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TCF Stadium Hotels/ Things to do

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TCF Stadium Hotels/ Things to do

I am from New Jersey (and a big vikings fan) and coming out to Minnesota for the first time in December for the Vikings/Jets football game with some Jets fans from here. (Booo!) I was hoping to receive some recommendations for hotels near TCF Stadium. Not looking for anything special just close enough to the stadium and relatively affordable. Are any hotels walking distance and if not what kind of transportation is available to the stadium? Also, we'll be in town for a few days and although I'm aware it will be cold (30s looks like from my google searches) is there a few things that would be recommended to see/do? We are a group of guys/girls in our upper 20s/ lower 30s and like go to bars, sight see, stay active, and love to take pictures. I would also like to stock up on some Vikings gear since I can only find things online, any stores nearby that would be worth checking out. Thanks so much in advance, we can't wait to come to Minnesota.

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1. Re: TCF Stadium Hotels/ Things to do

If you're in town for a few days, I would suggest not staying near TCF Bank Stadium, where you will be surrounded by nightlife, sure. But it will be college student nightlife (except on gameday). As of June, light rail connects the campus area (TCF Bank stadium area) with both downtowns -- Minneapolis and St. Paul. I suggest you choose one of the downtowns and stay there and take the light rail to the game. That way you will have more to do, a more fitting nightlife scene, better restraurants -- and still an easy ride to and from the game.

I don't think my bias is showing at all when I say there is more nightlife in downtown MInneapolis than in downtown St. Paul. There is good sightseeing in either downtown. I prefer the variety of restaurants in Minneapolis' downtown, although there is no shortage of restaurants in downtown SP either. Minneapolis would also give you a link to the Mall of America by light rail if that appeals to you. I'm not recommending it, bc it's a big, giant mall on steroids with all the same chains you find in many other malls. (But it does have several stores that sell Vikings merch).

If you look at a google map of downtown Minneapolis or St. Paul you will see light rail stations on there. IN Minneapolis it runs down 5th Street, past the staduim construction site (which might be a point of interest for you) and then on to the university and through to St. Paul.

So look for hotels walkable to 5th Street and you should be good.

And though it's possible it is too cold for too much outside, you could take some incredible pictures along the Mississippi riverfront in the Stone Arch Bridge area in Minneapolis. Or the light rail to MInnehaha Park to take picures of the falls and the limestone/sandstone cliffs surrounding them.

A warning on the light rail:

It's THE way to go. BUT .... Make sure you're aware of how many people will be using the train for the same purposes. It's a fair bet (bc we have not seen the new Green Line in action for Vikings games) that it will be even more crowded than the Blue LIne was when it connected fans to the Metrodome from the Mall of America station. When using that option, fans needed to be on the train at least an hour before kickoff to even get a shot at a seat. The Green Line that you would be using (if you take my recommendation) will be even more crowded, IMO. So I suggest you get down to the stadium at least two hours before kickoff just to check out the events there -- chiefly the tailgating lot. The Gophers stadium has a 3-4 huge tailgating lots that will be chock full of purple-clad fans, including yours truly. You will be dressed warm anyway for the outdoor game. So come on down and meet and greet your team's fans. And watch your friends get heckled! (It won't be too bad -- we're pretty tame compared to, say, Philly)

Edited: 7:56 am, July 07, 2014
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2. Re: TCF Stadium Hotels/ Things to do

I agree with mn - stay in one of the downtowns. My personal preference is Minneapolis. For your age group, I like the downtown Minneapolis area and warehouse district, particularly for bar hopping, but there are a few places right in downtown that are nice. For December, start to check out hotel prices now - there are probably not a lot of deals on Viking weekends, but you will have more choices now.

For gear, I believe the official team store is in the Mall of America, but there are several licensed sellers. Target has a huge store downtown which has some items, and there are many other smaller shops as well.

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3. Re: TCF Stadium Hotels/ Things to do

Thank you both so much! Great insight. Are there any hotels you would recommend right in the center of downtown Minneapolis?

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4. Re: TCF Stadium Hotels/ Things to do

If your budget allows, the Marquette is my favorite downtown. Nicely located. Very well run. Comfortable. Not hipster trendy. Classic hotel.

But for a lower budget there is the Hotel minneapolis, Autograph Collection. It's just a basic place to throw your stuff and sleep and get cleaned up. Really nice location for access to nighlife and the light rail, and a few blocks walk to the riverfront.

Coincidentally, two places you should seek out. 1. The Fulton tap room. Craft brewer located blocks from Target Field. I personally don't like their two brews they sell all over downtown (Lonely Blonde and Sweet Child of the Vine) but the rest of their stuff (only accessible in the tap room) is fantastic. Plus they have good T-shirts for a souvenir from MInneapolis.

2. Nye's Polonaise Room. It takes a taxi to get there, but not a spendy one. And it is so worth it. Go on a Friday or Saturday night so you can hear polka band and the piano bar in full swing. And get there by about 9:30 if you want any hope to get a table.

Have fun!

Edited: 11:29 am, July 07, 2014
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5. Re: TCF Stadium Hotels/ Things to do

You are the best! This insight is greatly appreciated. I cannot wait to go I'm buying tickets next week before prices go up!

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6. Re: TCF Stadium Hotels/ Things to do

The Aloft Hotel may be of interest to you. It's on Washington Avenue, near the Stone Arch Bridge, the Mill Ruins and the Guthrie Theater which are all great photographic subjects. Aloft is definitely marketed to your age group. There are a few restaurants nearby, but the other recommendations given above for eating and nightlife aren't far enough away to worry.

I want to agree that the downtown Target store at 9th and Nicollet is a great place to get Vikings merchandise. Typically this is on the second floor, center of the store.

Brit's Pub at 11th & Nicollet is a good choice for eating and drinking. It will be too cold to enjoy their roofdeck, but folks do like to watch sports here and linger in a British pub atmosphere. The Dakota is a jazz club/restaurant with affordable national acts.

Hennepin Avenue in DT Minneapolis has many choices of food and drink. Union at 9th & Hennepin is a new-ish spot that has a unique roofdeck with a retractable glass roof for year-round use.

Hint for photography in the wintertime: Keep an extra charged battery in a warm spot like your pants pocket. The cold weather saps camera batteries very, very quickly.

Edited: 9:44 pm, July 07, 2014
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7. Re: TCF Stadium Hotels/ Things to do

Thank you so much. Especially for the camera tip I wouldn't have thought of that! Appreciate the hotel and bar recommendations.

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8. Re: TCF Stadium Hotels/ Things to do

You're already received some good advice in terms of the stadium is on the U of M campus so may want to stay downtown. Hotels are also good suggestions (I also like the Marquette, though the Hilton has been nicely renovated).

Keep in mind one (relatively) budget friendly option in downtown would include the Best Western. Older building and perhaps a small walk to some of the nightlife, but not terrible walk (or very short cab ride). The BW generally gets decent reviews.

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9. Re: TCF Stadium Hotels/ Things to do

You may have booked your hotel already, but lots of great options at www.airbnb.com, or download the app. Also, don't forget that Lyft car service is available in Minneapolis. It is much cheaper than taxis and friendly, local drivers. Plus, you won't have to wait or walk in the cold. Trust me, we are thrilled if it is still in the 30's in December. Free codes for first ride up to $25 are available everywhere! Have a great trip!

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10. Re: TCF Stadium Hotels/ Things to do

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