MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As if getting around downtown Minneapolis isn’t already a problem, folks heading in Friday night are in for a real treat. That is if you consider logjams and slow going enjoyable.
Not only are motorists flooding into the State Fair, but downtown Minneapolis is expecting huge crowds Friday night. There are four major sporting events taking place at the same time. The attractions are expected to draw 100,000 spectators pouring into downtown just as evening rush hour gets underway.
The Minnesota Vikings host their final home preseason game at U.S. Bank Stadium, and over at Target Field the Twins host the Oakland Athletics. Nearby, the University of Minnesota women’s volleyball kicks off the season with the Big 10-ACC Challenge. And finally over at the newly-remodeled Armory, a nationally-televised Boxing card will draw 4,000 more fans.
“It’s been 30 years but we’re back and we think this is the crown jewel now of all sporting facilities. To be able to host a nationally televised boxing card is spectacular,” Robb Leer said.
Leer says an expected 4,000 boxing fans will flood into the Armory. Door will open at 4:30 p.m. and 13 scheduled matches will go on throughout the night.
Baseball fans will flock to Target field where the Twins take on Oakland for a 7 p.m. game. That’s the same tipoff time inside Target Center, where it’s the Big 10-ACC Volleyball tournament drawing fans.
All four events are separated by just 10 city blocks.
Metro Transit officials say they are prepared to handle the rush with a combination of North Star and light rail trains, and a fleet of busses servicing all the events.
“Last year when the Twins, Vikings, Saints and State Fair were all going on concurrently, we saw our largest single-day ridership ever. We’ve been here before and done this, so we know how to handle it and we’re absolutely ready for another big night tonight,” Metro Transit Spokesperson Drew Kerr said. “These are the kind of nights Metro Transit is made for.”
Obviously for those of you planning to drive, the best advice is to leave early to find parking. There are about 60,000 thousand total spots downtown.
And while we have experienced this in the past, what’s different this year is the amount of road construction. Ramp closures will funnel all that traffic onto fewer entry and exit points.
Meanwhile, for those attending the fair, here is a link to the many park-and-ride lots throughout the Twin Cities.