Baseball Fangirling and Mississippi River Appreciation: A Guide to an Affordable Twin Cities Trip

March 24, 2019

I went to the Twin Cities twice last year because I can't get enough humidity. Well, the second time was in early October, so I guess I can't get enough of early fall snow and not being entirely able to see the road. The first trip was just a couple of days and the second was just one day after I'd flown in there and driven over to Wisconsin. Basically, I had Minnesota from concentrate, especially since all I wanted to do the first go around was spend enough time at Target Field to earn squatters' rights. Apart from that, everything I did was free. Oh yeah. Get those thrifty hearts sighing.

 

Target Field is actually not too bad, when it comes to the average price of sport attendance. There are plenty of options under 20 dollars. I sat in the 200-level behind center for the mid-20s range. Sitting in the upper infield of the first deck for the last game was around 40. I don't think there's anything much more important to spend your money on than baseball. Pff, who needs food and rent? Target Field is also a really fun place to go to a game. The fans are friendly, even if you're flagrantly wearing merchandise for the opposing team, (Go A's!) there's lots of tasty food, and there's plenty of stuff to check out before the game. You can even mingle with celebrities and meet the organist. She's very nice.

 

 200-level seat view... aka the baseball buns balcony

 

With the Mississippi River flowing through the area, there are some lovely outdoor views, too. I did a 10k at Upper Landing Park in St. Paul, kind of upset that I had to watch where I was going, rather than drooling at the river view to my side. I would have gladly tripped and lost a few teeth. Maybe it would have given me special hockey powers, so the Minnesota Wild would consider me. The park itself is really pretty, with spots for picnicking, walking, biking, and, my favorite, bird-creeping.

 

Another beautiful outdoor spot is Minnehaha Park. The main attraction is Minnehaha Falls, but there are lots of walking paths, some historical sites, and even a restaurant there. They have an old train depot and the home of an early settler on site. It's like a museum and park in one. It's the cheapskate traveler unbeatable combo! After you've spent all your money buying ballpark food, it's nice to have that option.

 

 Minnehaha Falls from above... there still manages to be a person in the shot.

 

The cheapskate trifecta would include just walking around for hours with no particular aim, my personal strength. I may get lost and be unaware of what's nearby, but dangit, I kick everyone's butt on Fitbit step challenges. When I walked to Upper Landing Park from the nearest light rail stop to get my 10k race packet the day before, it was pouring buckets and there was thunder. Perfect walking weather! I walked around Downtown St. Paul, saw the cathedral, the Capitol, thought about going into the Minnesota History Center to escape the rain... but who wants to be dry?! The museum actually has very high reviews and a 12 dollar admission for adults, six for kids, and free for those under five. You probably should check it out.

 

 A shot from my rainy St. Paul walk... when it's raining, you may as well find more water.

 

On my second trip, I spent the vast majority of the day at the Mall of America, like any good fully grown adult with no children. It was actually really fun. The Barnes & Noble was huge, there was a cheese store, and there was a restaurant that only served cookie dough! Like any fully grown adult should not do, I mostly ate cookie dough and cheese. (including some paneer at Hot Indian) Like any fully grown adult, most of my entertainment also came from the amusement park in the mall. Yes, an amusement park in the mall... Nickelodeon Universe. I didn't go in because going on rides with carry-on luggage is probably frowned upon. I don't think it's tall enough to ride anything anyway. People watching is great, though. Visitors of all ages going crazy on rollercoasters, excited kids taking pictures with the little statues they have there, exhausted parents being pulled around... Get some cookie dough and enjoy the view, before the stomachache sets in.

 

With the fun outdoor attractions, walkability, the Mall of America, and Target Field, the Twin Cities are a great destination for thrifty travelers and people who've never believed we should stay away from cookie dough to be safe. The light rail is also very manageable, cheap, and stops at all of the main attractions. Use that instead of renting a car. More money for the cheese store.

 

If you'd like to see more on the Twin Cities, check out my Thrifty Trips - Twin Cities video!

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I'm Michelle. I basically want to visit as many places as I can and run as many races as I can. Since I don't have a Scrooge McDuck money vault, it makes things difficult.

 

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