Nearly two million people are expected to descend on the Minnesota State Fair’s 320-acre grounds in the next 12 days for concerts, contests, cows and corn dogs. Here’s Patch’s rundown on what you need to know to get to the Great Minnesota Get-Together and find your way around:
Admission gates open daily at 6 a.m. Ticket sales end at 10 p.m. (9 p.m. on Labor Day). Grounds close at midnight (10 p.m. on Labor Day). Most buildings are open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Adults (13-64) pay $12, seniors and children 5 and over pay $10, and children under 5 are admitted for free. Promotional days are offered throughout the fair; Pre-fair discount admission is available for purchase through Aug. 24 at the State Fair Box Office and .
The Minnesota State Fair is located at 1265 North Snelling Ave. N. in St. Paul. Maps and directions are available on the fair’s website. Note that light-rail construction on University Avenue will slow traffic flow; the fair’s website has tips on how to avoid the congestion.
Here’s a breakdown of various transportation options:
State fair parking lots cost $12 and can be accessed off Larpenteur, Snelling, or Cleveland avenues. Discount tickets can be purchased in advance through Aug. 24 at Cub Foods or the State Fair Box Office. (Motorcycle parking is offered for $6 on Como Avenue.)
Free park and ride
Free parking is available at 34 locations around the fairgrounds. Complimentary buses leave every 20 minutes from 8 a.m. to midnight to pick up fair-goers. In 2010, the park and ride program gave 920,000 rides.
Free bike racks are offered at the Como-Snelling and Hoyt-Snelling gates, and at Commonwealth-West Dan Patch from 6 a.m. to midnight daily.
Regular bus routes
Three buses service the fair and accept cash or transit passes. Route 960 goes from Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis to the fairgrounds in about 15 minutes. Route 84 travels along Snelling Avenue. Route 3 connects downtown Minneapolis to downtown St. Paul along Como Avenue.
Express bus service
State Fair Express buses operate from 17 Twin Cities locations on 15- and 30-minute loops. Check the fair’s express bus website for more information.
NAVIGATING THE FAIR
The state fair’s website has downloadable maps of the grounds and daily activity schedules. You can also keep checking Patch for a daily rundown of the top five things to see and do at the fair.
The state fair is also smart phone accessible, with a mobile website and stand-alone apps for iPhones and Android phones that include a manipulable map and the ability to search listings of events, merchandise and food.
Want more fair coverage? Check in with a local baker looking to get a , and a local couple . Want to share your fair story, or your fair photos once you go? Email email@example.com.