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Vikings game

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Ohio
posts: 57
reviews: 48
Vikings game

I have 2 hotels booked, looking for advice as to which one I should go with.

Best Western Plus Normandy and Hilton Garden Inn. Both are in easy walking distance to the game.

We are flying in. I would like to be able to take a bus or light transit to/from the hotel----can I do that with each of these hotels? We don't mind a few blocks walk, as long as its safe. What is your transit system called, and can it get us pretty much anywhere "touristy" that we will want to go?

Do either of the 2 hotels have a few bars very close by, or within safe walking distance?

What about a store where we can pick up a 6 pack of beer to take back to the room?

Is there anything that is a "must-see" while we're there? We're coming in September and will get in Friday night, so we have all of Saturday to look around, and after the game Sunday we would like to find a sports bar somewhat close to the hotel to watch the later games. We fly out Monday.

Thanks!

Minneapolis...
Destination Expert
for Minneapolis
posts: 4,188
reviews: 18
1. Re: Vikings game

If it were me I would choose the Normandy Inn. Neither is super close to a lot of nightlife, but the Normandy Inn is closer the Metrodome and to Hubert's and the Crooked Pint -- both sportsbars pretty close to the Dome.

Hubert's (there are 2 locations downtown, you want the one at 6th and Chicago Ave near the Dome) is THE place to see all the old memorabilia and where the fans will be after the game.

Liquor store -- Haskells on 9th. Maybe 3-4 blocks from the Normandy Inn.

Must-sees? Two things for me. First is the riverfront area (and Stone Arch Bridge). Great views of the old mill district. Beautiful area.

Also, hop on the light rail (in the direction of the Mall of America) to Minnehaha Park to see the waterfall and nice green space with a great spot (Sea Salt) to get a pitcher of beer and some good sea food niblets. My favorite outdoor dining spot in the Twin Cities. Great thing for you is you can take the train (cheap, safe, easy) to 50th Street/Minnehaha station and see it in a snap.

Google map it all to get your bearings. It's worth the trip. So is the riverfront.

The Hilton Gardenn Inn is a nicer hotel IMO. But the Normandy Inn is nice too and better located for your needs

Edited: 1:22 pm, April 21, 2013
Minneapolis...
Destination Expert
for Minneapolis
posts: 4,188
reviews: 18
2. Re: Vikings game

By the way. I always forget initially to remind game-goers initially: You can't buy alcohol in stores on Sundays in Minnesota because of really stupid laws. So make sure you get over to Haskell's and load up on Saturday.

You can buyalcohol at bars, however, (well, not for carryout -- only on-site consumption) and the bars will be packed for the team's first home game (vs Cleveland). And so will the tailgating lots. Best pregame scenery you will find. For home opener it should start filling up before 7 for the noon game

Edited: 1:25 pm, April 21, 2013
Ohio
posts: 57
reviews: 48
3. Re: Vikings game

Great information, thank you!! We will definitely check out the riverfront area and Minnehaha Park.

Minneapolis
Destination Expert
for Minneapolis
posts: 2,968
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4. Re: Vikings game

For me I'd walk the extra blocks and stay at Hilton Garden Inn

Ohio
posts: 57
reviews: 48
5. Re: Vikings game

Why the Hilton? Nicer hotel? Better area??

Minneapolis...
Destination Expert
for Minneapolis
posts: 4,188
reviews: 18
6. Re: Vikings game

Nicer hotel, yes. But definitely not a better area. An extra 4 blocks to the Dome and the tailgate lot, and Huberts and the light rail stop. Basically, there is nothing around the HGI. Normandy Inn is still nice. And I would take the small decrease in quality of hotel for the freedom to walk to the things you're here to see.

Ohio
posts: 57
reviews: 48
7. Re: Vikings game

Thanks, we are going with the Normandy. Better price.

Another question: are there any restaurants that were featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives that are easy to get to from our hotel? My husband likes to visit the same places that Guy has featured on his show. The Wienery looks like quite a hike if we walk it; can the public transit get us there?

Minneapolis...
Destination Expert
for Minneapolis
posts: 4,188
reviews: 18
8. Re: Vikings game

The Wienery is under different ownership since that DDD spot was shot years ago. Personally, I don't think it's worth the trip. And yeah, it would be a pretty good hike on foot.

The next closest place is one you could easily reach by bus -- Kramarczuk Sauasage company. Great spot. It's the big thing at Twins games since the new ballpark opened a couple years back. Polish Sausage with fried onions. Do it!

Also can be reached from your riverfront walk granted you cross the river via Stone Arch Bridge and walk down Main (passing famous Pillsbury A Mill) and Pracna (great stop for a beer or Bloody Mary). When you get to Hennepin head right and it will be visible in a block. Long walk but a scenic walk -- much of which you said you planned to do already. Use Google Maps to plot the walk so you don't take a wrong turn and get the general direction.

My favorite quirky DDD joint is Victor's 1959 Cafe in south minneapolis. Buses run right past it, so you could grab a bus on Nicollet Mall (4 blocks from hotel) and get there, possibly without a change.

The address is 3756 Grand Ave South, Minneapolis.

Plug that in to the trip finder at this link: metrotransit.org

That will let you know which buses and schedules. Grand is a popular bus artery so it could be that it's only 1 bus you need.

Ohio
posts: 57
reviews: 48
9. Re: Vikings game

mntoathens, you are a fabulous resource and I appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions.

We are getting in before noon on Friday, so I think we'll be able to go to both places you mentioned. The sausage company is a definite--my husband makes his own sausage and loves to sample other recipes; we were just at a kielbasi cook-off last weekend, so this is right up his alley!

Dumb question: are there restrooms readily available at the park and riverfront?

And should I go to the Mall of America? I'm not a big shopper, so I don't really see the draw, but it IS the largest mall so in your opinion should I try to get over there to see it? Or is it just another mall, albeit bigger?

Finally, will Vikings fans be ok with us wearing our Browns attire? We've run into a few problems at other stadiums so I like to know what to expect. We are not obnoxious at all, although I do stand and cheer when (if) the Browns do something good.

Minneapolis...
Destination Expert
for Minneapolis
posts: 4,188
reviews: 18
10. Re: Vikings game

On the Browns gear thing: You sound like you have done this before, which means you no doubt have been to rougher venues than Minnesota with opposing team colors on and have thick skin needed in this situation. You will no doubt get some heckling. It happens everywhere. But as for safety, I would say you are going to be fine.

The only time I've seen problems is when the visiting fan and the home fan were outrageously drunk and didn't know where to draw the line. But I'm a season ticket holder and travel to many away games and I see more altercations in other stadiums than I see at the Dome. Especially Philly. Not sure I want to ever get back to Lincoln Financial.

If you were to stroll past me in the tailgate lot I would offer you a beer for sticking by a team that isn't in the best form right now and following them on the road.

Restrooms are available at Minnehaha Park in the Refectory Building, which is the only large building in the main area of the park with a red roof right near the falls. It's the same building Sea Salt is in -- a very good place to get a pitcher of beer and relax and enjoy being outside near the falls and people watch. Good foods for lunch or just apps. Make sure you walk down the stairs to see the falls up close and then walk downstream to the glen (and all the way down to the Mississippi if you're up for it -- about 3/4 mile).

No public restrooms in the riverfront area. But hey, another opportunity for a beer! Stop at Pracna on Main Street across the river from downtown. Cozy little bar/restaurant. It's my lunch stop any time I make the Mill City circuit walk.

The Mall of America .... Well, there are wildly differing opinions on it. For first-timers, the sheer scale of it and the amusement park in the middle has some draw. But I feel dirty telling people to go to a mall in September at the height of great weather in Minnesota with so many authentic and cool things to see. It's a mall, after all, one of the most sterile experiences imaginable. Chain restaurants, very few locals, chain stores, Jamba Juice, Sunglass Hut .... only in a bigger building.

But ... some people love it. And like I said, the sheer size of it does leave people with a memory they want to share with others when they get home. I think you'd be better off spending more time exploring the park and the riverfront. Sit and relax in the park and get some grub from Sea Salt and a pitcher of Summit beer and enjoy life.

Now, if the weather sucks then go to the mall. I guess that's a good backup option/