Minneapolis is all aflutter these days as excitement over the upcoming 2018 Super Bowl shapes the city in bold and creative ways. Kickoff will take place in the new US Bank Stadium, set to be completed next summer. The stadium will seat around 65,000, with an additional 8,000 seats added for the occasion. As exciting as this to an already spirited sports town, the stadium is only part of the equation. The city plans to make good use of the Twin Cities’ chilly February temps, transforming Nicolet Mall into Super Bowl Boulevard, with week-long ice skating, snowmobile rides and horse-drawn sleds drawing locals and visiting groups outdoors. Talks of warming houses and fire pits are in the works, but it’s the return of possible return of an ice palace back to
St. Paul—creating an even bigger winter carnival vibe—throughout the area.
Focusing on the experiential side of Minneapolis, or experiencing the destination “beyond its walls” plays into a much bigger trend that Bill Deef, VP of International Relations for Meet Minneapolis Convention & Visitors Association, says group planners and attendees are more interested in.
“They appreciate getting a sense of the place and its people. This is why we’ve worked to develop a collection of 30 signature experiences throughout Minneapolis Saint Paul that planners can infuse into their meetings to make the experience more engaging, immersive and memorable. We also encourage hotel sales staff to include these experiences in their bids and offerings to promote small meetings and group tours.”
A $400 million mixed-use development in Downtown East—including a sprawling green public space called The Commons and a new Radisson Red hotel—will occupy a 12-acre area near the new stadium. Interconnected sky bridges and sky ways will connect the new development, stadium and core skyway system of downtown Minneapolis. Three historic renovations are also currently in the works at the Hewing Hotel, Embassy Suites Hotel and Sherman Associates Project at Thresher Square, while Marriott is stirring things up with new JW and AC properties opening soon
Year-round, Go Minneapolis Signature Experiences offer new and unique tours, performances, demonstrations and experiences—from outdoor adventures to arts and culture. Deef says Taste of the Market at the Midtown Global Market, Glass Discovery at the FOCI Center for Glass Arts, or Working the Channel kayak tours at Above the Falls Sports offer groups a “deep dive” into Minneapolis.
“All of these are designed to engage attendees on a deeper level, beyond show and tell tours, and get them to truly experience our destination.” For groups with a couple of hour’s downtime in between meetings, Deef recommends exploring the Mississippi Riverfront District of Minneapolis to see the Falls of St. Anthony, Mill City Museum and historic Main Street.