A TICKET TO ADVENTURE ALONG THE LIGHT RAILS
The MetroTransit Blue and Green Light Rails spit up to take you to the best of Minneapolis and St. Paul
Image by Drew Geraets/flickr
By Kerry Roberson
Whether you’re here to cheer your heart out at the Twin’s games, visit a few college or shop ‘til you drop at Mall of America, the MetroTransit Blue and Green Line lights rails are one of the best ways to get around the Twin Cities. Both the Blue and Green light rail stations begin at Target Field and go to the same stops until they get to the U.S. Bank Stadium. At the U.S. Bank Stadium, the light rails split, wishing each other a farewell as they go their separate ways.
The Blue Line travels through Minneapolis and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, ending at Mall of America in Bloomington, while the Green Line travels through St. Paul and ends at the St. Paul Union Depot Station.
Tickets for both of these light rails are inexpensive, and their convenient stops take you to the best hangout spots in town. Avoiding taxi prices, traffic and parking fees are just a few reasons why everyone loves the Twin Cities light rails.
There is no better way to get to Target Field to cheer for the Twins baseball team than on the light rail. Both the Blue and Green Line light rails stop right at Target Field, making it one of the easiest places to get to in the Twin Cities. Nearby is the Target Center, which is has been recently remodeled to become an even better venue for the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Minnesota Lynx and touring entertainers.
This light rail stop is surrounded by restaurants, theaters and bars making this the stop for visitors looking for a fun night out. The gourmet Brazilian Steakhouse restaurant Fogo de Chao and Seven Steakhouse Sushi and Rooftop are both right along the light rail, making them some of the most upscale options while touring this entertainment district. After dinner, explore one of Minneapolis’ many theaters. Skyway Theater, Brave New Workshop and the Orpheum Theater, which is part of the Hennepin Theatre Trust District. Between all of these venues, your music, comedy and theatre needs are covered. After all the excitement of the night, relax with a cocktail at one of the surrounding dive bars or kick the night up a notch with one of the dance clubs like Jetset Bar, Aqua Nightclub and Lounge and Deja Vu.
The Blue and Green Line light rails drop off thousands of passengers on the Nicollet Mall every day. Along the 12 blocks, only pedestrians and public transit can cross the tree-lined lane. Both big brands and Minneapolis-unique names occupy Nicollet’s shopping, and large corporate businesses like Target, fine dining restaurants, music venues like Orchestra Hall, and an amazing nightlife are found here as well.
U.S. Bank Stadium
This is the final stop before the Blue and Green Line light rails go their separate ways, and it’s right across the street from the largest completed construction project in Minnesota, the U.S. Bank Stadium. Besides hosting some of the world’s largest entertainers and sports events like the X Games, this 65,000-seat stadium is home to the Minnesota Vikings football team.
After the U.S. Bank Stadium, the Blue and Green Line go their separate ways. The Blue Line continues on through Minneapolis, stopping at all the hottest spots, giving visitors the chance to experience Minneapolis before ending at Mall of America.
METRO Blue Line
On Riverside Avenue you can find a host of ethnic food at places like the Ethiopian eatery the Red Sea or the Lucky Dragon, a Chinese restaurant. The presence of Augsburg University and surrounding small time businesses, independent coffee shops, bars and theaters keep the area teeming with activity.
For those who want to step back from the busy city life and get back to nature, Minnehaha Falls Regional Park is the place to go. After visiting the stunning 53-foot waterfall, you can grab a po’boy at the seasonally open Sea Salt Eatery, rent a bike from Wheel Fun Rentals or start up a game of ultimate frisbee on the surrounding fields.
The Lake Street/Midtown area is full of color and bursting with flavor. Independent restaurants, clothing stores and candy shops line the streets, each with their own flare of creativity. At the heart of it all, is the Midtown Exchange, a multi-level building that houses the Midtown Global Market where you can find foods, clothing, jewelry and more from around the world.
Airport Terminals 1 & 2
The Minneapolis-St.Paul International Airport brings global travelers to Minneapolis each day. Both Terminal 1 (Lindbergh) and Terminal 2 (Humphrey) have a light rail stop in their lower levels, making getting out of the airport and to your destination in Minneapolis and St. Paul a breeze.
Mall of America
The last stop on the Blue Line takes you to the largest entertainment and retail center in North America where you can spend the whole day visiting more than 500 high-end chain stores, the Nickelodeon Universe amusement park and dozens of restaurants, gaming experiences and interactive attractions. The Mall of America also hosts performances, meet and greets, book signings, competitions, family-friendly events and more on a regular basis, so check the calendar to plan a day of fun.
The Green Line takes visitors through the University of Minnesota, to the state capitol building, all the way to the Union Depot, where you can stroll through the artist venues of Lowertown.
METRO Green Line
West Bank, East Bank and Stadium Village
These trio of stops are home to the University of Minnesota, a college with a wide range of academic degree options and the Minnesota Gophers athletics teams. With the dining, shopping and nightlife areas of Dinkytown, Stadium Village and Seven Corners you’ll find plenty of things to do, and that’s not including what’s on the campus itself, like sports games, exhibits at the Weisman Art Museum, ballets at Northrop Auditorium, plays at Rarig Theatre, and more.
Here lies the Midway Shopping Center where you can find a plethora of restaurants, coffee shops and retailers to visit. From Snelling Ave, you can take a short bus ride down Snelling to visit Hamline University, another one of the state’s top liberal arts colleges, or you can go to the State Fair grounds where you’ll find the Great Minnesota State Get-Together during the last two weeks of summer and a variety of events such as the hip hop festival Soundset, Oktoberfest, the Minnesota Horse Convention and more throughout the year.
Surrounding this station you’ll find the Frogtown and Rondo neighborhoods where African, Asian, European and South American immigrants have called home since the 1860s. This area still continues to be one of the most diverse areas in all Minnesota where you’ll find a host of different ethnic restaurants, stores, small businesses and festivals. You can access these neighborhoods by stopping on the Lexington, Victoria or Dale Street stations.
History, science and the magic of performing art all come together in this neighborhood. The Minnesota Children’s Museum, Xcel Energy Center and Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, where the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Minnesota Opera also perform, keep the city of St.Paul chock-full of never-ending fun.
Hop off the light rail here and you’ll find much more than just the old train station of Union Depot. You’ll also find Lowertown, also known as the Artist District because of the many artists that have left their marks with galleries, art shows, dining and more. In Lowertown you can also find the Saint Paul Saints’ baseball stadium, CHS Field, as well as Mears Park, Lowertown Landing, Saint Paul Farmers Market and stores teeming with locally made originals.