Field trip | Minneapolis's ballpark and lakefront
Gourmet grub sates fans at the Twins' new ballpark, while active types hike and bike Minneapolis's miles of lakefront.
GETTING THERE By bus Megabus from Union Station (877-462-6342, megabus.com) Time 8 hours Price $48  round-trip
Chicagoans tend to meet foul weather head-on. Our football team plays outside; our polar plunges are infamous. Minneapolitans, on the other hand, are better at snubbing the not-so-great outdoors. Take the city’s Skyway System: The eight-mile network of climate-controlled second-floor glass walkways lets pencil pushers and power shoppers comfortably navigate among downtown buildings, restaurants and stores. What Chicago and Minneapolis do share is a spring-summer mantra: Get while the getting’s good.
I prepare to seize the day as I peel my flaccid, clammy body off a cramped Megabus seat after an eight-hour haul from Chicago one morning in early May. I still can’t decide whether that interminable expedition benefited from all the distracting oh-shit-someone’s-gonna-get-stabbed tension in the air. A diva passenger insisted on belting out Frank Sinatra songs despite being shouted down several times by an irate, sleep-deprived man trying to catch some Z’s. But, hey, isn’t that the live theatrical Megabus experience?
While I dig into an adequate pancake breakfast and chug some much-needed coffee at the likeable Band Box Diner, the buzz among locals in the little throwback greasy spoon swirls around whether the Twins-Orioles game that night will be rescheduled due to rain, which eventually turns to brief snow showers. (Yep, snow. In May.) The cancellation is a big deal; for 28 years, the Twins played insulated from the elements inside the Metrodome. The last time a Twins matchup was postponed was when snow accumulation caused the Metrodome roof to partially collapse in April of ’83. But with Target Field, the Twins’ topless new downtown home that debuted in April, the team and fans have embraced the natural conditions, for better or worse.
My ticket is for the next day’s game, a chilly but sunny afternooner. Luckily, Target Field (not to be confused with the nearby Target Center, home of the NBA Timberwolves—if you haven’t noticed, Minneapolis is Target’s HQ) has radiant heaters, just like the CTA’s El-platform units, scattered throughout the main concourse. In every way, the ballpark is a home run—certainly worth the trek for the White Sox series July 15–18. Its elegant Minnesota limestone facade rises out of the ground like a sheer cliff wall, and delicate glass and metal flourishes punctuate its peak.