Joe Mauer jersey hung beside the bed. Check.
Ball glove and cap set neatly nearby. Check.
Tickets on the night stand. Check.
Now it’s time to try to get a little sleep before the big game, the first one you’ll see at the Twins’ brand new, heavily hyped stadium, Target Field.
There’s so much buzz surrounding the stadium that it’s easy to forget to plan anything before or after the game, but there’s no shortage of things to do. To help fans fully enjoy their inaugural Twins outing this season, we’ve put together a list of game-day basics and ways to extend the experience beyond playtime on the field.
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Before the first pitch
Look for parking. Ramp parking in the area can cost anywhere from $4–$16. The closest ramps are the ABC and Hawthorn facilities (abc-ramps.com) adjacent to the field. Meter parking is available from 25 cents to $2 an hour. Some meters are free on weeknights and weekends, so be choosey. For fans willing to walk a mile or more, some free street parking can be found in northeast neighborhoods. Parking further away can help drivers avoid congestion after the game.
Take a bus or light rail to Target Field. Both are 50 cents each way from Downtown. Motorists can park in the Metrodome lot or somewhere near the old stadium and hop on a train or bus from there.
Bike to the ballpark. It’s free and racks are available on the promenade side of the field and elsewhere nearby.
Eat breakfast at Hell’s Kitchen, 80 S. 9th St. The restaurant is about a 10-minute walk from Target Field.
Pack a grill and cooler and tailgate at a sanctioned lot. The city only allows tailgating, specifically the consumption of alcohol and use of charcoal or propane grills, in an area from the river south to 6th street, between 4th and 11th avenues (see Minneapolis ordinance 319.310 for specifics). Lot owners have the final say over whether to allow tailgating on their property, so look for signs or ask lot employees before firing up the grill.
Later in the season, peruse the food carts near the ballpark. The city will start reviewing vendor applications May 1 and expects to have about 10 this year.
Grab a pint on the expansive outdoor patio at Kieran’s Irish Pub, 600 Hennepin Ave. S.
Eat lunch at Hrbek’s, the restaurant named after Twins Hall-of-Fame first baseman, Kent Hrbek. It’s in section 114 of Target Field.
Browse the Twins Majestic Clubhouse store, on Target Plaza near gate 29.
During the game
Sit on the left-field side, or at least go check it out. You get a view of the HD screen and the Downtown skyline. Best seats in the house.
Take in the view from the overlook, a seating area that hangs 8 feet over right field.
Enjoy a Schweigert hot dog. The brand was originally offered at Met Stadium and later replaced by Hormel, but it’s back at Target Field.
Find concessions from local restaurants including Vincent A Restaurant, Murray’s and J.D. Hoyt’s Supper Club. Other local vendors include the Loon Café, Caribou Coffee and Kramarczuk Sausages. Angie’s Kettle Corn will also be available.
Season ticket holders and club members: View the two-story, laser-burned wooden murals of legendary Twins players in the Legend’s Club, check out the World Series trophies in the Champion’s Club and relax by the fire pit on the Budweiser Roof Deck.
Check out the original ballpark model in the Target Field Gallery on the club level, along with images documenting the stadium’s design and construction.
Look at the Twins art, photography and memorabilia hanging throughout the ballpark.
Listen to organist Sue Nelson play in the Twins Pub on the terrace level.
Bring a mitt and watch for baseballs. The Twins say this ballpark offers plenty of opportunity for fans to catch fouls because of the field’s small foul territory.
Keep an eye on the Minnie and Paul celebration sign in centerfield. They’ll shake hands whenever the Twins hit a home run.
Head over to Town Ball Tavern and slam a Killebrew root beer float. The tavern is in section 202.
After the last out
Exit along Target Plaza to see the Wave, a 285-foot-long shimmering wind sculpture. At night, the massive art piece is brilliantly illuminated.
Get your photo taken in the golden glove, a huge bronze glove on Target Plaza placed as a tribute to every Twins Gold Glove winner. Be prepared to wait in line.
Spend a moment with the bronze statue of Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew or Kirby Puckett, located at different spots on Target Plaza.
Stick around Downtown. It’s a crowded urban area, so you won’t get out quickly anyway. Why not enjoy it by heading to an outdoor patio somewhere for one last basket of fries or a drink?
Be patient while waiting for light rail. The lines have reportedly been horrendous immediately following games. Again, stopping by a local restaurant or tavern and waiting it out is probably your best option.
Ooh and ahh while watching post-game fireworks displays on select dates.
Wait around for an autograph from your favorite player. Guest services staff can help guide you to the best place to try for a signature. The player and employee parking lot is secure and off limits to the general public, but fans will likely gather nearby.