The Minnesota Vikings have arranged for a new venue for tailgaters -- not by the Metrodome, but next to Target Center, at the nearby Rapid Park lot.Washington Avenue's Mill District, once a sea of parking lots, is now home to several new housing developments and crews working on the new riverfront Guthrie Theater. The construction has squeezed out space for tailgaters who used to camp out before games in the lots and then walk over to the Dome.
The City Council approved making the Rapid Park lot an official tailgating area Aug. 20. The 1,400-space lot is at North 5th Street & 3rd Avenue in the North Loop neighborhood.
About 300 people reserved spaces for pre-game parties at the lot for the Vikings first two preseason games, said Meagan Quinn, a Rapid Park office manager.
Tailgaters are charged $15 for space. Since the site is on the opposite end of Downtown from the Dome, the Vikings have arranged for free Metro Transit bus rides between the lot and the Metrodome before and after the game.
The lot is also about two blocks from the Warehouse District LRT station.
The new tailgating headquarters features appearances by bands and Vikings cheerleaders. Portable restrooms, garbage and charcoal receptacles are on-site.
North Loop steak house J.D. Hoyt's, 301 Washington Ave. N., also plans to provide tailgaters and other fans free shuttle bus service to the Metrodome, said Ralph Zaudtke, owner and general manager of the restaurant.