Itinerant Fan

Target Field

Since 2010, the Minnesota Twins have been in constant running for having the best ballpark in the majors, with the gleaming Target Field on the edge of downtown. The park certainly is a strong contender for best view beyond the outfield fence, what with the neon Twins sign and the downtown Minneapolis skyline in the distance.

Considering the Twins’ former home, the plastic-fantastic indoor Metrodome, Target Field has been a significant improvement in a lot of ways (chilly early-season games notwithstanding). From its location to the features contained within, there’s plenty at Target Field to keep it in the running for “best ballpark in MLB” for many years to come.

  •   The Approach

    In some ways, it’s easy to catch a sporting event when you’re a visitor to a city. Chances are you don’t have to worry about a car. You’ve probably chosen lodging near the venue, or near public transportation that can take you to the venue. In Minneapolis, you’ve got the best of both worlds — all of its pro sports venues (we’re not counting the Wild’s Xcel Energy Center because it’s in St. Paul) are downtown, and serviced by a highly underrated light rail line (more on that in a bit). Target Field was built on the edge of downtown, separated from all the tall buildings by a highway — but you’d never know it because the highway runs underground as it passes by the ballpark.

    So everything is set up for you. If you work in downtown Minneapolis, you just walk to the game. If you don’t, you catch the light rail to the end of the line, which drops you off right at Target Field. And about the light rail in Minneapolis — it has expanded in recent years and for a tourist it serves nearly every destination you would ever want: All downtown points, the airport and the Mall of America. Plus, for $6 you can get a day pass that actually lasts 24 hours from the time of purchase. 

    If you’re driving in, you’ll find the typical selection of downtown parking lots and structures, so even if you don’t park in a team-owned lot, you can get to within a few blocks of the park pretty easily.

    The Twins have partnered with a service called Parking Panda to make the gameday parking experience as easy as possible. Visit their website to reserve parking spots online before you head to the game!

     
  •   The Build-Up

    Booking.com

    When we visited for a late-season game, Mrs. Fan and I stayed in a hotel about five blocks from the ballpark, right off Nicollet Mall. After a day of doing other things around town, we started heading to the game about 5 p.m. — but first we canvassed the surrounding neighborhood for restaurants/bars with good happy hour deals. And our options were quite good — a few holes-in-the-wall, and a few big restaurant/bars. All of them were lively and had good deals advertised. After some walking, we settled on a place called the M&S Grill, which I was later disappointed to learn was a repackaged version of the McCormick and Schmick’s restaurants you’ll find in every downtown of every major city in the country. But oh well, the plates were good (including these pot roast nachos which were just as good, and just as greasy, as you’d expect) and so was the beer.

    Afterward, we walked to the park along Sixth Street, passing by the Target Center along the way. Once you pass it (and that is one massive arena, by the way), you reach a sort of pedestrian plaza leading to the right-field gate, full of statues, benches, planters and the like. And there were already beer and snack vendors selling their wares even before you get into the gate.

    Right field, as it turned out, is the main point of entry into the stadium, which is understandable considering that’s the side that faces downtown. The team store is there, as are most of the statues and murals and other things that are supposed to enhance the fan experience and remind folks about the team’s history. We walked around the outside of the stadium a bit and found that the closer you got to home plate, the less pretty the exterior got — and the less people there were. So we just decided to enter at the home plate gate.

  •   The Ambiance

    Here’s my criticism of Target Field: I felt like I was at Target. Now, I realize that’s probably exactly what they were going for, but to me it was a little disturbing. I had to resist the temptation to scour the concession stands for some Archer Farms Kettle Chips with Sea Salt. But yeah, the signage and the fonts they used for lettering and such were all the same as they use in Target stores.


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    At this point, with the majority of MLB teams having fairly new ballparks, it’s hard to find things that stand out. Most of them go for the same thing — an old-timey feel, but with modern amenities. I’m not sure they intended Target Field to be old-timey, and that’s good. At least they avoided that whole red-brick-facade-and-exposed-steel-girders style that you see at practically every other semi-new park, but the yellowish stone they do use (an informal Google search tells me that it’s limestone, and I’ll take that as gospel seeing as I know next to nothing about building materials) reminds me too much of Petco Park. Which is to say, when you’re late to the new-ballpark party, you’d be hard-pressed to come up with something totally original. I do like the lights, though, integrated into the roof above the upper deck rather than held up by light towers.

    Having SRO tickets allowed us to walk around and watch the game from different angles. We started off wandering the lower concourse, but even though it was super wide, navigating it was like driving through central Beijing. It was incredibly crowded. So we took the nearest escalator to the upper deck and finally settled into a spot in center field, right below the giant lighted Twins logo, for the first few innings.

    Minnesota’s rich cuisine scene is reflected well in Target Field’s food offerings as well. Around the park you can find lots of different types of sausages, fried cheese curds (of course!), poutine, bacon burgers and even Indian food. There’s also a booth devoted to state fair offerings like pork chops on a stick — a nod to the Minnesota State Fair, which if you’re ever in town in late August, you must visit. As for beers, check out options from local breweries such as Summit and Grain Belt at the various “Minnesota Brews” stands.

Center map
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The Particulars

Home Teams
Minnesota Twins

Address
1 Twins Way
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Year Opened
2010

Capacity
39,504

Upcoming Events
All times local
Luke Bryan with Sam Hunt
Saturday, July 21, 2018
5:30 pm
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Journey with Def Leppard
Friday, July 27, 2018
6:00 pm
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Cleveland Indians at Minnesota Twins
Monday, July 30, 2018
7:10 pm
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Cleveland Indians at Minnesota Twins
Tuesday, July 31, 2018
7:10 pm
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Cleveland Indians at Minnesota Twins
Wednesday, August 1, 2018
12:10 pm
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