystic Lake Showroom, Prior Lake
  • Tickets: $39 – 64

American Craft Show

  • Opens Friday, runs thru Sunday
  • Saint Paul RiverCentre
  • Tickets: $13
  • Meet and purchase goods from nearly 250 artists from around the country

Saturday, April 6

Final Four Fan Fest presented by Capital One

fan fest

  • Opens Friday, runs thru Monday
  • Runs 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Saturday
  • Minneapolis Convention Center, Minneapolis
  • Tickets: Capital One cardholders receive 2 free tickets; otherwise $10 adults, $5 military, $5 60+, $5 college students, kids 12 and under free
  • More than just basketball: participate in a home run derby and scale a rock climbing wall
  • Note: Capital One cardholders get special early access to the event on Saturday; they can get in starting at 9:00 a.m.
  • Backpacks, purses and fanny packs are not allowed inside the Armory. Just like Vikings games, you can bring in a clear plastic bag no bigger than 12″ x 6″ x 12″, a gallon-sized plastic storage bag or a clutch purse no bigger than 5.5″ x 8.5″. The same bag policy applies to Fan Fest at the Convention Center and the festivities inside U.S. Bank Stadium. View more here.

Tip-Off Tailgate

  • Opens Friday, runs thru Monday
  • 2:00 – 10:00 p.m. Saturday
  • Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis (8th to 12th Streets)
  • Includes a ferris wheel at Nicollet Mall & 10th Street. If you are a Capital One cardholder, show your card to get access to a priority lane
  • Pep rallies for the final four teams will be held at 2:30, 2:45, 3:00 and 3:15 p.m. Saturday
  • Viewing parties of the semifinal games will start at 5:00 p.m. Saturday

Semifinal: #5 Auburn vs #1 Virginia

  • 5:09 p.m.
  • U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis

Semifinal: #3 Texas Tech vs #2 Michigan State

  • 7:49 p.m.
  • U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis

The Eventual Four

  • 5:00 – 10:00 p.m.
  • Bauhaus Brew Labs, Minneapolis
  • The longer you stay, the better the deals! Bauhaus’ beers will battle each other throughout the evening, with discounts served on brews that advance

Red Green

  • 7:00 p.m.
  • The O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University, Saint Paul
  • Tickets: $60

Leather & Laces Spring Edition

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  • 9:30 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.
  • Seven Steakhouse, Minneapolis
  • General admission tickets: $60
  • VIP tickets for $150 include premium bar, champagne, sushi and sweets
  • It’s by the same people who produced the Leather & Laces party that was in Minneapolis for Super Bowl LII. They host this party annually for the Super Bowl at the Kentucky Derby
  • The radio ad for this party says this is the “1st annual” Leather & Laces Spring Edition party. First, nothing can be the “1st annual” if you’ve only done it once. It’s the inaugural. Second, ZERO information, besides how you can buy tickets, is available on their website. No list of celebrities you might brush shoulders with. I don’t do this often, but I’m going to say this is not worth your time or money.

American Craft Show

  • Opens Friday, runs thru Sunday
  • Saint Paul RiverCentre
  • Tickets: $13
  • Meet and purchase goods from nearly 250 artists from around the country

Jonas Brothers

  • 7:00 p.m.
  • Armory, Minneapolis
  • This free concert, featuring The Jonas Brothers, is sold out
  • Backpacks, purses and fanny packs are not allowed inside the Armory. Just like Vikings games, you can bring in a clear plastic bag no bigger than 12″ x 6″ x 12″, a gallon-sized plastic storage bag or a clutch purse no bigger than 5.5″ x 8.5″. The same bag policy applies to the concerts at the Armory and the festivities inside U.S. Bank Stadium. View more here.

Sunday, April 7

Final Four Fan Fest presented by Capital One

fan fest

  • Opens Friday, runs thru Monday
  • Runs 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Sunday
  • Minneapolis Convention Center, Minneapolis
  • Tickets: Capital One cardholders receive 2 free tickets; otherwise $10 adults, $5 military, $5 60+, $5 college students, kids 12 and under free
  • More than just basketball: participate in a home run derby and scale a rock climbing wall
  • Note: Capital One cardholders get special early access to the event on Sunday; they can get in starting at 10:00 a.m.
  • Backpacks, purses and fanny packs are not allowed inside Fan Fest. Just like Vikings games, you can bring in a clear plastic bag no bigger than 12″ x 6″ x 12″, a gallon-sized plastic storage bag or a clutch purse no bigger than 5.5″ x 8.5″. The same bag policy applies to the concerts at the Armory and the festivities inside U.S. Bank Stadium. View more here.

Tip-Off Tailgate

  • Opens Friday, runs thru Monday
  • 2:00 – 8:00 p.m. Sunday
  • Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis (8th to 12th Streets)
  • Includes a ferris wheel at Nicollet Mall & 10th Street. If you are a Capital One cardholder, show your card to get access to a priority lane

Goldy’s Run

  • 8:00 a.m. Sunday
  • University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
  • Join Goldy Gopher for a morning jog around Minneapolis — choose from a 10 mile and relay, 5k or kids gallop

Slay Day

  • 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • Surly Brewing, Minneapolis
  • Surly will release its kolsch-style ale, Heat Slayer
  • $15 will get you all the Heat Slayer you care to drink on their patio

Starch Madness

  • 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
  • Mill City Museum, Minneapolis
  • The final 2 cookies in Mill City Museum’s cookie bracket will be made and you get to eat the finalists

Ken Jeong

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  • 8:00 p.m.
  • Mystic Lake Showroom, Prior Lake
  • Tickets: $29 – 55
  • It’s not downtown Minneapolis!

Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

  • 2:30 p.m.
  • Target Center, Minneapolis
  • You can get a free Metro Transit pass to the game by taking a short survey here

American Craft Show

  • Opens Friday, runs thru Sunday
  • Saint Paul RiverCentre
  • Tickets: $13
  • Meet and purchase goods from nearly 250 artists from around the country

Final Four Dribble

  • 2:00 p.m.
  • Minneapolis Convention Center
  • Registration is closed
  • 3,000 youth will dribble basketballs around Minneapolis

Capital One JamFest

  • 7:00 p.m.
  • Armory, Minneapolis
  • This free concert, featuring Katy Perry and Zedd, is sold out
  • Backpacks, purses and fanny packs are not allowed inside the Armory. Just like Vikings games, you can bring in a clear plastic bag no bigger than 12″ x 6″ x 12″, a gallon-sized plastic storage bag or a clutch purse no bigger than 5.5″ x 8.5″. The same bag policy applies to the concerts at the Armory and the festivities inside U.S. Bank Stadium. View more here.

Monday, April 8

Final Four Fan Fest presented by Capital One

fan fest

  • Opens Friday, runs thru Monday
  • Runs 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Monday
  • Minneapolis Convention Center, Minneapolis
  • Tickets: Capital One cardholders receive 2 free tickets; otherwise $10 adults, $5 military, $5 60+, $5 college students, kids 12 and under free
  • More than just basketball: participate in a home run derby and scale a rock climbing wall
  • Backpacks, purses and fanny packs are not allowed inside Fan Fest. Just like Vikings games, you can bring in a clear plastic bag no bigger than 12″ x 6″ x 12″, a gallon-sized plastic storage bag or a clutch purse no bigger than 5.5″ x 8.5″. The same bag policy applies to the concerts at the Armory and the festivities inside U.S. Bank Stadium. View more here.

Tip-Off Tailgate

  • Opens Friday, runs thru Monday
  • 4:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. Monday
  • Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis (8th to 12th Streets)
  • Includes a ferris wheel at Nicollet Mall & 10th Street. If you are a Capital One cardholder, show your card to get access to a priority lane
  • Free music performance by Fitz and the Tantrums at 6:00 p.m. Monday on the Wendy’s Main Stage at Nicollet Mall & 11th Street

National Championship Game

  • 8:00 p.m. Monday
  • U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis

Final 4 Taproom Takeover

  • 4:30 p.m.
  • BlackStack Brewing, Saint Paul
  • Tickets: $35-82
  • “Top Chef” alum Justin Sutherland leads a crew of talent creating a full menu to nosh on while you watch the national championship

 

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Folks are paying $4 to $65 to park downtown Minneapolis for 2 hours

After seeing one downtown Minneapolis ramp charging $65 for a parking spot on Friday night, I took to the streets to see what other parking ramps and lots are charging.

Fast facts:

  • The cheapest ramp I found was $8, and it was underground parking, meaning your car would stay warm. The most expensive ramp I found on January 27 was charging $50.
    • A couple friends mentioned to me they parked at the University of St. Thomas ramp for $5.50. It’s located at 11th Street and Harmon Place.
  • Municipal ramps were always cheaper.
    • On my Facebook page, Erin posted that she parked in one of the ABC ramps for $10. You should hop in the skyway to walk towards the IDS Center. Those ramps would be a great choice for those who need to take 394 or 94 westbound to get home! Learn more about the ABC ramps.
  • If you’re thrifty and don’t mind walking, take the skyway! I would highly recommend taking the Second Avenue skyway, which actually starts north of Washington Avenue. Street parking near 2nd Avenue and 2nd Street was ample and $2 an hour. There’s a 2 hour max, but if you have the Minneapolis parking meters app, you can extend your stay from your phone.
  • You don’t have to park downtown Minneapolis at all. Take the light rail. Or, if you’re going January 27, 28 or February 3, take Metro Transit’s Park and Ride coming in from five suburbs. Learn more here.

If you’re frugal but want to attempt parking downtown

The Minneapolis Central Library, at 4th Street and Hennepin Avenue, had underground event parking for $8. You’ll walk two blocks south to get to the northern fringe of Super Bowl LIVE. Remember you’ll need to walk back eight blocks back to your car if you want to see Super Bowl LIVE in its entirety. It’s a brisk 10-block walk to the Minneapolis Convention Center for the Super Bowl Experience.

Where to park if you’re okay forking over $20

There are a couple really good options if you’re willing to pay $20 for a spot.

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Pay $20 for a spot at 12th Street and Marquette Avenue. It’s connected to the skyway and is less than two blocks from Super Bowl LIVE and the Super Bowl Experience.

The ramp at 12th and 2nd Avenue is across the street from the Minneapolis Convention Center and just two blocks from the southern entrance of Super Bowl LIVE. It’s run by the city. To get driving directions there, type 1117 Marquette Avenue South in your favorite maps app.

Within the same city block, the ramp at 1111 Marquette Avenue South is also $20. Neither ramp is underground.

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Parking in this lot between 9th and 10th Streets on Marquette is $20, but traffic starts to pile up outside.

A little further up Marquette, the ramp at 9th and Marquette is also $20, but traffic on Marquette was a bit stacked. It will put you at the middle of Super Bowl LIVE (you just have to walk west a block to Nicollet Mall).

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The underground ramp at Gaviidae Common is charging $20. That’ll have you at the northern end of Super Bowl LIVE.

If you’re coming from the north or west, park in the underground ramp at Gaviidae Common. You can access it on 6th Street between Nicollet Mall and Marquette. That’s also $20.

Where you don’t want to park

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The ramp at Fifty South Sixth is close to the action, but you’ll pay for it.

I would draw a perimeter with Hennepin Avenue on the west, 5th Street on the north, 10th Street on the south and 3rd Street on east. Anything in that zone is going to be expensive and hard to get to anyway. Remember that 8th Street is closed and lanes are closed on 6th, 7th, 9th and 10th Streets.

The RSM Plaza ramp near 8th and Marquette was at $35.

Want to park underneath the IDS Center? It’s $50, the most expensive ramp I found on January 27.

I saw on social media the ramp at Fifty South Sixth Street charged $65 for spots on the opening night of Super Bowl LIVE. on January 27, they were offering quite a discount: a single spot was $40.

Parking along Hennepin Avenue isn’t cheap. It’s actually more expensive. Lots between 7th and 4th Streets were charging $25 to $30.

Read my guide with multiple ways to get downtown Minneapolis, whether it’s by bus, rail or car.

 

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!

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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.

Guide: Twin Cities events leading up to the big game

I had to make a spreadsheet to keep track of everything happening in the Twin Cities leading up to the big game at U.S. Bank Stadium on February 4. I’m ready to help you find the best activities. Embrace the chaos — we won’t see anything this big come through Minnesota for decades!

Am I missing an event? Let me know! Tweet @mike_marcotte or hit me up on Facebook.

Last updated 1/28/18

Thursday, January 25, 2018

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A rendering of the 2018 Ice Palace in Rice Park. To date, the St. Paul Winter Carnival has built 36 ice castles. Photo credit: St. Paul Winter Carnival
  • The St. Paul Winter Carnival’s Ice Palace opens today. Stop by Rice Park at 6:00 p.m. for a lighting ceremony. The Ice Palace will stay up through February 10, weather depending.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Free.
    • Know before you go: For $25, you can buy an ice block used to build this year’s Ice Palace. You won’t receive the block, but you will get a certificate.
  • The Winter Carnival actually kicks off with a Moon Glow Pedestrian Parade in downtown Saint Paul. Festivities start at 5:15 p.m. at the Securian Building (401 Robert Street). Your family can walk with the St. Paul Bouncing Team, Winter Carnival royalty and others to Rice Park starting at 6:00 p.m.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Free.
    • Know before you go: Dig around your house for glow sticks and other items to light up the night.
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My friends at Family Fun Twin Cities have a guide featuring the best Winter Carnival events for you and your kiddos. Check it out here.
  • The U.S. Pond Hockey Championships kick off tonight on Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis. The four-day event is part of The Great Northern Festival. Opening ceremonies are Friday morning.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes, but if you want to play a game, you need to register in advance.
    • What’s the cost? Spectators can watch for free.
  • Even Como Park Zoo and Conservatory is embracing the ‘Bold North’ theme. The winter flower show in the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory will feature shades of purple (fitting), silver and white.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Free!
    • Know before you go: You’ll have plenty of time to check out this flower show. It runs through March 11.
  • You’ll plunge 40 feet down and glide 130 feet in an inner-tube at CHS Field for the Saint Paul Super Slide. Open through February 10, the Super Slide also features a trout ice fishing experience from January 27 – February 3.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? $10 adults, $5 kids. Your ticket gets you unlimited access on the slide for 60 minutes.
    • Know before you go: Metro Transit’s Green Line light rail ends at CHS Field. It’s a great way to get to Lowertown Saint Paul without having to worry about traffic.
  • An ice bar is open on the roof of The Lexington in Saint Paul. Check it out Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 4:00 – 9:00 p.m. through February 10.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Free.
    • Know before you go: The team at Summit will unleash and serve their newest brew, Dakota Soul, at the ice bar. The Czech-style Pilsner is made from hops grown on the family farm of Summit’s Founder and President, Mark Stutrud.
  • Go on a historic walking tour of downtown Saint Paul dive bars tonight. Stops include current bar, Kelly’s, along with the stories of bars which have shuttered. The loop is about 1.5 miles and the event starts at 6:30 p.m.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Free.
    • Know before you go: Plan some extra time navigating downtown Saint Paul tonight. The St. Paul Winter Carnival will take over Rice Park with the opening of their Ice Palace.

Friday, January 26, 2018

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The Vulcan Snow Park opens today with a 300 foot-long snow slide. Photo credit: Vulcan Snow Park via Facebook
  • During the Winter Carnival, the Minnesota State Fairgrounds turn into a Snow Park. You’ll find it where the Kidway is during the Great Minnesota Get Together. It features a 16 foot-high and 300 foot-long snow slide, the Minnesota State Snow Sculpting Competition, along with two new events in 2018: barstool ski races and lawn mower races. Note that Fair buildings aren’t open, meaning the most luxurious restroom you’ll find is the port-a-potty.
    • Is it open to the public? Ya sure, you betcha. Festivities go January 26 through February 11.
    • What’s the cost? It’s free to get into the Fairgrounds and in the Snow Park, but if you want to go do that snow slide, it’s $2 per ride. They provide the sleds.
    • Know before you go: Over 50,000 cubic feet of snow (both natural and man-made) are used to make the slide and the sculptures.
  • Today marks the opening of Super Bowl LIVE on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. Minnesota music legends Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis coordinated the music lineup that’s comprised of mostly local artists. However, it’ll kick off with Idina Menzel singing “Let It Go.” You’ll find performance times here. (Idina Menzel takes the stage during a ceremony that begins at 5:00 p.m.) Super Bowl LIVE runs through Sunday, February 4. It opens at 10:00 a.m. on weekends and 4:00 p.m. weekdays. Before you go, read my list of the five things you don’t want to miss at Super Bowl LIVE.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes. Many media outlets, including NFL Network and NBC Sports, will broadcast from this area, too.
    • What’s the cost? It’s free. No ticket is necessary.
    • Know before you go: It’s (mostly) outside. If you can’t handle the cold while you’re there, head up Nicollet Mall to the IDS Center and the Dayton’s Project. Also, don’t forget to stop at 6th Street and Nicollet Mall to get your photo taken with huge Roman Numeral LII ice sculptures. This map gives you a good glimpse on what you’ll find at Super Bowl LIVE.
  • If you see people flying over the Mississippi River, you’re not seeing things. Today marks the beginning of the Bold North Zip Line. Participants will soar for 800 feet towards downtown while they’re 100 feet in the air.
    1. Is it open to the public? Well…it was. Tickets sold out fast and are no longer available.
    2. What’s the cost? If you don’t have a ticket, you’re out of luck. I went down the zip line on January 26 and brought cameras with me. Watch that here.
    3. Know before you go: If you do have a time slot, you need to check in at the beginning of your scheduled time slot at 7th Street and Nicollet Mall. Participants will be shuttled to the zip line. Note that people who don’t have a ticket to go on the zip line will not be allowed on the shuttle.
  • Twenty-five Minnesota brands will open a pop-up mall inside City Center in Downtown Minneapolis today. According to Ali Kaplan at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, The North Local Market features Hagen and Oats woodwork, Worker B skin care products, home decor from i like you, and more. Minnesota-based Smile Network International will take over 7,000 square-feet inside City Center, too. The North Local Market kicks off at 4:00 p.m. Friday, January 26 and will be open from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. daily through Sunday, February 4.
    • Is it open to the public? Yep. Bring your wallet.
    • What’s the cost? Free.
    • Know before you go: Make sure you take the skyway next door to the Dayton’s Project. An NFL Shop, along with a CNN broadcast studio, will be set up there.
  • If you’re downtown Minneapolis on Nicollet Mall, make sure to trek up to 5th and Nicollet to view ‘Sota Pop, a series of photo ops that are uniquely Minnesotan. It’s open various hours daily through February 4.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Free.
    • Know before you go: It’s just steps from the Nicollet Mall light rail station.
  • Don’t want to drive up to the cities? I don’t blame you. Dakota County Parks are hosting a candlelight walk in Hastings along the Mississippi River tonight from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Bonfires and grub from food trucks will help warm you up.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? $5. Kids 5 and under are free.
    • Know before you go: They’re looking for volunteers to help with the event. You’ll get in for free and a free meal, too. Learn more. 
  • It doesn’t get much more Minnesotan this this. The creative geniuses at Inbound BrewCo near Target Field in Minneapolis will have shuffleboard outdoors, but instead of traditional discs, they’re using pucks of frozen hot dish. It runs daily through Sunday, February 4. Learn more here.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Free!
    • Know before you go: Inbound BrewCo is in North Loop, and no matter which direction you’re coming from, you should be able to avoid driving through downtown Minneapolis to get there.
  • Wells Fargo WinterSkate isn’t only in downtown Saint Paul. Loring Park, located just south of downtown Minneapolis, is home to a rink that’s bigger and less busy than the one you’ll find near Rice Park. Starting today, they’re hosting 10 days of activities from “fitness skating” to skating lessons and even a skating party with a showing of the movie, “Remember the Titans.” It’s open daily through March 4.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? It’s free. Skate rental is free when their warming house is open.
    • Know before you go: Okay, this is good. Organizers are planning a mass skating party of drag queens on Saturday, February 3 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Super Bowl Experience.jpg
The Super Bowl Experience runs January 27 through February 3 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
  • The Minneapolis Convention Center turns into an interactive theme park for the Super Bowl Experience starting today. At the family-friendly event, you can score autographs from NFL players, take a photo with the Vince Lombardi trophy, get some new gear at the NFL Shop and kiddos can participate in a NFL Play clinic. The Super Bowl Experience is open through Saturday, February 3.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Tickets are $35 for adults, $25 for kids 12 and under. They’re available on Ticketmaster.
    • Know before you go: If you’re going to go on a weekend, please, please, please don’t try to park downtown Minneapolis. On January 27, 28 and February 3, Metro Transit is offering Park & Ride buses from Maple Grove, Blaine, Maplewood, Minnetonka and Richfield. It’ll drop you off at 11th Street and 2nd Avenue, which is just one block from the Super Bowl Experience. And it’s only $2.50 each way. Learn more here.
  • On the east side of the Mississippi, the St. Paul Winter Carnival hosts its annual King Boreas Grand Day Parade. Enjoy dozens of marching bands and wave at royalty from around the Twin Cities. The parade starts at 2:00 p.m. and marches down West Seventh Street from the Smith Avenue High Bridge to Rice Park in downtown Saint Paul.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? It’s free.
    • Know before you go: Watch the parade from the end of the route near Rice Park. If you or the kiddos need to warm up, head inside Landmark Center for Kids Day activities including a puzzle contest and entertainment. Learn more.
  • The Saintly City Cat Show runs today and Sunday at the Saint Paul RiverCentre. Hundreds of cats will claw their way to be crowned the Household Pet King and Queen.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? $4 adults, $3 for seniors and children.
    • Know before you go: The Cat Show is hosted by the Saintly City Cat Club, which started nearly 45 years ago.
  • This sounds extremely Minnesotan: watch robotic snowplows compete in an Autonomous Snowplow Competition in conjunction with the Winter Carnival today and Sunday. You’ll see it in Rice Park in front of the library.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Free.
    • Know before you go: College teams come from as far as Michigan to compete.
  • It’s the second of four weekends for the Ice Shanty Projects on Lake Harriet in Minneapolis. Check out ice houses designed by some creative folks; past ice shanties allowed visitors to take an imaginative elevator ride, relieve stress and play music. This year, a Notary Shanty will have a Notary Public inside for that form you need stamped. Go today (Saturday, January 27) for the Lake Harriet Winter Kite Festival.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Free.
    • Know before you go: You’ll want to park near the Lake Harriet Bandshell. It’s about 1,000 feet on the ice. Parking around the Bandshell is extremely limited so pack some patience with those hand warmers.
  • If the boxed wine you buy with three bottles of vino inside makes you feel like a lush, wait until you see the bottle they’re uncorking today at The St. Paul Grill. It’s 18 liters of Cabernet Sauvignon. That one bottle has enough vino for 100 people to have a full glass.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes, but you need to make a reservation.
    • What’s the cost? $35 per person.
    • Know before you go: Only eight of these 18 liter bottles were made last year.
  • A reminder that one of the cheapest places to ice skate in the Twin Cities, Wells Fargo WinterSkate, is open through February 11 outside the Landmark Center in downtown Saint Paul.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes. If you don’t like crowds, today may not be the best day to go.
    • What’s the cost? If you bring your own skates, it’s free. If you flash a Wells Fargo credit or debit card, you can rent skates for free.
    • Know before you go: Pay close attention to when open skate takes place. The rink closes for leagues and private events.
  • As part of the St. Paul Winter Carnival, the Orchid Society of Minnesota hosts its annual Orchid Show in the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park Zoo today and tomorrow.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? $5 adults, $3 kids 3-12 years old.
    • Know before you go: Spend some extra time in the Conversatory’s Sunken Garden. It’s home to the Bold North Flower Show featuring flowers in various shades of purple, silver and white.
  • Thrivent Financial in downtown Minneapolis is host of the Super Hats and Mittens event today from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Enjoy free food, beverages and even parking when you pre-register (they are asking for a donation for the non-profit, Hats and Mittens). Kiddos can make hats and mittens out of fleece, visit a sheep petting zoo and dance to some tunes.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes. You really should pre-register. Do that here.
    • What’s the cost? Technically it’s free, but the event is hoping to raise funds to hand out 52,000 pairs of mittens and hats to those in need.
    • Know before you go: If you want to pair this with a trip to Super Bowl LIVE, you’ll walk about four blocks to get to the beginning. Thrivent Financial is about seven blocks away — you may want to hop in the skyway.

Ongoing (more in-depth information above)

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Sunday, January 28, 2018

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HopCat opened along Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis last summer. Read my review here.
  • Fans of Surly beer, listen up. HopCat, located along Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis, is teaming up with the Twin Cities based brewery for a 52 tap takeover in honor of SB 52. Organizers are calling it the largest assembly of Surly beer ever. The first 100 people who arrive at 10:00 a.m. will receive a pint glass. Attendees can sip on Surly’s classics — Hell, Furious — along with their 11 anniversary beers and seven varieties of Darkness. With 52 beers to choose from, there’s probably something you’ll enjoy. See the full list of beers here.
    • Is it open to the public? Yep.
    • What’s the cost? Free. Sweet. Well the beer isn’t free.
    • Know before you go: HopCat is right on the light rail. Take the train.
  • The Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee is partnering with Minneapolis churches to host an interfaith gathering to celebrate unity today at 2:00 p.m. inside Westminster Presbyterian Church, located at Nicollet Mall and 12th Street. Bold Hope in the North will raise money to combat homelessness.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Free. However, attendees will be asked to donate to the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.
    • Know before you go: Homeless Twin Cities families who were living in hotel rooms are being forced out due to visitor demand. Attending this event will help the Twin Cities as a whole make sure everyone has a place to sleep.
  • Don’t want to make your way into the city? Stillwater is host once again to the Ice Castles. 25 million pounds of ice create quite the spectacle along the Saint Croix River. There are great photo opportunities, an ice slide and you won’t have to worry about an icicle poking your eye out. Best of all, they lowered the admission prices for 2018. The end date is typically sometime in March, but it depends on the weather. The Ice Castles is closed Tuesdays and on Sunday, February 4. Go at night…your photos will look better. Make sure to order tickets in advance.

Ongoing (more in-depth information above)

Minneapolis

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Monday, January 29, 2018

Super Bowl Opening Night
Super Bowl Opening Night is only in its second year. It is the first (and only) time the Super Bowl teams will interact with each other before the big game.
  • It is officially Super Bowl Opening Night! The Xcel Energy Center will welcome both Super Bowl teams who will chat with the media at 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. The event is actually open to fans who will witness the media circus along with appearances by mascots and cheerleaders. You’ll also go home with a Super Bowl gift bag and radio. The event is televised on NFL Network and ESPN 2.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes, actually.
    • What’s the cost? The cheapest seats I found are $48. They’re available on Ticketmaster.
    • Know before you go: This is the only time both Super Bowl teams will interact with each other before the big game.
  • The Great Northern Festival is a collaborative effort between the St. Paul Winter Carnival, the City of Lakes Loppet and the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships, which all embrace winter in the bold north. Organizers also plan some original events, including this Instgrammer’s dream: an outdoor feast. Adam Eaton from Saint Dinette and Thomas Boemer from Corner Table join forces once again to plan your dinner for a Chef Experience. And this year, it’s in Lowertown Saint Paul. They recruited Tim McKee and Shane Oporto from OCTO Fishbar to take it to a higher level. There’s a fire kitchen, outdoor games, ice sculptures, music and drinks.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? $45 for general admission. VIP tickets are $125. Purchase them here.
  • Super Bowl LIVE, along Nicollet Mall, will be special tonight. The NFL announced that tonight is Prince Night, with scheduled performances by The Revolution, Sheila E. and Morris Day and the Time and other artists with professional ties to late Minnesota-born icon. Read my list of the five activities you can’t miss when you’re there.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Free.
    • Know before you go: Super Bowl LIVE opens at 4:00 p.m. The concert schedule has not been released.
  • The NFL is giving kids with mobility challenges a chance to get active. The Shriners Hospital in Minneapolis will host an all-ability event today from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. I’m working with the NFL to get additional information to see if it’s a good fit for your family.

Ongoing (more in-depth information above)

  • The Super Bowl Experience inside the Minneapolis Convention Center gives you the chance to take a photo with the Vince Lombardi Trophy. It’s open daily through February 3.
  • The Vulcan Snow Park is open through February 11 at the State Fairgrounds.
  • The St. Paul Winter Carnival Ice Palace is open through February 10.
  • The Saint Paul Super Slide is a 130 foot-long slide with a 40 foot drop. It’s open at CHS Field through February 10.
  • Wells Fargo WinterSkate continues through February 11 in downtown Saint Paul.
  • Twenty-five Minnesota-based businesses will set up shop inside City Center for the North Local Market. According to Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, it’s open from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. daily through February 4.
  • The winter flower show at Como Park Zoo features plants in various shades of purple. Skol! It’s free and runs through March 11.
  • Explore Minnesota is calling their ‘Sota Pop exhibit as one of the most Instgrammable spots surrounding the big game. It’s open various hours every day through February 4.
  • You can play shuffleboard using pucks of frozen hot dish (aka casserole) at Inbound BrewCo in Minneapolis. It’s going daily through February 4. Learn more.
  • The Wells Fargo WinterSkate at Loring Park in Minneapolis has 10 days of activities planned leading up to the big game. Today, they’re having a skating tribute to Minnesota music icon, Prince. It’s free and open daily until March 4.
  • Out in Stillwater, a castle made of ice stands along the Saint Croix River. The annual event is great for kids and date night. Ice Castles is open 6 days a week until some point in March.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Frogtown Curling.jpeg
Take curling 101 at FrogFest, hosted by the Frogtown Curling Club in Saint Paul. Photo credit: Frogtown Curling Club
  • You can get a hands-on lesson in curling at FrogFest in Saint Paul. The Frogtown Curling Club will teach you how to sweep a stone and throw a rock. Plus, the team from the newly-opened restaurant, Pajarito, will serve up dinner. FrogFest goes from 3:00 – 8:00 p.m.
    •  Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? It’s $1200 for a group of 10 (so $120 a person). Seems a bit steep. Starting January 27, they’ll open it up to single tickets (those will be $120 each). To reserve, you’ll need to email manager@frogtown.org or call the Club.
    • Know before you go: FrogFest is part of The Great Northern Festival, a collaboration of events which embrace cold weather.
  • The Super Bowl Experience, inside the Minneapolis Convention Center, is closed to the public today. However, veterans, along with active military and their families, will receive free admission from 3:00-8:00 p.m.
  • The men behind the North Loop clothing store Askov Finlayson are teaming up with Northeast Minneapolis-based Fair State Brewing Cooperative to release a new beer called Keep the North Cold. You can try it at the Welcome to the North party at at Askov Finlayson from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. Eat chili made by The Bachelor Farmer and warm up by a bonfire with a hot cocktail.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Free.
    • Know before you go: Askov Finlayson recently partnered with Target to release a new line of clothes and accessories which highlight the North.
  • See professional ski jumpers from around the world strut their stuff at a competition in Bloomington tonight. Hyland Hills Ski Area plays host to the event, which begins at 7:00 p.m. Competitors will fly as far as possible, reaching speeds of over 50 miles per hour.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Those older than 12 will pay $10 at the gate.
    • Know before you go: Onsite parking is really limited. Off-site parking is where they get you — that’s $20 a car.
  • If you’re looking for a free meal, head to the snazzy-hipster James Ballentine VFW in the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis tonight. The team at Minnesota-based Heggies Pizza want to prove their pizza is better than what Papa John is serving up, so they have a Great Pizza Snowdown taste-off at 6:00 p.m. Complimentary Heggies will be served, along with a side of smack talk.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Free.
    • Know before you go: The team at Heggies recently flew to Louisville to deliver their pizzas to those at Papa John’s corporate office. See photos.

Ongoing (more in-depth information above)

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Inclusion Party.jpeg
Proceeds from the Inclusion Party go to Hate is Wrong, a non-profit whose mission is to foster diversity in sports and anti-bullying among youth. Photo credit: Hate is Wrong
  • Former Vikings player Esera Tuaolo, who is openly gay, is the host for an Inclusion Party. The event, sponsored by the NFL, is designed to bring the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) and football communities closer together. Performances include contestants from season 13 of “The Voice” along with a DJ. It takes place at The Pourhouse in downtown Minneapolis.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes, but a ticket is required. 21+.
    • What’s the cost? General admission is $50. VIP tickets are $250.
    • Know before you go: “The Voice” season 13 finalist Red Marlow is schedule to perform.
  • Super Brain 2018 gives a medical spin to the Super Bowl. The event will share research underway regarding concussion and traumatic brain injury. Former NFL player and Twin Cities resident Ben Utecht will speak.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes, but you need to purchase a ticket.
    • What’s the cost? $350. All event proceeds will benefit the Brain Research Lab at Hennepin County Medical Center.
    • Know before you go: Ben Utecht has a Super Bowl ring, which he secured as a member of the Indianapolis Colts.
  • If you want to venture out but don’t want to tackle downtown Minneapolis, check out Minnesota Monthly’s Tacos & Tequila After Dark event. The event includes food, premium tequila along with salsa dancing. It runs from 9:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. at the Minneapolis Marriott Southwest in Minnetonka.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes. It is 21+.
    • What’s the cost? $65.
  • Head to the IDS Center in downtown Minneapolis to see ESPN’s newsroom. Their football-themed shows, including SportsCenter, will broadcast live from the indoor urban park through Super Bowl Sunday.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? It’s free.
    • Know before you go: This is not the first ESPN broadcast from the IDS Center. They set up shop there during the 1991 NCAA Final Four.
  • CRAVE in downtown Minneapolis opens a rooftop Ice Lounge and Ice Fishing Experience today. Check out ice sculptures, pony up to an ice bar and go through a “virtual” ice fishing experience with real ice houses and even professional ice fishing guides.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Tickets are required; check website for details.
    • Know before you go: You can rent one of the ice houses for the evening or by the hour.
  • The Wounded Warrior Amputee Football Team takes the field tonight at Sea Foam Stadium on the campus of Concordia University in Saint Paul. They’ll play against a team of NFL Alumni. The Amputee Football Team is 17-0 against those alumni.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? $10 adults, kids 12 and under free. Active and retired military and their families get in for free, up to 1,000 seats.
    • Know before you go: Parking at Sea Foam Stadium isn’t abundant. Plan some extra time to get there.

Ongoing (more in-depth information above)

  • Super Bowl LIVE on Nicollet Mall is free and runs daily through February 4. Read my list of the five activities you can’t miss when you’re there.
  • The Super Bowl Experience inside the Minneapolis Convention Center gives you the chance to take a photo with the Vince Lombardi Trophy. It’s open daily through February 3.
  • The Vulcan Snow Park is open through February 11 at the State Fairgrounds.
  • The Saint Paul Super Slide is a 130 foot-long slide with a 40 foot drop. It’s open at CHS Field through February 10.
  • The St. Paul Winter Carnival Ice Palace is open through February 10.
  • Wells Fargo WinterSkate continues through February 11 in downtown Saint Paul.
  • The Wells Fargo WinterSkate at Loring Park in Minneapolis has 10 days of activities planned leading up to the big game. It’s free and open daily until March 4.
  • Twenty-five Minnesota-based businesses will set up shop inside City Center for the North Local Market. According to Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, it’s open from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. daily through February 4.
  • The winter flower show at Como Park Zoo features plants in various shades of purple. Skol! It’s free and runs through March 11.
  • Explore Minnesota is calling their ‘Sota Pop exhibit as one of the most Instgrammable spots surrounding the big game. It’s open various hours every day through February 4.
  • You can play shuffleboard using pucks of frozen hot dish (aka casserole) at Inbound BrewCo in Minneapolis. It’s going daily through February 4. Learn more.
  • Out in Stillwater, a castle made of ice stands along the Saint Croix River. The annual event is great for kids and date night. Ice Castles is open 6 days a week until some point in March.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

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Former NFL Coach Mike Ditka hosts his annual party tonight in Northeast Minneapolis.
  • Cigars and top-shelf scotch doesn’t sound like a bad plan for a Thursday night. Join Mike Ditka for his annual Ditka & Jaws Cigars with the Stars event at the Machine Shop in Minneapolis. Attendees last year included Emmitt Smith, John Randle and Matt Birk.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes. A ticket is required.
    • What’s the cost? It’ll set you back $500.
    • Know before you go: The Machine Shop, near Saint Anthony Main, is one the newest event spaces in the Twin Cities.
  • Revel in fire dancers, ice sculptures and two dance clubs during the Arctic Bold Fashion Show at Stella’s Fish Cafe in uptown Minneapolis. The event is hosted by Idris Elba from HBO’s “The Wire.”
    • Is it open to the public? Yes. You’ll need to buy a ticket.
    • What’s the cost? $150.
    • Know before you go: The winner of a raffle at the event will drive around the Twin Cities in a Maserati over the big game weekend.
  • NFL team owners will congregate for dinner at Union Depot in Saint Paul. Sting is scheduled to perform.
    • Is it open to the public? Good luck.
  • The north metro is celebrating the big game with a Purple & Gold Kickoff Party at the Mermaid Event Center is Mounds View. Two DJs, including the Timberwolves’ Mad Mardigan, will spin tunes. Plenty of former Vikings players are scheduled to appear.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? General admission tickets are $99. VIP admission is $249.
    • Know before you go: Organizers claim this party will have the largest collection of Minnesota professional players in any one spot during the week.
  • The Chainsmokers start four nights of concerts inside Club Nomadic at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel in Prior Lake. The Nomadic Entertainment team are also running the concerts inside the newly renovated Armory in downtown Minneapolis. Let’s try this one again. In mid-January, Nomadic Entertainment pulled the plug on Club Nomadic at Mystic Lake. The official cause was not made official, but my guess is that ticket sales were poor. The concerts will go on, but instead of taking place in a pop-up venue, they’ll take place in either the Mystic Lake Center, a new venue at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, or in the Mystic Showroom.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? $89. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. The concert begins at 9:00 p.m. If you purchased a $200 Club Nomadic ticket, Mystic Lake says ticket-holders can keep their tickets for best access to the stage or get a full refund.
    • Know before you go: This concert is in the Mystic Lake Center, a new, indoor venue at the Casino.
  • The only inspirational music event sanctioned by the NFL takes place tonight on the campus of Bethel University. The NFL Gospel Celebration includes performances by Sounds of Blackness and the NFL Players Choir.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Tickets are $25 – 75.
    • Know before you go: Minnesota-native and Arizona Cardinals player Larry Fitzgerald, along with Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson will be honored.
  • The Armory in downtown Minneapolis transforms into Nomadic LIVE with three concerts along with a VIP party at the big game. Tonight’s concert features Imagine Dragons and starts at 8:00 p.m.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? $175.
    • Know before you go: The Armory is right along Metro Transit’s light rail. Get off at U.S. Bank Stadium station.
  • Former Minnesota Vikings Assistant Coach Tony Dungy will be honored during the Legends for Charity Dinner at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Minneapolis. The evening is hosted by Rich Eisen and is a fundraiser for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? $250.
    • Know before you go: It looks like Payton Manning will hand out the awards.
  • The Golf Channel sets up shop inside the State Theatre in downtown Minneapolis for two nights of Feherty Live. Hosted by David Feherty, the annual broadcast draws A-list celebrities on stage. Shows are Thursday and Friday nights at 7:00 p.m.
    • Is it open to the public? You can buy a ticket.
    • What’s the cost? $53.50
    • Know before you go: Want to save $53.50 and a trip downtown Minneapolis? The show will air live on The Golf Channel.
  • It’s night one of the TAO Group parties inside the Lumber Exchange Building in downtown Minneapolis. Rick Ross is scheduled to perform; Lil Jon will serve as DJ.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? $249.
    • Know before you go: There’s an open bar from 10:00 – 11:00 p.m.
  • Rapper Gucci Mane performs at Muse Event Center in the Warehouse District of Minneapolis. The concert starts at 10:00 p.m.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? $300. It’s steep. You can buy tickets here.
    • Know before you go: The 37 year-old Gucci Mane is considered a pioneer in the hip hop genre trap music.
  • The Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) will host an ice maze starting tonight. It’ll be up through February 4 and is open during museum hours. Walk through it to view objects from Mia’s upcoming special exhibition showcasing China’s last dynasty.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Free.
    • Know before you go: If you head tonight (February 1), Mia will be serving free hot cocoa!
  • Justin Timberlake is hosting a listening party for his new album, “Man of the Woods” at the home of Prince, Paisley Park. Attendees will be asked to put their phones, cameras and other recording devices in secured pouches beforehand. Justin’s newest record releases on Friday, February 2.
    • Is it open to the public? Not anymore. Completely sold out. If you want, you can submit your email and be notified if more tickets become available.
  • The City of Bloomington is in the thick of big game madness and will embrace all the visitors with a three-day winter art celebration which kicks off today. Illuminate South Loop will showcase interactive art installations and performances designed and produced by artists from Minnesota and around the world. It takes place at Bloomington Central Station, just steps from Metro Transit’s light rail stop and just one stop from Mall of America.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Free to attend.
    • Know before you go: On Saturday at 4:00 p.m., Illuminate South Loop will host a Cheer Hour featuring a heated tent with food, drinks and a performance to cheer on the coming of spring. That event is ticketed; it’s $40.
  • ‘Tis the season for bars made of ice. Men’s clothing and furnishings store MartinPatrick 3, is hosting one that was custom designed by countertop company Cambria. The ice bar is open outside their location in the North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m. through Sunday.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Free to attend.
    • Know before you go: This is one where you’ll want to dress to impress.

Ongoing (more in-depth information above)

  • Super Bowl LIVE on Nicollet Mall is free and runs daily through February 4. Read my list of the five activities you can’t miss when you’re there.
  • The Super Bowl Experience inside the Minneapolis Convention Center gives you the chance to take a photo with the Vince Lombardi Trophy. It’s open daily through February 3.
  • The Vulcan Snow Park is open through February 11 at the State Fairgrounds.
  • The Saint Paul Super Slide is a 130 foot-long slide with a 40 foot drop. It’s open at CHS Field through February 10.
  • The St. Paul Winter Carnival Ice Palace is open through February 10.
  • Wells Fargo WinterSkate continues through February 11 in downtown Saint Paul.
  • The Wells Fargo WinterSkate at Loring Park in Minneapolis has 10 days of activities planned leading up to the big game. It’s free and open daily until March 4.
  • ESPN will broadcast inside the Crystal Court at the IDS Center January 31 – February 4.
  • Twenty-five Minnesota-based businesses will set up shop inside City Center for the North Local Market. According to Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, it’s open from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. daily through February 4.
  • The winter flower show at Como Park Zoo features plants in various shades of purple. Skol! It’s free and runs through March 11.
  • Explore Minnesota is calling their ‘Sota Pop exhibit as one of the most Instgrammable spots surrounding the big game. It’s open various hours every day through February 4.
  • The Lexington on Grand Avenue in Saint Paul has a rooftop ice bar open from 4:00 – 9:00 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights January 19 – February 10.
  • You can play shuffleboard using pucks of frozen hot dish (aka casserole) at Inbound BrewCo in Minneapolis. It’s going daily through February 4. Learn more.
  • Out in Stillwater, a castle made of ice stands along the Saint Croix River. The annual event is great for kids and date night. Ice Castles is open 6 days a week until some point in March.

Friday, February 2, 2018

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A vision of what The Armory will look like in Downtown Minneapolis. Photo credit: Nomadic Entertainment
  • P!nk will perform during night two of Nomadic LIVE at The Armory in Downtown Minneapolis.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? $225. General admission tickets are sold out. VIP tickets are still available; they’re $1,750 each.
    • Know before you go: P!nk will be back in town on March 12 for a concert at the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul.
  • The annual Leather & Laces celebration is tonight in a building near Target Field. It’ll be hosted by Jenny McCarthy and Donnie Wahlberg.
    • Is it open to the public? You’ll need a ticket.
    • What’s the cost? General admission tickets are $350. Or you can purchase a 15-person cabana for $25,000.
    • Know before you go: This annual party typically is two nights and got scaled back this year.
  • Stand outside Muse Event Center in the Warehouse District to see who is on the invite list for a big media party.
    • Is it open to the public? No.
  • The NFL Commissioner’s Party will be nearby at the The Depot. Depending on the year, tickets are opened up to the public.
    • Is it open to the public? Maybe. Stay tuned.
    • What’s the cost? Ticket prices aren’t public.
  • In Prior Lake inside the Mystic Lake Center, Kygo and Ellie Goulding takes the stage. After it was announced that the pop-up concert venue, Club Nomadic, was cancelled, Ellie Goulding bailed. Things are getting worse for Mystic Lake.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? $200. To see Kygo (remember, Ellie Goulding won’t be there), it’s $59. If you want to be close to the stage, it’s $125. If you had a ticket to the Club Nomadic Kygo and Ellie Goulding concert, you’ll want to get it refunded. If you want to see Kygo (???), you can get a partial refund and get a ticket to that show.
    •  Know before you go: This concert was originally scheduled to take place in Club Nomadic, a huge pop-up venue in the parking lot of Mystic Lake Casino Hotel. In mid-January, the plug was pulled. My guess: less than stellar ticket sales. This concert will now take place in the Mystic Lake Center, which is part of Mystic Lake Casino Hotel’s recent addition.
  • In Downtown Minneapolis, comedian Kevin Hart takes the stage at Target Center for what is bound to be a hilarious show.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Tickets range from $68 – 303.
    • Know before you go: The Target Center is all-new after a complete transformation. It was closed last summer.
  • It is night two of parties at The Exchange in Downtown Minneapolis. Tonight’s celebration is hosted by Jamie Foxx.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? General admission tickets are $299.
    • Know before you go: Want a table next to the DJ? It’ll set you back $20,000.
  • Rolling Stone hosts one of the biggest parties surrounding the big game. The hip hop trio Migos is expected to perform. It takes place at International Market Square in Minneapolis.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? General admission tickets are $700.
  • The wives of NFL players, along with their husbands, will walk the runway at the Off the Field Players’ Wives Fashion Show inside The Galleria in Edina. The event runs from 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Standing room seats are $150. If you want to sit in the front row, it’s $350. Proceeds benefit local charities.
    • Know before you go: 2018 marks the 17th year for this annual event.
  • Pepsi is kicking off a Pepsi Generations campaign in Minneapolis at the Nicollet Island Pavilion. Country music group LOCASH will perform a private concert. However, Pepsi says the venue will be open to the public select times today and Saturday. I’m working to find more information.
    • Is it open to the public? It sounds like the LOCASH concert is invite-only, but Pepsi alludes that they’ll open the venue up to the public on February 2 and 3.
    • What’s the cost? TBD.
    • Know before you go: Don’t bother driving through downtown Minneapolis to get to this venue. You’ll be able to take the University Avenue/4th Street exit off of Interstate 35W North or the Broadway Avenue exit off Interstate 94 to avoid traffic nightmares.

Ongoing (more in-depth information above)

  • Super Bowl LIVE on Nicollet Mall is free and runs daily through February 4. Read my list of the five activities you can’t miss when you’re there.
  • The Super Bowl Experience inside the Minneapolis Convention Center gives you the chance to take a photo with the Vince Lombardi Trophy. It’s open daily through February 3 with the exception of January 30.
  • The Vulcan Snow Park is open through February 11 at the State Fairgrounds.
  • The Saint Paul Super Slide is a 130 foot-long slide with a 40 foot drop. It’s open at CHS Field through February 10.
  • The St. Paul Winter Carnival Ice Palace is open through February 10.
  • Wells Fargo WinterSkate continues through February 11 in downtown Saint Paul.
  • The Wells Fargo WinterSkate at Loring Park in Minneapolis has 10 days of activities planned leading up to the big game. Tonight, you can skate while watching the movie, “Remember the Titans.” It’s free and open daily until March 4.
  • It’s the second night of Feherty Live at the State Theatre. The show will broadcast live on The Golf Channel.
  • ESPN will broadcast inside the Crystal Court at the IDS Center January 31 – February 4.
  • Twenty-five Minnesota-based businesses will set up shop inside City Center for the North Local Market. According to Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, it’s open from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. daily through February 4.
  • The winter flower show at Como Park Zoo features plants in various shades of purple. Skol! It’s free and runs through March 11.
  • Explore Minnesota is calling their ‘Sota Pop exhibit as one of the most Instgrammable spots surrounding the big game. It’s open various hours every day through February 4.
  • The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, known as Mia, hosts an ice maze on its front lawn. It’s free to walk through and is open during regular museum hours through February 4.
  • The Lexington on Grand Avenue in Saint Paul has a rooftop ice bar open from 4:00 – 9:00 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights January 19 – February 10.
  • Illuminate South Loop continues today in Bloomington. Head to Bloomington Central Station (right off of the light rail) to see lit art installations and performances. It’s free to attend.
  • Men’s clothing and furnishings store MartinPatrick 3 is home to an ice bar through Sunday. Check it out from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m.
  • You can play shuffleboard using pucks of frozen hot dish (aka casserole) at Inbound BrewCo in Minneapolis. It’s going daily through February 4. Learn more.
  • Out in Stillwater, a castle made of ice stands along the Saint Croix River. The annual event is great for kids and date night. Ice Castles is open 6 days a week until some point in March.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

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The Maxim Party will be held inside a pop-up dome in downtown Minneapolis. This is what last year’s venue looked like in Houston. Photo credit: The Maxim Events
  • Marshmello and Post Malone are schedule to perform at Maxim Magazine’s party, which will be inside a 31,000 square foot dome built in a parking lot near the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Minneapolis. It opens up at 8:00 p.m.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes. You may have to search around a bit to find a promo code to get access to buy tickets. Hint: check Facebook.
    • What’s the cost? $750 for general admission. The top VIP package is $21,000.
    • Know before you go: Electronic dance music producer Marshmello wears a ‘helmet’ to hide their identity, and you’ve probably heard their music, including a song I really enjoy, “Ritual.” The video has nearly 50 million views on YouTube.
  • In previous years, Playboy’s annual party has seen performances by Drake and Flo Rida. This year, Snoop Dogg takes the stage at The Venue in downtown Minneapolis. The party starts at 9:00 p.m.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? General admission tickets are $500. If you want a table in front of the stage, it’ll cost you $21,500.
    • Know before you go: This is probably obvious, but the waitresses are Playboy bunnies.
  • It’s second night of the Leather & Laces party held near Target Field. Not much information is public. I’m in contact with organizers and will keep you in the know. The Leather & Laces party got scaled back to one evening; it’s on Friday, February 2.
  • The Giving Back Fund hosts Big Game Big Give, which is hosted at a private residence in Edina. Big names typically attend this one — previous hosts have included Alec Baldwin, Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, Michael Phelps and Hilary Swank. This year, Jamie Foxx (who is everywhere this week) serves as the celebrity host.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes, but you might feel a little out of place at this one.
    • What’s the cost? That’s not publicly announced. If you want to go, you need to call and order tickets over the phone.
    • Know before you go: In 2015, this one event raised $1 million dollars for charity.
  • Southern rockers Florida Georgia Line headline night three at Club NOMADIC, a pop-up music venue outside of Mystic Lake Casino Hotel in Prior Lake inside the Mystic Showroom at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel. The concert starts at 9:00 p.m.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Tickets start at $200. It’s still $200. That’s steep.
    • Know before you go: Concerts at Club NOMADIC are 18+. Unless you’re a big Florida Georgia Line fan, there’s now nothing glamorous or out of the ordinary about this (really overpriced) concert.
  • One of the biggest NFL sanctioned events is coming back home. Taste of the NFL started in Minnesota when the Metrodome hosted the the big game in 1992. Each NFL team’s city sends one restaurant, and the Twin Cities will be represented by Thomas Boemer, the man behind Corner Table and Revival. Jeff Bridges, Alyssa Milano and Bobby Flay are this year’s celebrity ambassadors and O.A.R. is scheduled to perform. It takes place at the Saint Paul RiverCentre.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? $700.
    • Know before you go: Former Vikings player Ben Leber is this year’s player host. If you see him, tell him I say hello (and tell him he’s an attractive man).
  • Jennifer Lopez headlines DIRECTV Super Saturday Night at The Armory in downtown Minneapolis. It’s one of the biggest concerts of the week in the host city — previous headliners for this show included Jay-Z and Beyonce, Justin Timberlake and Katy Perry.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? $340.
    • Know before you go: The concert is the third and final big night of shows put on by Nomadic Entertainment.
  • Professional snowmobiler and native Minnesotan Levi LaVallee will attempt quite the stunt on Nicollet Mall at 1:30 p.m. — flying nearly 100 feet between two ramps. That’s one part of the Polaris UpsideDowntown event, which runs from 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Free.
    • Know before you go: LaVallee is a seven-time gold medalist at the X Games.
  • The annual “The Night Before” concert always draw big names, and this year is no different — the Dave Matthews Band will headline a concert at the Xcel Energy Center.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? The cheapest seats I found on Ticketmaster on January 11 were $96. Most expensive? $785. General admission tickets on the floor cost $295.
    • Know before you go: The Dave Matthews Band have sold 38 million CDs and DVDs since the release of their first album in 1994.
  • Take a very romantic stoll on a frozen Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis during the Luminary Loppet. Luminaries are spaced equally around the lake to light the way. Fire dancers, cocoa and treats will surprise you along the way.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? It’s $26 for adults if you register before January 24.
    • Know before you go: Adult participants receive a free pint of Surly beer to sip on at the Luminary Party that evening.
  • The Norway House on Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis (read: not downtown) is hosting a Welcome to the North party today and tomorrow. The indoor- and outdoor-event features an ice bar serving traditional Nordic drinks, a market selling wares and crafts along with a real-life Norwegian Vikings costume contest. The celebration goes from 3:00 until 9:00 p.m.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Free to attend.
    • Know before you go: They’ll be showing the big game on a big screen Sunday night.
  • Former Vikings quarterback Brett Farve will stop by Ridgedale Center in Minnetonka today from 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. All autographs will include a complimentary letter of authenticity.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes, but you need a ticket if you want to meet Brett.
    • What’s the cost? It depends on what you want him to sign. Most tickets are between $200-400.
    • Know before you go: A portion of proceeds will be donated to Brett’s non-profit charity, Farve4Hope.

Ongoing (more in-depth information above)

  • Super Bowl LIVE on Nicollet Mall is free and runs daily through February 4. Read my list of the five activities you can’t miss when you’re there.
  • The Super Bowl Experience inside the Minneapolis Convention Center gives you the chance to take a photo with the Vince Lombardi Trophy. It’s open daily through February 3.
  • The Vulcan Snow Park is open through February 11 at the State Fairgrounds.
  • The Saint Paul Super Slide is a 130 foot-long slide with a 40 foot drop. It’s open at CHS Field through February 10.
  • The St. Paul Winter Carnival Ice Palace is open through February 10.
  • Wells Fargo WinterSkate continues through February 11 in downtown Saint Paul.
  • The Wells Fargo WinterSkate at Loring Park in Minneapolis has 10 days of activities planned leading up to the big game. Tonight from 6:00 -8:00 p.m., drag queens will take the ice which is bound to be hilarious. It’s free and open daily until March 4.
  • ESPN will broadcast inside the Crystal Court at the IDS Center January 31 – February 4.
  • Twenty-five Minnesota-based businesses will set up shop inside City Center for the North Local Market. According to Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, it’s open from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. daily through February 4.
  • The winter flower show at Como Park Zoo features plants in various shades of purple. Skol! It’s free and runs through March 11.
  • Explore Minnesota is calling their ‘Sota Pop exhibit as one of the most Instgrammable spots surrounding the big game. It’s open various hours every day through February 4.
  • The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, known as Mia, hosts an ice maze on its front lawn. It’s free to walk through and is open during regular museum hours through February 4.
  • The Lexington on Grand Avenue in Saint Paul has a rooftop ice bar open from 4:00 – 9:00 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights January 19 – February 10.
  • Illuminate South Loop continues today in Bloomington. Head to Bloomington Central Station (right off of the light rail) to see lit art installations and performances. It’s free to attend. At 4:00 p.m. today, they’ll host a Cheer Hour inside a heated tent which includes food, drink and a performance which will welcome spring. That party costs $40.
  • Men’s clothing and furnishings store MartinPatrick 3 is home to an ice bar through Sunday. Check it out from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m.
  • You can play shuffleboard using pucks of frozen hot dish (aka casserole) at Inbound BrewCo in Minneapolis. It’s going daily through February 4. Learn more.
  • Out in Stillwater, a castle made of ice stands along the Saint Croix River. The annual event is great for kids and date night. Ice Castles is open 6 days a week until some point in March.

Sunday, February 4

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Also on Give Me The Mike…
List of places hosting viewing parties for the big game (and even the Puppy Bowl)

Players Tailgate
Charissa Thompson from NFL on Fox and television show host Guy Fieri will be at The Players Tailgate just blocks from U.S. Bank Stadium.
  • Guy Fieri, host of “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” is this year’s celebrity chef at the Players Tailgate. Hosted in a climate-controlled venue in a parking lot near the stadium, the event offers attendees an all-you-can-eat menu, an open bar, and over 30 NFL players in attendance.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? $750.
    • Know before you go: The 30,000 square foot space will be built just for this party.
  • Hazelden Betty Ford presents SoberBowl 2018 at Muse Event Center in Minneapolis. The no-alcohol gathering includes a support game and a viewing of the big game.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? $20.
    • Know before you go: For a limited time, you can also purchase a parking spot near Muse for $20. That’s a heck of a deal.
  • “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon is coming to Minneapolis for a one-night only show that’ll air after the big game on NBC. Guests for the show, on stage at the Orpheum Theatre, include halftime performer Justin Timberlake, Dwayne Johnson and the cast of the tearjerker “This Is Us.”
    • Is it open to the public? If you don’t already have a ticket, you’re out of luck. They were snatched up in about an hour in December.
  • Gwen Stefani will wrap up four nights of concerts at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel in Prior Lake. Originally meant to be in Club Nomadic, a pop-up music venue, the concert will now take place inside the Casino at the Mystic Lake Center.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? $69. Not bad at all.
    • Know before you go: You’ll want to buy a case of Red Bull beforehand. This concert doesn’t start until 11:00 p.m.
  • LIV Nightclub in Miami is bringing its expertise of planning parties to the Lumber Exchange Building in downtown Minneapolis for a post-game dance club. Their LIV on Sunday party in Florida draws professional athletes, celebrities and musicians and tonight’s your chance to experience the Miami life without the plane ticket. It starts at 9:00 p.m. inside The Pourhouse.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? $175. Purchase tickets online.
    • Know before you go: This is the fourth and final night of parties at The Pourhouse put on by Tao. Lil Jon, Nick Cannon and Jamie Foxx will stop by on other nights.

Ongoing (more in-depth information above)

  • Super Bowl LIVE on Nicollet Mall is free and runs daily through February 4.
  • The Vulcan Snow Park is open through February 11 at the State Fairgrounds.
  • The Saint Paul Super Slide is a 130 foot-long slide with a 40 foot drop. It’s open at CHS Field through February 10.
  • The St. Paul Winter Carnival Ice Palace is open through February 10.
  • Wells Fargo WinterSkate continues through February 11 in downtown Saint Paul.
  • The Wells Fargo WinterSkate at Loring Park in Minneapolis has 10 days of activities planned leading up to the big game. They’ll also show the big game on a big screen. It’s free and open daily until March 4.
  • ESPN will broadcast inside the Crystal Court at the IDS Center January 31 – February 4.
  • Twenty-five Minnesota-based businesses will set up shop inside City Center for the North Local Market. According to Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, it’s open from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. daily through February 4.
  • The winter flower show at Como Park Zoo features plants in various shades of purple. Skol! It’s free and runs through March 11.
  • Explore Minnesota is calling their ‘Sota Pop exhibit as one of the most Instgrammable spots surrounding the big game. It’s open various hours every day through February 4.
  • The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, known as Mia, hosts an ice maze on its front lawn. It’s free to walk through and is open during regular museum hours through February 4.
  • Men’s clothing and furnishings store MartinPatrick 3 is home to an ice bar through Sunday. Check it out from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m.
  • You can play shuffleboard using pucks of frozen hot dish (aka casserole) at Inbound BrewCo in Minneapolis. It’s going daily through February 4. Learn more.

You Betcha: Brush up on your Minnesota slang

As you’ll see in the movies Fargo and Drop Dead Gorgeous, Minnesotans are known for elongating the letters a and o in speech (boooat, baaag). But if you want to sound more like a native, use these terms:

  • 94, 35W, 62 = Highways/interstates (don’t say ‘I-494’ or ‘Interstate 35 West’)
  • Aquatennial = The summer festival for the city of Minneapolis
  • “Borrow me” = to lend; similar usage as other parts of the country; example, “will you borrow me a dollar?”
  • Breezers = hockey pants
  • “The cabin” = anything that you travel to “up north” (see definition below); could be a house, cabin, trailer, etc
  • Crosstown = Also known as Highway 62; runs parallel to 94 in the metro and travels just north of the airport
  • “Darn tootin!” = use that phrase anytime you want to say “damn right!”
  • Dinkytown = an area near the University of Minnesota filled with bars and restaurants
  • “Dontcha know” = slang for ‘don’t you know’; it’s used mostly as filler at the end of sentences; example, “Barb and her husband just moved from Brainerd to Bemidji, dontcha know.”
  • Duck, duck, grey duck = what everyone else calls ‘duck, duck, goose’; while playing the game, you announce colors of ducks (blue duck, yellow duck) and the person who is ‘it’ is the grey duck
  • Eat Street = a diverse array of locally-owned restaurants along Nicollet Avenue starting just south of downtown Minneapolis; it doesn’t get the attention it deserves
  • “Fer cute” = see definition of “Oh for cute” below
  • “Geez” = disbelief; use geez when ‘Oh for Pete’s sake!’ (definition below) is too dramatic
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The Minnesota State Fair draws upwards to two million visitors during its 12 day run.
  • Great Minnesota Get Together = the Minnesota State Fair, a 12 day extravaganza held at the end of summer (check out my ultimate State Fair guide here)
  • Hot dish = what Minnesotans call a casserole, most popular is the tater tot hot dish
  • “Interesting” or “that’s interesting” = a passive-aggressive phrase used when something should be judged and critiqued but the Minnesotan saying it doesn’t want to explain their reasoning because they feel it would be offensive
  • “Ish” = something is gross or yucky
  • Jell-O salad = this is not marshmallow fluff; Jell-O Salad is flavored gelatin — aka Jell-O — with fruit, vegetables, marshmallows, nuts, and maybe even cottage cheese inside
  • Juicy (or Jucy) Lucy = a hamburger stuffed with molten-hot cheese; there’s much debate about which restaurant serves the original (and best) one…they even spell it differently
  • “Kinda spendy” = an expression used to express that something is more expensive than one thought it would or should be; example, “Gosh Barb, that hat is kinda spendy”
  • Kitty-corner = Diagonally across from you
  • “Kranz” = how to pronounce ‘crayons’; a select few will call them “color kranz”
  • Loop = the ring surrounding Minneapolis and Saint Paul by Interstates 494 and 694
  • MOA = Mall of America
  • McGolden or Mich Golden = Michelob Golden Light, a beer popular with Minnesotans
  • Midtown Greenway = a bike and pedestrian friendly trail running through the heart of Minneapolis (south of downtown)
  • Minnesota goodbye = the opposite of an Irish Goodbye or French Goodbye; usually means you’ll stand around for 20 minutes saying goodbye before people actually leave
  • Minnesota nice = outside of Minnesota, it means the friendly strangers and hospitality you’ll encounter here; to a few Minnesotans, it equates to the passive-aggressiveness you’ll encounter with the people who live here
  • Nicollet Mall = about 12 blocks in downtown Minneapolis closed off to car traffic (buses and taxis welcome) with restaurants and shopping; to Minnesotans, it’s a sore subject as it was under construction for way too long

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  • Northeast = hip Minneapolis neighborhood just across the Mississippi River from downtown; also referred as Nord’east (Nord’east also happens to be the name of a beer)
  • North = The identity and branding of Minnesota as ‘The North’; you’ll see it on merchandise; it also is a neighborhood in Minneapolis
  • North Loop = vibrant area full of top-notch restaurants to the northwest of downtown; not the same neighborhood as North Minneapolis
  • “Oh for cute!” or “Fer cute!”= to exclaim something is adorable
  • “Oh for Pete’s sake!” = an exclamation that something is unbelievable; typically not about a guy named Pete
  • “Oh ya” = see definition for ‘ya’ below
  • “Okie dokie” = said in agreement or to replace ‘yes’; example, “Hey Barb, can you fax those documents?” “Okie dokie!”
  • “Ope!” = excuse me; as in, “Ope! Sorry, I just need to sneak past ya there.”
  • “Out and about” = to head out of the house, perhaps to run errands; example, “Hun, I’m going out and about.”
  • Outstate = anywhere in Minnesota outside of the Twin Cities
  • Pop = soda or Coke; it is only called pop
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Skol artwork inside U.S. Bank Stadium
  • Skol = most commonly used by the Minnesota Vikings; a Scandinavian term meaning “cheers” or “good health”
  • Skyway = indoor links, mostly on the second level, connecting buildings in both downtowns
  • Stadium Village = an area on the U of M campus with the University’s sport venues — TCF Bank Stadium, Mariucci Arena and Williams Arena (aka The Barn)
  • Strib = nickname for the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper
  • The Cities = a collective term describing Minneapolis and Saint Paul; also known as the ‘Sin Cities’
  • U of M = University of Minnesota; also referred as ‘The U’
  • “Uffda” (also spelled: oofda, oofdah) = an exclamation or interjection; shows dismay, surprise, or being overwhelmed; example, “Uffda! Listening to Barb talk about her Florida vacation for an hour was tiring.”
  • “Unthaw” = an expression used after spending time in the cold; a human could unthaw after being outside in the winter; you could also unthaw hamburger from the freezer
  • Up north = anywhere in Minnesota north of 94 and outside of the metro; doesn’t matter if it’s northwest, north or northeast; it is mentioned as “going up north”
  • Uptown = south of downtown Minneapolis
  • “Ya” or “ya sure” = yes; if it’s pronounced as “Ya. Sure.” with pauses between the words, that means there’s a level or passive-aggressiveness/sarcasm coming from the person who said it
  • “Ya know” = see definition for ‘dontcha know’ above
  • “You betcha” = a phrase declaring you agree
  • “Yous guys” = referring to a group of people

Know Minnesota slang that should be on this list? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter!

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