HOTEL OR HOME?
Coming for Super Bowl LII? Consider your lodging options
Photo by Kraemer Dusk
by Laurie Junker
If you’re planning a visit to the Twin Cities for Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium on Feb. 4, 2018 you’re not alone. Estimates for the number of visitors coming to Minnesota for the game are around a million, including fans and droves of people who work for the NFL, media and corporate sponsors. They'll all need someplace to stay, and particularly for longer stays, the comfort of staying in someone's home is a desirable alternative to a cookie-cutter hotel room. Plus, the entire Twin Cities only has about 40,000 hotel rooms, so you do the math.
Hotels are great for shorter stays, and they are easy and secure, but oftentimes they are located in areas that feel a little bland. Sometimes the only place to eat are national chains, and there can be a lack of amenities that some travelers would find helpful, like laundry rooms and kitchens. Don't get me wrong—we love our hotels in the Twin Cities. They put you right in the middle of the downtown action, have excellent service and can utterly spoil you in accommodations. But we also have a growing number of Minnesotans willing to host through VRBO and Airbnb that would love to give you an even more authentic slice of the state.
Why Rent a Private Home
If you want a little more space to spread out, especially if you’re traveling with family or a group of friends, a private home can give everyone a more comfortable place to be together for meals, a glass of wine, an in home movie, or even to be apart when quiet time is preferred. Home rentals are also great for groups with different sleeping patterns.
While home rentals can be particularly economical if you are in a group, even if you’re alone or visiting as a couple, you may also like the additional access to amenities like a kitchen, BBQ grill, laundry facilities and other comforts, or you might like to explore a neighborhood with unique restaurants and features away from highways or dense downtown areas. Some rentals may also have additional perks like hot tubs, pool tables or game systems, and may even allow pets.
When you rent a private home you need to do a little more for yourself like hanging up your towels or cleaning up the kitchen because most places don’t come with housekeeping service. Getting to the local grocery and maybe liquor store (in Minnesota, liquor is not sold in grocery stores) will probably be on your agenda too, although some owners will offer to stock basic supplies.
Book with reputable sites. There are many out there, but you may feel safer sticking with the more mainstream options (VRBO, Home Away, Airbnb) that are established in the market; they always have plenty of properties with positive reviews and offer secure payment and protection.
Properties close to the stadium in downtown Minneapolis will be in high-demand and fetch top dollar for obvious reasons, so don’t overlook other locations that may be in fun neighborhoods with local restaurants, shopping and nightlife or those with access to the Twin Cities' famous outdoor parks and trails. There are also Super Bowl events being held in other parts of the city, and you will get more for your money a little farther out. Keep in mind the METRO Transit light rail has a stop right in front of U.S. Bank Stadium, and many communities have park-and-ride lots that are convenient and eliminate the hassle of trying to park downtown. And of course, there are always taxis and ride services such as Uber and Lyft.
Take advantage of your homeowner’s experience—most will provide you with an “insider’s guide” to the area with their favorite places to eat, shop, play, etc. but if you have special interests or something you’d like to try like cross-country skiing or ice fishing, or need a doggy day care for parts of your visit, don’t hesitate to ask. They’ll likely be happy to connect you with resources.
When to Book
The sooner the better. There are already hundreds of properties posted, and many are already receiving booking requests for the week leading up to and after the Super Bowl. Look carefully at the pictures and have a good idea where the home is located. Pay attention to any requirements such as security deposits, cancellation policies or house rules. Owners are usually more than happy to answer any questions before you commit—you’ll find that “Minnesota Nice” is a real thing.