Itinerant Fan

Target Center

The live sports experience in the Twin Cities has undergone something of a renaissance in recent years, what with the Twins (Target Field), Vikings (U.S. Bank Stadium) and University of Minnesota football (TCF Bank Stadium) all getting new venues over the past decade. After taking the Wild’s Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul into account, that means the oldest current venue among the major Minnesota pro teams is the Target Center, home of the NBA’s Timberwolves and WNBA’s Lynx.

Target Center shows its age in some ways — built before the current trend of sleek glass facades, it looks more like a foreboding giant bunker in the middle of downtown Minneapolis. But steps have been taken to change that as well as keep the building up with the times, with new features such as a large overhead videoboard being added to beef up the fan experience.

As the Timberwolves stock their roster with youth in an attempt to lift themselves back into NBA contention, the Target Center is an inviting place to visit for fans looking to catch some hoops in the Twin Cities.

  •   The Approach

    Target Center, as well as Target Field (the two venues are separated by Interstate 394, which snakes by as it heads west out of the city center after starting a few blocks away), are located in the busy Downtown West area of Minneapolis, so getting there isn’t difficult — though depending on where you’re coming from, you might have to navigate through downtown streets to get there. For detailed driving directions, click here.

    The Target Center works with a service called Parking Panda to allow fans to reserve parking spots in the surrounding lots and garages ahead of time. Hop on their website to compare the prices and location of their various offerings. Select an option that works for you, pay ahead of time, and they’ll email you the parking pass. You can drive to the game knowing exactly where you’re going to park, how much it cost, and that a space will be awaiting your arrival. View all of their options in the window below:

     

    The Twin Cities’ Metro Transit light rail currently operates two lines which converge just each of downtown, and both service Target Center. Get off at the Warehouse District/Hennepin Avenue station and walk a block south on First Avenue.

    Chances are, if you’re visiting Minneapolis during NBA season, it’ll be cold and walking outside for more than a few blocks is less than desirable. If that’s the case, take advantage of the downtown Skyway system of indoor walkways. A pedestrian bridge leads directly into Target Center from across First Avenue.

  •   The Build-Up

    Booking.com

    In part because of the presence of Target Center and Target Field, there are numerous bars and restaurants in the surrounding blocks, nearly all catering to the sports fan — in fact, it doesn’t have to be a game night at one of the two venues for many of these establishments to be busy.

    If proximity matters, there are a few bars directly across the street and within a block, such as Kieran’s Irish Pub, O’Donovan’s Irish Pub, Gluek’s and City Works (the latter being inside the Mayo Clinic Square across First Avenue, a complex that also houses the Timberwolves’ and Lynx’s practice facilities).

    Otherwise, you’ll also find a heavy concentration of establishments along Sixth Avenue between the arena and Nicollet Mall, and on Hennepin Avenue between Sixth and Tenth. But there are several other downtown hotspots if you’re willing to look around.

  •   The Ambiance

    With a capacity of nearly 20,000 for basketball, Target Center can feel big, especially if you’re sitting near the top of the seating bowl. If you’re high up and having trouble seeing, though, the arena has you covered now that it has installed a giant videoboard over the court, part of the ongoing renovations there.

    The aforementioned bunker-like look of the exterior is set to change as well, as plans call for a revamp that will make Target Center look more like a Minnesota woods lodge, complete with a glass atrium at the corner of First Avenue and Sixth Street that will serve as the arena’s new main entrance. The concourses and seating bowl will undergo a makeover as well.

    Where the arena really shines currently is in its food and drink selection, which is wide and varied and quite representative of its home state. The menu, which itself has gotten a makeover in recent years, includes items such as a mac and cheese-topped burger, paninis and potstickers.

    Be sure to check out the “Made In Minny” stands, which offer oddities like “tot dish tacos” (based off Minnesotans’ idea of a casserole, called “hotdish”) and lefse cod wraps (lefse being a Scandinavian flatbread). Minnesota craft beers from breweries such as Grain Belt, Lift Bridge and Indeed Brewing Co.

The Particulars

Home Teams
Minnesota Timberwolves

Address
600 First Ave. North
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Year Opened
1990

Capacity
19,356

Upcoming Events
All times local
Utah Jazz at Minnesota Timberwolves
Friday, October 20, 2017
7:00 pm
Get tickets at SeatGeek »

WWE Tables, Ladders and Chairs
Sunday, October 22, 2017
6:30 pm
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Indiana Pacers at Minnesota Timberwolves
Tuesday, October 24, 2017
7:00 pm
Get tickets at SeatGeek »

Oklahoma City Thunder at Minnesota Timberwolves
Friday, October 27, 2017
7:00 pm
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Alan Jackson
Saturday, October 28, 2017
7:30 pm
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