One of the biggest pregame events coming to downtown Minneapolis this week is Super Bowl LIVE by Verizon. They’ve just kicked off a 10-day long festival for fans featuring concerts, food, and activities for the whole family.
Located at Nicollet Mall, Super Bowl LIVE is packed with free festivities that are open to the public from January 26th through February 4th. They’re hoping to showcase the #BoldNorth with winter-themed brand activations, performances, and fun for all ages. On the weekdays, things kick off at 4 PM while weekend events start at 10 AM. They wrap up from noon to 3 PM on Super Bowl Sunday.
— Verizon (@verizon) January 27, 2018
The lineup of free concerts features both national and local acts recruited by Minnesota music legends Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. These bands and singers are said to “showcase the sound of Minnesota” and you’ll find them performing on the specially built Verizon Up “Ice Mountain” Stage just off of 8th Street.
They’ve set up a special lounge with charging stations, TV areas, and preferred viewing locations. Verizon even installed lights – which they’re calling Aurora Borealis, clever – that change to the beat of the music up and down the mall.
In keeping with the winter theme, Idina Menzel (the voice of Frozen) appropriately kicked off Super Bowl LIVE by singing “Let It Go” for ecstatic crowds on Friday. And apparently, it was packed with people.
More big crowds are expected for Monday’s Prince tribute by The Revolution and local band Soul Asylum, so get there early if you want to actually see the performances rather than just hear them.
Other acts include Minnesota rappers Prof, Brother Ali, and Dessa, the local Twin Cities Community Gospel Choir, alt-pop star Skylar Grey, and blues artist Les Stroud. Check out the full lineup of performances here.
Brand Activations and Activities at Super Bowl LIVE
The Kitten Bowl – ah, so exciting! – is being presented by Hallmark. Yes, you can watch teams of tiny kittens playing on a mini football field. They’ve got strays from around town and some that were rescued from Houston and Florida during the hurricanes.
Try your hand at ice skating on the rink near Orchestra Hall where you can rent skates (since you’re probably not bringing those with you).
As you explore Super Bowl LIVE, you’ll find strategically placed photo ops around the mall, including life-size snow globes, ice sculptures, and jerseys. #BoldNorth, obviously.
For some snow-filled adventures, check out the Loppet Trail, a 200-feet-long, snow-covered bridge borrowed from the Birkebeiner ski race where you can try cross-country skiing, tubing, or fat-tire biking. They brought in 85 truckloads of snow to construct it. Register online to receive your time slot.
Check out Ford’s complimentary sleigh rides. Yes, you can really get pulled behind a Ford truck through downtown in a giant sleigh for free. Why not?
Visit the Super Bowl 360 Theatre, complete with 52 comfy recliners, where they’ll be showing a 4-minute film. It’s a 360-degree theatre housed inside a dome where you can get an “immersive movie experience.” If that’s not enough, there are a couple of virtual reality stations around the mall where you can test out those interactive glasses and try some VR challenges.
And on February 3rd, if you’ve ever wanted to see snowmobiles fly through the air, be sure to keep an eye out for Polaris UpsideDowntown (appropriately named, huh?). You’ll see some professional athletes, hometown favorites, and X-Games medalists perform ridiculous stunts, including jumps and backflips.
Though it’s not as cold as usual in Minneapolis (yet), if you want to stay warm, head inside the Dayton’s Project building where you can get free hot chocolate and try out some family-friendly football-themed activities. There will also be exhibits of clothes and shoes worn by Prince inside, plus a temporary CNN studio.
And it might be gimmicky, but go sit on the Warming Bench. Yep, it’s a heated bench near 12th street (next to the statues of players) where you can get cozy.
Oh, and of course, eat all the food! There are going to be tons of local food trucks and special stands parked on each block from 6th to 12th streets, including Delta’s unique airplane-shaped truck. All of these culinary options are in addition to the already-large number of local restaurants and pubs around the mall.
Try different spins on Minnesota classics and #BoldNorth themed dishes, including Nordic waffles, giant cookies, chilies and soups, pierogis, smoked meats, Juicy Lucy cheeseburgers, and sausages. And of course, there will be plenty of beer, cider, hot toddies, and specialty cocktails. Check out the full menu here.