Aug 23 2010
The Great Minnesota Get-Together begins this Thursday and runs through Labor Day. I’ve taken the kids the past few years (see Minnesota State Fair!; Minnesota State Fair with Kids; and Minnesota State Fair Checklist) but I’m not sure if we’ll be able to make it this year.
And since I may not need it, I’m going to share with you my secret to getting a decent parking spot at the State Fair. The one thing I dislike more than big crowds (and I always try to pick a “quiet” day at the Fair, although I’m not always good at guessing that) is sitting in traffic. So, here’s the keep-you-moving, get-you-to-the-lot route that we use each time we attend the Fair. Keep in mind that lots fill up through the day, but this has always worked well for us if we’ve arrived by mid-morning.
This will work for people coming from south of the fairgrounds. I’ll start the directions at I-94 and Snelling Ave. in St. Paul.
View Minnesota State Fair Parking Directions in a larger map
From I-94, go north on Snelling. As you approach the railroad overpass near Energy Park Drive, stay in the left lane. A lot of cars will be exiting to the right to try to park from Como Ave. Zoom right past them in the left lane.
Go past the fairgrounds. You may have to move to the right lane to get past the people turning left into the fairgrounds at Hoyt Ave. Continue north through the light at Larpenteur; again, many people will be turning left at Larpenteur, but you will want to go straight through the light.
Once through the Larpenteur light, get in the left lane and turn left at the next light, Roselawn. Traffic from the north may be backed up from Larpenteur to this light, so it may be a bit of a trick to turn left through it, but be patient, and you’ll get through.
Continue west on Roselawn to Fairview. Turn left on Fairview.
Continue south on Fairview to Larpenteur. Turn left on Larpenteur, and immediately get into the right lane.
Go past the floral shop and some apartments that make it clear that they offer no State Fair parking. Turn right at the State Fair entrance on Underwood. You’re almost there!
For the best spot, get into one of the two left lanes; if you are in the right lane you’ll end up parking in the large lot to the right, which is farther from the fairgrounds entrance. The left lane is your safest bet for parking to the left, and the middle lane can either get you a really good spot in the left parking lot, or get you diverted to the right. Assess the situation when you get there. One year when we did this, we ended up in the first row, across the street from the north entrance.
By using this parking plan, you’ll enter the fairgrounds at the far north gate. Little Farmhands, the end of the skyride, and the progress building won’t be far away.
If you have small kids, get ID bracelets for them at the information booth, just inside the fair gates, and enjoy your day at the fair!
Do you have a favorite trick for parking at the Minnesota State Fair? If you’re willing to share, post it in the comments below.