Super In Six From A Minnesotan
Leave MSP and miss all of the fun? No way. When news of Minneapolis hosting #SBLII in 2018 broke, I was in. Not all all in, but I was definitely going to take in as much of the experience over the ten-day period as possible.
Despite the challenging low point of the January 21 playoff game that tossed us out of the bowl, I was able to rally after 3.5 days of disappointed-ness. There were some pretty sour faces in my household that’s for sure! My husband immediately nailed the perfect quote, which I noticed R.T. Rybak so similarly and eloquently posted the day after, “Super excited about about Minneapolis hosting the Super Bowl, but after yesterday’s Vikings loss I feel kinda like I’m bartending at the wedding of the girlfriend who dumped me.”
By the official kick-off to the festivities on Friday, January 26, I had moved from mourning the epic opportunity missed to being grateful for the season the Vikes gave us this year. I was ready to open my Super Bowl magazine and start mapping out the plan to attend the Super Bowl Experience and Super Bowl Live. I donned my #BoldNorth button swag and started tuning into the excitement.
The wintry mix of Patriots and Eagles fans, U.S. Bank Stadium’s location in a dense urban core, celebrities peppering the Twin Cities’ slippery sidewalks and swankiest hotels and clubs had me wondering how our host session would go down. Now that it’s the day after, here’s a recap from this local’s perspective in Six-Word style (@Six.Word.Memoirs) with the backstory, of course.
Bold North -- “Bold North or Southeast of: #BoldNorthMOA”
Is Bold North a fleeting tagline only to be associated with the season of the Super Bowl or will it stick? I’m just wondering because we have three other kick a$$ seasons that the world will never know about. And we’ve precluded ourselves from ever securing a bid for the Summer Olympics if that matters. I get it though… Seasonal North lacks fierceness.
Not every Minnesotan is an avid outdoors-person or embraces a cold freeze. Me included. Born and raised in Minnesota I do feel a boldness within me that rises when I plan to deliberately enjoy the outdoors by ice fishing or ice skating, for example. It’s exhilarating! Admittedly the daily tasks in our frozen tundra can be trying and leaving me feeling not-so-bold. For these scenarios, I equate scraping ice off of the windshield as an arm workout and sprinting through my errands – literally – as a total body workout. There is no time for inefficiencies here. Hood up, head down.
Which brings me to shopping. Leading up to the Super Bowl I was wondering if all eyes would be on Minnesotans -- assessing just how bold we really are. One look at my Instagram account reveals this Minnesota girl likes malls -- Nicollet or MOA – no matter. A lot. You might see that my dog, Copper, makes it beyond our backyard to the dogpark 2-3x a month tops in the winter. Busted.
That’s why I was happy to see I could partake in Super Bowl activities while never being too far from a skyway when downtown or just by hanging out at the MOA, a close partner with the NFL for the 10-day season. As a result, over the past 10 days it was a good mix of indoor and outdoor experiences and venues from #BoldNorthMOA to #BoldNorth.
OnNicollet -- “Mall Dropped. Not Only to Shop.
”Did you also notice the hashtag #OnNicollet? Mall has been removed from “Nicollet Mall” by the downtown council (Jan 26 Biz Journal). The move may reflect that Nicollet will be more of a downtown experience that’s not just about retail as “mall” implies. While we’re at it, I wonder if Siri will catch on or someone can help us change her pronunciation of the beloved Nicollet (Ni COLL et)?
PassYourParka -- “Winter Gear Needs to Stay Here”
On Friday, February 2, a friend called while she was on a 75-degree walk in Arizona. Her sister-in-law had a brilliant idea surrounding the Super Bowl that needed to ramp up quickly. The next evening her idea, #PassYourParka, was on KARE 11. She secured local volunteers, hotels and agencies to move one-time visitor parkas (and other purchases to survive the cold) from visitors leaving MSP into the hands of those in need who live here year-round. The thought occurred to me to apply this concept to other tourism ventures and large-scale events. I will happily leave my bikini in Mexico. I won’t be needing that in Minnesota.
Access -- “Locals: Fear Not the Urban Core“
As mentioned, I was eager to take in the SBExp and SBLive during the 10-day fest. Other Minnesotans I talked to mid-January were not quite as eager. Many of them planned to flee the cities, work from home if they office downtown or steer clear of the urban core all together.News reporters and locals talked of a mass-city takeover and while the infusion of visitors created some out of the norm inconveniences, it seemed like the city was prepared. I was prepared. I was prepared to change my routes, adjust to major parking rate increases and give up WiFi signal strength (well, the WiFi limitation was a pain!). All of this in gratitude for the opportunities hosting the Super Bowl has afforded our city, including the renovation of The Armory and finally a map of the skyways!
My Super Bowl-related experiences on January 31, February 3 and 4 were easy, accessible and in one case awesome. Two are worth a mention here. On January 31, my husband, 12 year-old son and I hit up the Super Bowl Experience, followed by Super Bowl Live and comfort food at Zelo. The SBExp was worth seeing, but more for the boys. The SBLive was the experience for me. The Birkie Bridge and skiers racing through downtown and the KARE 11 Warming House were highlights. We parked in Leamington Ramp for $20 for the eve, which was 4 -9:30p for us. It was easy to get in and out of downtown and while Zelo was full, we still grabbed a table right upon our entry out of the snow globe on Nicollet.
If we hesitated for a hot second in the skyway as we made our way from SBExp to SBLive, a MN-based SB volunteer chimed in with directional and restroom info and nearest event activities. From the pulse of passersby, we gathered that we might have laid on the #MNNice a little too thick….
My February 3 experience was an awesome experience because… J Lo. When a friend offered VIP tickets last minute no charge, I took her up on it even thought it meant a long drive on snowy, slippery roads from my home in Minneapolis out to western suburbia. When I had tickets in hand, I debated for a long time about Lyft or driving into downtown to park. I chose to try to park downtown despite my inner circle’s shock that I would even attempt it. I parked one block away – no line, no hassle -- and by some anomaly, parking for the night was free.
The Armory, a renovation just opened for entertainment did not disappoint. J Lo, the triple threat with a mane of hair and body/booty suits that sparkled, zipped and snapped in fitted, fringed and draped forms, also did not disappoint. In the VIP corporate section, many a jaw needed to be picked up off the floor. And that Prince tribute. Amazing!
Celebrity Sightings -- “Reverse Celebritism: Curious Celebrities Observing Us”
On January 31, I brushed by Andre Cymone outside of the Hilton while a somewhat heavy snow was falling and people were scrambling into their Ubers for the night. I have no other sightings to offer here, but curious to hear others’ experiences.
For many celebrities in town, it was their first visit to MSP. I wonder if it was what they expected and what they discovered. I know Jimmy Fallon discovered a Juicy Lucy in my neighborhood at the 5 8 Club. I will be tuning in to the Today Show and local channels this morning for the recap. By noon, I’ll be ready to boldly get back to My Minnesota. Can I get a #SKOL yeah?