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Take me out to a ballgame and brewpub: Your guide to game-day transit and venturing afield

Fans at the Target Field light rail station.

Baseball season is once again upon us and things are looking up for MSP’s local teams. At Target Field in Minneapolis’ North Loop, the Minnesota Twins are off to a great start, winning game after game and (fingers crossed) looking like they’ll contend for the playoffs for the first time in several years. Meanwhile, the St. Paul Saints are settling into a beautiful new ballpark in the heart of St. Paul’s Lowertown. Just months after opening, CHS Field is already being lauded nationally as one of the country’s finest minor league ballparks.

Bottom line: You can find plenty of reasons to take in a game or two this season. But why not make a day of it? The teams’ respective homes occupy two of MSP’s most vibrant neighborhoods, so there’s no shortage of sights to see (and taste) within walking distance. The fields are also bookended by Green Line light-rail stops, which means easy access to a reliable transit network that invites opportunities to venture farther afield — either before or after the game — without have to getting into and park the car.

Here are some pre- and post-game ideas about what to do and see along the Green Line.

CHS Field, St. Paul Saints

Where: 360 N. Broadway St., St. Paul
Metro Transit: Union Depot Station. Green Line; bus routes include 21, 53, 54, 63, 70, 94, 262, 417, 480, 484, 489. You can download a free Metro Transit pass for game-day rides at the St. Paul Saints’ website.

What to do near CHS Field

St. Paul Farmers Market (Lowertown). One of MSP’s most popular, transit-friendly farmers markets. Open Saturdays and Sundays until 1 p.m., the St. Paul Farmers Market is a great pre-game stop for a quick bite.

Mears Park. Lowertown’s best-known, best-kept outdoor space is perfect for escaping the crowds massed outside the ballpark before and after the game.

Bedlam Theatre. Bedlam Lowertown, as it’s known, is a one-of-a-kind venue: part craft beer bar, part nightclub, part performance space. Don’t miss daily happy hours from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. — perfect for some pre-game fuel.

Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar. Black Dog is another unique St. Paul institution: a coffee shop that doubles as a high-end wine bar without losing its accessible, artsy vibe. Highlights include a global selection of fine wines, taps filled with local craft beers, a daily happy hour (4 p.m. – 7 p.m.) and live music multiple days per week.

Argyle Zebra Gallery. Pair America’s pastime with a sampling of St. Paul’s contemporary art scene at Argyle Zebra Gallery, a thriving artists’ cooperative. Members’ work is always on display; a rotating slate of guest artists flesh out the collection. Argyle Zebra is open 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday and 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.

Public Kitchen + Bar. Fancy a fancy end to your Saints experience? Head over toPublic Kitchen + Bar, a refined space in the historic Noyes & Cutler Building within eyeshot of Mears Park. The menu is a laundry list of New American classics, but the real highlight is a stunning lineup of craft cocktails. The deals get better at happy hour: 3 p.m. – 6 p.m., Monday-Friday, and daily 9 p.m. – 2 a.m.

Other stops

Tin Whiskers Brewing Company. Green Line: 10th St. StationTin Whiskers is downtown St. Paul’s hottest brewery. The airy, modern, industrial taproom pours everything from hop-drenched IPAs and APAs to light-as-air wits. Pro tip: Try much-cheaper “beta mode” beers, if available.

Black Sheep Coal-Fired Pizza. Green Line: 10th St. Station. Just around the corner from Tin Whiskers, Black Sheep specializes in New York-style pizzas cooked to perfection in a special coal-fired oven. Feel free to order a pie with your pint at Tin Whiskers, though Black Sheep’s extensive local craft beer (and U.S. wine) selection makes the two-minute walk well worth it.

Great Waters Brewing Company. Green Line: Central Station. One of St. Paul’s original craft breweries is about more than just craft beer. Great Waters has a full wine and scotch-heavy liquor list here, plus well-above-average pub fare. If beer is your thing, great: On any given day, Great Waters has eight to 10 original brews on tap. Bottom line: Great Waters is great for a pre- or post-game pint and burger.

Minnesota Children’s Museum. Green Line: Central Station. With kids in tow, you’d be remiss not to stop at Minnesota Children’s Museum beforehand. (Or after, if the kids aren’t tuckered out.) MCM takes its “Smart Play” motto seriously; your kids are sure to leave smarter, and you might learn something too. Open Friday-Saturday 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.; 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. other days.
 

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Target Field, Minnesota Twins

Where: 353 N. 5th St., Minneapolis
Metro Transit Lines: Target Field Station. Green Line, Blue Line, Northstar Commuter Rail; bus routes include 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 14, 19, 22, 61, 94, 679.

What to do near Target Field

Cedar Lake Trail. After the game, work off some of Target Field’s legendary stadium food (and drink) with a bike quick ride down Cedar Lake Trail, which runs underneath the stadium and connects to Minneapolis’ extensive bike trail network. When you’re done, pop your ride onto a bike-friendly Metro Transit vehicle and head to the next adventure.

Fulton Brewery. Fulton Brewery’s bottles and cans are ubiquitous in MSP liquor stores, and its beers claim hundreds of tap lines around the region. But there’s no substitute for the taproom that started it all. Where else can you get Sweet Child of Vine straight from the source? On Saturdays, don’t miss the hourly afternoon brewery tours. Otherwise, the taproom is open until 10 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, 11 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 6 p.m. Sunday.

The Freehouse. The Freehouse has quickly become Blue Plate Restaurant Company’s flagship location. The concept: a local brewpub that serves site-brewed craft beer (try the refreshing kolsch on hot game days) alongside competitors’ brews. Simple and beautiful. Oh, and there’s also a full pub menu. If you’re hungry and thirsty before or after the game, it’s hard to beat The Freehouse.

Fine Line Music Cafe. Prefer live music to craft beer? No problem. Head to theFine Line, just a couple blocks from Target Field. With noted artists coming through every week and most shows starting at 7:30 p.m., the Fine Line is a great place to follow up an afternoon game at Target Field.

Red Cow North Loop. Red Cow’s hot new eatery occupies a prime 1st Avenue parcel, just blocks from Target Field. With afternoon (3 p.m. – 6 p.m.) and late-night (10 p.m. - close) happy hours, Red Cow North Loop is ideal for pre- and post-game festivities. If ballpark fare isn’t your thing, pair the poutine or ahi crisps with one of about a dozen rotating local taps.

Other stops

Triple Rock Social Club. Blue Line: Cedar-Riverside StationTriple Rock Social Club is a go-to for local music fans. Take in an afternoon game at Target Field, then hop the Blue Line in time for the Triple Rock’s weekday happy hour (5 p.m. – 7 p.m.) and follow up with a show (start times usually range from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.).

Surly Brewery/Brewer’s Table Restaurant. Green Line: Prospect Park Station. The paint is barely dry on Surly’s new destination brewery, but it’s already a popular pre- and post-game destination for Twins fans. Pair an ever-popular Furious or Hell with beet salad or beef tartar at the Brewer’s Table, Surly’s “finer dining” restaurant.

Urban Growler Brewery. Green Line: Raymond Avenue StationUrban Growler is two stops east of Surly on the Green Line — technically St. Paul, but just 15 to 20 minutes by train from Target Field. If it’s nice, grab a seat on the spacious outdoor patio and order the to-die-for carnitas tacos. Either way, try the City Day IPA, an MSP craft brew insta-classic.

Day Block Brewing Company. Green/Blue Line: Downtown East StationDay Blockis yet another thriving Green Line brewery. Pair the “Banh Mizza,” a savory, carrot-heavy treat, with one of the brewery’s six to eight rotating taps. If craft beer isn’t your thing, you’re in luck: There’s a full wine and liquor list. Many weekend evenings feature live local music, the perfect follow-up to an afternoon game.
 
This article is reprinted in partnership with The Line, an online chronicle of Twin Cities creativity in entrepreneurship, culture, retail, placemaking, the arts, and other elements of the new creative economy. Brian Martucci is The Line’s Innovation and Jobs News Editor. 

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