It’s going to be frigid. It’s going to be crowded. And unless you’re a local Vikings fan, there’s a good chance you’ve never been to Minneapolis before. Here’s how to get around the city during the Super Bowl.
The Metro Transit App
Yes, technology will be your friend. Other cities have encouraged visitors to download transportation apps in advance of the Super Bowl, and Minneapolis is no different.
Their Metro Transit App will help you plan your trip around town, buy fares, and get service updates. Because you better believe a lot of regular routes are going to be diverted and a lot of roads closed during Super Bowl week!
Download it on the phone you plan to use while navigating around because you won’t be able to transfer tickets between devices. Add your card details and you’ll be able to see bus and train timetables as well as purchase tickets in advance. It’ll be super helpful.
(Um, no the app doesn’t have the greatest reviews, but here’s to hoping they’ll de-bug it before the masses of Super Bowl visitors descend upon the city.)
The app is also the only way to buy special passes to game-related events and certain transportation options the big game itself. Read on for more about that…
Public Transportation Passes
If you’re looking to explore Minneapolis during your stay (and you should!), you may want to get one of the city’s Multi-Ride Passes for traveling around the downtown area and beyond with ease. Check them all out here.
If you’re going to be there for several days in advance of the game, look into their $40 Ultimate Fan Pass, which gives you unlimited rides on all buses and trains around the city from January 26th to February 5th. This includes the Northstar Commuter Train, which could be super helpful if you find yourself relegated to some hotel far north of the city. You can only buy these particular passes on the app!
If you’re only going to be in the city for just a couple of days before the game and you want to see a lot of stuff, then you could take advantage of an All-Day Pass which give you unlimited rides for a whole day (until 2 AM) on buses and trains around the city (no Northstar though). You can buy these passes on the app or at rail stations.
These passes do not include light rail trips to the stadium on game day, but we’ll get to that…
The Light Rail
The city’s light rail system is a super convenient way to get around because it avoids traffic while running through portions of downtown.
The Blue and Green Lines head all the way from the Minnesota Twins’ Target Field and across downtown to US Bank Stadium before continuing out of the city. The Green Line goes to St. Paul while the Blue Line can take you (cheaply!) all the way to the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport and Mall of America.
Starting Friday evening, US Bank Stadium Station will be closed altogether as they ramp up security for the big game. So don’t expect to get off the light rail there and go exploring. You’ll still be able to ride the train from end to end prior to game day though.
When it comes to city buses and the days leading up to the Super Bowl, there are no rules. Apparently, they’re gonna “beef up” the bus schedules along local lines and some express routes and add supplemental trips along others. Here’s a list of all the extra services if you need exact details. You can also see a map of all the planned detours.
While local city buses will be running, but keep an eye out for “Free Ride” buses which will take over some of the normal routes downtown. You’ll know them because they say “Free Ride” and you’ll find them on Hennepin Avenue between Washington Avenue and the Convention Center.
Really, your best bet is to download that Metro Transit App and keep checking it for the next and nearest bus.
The buses should be able to take you to areas of downtown Minneapolis where the light rails don’t go… or at least get you close.
Park & Ride
If you have to have a car and don’t want to bring it into downtown and find parking (please don’t), there will also be a few Park & Ride situations.
You can leave your car in a designated lot in ‘burbs like Maple Grove, Minnetonka, Richfield, Blaine, and Maplewood, and special park & ride buses will drop you off at Leamington Transit Center in the middle of downtown. It’s $2.50 each way or you can buy one of those passes we talked about above to cover it. FYI, this is only happening on the 27th, 28th, and 3rd.
Don’t Forget About the Skyway!
You were up for a little walking, right?
We’ve talked about it before – here’s our guide to using the Minneapolis Skyway. (Be sure to listen to the song written in its honor while you’re there.)
Since it does make traversing the city during wintertime a lot more manageable, you may want to avoid the confusion of public transport altogether and use the many skywalks around downtown when you can. Some may even connect to the place you’re staying – the Skyway passes through over 20 hotels! Just remember they aren’t open late at night.
And because lots of things will be closed off during game day, you may find yourself using the Skyway a lot more than you planned. It goes directly to US Bank Stadium after all. Which brings us to…
Getting to the Super Bowl on Sunday
Things are going to be a little different on game day. Assuming you don’t have a parking spot or a private driver, you have a few options on how you arrive.
Light Rails on Game Day
If you have a ticket to the Super Bowl, you can purchase a $30 Game Day Fan Express Pass. It’s valid for all public transit services and it’s the only way to use the light rail to get to the stadium on Sunday, but the thing is, depending on where you’re staying (or pre-gaming), you may not need it…
The Blue and Green Light Rail lines west of US Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis are going to be closed on the day of the big game. (We know. But it’s for security reasons.)
BUT if you’re heading to the game from east of the stadium, the Mall of America area, or you’re staying in St. Paul, the light rail may still be an option for you. Just keep in mind that you will only be able to use it to get to US Bank Stadium if you have a valid Super Bowl ticket, a Game Day Fan Express Pass, and you board at Stadium Village station (on the Green Line) or Mall of America station (on the Blue Line) and go through the security checkpoints there.
The Green Line will still be running normally between Stadium Village and Union Depot Stations located to the east of US Bank Stadium. But the closest you can get to the stadium on the light rail without a Fan Express Pass is Stadium Village Station, which is still like a 45-minute walk away. And it’s gonna be cold.
If you’re staying downtown, east of the stadium, or further out, keep reading…
Buses on Game Day
Instead of the Light Rail, there will be “free replacement bus service” along the Blue Line and on the Green Line between Target Field and Stadium Village. We think these should be able to get you close-ish to the stadium, though not within the security perimeter.
Also, keep in mind that buses won’t be as fast as trains and there might be lots of traffic, so plan for that!
Minneapolis is known for its Skyway system: an elaborate network of skybridges, one story above street level, that are connected via corridors inside buildings. The Skyway enables pedestrians to walk throughout the city's downtown without stepping outside – a real boon during Minneapolis's legendarily frigid winters. Anyway, I like how each skybridge – or at least each of the ones I traversed during my exploration of the Skyway system – has a different design inside. Here's one of them. Similar skyway networks can be found in such other cities as Des Moines, Calgary, and Winnipeg.
What We’d Recommend
Here are our thoughts on the best way to get to the stadium on Sunday:
If you’re staying downtown and you’re able to walk, this is your best option. You can take the Skyway all the way from Target Field to US Bank Stadium in about 25 to 30 minutes. It’s around 1.4 miles – potentially closer depending on where you’re staying – but it’s definitely the easiest and cheapest option. You’ll avoid the cold and it takes you straight there. Check out this website to plan your route.
Uber and Taxis
Uber is actually the official rideshare partner of the Super Bowl Host Committee and there will be dedicated pickup and drop-off points at events all week. The city also says there’ll be plenty of reputable taxi companies around (they’re listed here). You could really opt to do this the whole time you’re here.
Because This is All a Little Confusing…
The city’s transit website has a Trip Planner you can use to figure out how to get from Point A to Point B. It’ll tell you walking times, transit times, which buses or trains to take, and even the cost of the fare.
It’s not the greatest invention ever because it doesn’t recognize certain places right away. For instance, it only knew one of the four breweries we typed in. But if you can pick the closest intersection or landmark to where you want to go, it’ll recognize those and help you navigate. Pretty handy!
The city has also done a great job with its website and answering any lingering questions you may have on its Know Before You Go page, so check that out!