In some ways, the busy weekend isn’t all that different from the Super Bowls and the NCAA men’s basketball Final Four three times since 1992.
Still, Mayor Jacob Frey and other leaders told reporters at a press conference Wednesday they saw this weekend as a crucial inflection point in a post-pandemic, post-civil-unrest turnaround for downtown Minneapolis.
“I do see this as an opportunity to change the narrative,” said Frey, “but more importantly I see this as an opportunity to show and tell the truth: Crime is down dramatically right now.”
“We are really hoping to get people back into this city,” said Cedric Alexander, who leads the city’s Office of Community Safety. “We have taken all the precautions. Think about what you’ve done for the Super Bowl, think about that, plus.”
Here’s what you need to know:
- Taylor Swift concerts: U.S. Bank Stadium, Friday and Saturday evenings. Doors will open at 4:30 p.m. The concerts themselves begin at 6:30 p.m. each night.
- Twin Cities Pride Festival: Events run all weekend, centered around Loring Park and Parade Park. There will also be a block party all weekend that closes a street adjacent to The Saloon. For most of the day Sunday, Hennepin Avenue will host a march and 5K race.
Those events are just those likely to see the highest attendance. Just two blocks from the Swifties, a show will go on at the Guthrie Theater, and the Minnesota Orchestra is also performing all weekend.
Take transit if you can
“If you’re able to utilize public transportation, please do so,” Alexander urged.
Metro Transit has done something of an about-face this week and promised additional bus service to and from downtown this weekend, especially after the Swift concerts.
Ninety buses are scheduled to leave downtown between midnight and 1 a.m. on concert nights, said Metropolitan Council Chairman Charlie Zelle. He said Blue and Green Line light rail trains should depart every 15 minutes.
For weeks, Metro Transit had cited concerns about the availability of drivers and train operators to work overtime shifts, but Zelle explained Wednesday that agency officials “now have greater confidence that we have an interest in our operators providing that service.”
- The Minnesota Valley Transit Authority is running buses to the Swift concert from Shakopee, Burnsville, Apple Valley and Eagan for $5 round trip.
- Southwest Transit will run similar round-trip buses to the concert from Chanhassen and Eden Prairie. Adults ride for $5 round trip, but children and disabled veterans ride free.
- The Mall of America is running a shuttle to the Swift Concerts from $13 per person, round-trip.
- Metro Transit has routes also available from the north, west and east metro.
In Downtown Minneapolis, the city manages 18,000 off-street parking spaces and 5,000 on-street parking spaces, said Heather Johnston, the city’s interim operations officer. There are also 35,000 private parking spaces downtown.
With the Minnesota Twins playing on the road this weekend, the A-B-C ramps near Target Field and Target Center should offer “plenty” of parking — and adjacent to light rail to U.S. Bank Stadium.
Metro Transit said commuters can use park-and-ride lots in Bloomington and at Fort Snelling before catching the Blue Line to downtown.
Public safety presence?
Alexander said some 50 public safety agencies met to coordinate their response on Wednesday morning, though he pledged uniformed officers would maintain a muted presence.
“You won’t see an overwhelming amount” of officers, Alexander said. “But you’ll feel a sense of safety. They will be there. We have kind of struck that balance.”
Also, this happened.
In honor of this weekend’s headliner, Frey said Minneapolis will be ceremonially rechristened “Swiftie-apolis” on Friday.
But who wore it better? Pittsburgh’s mayor re-dubbed the city “Swiftsburgh” during the pop star’s visit to western Pennsylvania last week.