It’s been a crazy couple of weeks of football in Minnesota. When nearly all hope had left the stadium in the Vikings’ playoff game against the Saints a couple weekends back, the most memorable play in Minnesota’s football history took place. Stefon Diggs’ TD, now called the “Minneapolis Miracle,” lifted Vikings’ fans hopes that their team would not only be hosting a Super Bowl, but also be playing in one. The bubble bursted when the Vikes were a no-show in the Championship game against the Eagles.
Minnesota fans were disappointed with the game’s outcome. To add insult to injury, many Eagles’ fans demonstrated behavior that fell far short of good sportsmanship. You have to admire the welcoming attitude of Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey’s message to Patriots and Eagle fans. Please listen to the very end.
Jacob Frey, the mayor of Minneapolis, sends a warm welcome to the NFL and their fans … well, almost everyone (sorry, Eagles fans) pic.twitter.com/u6E7TIswgw
— The MMQB (@theMMQB) January 30, 2018
When Minnesota was awarded the venue for Super Bowl VII, the Minnesota host committee promised a “Bold North” theme, where they’d throw caution to the wind-chill. With temperatures projected to be in the -8 to 8 degrees range for Super Bowl weekend, Mother Nature has done its share to deliver on the promise.
Super Bowl VII Festivities in the Twin Cities
Organizers have orchestrated an array of offerings for Super Bowl visitors and residents to take part in the festivities. With 3 areas – Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis, Rice Park in St. Paul, and the Mall of America in Bloomington – serving as the primary venues, there’s a lot of attractions to take in.
Minneapolis and Super Bowl Live
For 10 days, from January 26 – February 4, downtown Minneapolis is offering a 10 day fan festival called Super Bowl Live. It features a series of outdoor concerts, The NFL Experience, lots of photo opportunities – have a photo taken in a life-size snow globe or near ice sculptures, food and fun.
Don’t Miss: ‘Sota Pop! A free, interactive pop-up experience that features work from local artists. The only-in-Minnesota theme showcases vignettes with artwork as background for visitors to take photos for Instagram and Facebook. Chicago has the Bean; Minneapolis for Super Bowl has Sota Pop! It’s put on by Explore Minnesota.
St. Paul Winter Carnival and Ice Palace
With parades, ice skating downtown, a fancy hotdish competition (hotdish is what Minnesotans call casseroles), there’s a lot to do. The city of St. Paul has been conducting the Winter Carnival since 1886, so they know a thing or two about winter fun.
The showcase this year is an Ice Palace. A 4,000 block, 70-foot tower in the heart of downtown St. Paul recognizes this “Super” year. One of the blocks features a frozen walleye, the state fish of Minnesota. While not as tall as the 1992 Super Bowl Ice Palace (166 feet tall), it’s still majestic in its own right.
Don’t Miss: The Ice Palace at night!
Bloomington and the Mall of America
One of the top tourist destinations in the country, the Mall of America is built to handle events like the ones that the Super Bowl brings.
The Patriots (and Tom Brady) are staying at the AC Marriott at one end, and the Eagles are at the Radisson Blu on the other. The MOA is used to handling much bigger crowds — think any back-to-school or holiday shopping weekend. There are lots of restaurants, good parking, and the comfort of indoor heat.
When we visited Tuesday, Minneapolis Miracle Man Stefon Diggs was being interviewed by multiple media outlets.
Don’t Miss: Radio Row. There’s plenty of room in the lobby area of third floor for radio row and other media. Mike Florio’s Pro Football Talk was featured on one stage, and CBS’s Jim Rome was at another. Florio was interviewing Kirk Cousins on Tuesday when we were there.
With surrounding areas’ attractions and events designed to leverage the influx of 125,000 people into the Twin Cities, there’s plenty to do. And, it’s not just in Minneapolis, St. Paul and Bloomington. Celebrity spottings have been plentiful in the area, and are expected to rise as game time approaches. Half-time performer Justin Timberlake was seen at two local eating establishments according to local newspapers.
With the cold temperatures, visitors might be asking to throw another log on the fire, and they’ll soon realize that Minnesota knows how to throw a party.
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