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Using the public buses in the Minneapolis St. Paul area

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La Habra, California
posts: 623
reviews: 10
Using the public buses in the Minneapolis St. Paul area

Hi, I will be visiting the Twin Cities area (staying at the Microtel Inn in Bloomington) from Oct. 5 to Oct. 13. However, I will be relying almost, if not exclusively on public transit. I was wondering do you know if there are printed individual bus maps and schedules and a printed system bus map available? I have checked the Metro Transit website and have found the information helpful there but would also like to have the schedules and maps in printed format, if possible.

The other question I have is that the routes often have letters next to them and I'm assuming that the letter is a variation of the route. For example, the line 3A goes through Como Park but the 3B runs a few blocks or so south of the park. Am I correct on this and how does one keep track of which letter goes where?

Thank you in advance for any replies! They are much appreciated!

Minneapolis
Destination Expert
for Minneapolis
posts: 2,947
reviews: 15
11. Re: Using the public buses in the Minneapolis St. Paul area

Nice !!!!

Russian Art Museum is on my list to see too.

While downtown, consider free observation deck at the Guthrie, Mill City museum, Stone Arch bridge, lock & dam tour, St Anthony Main, Water Power Park, Nye's, and Nicollet Island.

Could do all of the above in 6 hrs if you are at good clip.

Minneapolis MN
posts: 388
reviews: 3
12. Re: Using the public buses in the Minneapolis St. Paul area

If you are in downtown Minneapolis there is a Metro Transit store on 6th and Marquette, acorss the street from the IDS center. You can get printed schedules for every route and stored value cards so you don't have to worry about carrying dollar bills or change.

The buses have signs on the front and side that say their destination and a couple of main stops. If you are not sure you can just ask the driver "do you go to xx avenue". Most of them are pretty friendly/helpful with directions.

The destinations you mention are accessible on bus, but you may have long transit times, especially for the places in St Paul. You could easily be looking at a 2+ hour transit each way because transfer times between buses can often be long. So you might be waiting at an outdoor stop (most stops are just a sign on a post and maybe have a bench to sit on) for some time in October when the weather might be getting chilly.

I would probably not make Wood Lake a major destination. I lived in Richfield for a few years and my parents still live there. It's just basically a small marsh area with a couple of paths. The nature "center" itself is really tiny, it's not like a full museum or anything. Though there is a Pizza Luce close by, it's a good upscale local chain.

Also you may want to be careful about going to Midtown Global Market and Theodore Wirth Park at night by bus. The surrounding neighborhoods aren't the best. I've taken the 5 and 21 buses (which go by Midtown Market) later at night and they can get sketchy.

Edited: 1:27 pm, August 27, 2013
Minneapolis...
Destination Expert
for Minneapolis
posts: 4,151
reviews: 18
13. Re: Using the public buses in the Minneapolis St. Paul area

"Also you may want to be careful about going to Midtown Global Market and Theodore Wirth Park at night by bus. The areas themselves are pretty safe, but the surrounding neighborhoods aren't the best. I've taken the 5 and 21 buses (which go by Midtown Market) later at night and they can get sketchy."

I second that.

Minneapolis MN
posts: 388
reviews: 3
14. Re: Using the public buses in the Minneapolis St. Paul area

Just off the top of my head, here are routes for some of your destinations. IIRC you should be able to grab them from basically right outside of the Microtel.

the Russian Arts Museum: take westbound 535 to Nicollet, transfer to northbound 18, get off at Diamond Lake Road, walk 3 blocks east

Minneapolis Institute of Arts: take westbound 535 to Nicollet, transfer to northbound 18, get off at 26th, walk 2 blocks east

Walker Art Museum: take westbound 535 to Lyndale, transfer to northbound 4, get off at Oak Grove (the Sculpture Garden and Loring Park are here also)

Midtown Global Market: take northbound 5 to Lake St. WAIT TO GET OFF AT THE TRANSIT HUB HERE.

Weisman Art Museum: take northbound 5 to Franklin. FYI this area is sketchy to some especially at night. Transfer to eastbound 2, get off on Pleasant, walk about 4-5 blocks south.

the Chain of Lakes/Bakken: Take northbound 5 to 66th Street, transfer to westbound 515, get off at Southdale shopping center (last stop). Transfer to northbound 6, get off at Richfield Road. This will be right at Lake Calhoun. Walking around here will lead you to the Bakken Museum. If you take the road east, it will lead to Lake Harriet.

Wood Lake Nature Center: Take northbound 5 to 66th street, transfger to westbound 515, get off on Rae Drive (look for Pizza Luce). The entrance is about a block west.

La Habra, California
posts: 623
reviews: 10
15. Re: Using the public buses in the Minneapolis St. Paul area

Thank you gweilo845 for the extensive and helpful advice and information. I really apprecitate it! I use the local Los Angeles public buses quite often and I am used to long waits for many of them, although in a far more temperate climate. But I'm expecting the weather in Minneapolis in October to be like January weather in Los Angeles--low to mid 60s for the high and mid 40s for the low temperature. Does that sound about right? I probably will be in my hotel room by 8:30 p.m. anyway--I'm not really a night person.

Edited: 10:06 pm, August 28, 2013
Minneapolis MN
posts: 388
reviews: 3
16. Re: Using the public buses in the Minneapolis St. Paul area

That's a decent estimate for the temperature - but weather at that time of the year can be all over the map. One of our biggest snowstorms ever was around Halloween, or it may be in the 70s or 80s, especially earlier in the month.

I don't want to seem like I am scaring you off certain places. Minneapolis as a whole is pretty safe, but there are definitely some areas you should take caution in. For instance, the Midtown Global Market itself is very nice and perfectly safe. However, the area it is in (intersection of Chicago Ave and Lake St) borders on one of the poorer neighborhoods in Minneapolis. I would recommend not walking around too much in the area, especially south of Lake St.

La Habra, California
posts: 623
reviews: 10
17. Re: Using the public buses in the Minneapolis St. Paul area

Thank you for the info gweilo845. I appreciate knowing more about the different neighborhoods since I'm new to the area. I grew up in an area with gangs surrounding it so I know what you mean. One neighborhood nearby was referred to as Quiet Village, I'm not sure why the locals called it that--maybe because not much stuff happened there. But I don't mind going through and learning about the less attractive neighborhoods but I'd likely do it on a bus during daylight hours, lol. By the way, in Los Angeles you get a lot--and I mean a lot of crazy people on the public buses--especially at night or even in the daytime in the suburbs. It's so usual that when you go on a bus there and everyone acts normal, it feels strange!

18. Re: Using the public buses in the Minneapolis St. Paul area

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