Target Field Guide – Where to Park, Eat, and Get Cheap Tickets
Target Field is the gem of a baseball stadium for the Minnesota Twins. From what I can gather, fans in Minnesota have been clamoring for an open air ballpark; because it feels more like baseball. Target Field is a great improvement over the Metrodome in many ways.
An Overview of Target Field - via Flickr user Chris Evans
Now let’s be clear; I love the Twins’ fans and the Twins’ fans love me. However, did you forget that you live in Minnesota? The Twins are no strangers to October baseball, and I would have to imagine that those games will be played in freezing temperatures. I guess the moral of the story is to grab a Snuggie and go enjoy some baseball.
Minnie and Paul Anchor the Outfield of Target Field - via Flickr user gutenfrog
Arriving at Target Field
Alternative/Public Transportation to a Twins Game
Both Metro Blue and Green lines drop you off right at Target Field. These connect you to many parts of Minneapolis and St. Paul, so you can either get an AirBnB along their routes or park for free anywhere along the lines. Rides from downtown Minneapolis are less than a dollar, and even longer rides are very cheap.
Or, if you are staying out in the burbs, consider the Northstar Train, which runs several times daily and extra trains on game days.
The Northstar Train Drops You Off Very Close - via Flickr user Jerry Huddleston
If you want to be green, it is very easy to walk to Target Field from downtown Minneapolis. And if you want to bike in, there are a number of free parking areas available for bikes right near the park.
If you don't feel like driving yourself to the game, consider pre-gaming at Tiffany's Sports Bar and taking "Tiff's Shuttle" for a free shuttle to the Twins' game. Here is a link to their website to find out more.
There are a lot of great drinking options at Target Field, and so be responsible, plan ahead, and remember that Uber is a great option to and from the park. If you haven't used the service before, get your first ride with Uber free here.
Driving to a Twins Game
One of the easiest ways to save a few dollars during your trip to the game is to find cheap or even free parking. If you’ve read a few of my guides, you’ll know that finding free street parking is the holy grail of stadium parking options. While that may not be entirely possible near Target Field, the savviest of fans headed to a Twins game should be able to come away with minimal parking expenses.
The streets surrounding Target Field, and downtown Minneapolis itself, are ripe with metered parking options. The city of Minneapolis provides a handy interactive online map that allows you to view street parking rates and hours for any street in the downtown area. Our guide highlights the best spots available, but click here to check it out for yourself and dig deeper.
On that map, you’ll see that the city has established “Target Field Event Zones” for metered parking on certain streets nearest the stadium. You can park in these zones for special event rates on an hourly basis for up to three hours before the start of the game, and one hour after. The closest zones charge a couple of bucks per hour, while ones further away are a little cheaper.
The other obvious street parking destination are Avenues 2 - 5 in the heart of downtown Minneapolis. Meters on these streets only operate until 6pm each night. If you arrive early, you should be able to find a spot on these streets, feed the meter until 6pm, and then walk to the ballpark. The walk is a bit further, but with hourly rates at only a couple dollars an hour in this part of town you could park for virtually nothing. Not saying that we’re geniuses around here...but we’re pretty good.
Street Parking Along Third Avenue
Two quick keys to metered parking. One, arrive early to find a space. Simple enough. The second is to always pay attention to signage in the area to make sure nothing has changed and that you’re not going to be ticketed or towed.
If you’re like my Dad and more inclined to just suck it up and pay for parking at a lot or garage (or “ramp”, as they say in lovely Minnesota), there are a ton of reasonable options for you.
The first would be the “ABC Ramps”, which are all located right across the street from the stadium and connected to Target Field via skyway. Parking here for a Twins game costs up to $15, and spaces are available on a first come, first serve basis.
Another great way to do parking for a Twins game is through a service called Parking Panda. This website and app allows you to reserve guaranteed parking ahead of time. You can compare available options in the area, pay for a ramp that works for you, and they’ll email you the parking pass. You can drive to the game knowing exactly where you’re going to park, how much you paid, and that a space will be waiting for you. Check it out in the window below.
Best Food At & Near Target Field
Save Money on Food
You can bring food and drink into Target Field. According to one of my readers, who is a season ticket holder, he said the following: "Sealed water is ok as is bringing food into the stadium. The rules on food are: They must be consumed in the general seating areas (not brought into restaurants, club lounges, suites, etc). Food containers must be soft sided and fit under your chair. Any food that could be dangerous if thrown (i.e., apples) should be sliced."
Food You Shouldn't Miss at Target Field
1. Andrew Zimmern Canteen - celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern is a Minnesota native, so consider this tasty stop an example of "local boy does good". Visit behind section 119 to enjoy meaty dishes featuring creative flavor mash-ups and lots of flair.
2. Kramarczuk's - if you like sausage at the ballpark, this is one to make the stop for. Juicy and with a firm casing that snaps beautifully when you bite, these sausages come with all the classic toppings you love. Check them out by sections 112, 117, and 312.
3. State Fair Classics - this stand by section 133 serves up food featured at the Minnesota State Fair including cheese curds, BBQ pulled pork, corn dogs, smothered fries, deep fried pickles, pork chops on a stick and other rotating options. This is Minnesota at its most down-home decadent.
Cheap Twins Tickets
At this point, nearly every Major League team has some kind of variable pricing model where depending on how in-demand a game is, the ticket prices you'll pay at the gate may go up or down.
Sometimes pricing varies from day to day, other times it is a more formal "tiered" structure where when they are playing a big draw team like the Yankees, you'll pay a premium price compared to a perennial bottom-dweller who might be in the "budget tier."
So rather than focusing on specific prices and sections which tend to change fairly often, I want to talk about general rules and strategies for getting the best deals on tickets.
1. Compare 3rd Party Sites
SeatGeek is a big time ticket comparison site that lets you compare a bunch of different ticket brokers, marketplaces, etc. and find the best price for the game you want to go to. They also have a tool that projects whether ticket prices will go up or down - AKA whether you should buy now or wait.
2. Buy Last Minute
If you've bought tickets online before, you've heard of StubHub. What you may not know however is that with the rise of print-at-home and tickets on your mobile phone via the Ballpark App that you can usually buy tickets right up to a couple of hours before game time.
As someone who has sold a fair share of tickets on StubHub, I also know that sellers are encouraged to set a declining price for their tickets. This means they'll set a starting price and then their lowest acceptable price, and StubHub will auto-magically lower the price of those tickets as the event date gets closer.
So in many cases, a game that isn't sold out will have plenty of below face value deals on StubHub that you can snatch at the last minute and then either print at home, or just use the App on your phone to get scanned into the game.
The Gate Numbers are Retired, Not in Order - via Flickr user Eric Kilby
3. Avoid Craigslist
It's not to say that you can't find ticket deals on Craigslist, you can. It is just more of a peace of mind, safety issue. I'm a Craigslist kind of guy, but I also know it's easy to get screwed buying baseball tickets there.
Remember when I mentioned selling on StubHub? When you list tickets there, all you need to know is the barcode number from that ticket along with the other details on section, row, etc. - So when I sell tickets I never mail them to the buyer, they just print them at home and my actual tickets become void.
If I was a shady character, I could go sell those void tickets to an unsuspecting buyer on Craigslist for cash. The tickets look real, they are "real" in a sense - but what that buyer will find out is when they go to enter the stadium, the ticket scanner will say "thou shalt not enter thy game."
Don't be that buyer.
Stick to buying tickets from SeatGeek, StubHub, or directly from the team. You can still get deals and you never have to worry about being scammed.
Best Value Seats at Target Field
The seating capacity of Target Field is 39,504, which is about 15,000 less than the old Metrodome. I guess in part that is because the Twins have widened some of their seats and provided a couple extra inches of leg room. As a ballpark patron, I see both of these as big benefits to Target Field. Americans continue to get fatter, and rather than curse the darkness, the Minnesota Twins decided to light a candle in the form of more spacious seating at Target Field.
Upper deck seats went up just a few dollars in general, and I see great value in the cheapest seats in the house. The field view seats are not bad at all in right, specifically Sections 306 and 307. These range from $11 to $16 depending on the game, and it seems as if you will have no restrictions on your view, and you’re not on the very outer part of the stadium.
You should be able to look to your right for the “skyline view” and the plate will be to your left. Keep in mind, if you are looking for aisle seats, I recommend sitting on the aisle furthest from home plate in the section. Try to visualize this, if you are sitting on the aisle closest to home plate in section 306, all the late comers, concession goers, and people eager to take advantage of the extra bathrooms will be going in and out right next to you. This will obstruct your view of home plate and most of the infield.
If you sit on the aisle furthest from the plate in the same section, all of the foot traffic will be directly to your right and will not block your view of the action on the field. This is a best practice anywhere in my opinion.
The View from Right Field - via Flickr user Eric Kilby
When the Twins are good, they will sell out pretty frequently, which has led to the team making standing room only tickets (SRO) tickets available. These went for $22 when I went to Target Field, but that may vary by opponent. If you are stuck with SRO tickets, make the best of it.
There are several spots on the main level of the stadium where standing bars are available, and these are ideal for SRO tickets. This gives you the opportunity to lean on something while setting down your food and drink. For sold out games, these areas will fill up quickly so it is best to be early. The best spots are near the right field foul pole and just to the foul ball side of the left field foul pole.
The two areas I mention have an advantage because there is really no overhang in your sight. There are other standing room sections with the standing bar area, but you can't really track fly balls or see many scoreboards because of the second level overhead. Other sections with a standing bar nearby are 131, 121, dead center field, and 106.
Finally there has been some discussion of restricted view seats at Target Field. The team is pretty open about it, and after reading some information sent to me by my favorite blogger at the Star Tribune, Howard Sinker, I think it is much ado about nothing. Here are the Twins descriptions of these so called restricted view seats.
Granted I haven’t sat in these seats, but after reading the descriptions I never really thought of these as “restricted views”. My recommendation would be to visit Fenway Park and then go back and enjoy the immaculate views from Target Field. You know what I mean?
Let me make one final point. With the way Target Field is positioned, for an evening game, the sun is going to set behind home plate. The reason you should care is because if you are sitting in certain spots of the outfield, you are likely to have the sun setting in your face in the middle of summer. This can get really annoying, and may be new to you Twins fans just getting a taste of open air baseball.
On second thought, maybe temps are in the 40's in Minnesota in July, and this could be a good thing.
Therefore, any seats in the infield for a night game you will have the advantage of not battling the sun through the first few innings. Keep that in mind.
Where to Stay While Visiting Target Field
My favorite way to travel to a baseball game is to stay as close to the stadium as possible and walk, or take Uber so I don't have to fool with parking in a strange place.
AirBnB is the best way to find a really cool house or apartment to rent so you can hang out with your friends/family before the game and get a more authentic local experience.
Not only is it cooler than a hotel, but you can save $35 on your first stay by using my referral link.
There are 2 types of rentals - those where you rent a private room and stay with a host and those where you rent out the whole place. I've done both, and you'll have some peace of mind about the people you rent from because of the review system they have for the hosts - so you have a high degree of confidence that you won't end up on the bad side of a future Dateline NBC episode.
Best of all, you usually can find places to stay that are within walking distance to Target Field.
Obviously places come and go on the site, but I've used AirBnB a number of times for sports road trips and it's become my default option when I'm traveling. Click the button below to save $35 on your first trip and see what kind of cool places are currently available near the ballpark:
Free Stuff at Target Field
1. Target Plaza and Statues - Target Plaza hosts a variety of statues to Twins greats. Pose for selfies with Kirby Puckett, Rod Carew, Tony Oliva, and Harmon Killebrew. There is also a giant golden glove in honor of, well, all the Golden Gloves won by Twins players like Jim Kaant, Kirby Puckett, and Torii Hunter.
Kirby Puckett Cheers Us Onward - via Flickr user Jeramey Jannene
2. Tradition Wall - other ballparks have memorials to star players, but the Twins Tradition Wall between the Carew and Puckett gates takes a different approach. All players ever to wear a Twins uniform in a major league game are listed on hanging pennants. There are other inscriptions, including quotes from organization greats.