Minneapolis-Where to stay?

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Mar 21st, 2015, 12:59 PM
  #1
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Minneapolis-Where to stay?

On a previous post, I had asked for recommendations for long-weekend destinations relatively close to Chicago. Thanks to all who contributed!

I think we've decided on Minneapolis, and I have a rough list of ideas for an itinerary. There will be 4 of us (me, my husband, and two young sons-1.5 and 3.5). We're looking at spending a lot of time exploring the outdoor attractions that Minneapolis has to offer, like the Sculpture Garden, Chain of Lakes, and Minnehaha Park. Additionally, we're hoping to get tickets for a Twins game. Other ideas and rainy day alternatives include the Mall of America, MIA, and Como Park Zoo in St Paul.

Where should we stay? Looking at cost, for the time we're looking at (June 18-22), most hotels seem within or close to our budget (less than $200, and closer to $150, if we can). In terms of location, is there one area that's preferable to others?

We will have our car, and staying out of the downtown area offers more options in terms of free parking. Is Minneapolis a pretty driveable city, and is on-street/lot/garage parking available? Or should we plan to leave or car parked and walk/use public transport?

Thanks in advance!
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Mar 21st, 2015, 01:18 PM
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It is pretty driveable. Minneapolis is not hard to get around other than rush hour. There are a lot of surface lots and parking ramps along with on-street meters. You'll have to be careful to read the signage for the meters. And if you ever park on 1st Avenue in downtown make sure you understand that you don't park on the curb (that's actually a bike lane) but rather about 5-6 feet out from the curb. It's a bit weird.

You can take light rail between downtown and the Mall. It also has a stop near Minnehaha Falls. You'd need to drive to the Sculpture Garden, Chain of Lakes, Como Zoo and MIA. I wouldn't take a city bus if you have your own car. The Walker Art Center has free admission on Thursday nights, right next to the Sculpture Garden.

Saint Paul Saints might be a better experience for you and the kids. They have a brand new ballpark opening this spring.
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Mar 21st, 2015, 03:01 PM
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http://www.westinminneapolis.com/

I stayed here the last time I went to a Twins game. $100.00 per night, nothing fancy, has a pool but not for a small tot. It was a three block walk to the game. Parking will be extra. $20. Per day.

With a car you can stay almost anywhere. How about staying in Bloomington next to the mall of America so the kids can ride on the rides? Lots of restaurants close by, free parking.
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Mar 22nd, 2015, 09:56 AM
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We're looking at the St Louis Park area, specifically Homewood Suites or DoubleTree Park Place.

Both are well within budget and offer free self parking, and close proximity to light rail.

The reviews seem fine for both, but before booking, I just want to make sure this is an okay area in terms of safety?
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Mar 22nd, 2015, 10:37 AM
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That area is absolutely safe. You are by the West End (shops, restaurants).

It's a few miles from the closest light rail stop though. I would guess (?) there is bus service if you don't want to drive. The only traffic issue is rush hour, as those hotels are right off I-394 and that is a major commuter route.
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Mar 22nd, 2015, 03:54 PM
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@WhereAreWe, you're right about the light rail. I misread the transit map.

We're planning on using our car to get around, but my husband is concerned about driving (and parking) specifically for the Twins game. We're looking at tickets for either a Saturday or Sunday afternoon game. Are game days crazy for parking and traffic? I'm just wondering if we should reconsider our hotel location and move closer to a light rail station (Mall of America area?), since we'll be able to drive the rest of the time anyway.
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Mar 22nd, 2015, 04:51 PM
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Honestly, as bad as the Twins have been the last couple years I don't see a huge problem with parking and traffic. If they improve that may change.

Light rail gets busy and crowded at the end of games too. The easiest would be to splurge for a downtown hotel on game day/night, then you could walk back and forth. But parking and driving back to the West End area shouldn't be too awful, especially if you leave early or just walk around a bit afterwards. The longest wait will be getting out of the ramp so it may be easier if you identify a ramp that is at least several blocks from the ballpark, or a surface lot.
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Mar 24th, 2015, 07:43 PM
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Driving from St.Louis Park Doubletree is easy peasy. Get on East 394, stay in the left lane and follow to the A,B, or C parking garage. Go to the game, when you exit the garage you will exit directly onto west 394 and go to the hotel. Doubletree is an excellent choice. Good pool, next to West End shops for lots to do.
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Mar 25th, 2015, 04:45 AM
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My two cents. I think St. Louis Park is a bit out of the way. Minneapolis is a driving city, and there shouldn't be any issues. Look at the Radisson at the MOA. My sister and brother-in-law have stayed there several times (they live in northern MN), and they have been able to get great deals. It is a very new hotel; therefore, in great shape. That way you are close to MOA, and the transit line to the Twins Game. I would totally recommend the Twins Game if for the stadium alone. As someone suggested, the St. Paul Saints creates more of a family atmosphere, and is fun if you have time. Como Park Zoo is probably not a great option for a rainy day since it is mostly outside. Look into the Minnesota Zoo. A bit outside the city limits, but a great zoo for a full day. There is the Children's Museum in St. Paul that is a rainy day option. We have wonderful lakes in Minneapolis that are great to just stroll around for a break for the kids. Calhoun, Lake of the Isles and Harriet. Check them out too. There is plenty to do, and great places to eat in both cities. Have a great time.
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Mar 25th, 2015, 06:36 PM
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http://www.amazon.com/Dads-Eye-View-...he+twin+cities

This book will give you 100 ideas of things to do in the Twin City area.
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Mar 26th, 2015, 07:29 AM
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"Driving from St.Louis Park Doubletree is easy peasy."

Yes it is. However getting back after the game is not so easy unless they either delay themselves a bit or choose a different parking ramp. A,B,C are very close to Target Field and will be full, and it's not unheard of to sit in a ramp for 30 minutes waiting for cars to clear out. Been there done that.
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Mar 27th, 2015, 03:59 PM
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St. louis Park is fine but it would be much more fun and convenient to stay downtown in Mpls.
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Mar 27th, 2015, 11:05 PM
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I have stayed in St Louis Park and it is okay but I also recommend either downtown or the MOA Area. I think both areas are more fun and convenient than SLP Area.
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Mar 28th, 2015, 11:59 AM
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I loved The MIA.
I stayed near The MOA, but thought the mall was just another mall.
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Mar 31st, 2015, 09:04 AM
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Thanks for everyone's insights. We're trying to decide between the St Louis Park area and MOA (specifically the Hilton MSP Airport/MOA) We don't have a lot of interest in the mall itself, but are realizing that it might be a convenient area.

The biggest hesitation with staying in downtown Minneapolis is the cost and potential inconvenience of parking and using our car.

Thanks again to all who've contributed to this thread!
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