An early St. Patrick’s Day block party takes place Saturday in downtown St. Paul. So do the finals of the Minnesota State High School League’s boys’ state hockey tournament. There is a national dance competition, too.
Those events are expected to draw thousands of people and generate lots of traffic. Officials are warning anybody who plans to drive to allow lots of extra time and use alternate routes to avoid congestion.
And they advise drivers to scope out a parking spot before heading to the fun by visiting stpaul.gov/parking, which includes information about on- and off-street parking options and rates.
Due to “extremely limited availability” in the Kellogg and RiverCentre parking ramps, drivers are directed to park in other downtown parking ramps and lots, said Jora Bart, an Xcel Energy Center spokeswoman.
The puck drops at 9 a.m. for the Class A third-place game, followed by the championship game at the Xcel Energy Center. The Class AA games start at 4 p.m. The Let’s Play Hockey Expo runs all day at the adjoining RiverCentre. The final day of the “Beyond the Stars” dance competition takes place in Roy Wilkins Auditorium.
Just across the street, the LuckyPalooza on West 7th street will draw revelers coming to take in live music, mechanical bull rides and extreme sports. Making things a bit more difficult, starting at noon, W. 7th Street will be closed from Walnut Street to Kellogg Boulevard and Chestnut Street will be closed from Exchange Street to Smith Avenue.
Eventgoers should consider carpooling, using Lyft or Uber, or taking mass transit, Bart said.
And it’s always a good idea to check the weather and look at MnDOT’s 511 traffic map before hitting the road, she said.