Around Minneapolis

minneapolisskylineWelcome to Minneapolis! JETAAMN has put together a useful guide for getting around the “Twin Cities” of Minneapolis and St. Paul. We hope you enjoy your stay!

The conference will end around noon on Sunday the 29th.  For those of you who will be extending your stay in the Twin Cities to visit and tour, there is a ramen showdown, Ramen Attack, at Zen Box Izakaya (602 South Washington Avenue / Minneapolis 55415), beginning at noon until 6 pm.  We hope you can stay longer to go to the Attack and visit the Twin Cities further!

Top 10 things to do in the Twin Cities

1. Walk around the beautiful Chain of Lakes in Minneapolis, saunter through the rose garden, or ride the historic streetcar at Lake Harriet.

2. Who has the most theaters per capita after New York City? Minneapolis. Catch a show at the Guthrie Theater, the Children’s Theater, the Jungle Theater, or hundreds of other venues.

3. Catch a free movie on the roof at Brit’s Pub in the heart of downtown Minneapolis. Grab a pint and do some lawn bowling while you wait for the feature to start!

4.Walk, or rent a Segway, and tour Minneapolis’ riverfront. Walk across the Stone Arch Bridge and gaze at beautiful views of downtown and the ruins of the milling district that indicate Minneapolis’ past as the “Flour Milling Capital of the World!”

5. Sports fan? Catch the Vikings at Minnesota’s own soufflé-­‐shaped stadium, the Metrodome (Mall of America Field) or catch the Twins at the award-­‐winning Target Field.

6. The arts more your style? Visit the Minneapolis Institute or Arts, or if modern is more your thing, the Walker Art Center and its Sculpture Garden, or the Frederick R. Weisman Museum on the University of Minnesota campus. There are also hundreds of smaller studios in Northeast Minneapolis and St. Paul’s Lowertown.

7. If you’re looking for something to drink, check out the growing number of microbreweries in Minneapolis, again concentrated in Northeast: 612 Brew, Dangerous Man Brewing Co., Indeed Brewing Co., and Boom Island Brewing Company. Hopefully a food truck is parked outside in case you get the munchies!

8. What trip to the Twin Cities would be complete without a trip to the Mall of America? It is something to be seen. Though close to Minneapolis, “the Mall” as locals call it, is located in Bloomington south of the Cities.

9. Relive the days of Mark Twain and head out on a riverboat from Boom Island (Minneapolis) or Harriet Island (St. Paul). Relax with a drink and have your camera ready to capture images of the many roosting bald eagles along the route.

10. What trip to Minneapolis would be complete without a stop at First Avenue, the venue that brought you Prince, The Replacements, Semisonic, Soul Asylum, Atmosphere, and Brother Ali. Other great music venues or night clubs include the Dakota Jazz Club, the Cabooze, the Gay 90‘s, and the Varsity Theater.

Getting around downtown Minneapolis
Metro Transit
Bus: You can take the bus to or from the airport, but it’s not the most convenient way to get downtown. Take the light rail or a shuttle directly to your hotel instead.

Within Minneapolis, buses travel within the city, between Minneapolis and St. Paul, and further afield. If you are interested in taking the bus, check out Metro Transit’s Trip Planner website, or ask for a MetroTransit map at your hotel.

Pedestrian Mall on Nicollet Avenue
Buses travel the length of Nicollet Avenue from the Light Rail station near the river to the Convention Center. Look for buses marked “Free Ride” and pay no fare when boarding along Nicollet Mall. Your ride is green, too — only hybrid buses operate on Nicollet Mall.

Downtown Zone
Most shops, hotels and points of interest are located within the downtown zone. Simply tell the driver before you pay your fare that you will be riding only within the Downtown Zone to avoid paying the normal fare. See a map of the downtown zone here. The fare for the downtown zone is $0.50 per ride.

The fare for all other local buses is $2.25 during rush hour (M-­F 6:00-­9:00 AM and 3:00-­6:30 PM) and $1.75 during non-­peak times. The fare for express buses (e.g. between Minneapolis and St. Paul) is $3.00 during rush hour (M-­F 6:00-­9:00 AM and 3:00-­6:30 PM) and $2.25 during non-­peak times.

Nice Ride
Around the cities you will sometimes see bike racks full of bright green-­‐yellow bikes. These are Nice Ride bikes and are available to rent at any time. (A credit card is required.) You can use them either to get from one place to another or just for a leisurely bike ride around the city. You can return your bike to any of the many bike racks or “stations”
in the system.

The cost to use the Nice Ride system is a combination of a subscription price, plus trip fees for any rides lasting more than 30 minutes. A 24-­hour subscription is $6 and includes
up to 30 minutes of ride time. Up to 60 minutes is an additional $1.50 ($7.50 total) and up
to 90 minutes is an additional $4.50 ($10.50 total). Be careful if you are going for a long recreational ride, as trip fees can add up quickly.

Skyway System
Minneapolis is home to the world’s longest continuous hamster habitat skyway system. Many of the buildings in the downtown area are connected by these second-­story hallways and bridges, including the Crowne Plaza Hotel. The skyway gives people a convenient way to travel long distances on foot during the long, brutal Minnesota winters. While your visit will be during our pleasant early fall, the skyway can be a refuge for travelers when it’s raining. Even in nice weather it’s worth walking through the skyway for a few blocks to see the view as you  cross over busy city streets, and many buildings have indoor art or sculptures placed to impress skyway travelers. Be aware that not all skyway routes are accessible on weekends.

Back to the Airport
Follow the method you came in on or try a new one! But once back to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), enjoy the perks of being there. MSP Airport is one of the best in the country. It has recently installed free wi-fi throughout the airport, and small versions of some great Twin Cities restaurants like Ike’s and French Meadow Bakery are there. In some of the new areas (Concourse G), there are restaurants and bars with iPads at the tables. You browse the menu, order, and pay all via the iPad, and then a server brings you your food. May your last minutes in the Twin Cities be joyous and fun!

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