Avid fairgoers were already lining up to get into opening day of the Minnesota State Fair as vehicles at 5:30 a.m. were parked outside the Hoyt Avenue gate and on Snelling Avenue.
Driving might be an option for earlybirds, but fair spokeswoman Danielle Dullinger says taking the bus may be the best option. The fair has about 7,200 parking spaces on its grounds (and they cost $14 per vehicle), but "they fill quickly," she said. One of the first to fill up, the Robin Lot off Hoyt Avenue, where many fairgoers were already waiting to get in.
More than 1 million people, or about half of fair attendees, arrive by bus, either a free shuttle operated by the fair or express bus operated by Metro Transit, SouthWest Transit or Minnesota Valley Transit Authority.
"We ask people to be patient," Dullinger said. .
PARK AND RIDE FROM STATE FAIR LOTS
The State Fair operates free shuttles from 34 parking lots starting at 8 a.m. This includes the University of Minnesota lots with 4,000 parking spaces. New sites this year include North Heights Lutheran Church in Arden Hills and Calvary Church in White Bear Township.
Shuttles run to and from the 34 lots from 8 a.m. to midnight. But even with so many lots, they often fill up by 9 a.m. on busy days, like opening day, Dullinger said
"Have a backup option if your lot is full," she said.
EXPRESS BUS SERVICE
Metro Transit will offer express bus service for $5 round trip beginning at 9 a.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. weekends from 10 suburban park and ride lots.
Daily service every 15 minutes: 95th Avenue Park and Ride, I-35W and 95th Avenue, Blaine; Bottineau Boulevard Park and Ride, County Road 81 and 63rd Avenue, Brooklyn Park; I-394 and County Road 73 Park and Ride, Minnetonka; and 82nd Street and 24th Avenue S. lot in Bloomington. Parade Stadium service begins at noon.
Daily service every 30 minutes: Fridley Station, Main Street and 61st Avenue NE.; Signal Hills Shopping Center, Robert Street and Butler Avenue, West St. Paul; Cottage Grove Park and Ride, Hwy. 61 at W. Point Douglas Road, and Maplewood Mall, 1793 Beam Avenue.
Weekends and Labor Day only: Best Buy, 7701 Knox Av., Richfield; Maple Grove Transit Station, I-94 and Hemlock Lane; Newport Transit Station, 250 Red Rock Crossing; and Oakdale Cinema, 5677 Hadley Av.
Minnesota Valley Transit Authority will run buses from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily from the Burnsville Transit Station, Hwy. 13 and Nicollet Avenue S.; from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekends and Labor Day from the Eagan Transit Station, Pilot Knob Road at I-35E; and from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekends and Labor Day from the Marschall Road Transit Station, 1615 Weston Court in Shakopee.
SouthWest Transit runs weekdays only starting at 8 a.m. from Wooddale Church, 6630 Shady Oak Road, Eden Prairie. On weekends and Labor Day, service will start at 7 a.m. from SouthWest Station in Eden Prairie, SouthWest Village Station in Chanhassen and East Creek Station in Chaska.
The ridesharing company Lyft has a deal for fairgoers. It's offering discounts for both current and new riders. Here are the codes to use when booking your ride, and where to find your ride.
Northeast end of the fairgrounds near Snelling & Hoyt Avenues (Gate #2 at 1806 Hoyt Ave)
Outside northwest end of fairgrounds. Exit the West End Gate (Gate #16) to get to the designated spot
- New Users - 'MNSTATEFAIR' = $5 off 4 rides, Valid Aug 23 - Sept 10 2018
- Existing Users - 'MNSTATEFAIR18' = $3 off 1 ride to or from the State Fair, Valid Aug 23 - Sept 4 2018