Exploring the Twin Cities Metro via the Light Rail by Matt Eckholm, guest blogger.
With two lines and 36 stations, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metro light rail system is a convenient way to get around the city. Though unless you’re regularly taking the train to a variety of places, it’s easy to think of the Blue Line as just the downtown to airport line, or the Green Line as the downtown to downtown line. In reality, those 36 stations offer connections to an incredible array of entertainment, shopping, food, and sights across the Twin Cities.
In this series, we’re going to look at every single Twin Cities light rail station and the surrounding areas, including neighborhoods, sights, and destinations in the surrounding area. Each line will be divided up into sections - the Blue line will be divided into South Minneapolis, Ft. Snelling and Airport, and Bloomington sections, while the Green line will be divided into University of Minnesota, University Avenue, and Downtown St. Paul. The five stations shared between the Blue and Green lines in Downtown Minneapolis will be covered together in one section. And finally the outlier of the Twin Cities rail transit family, Northstar Commuter Rail, will be covered in a separate article.
Downtown Minneapolis is the common shared point between the Blue and Green light rail lines, meaning all five downtown stations are served by both lines. These five stations serve both as transfer points between the two light rail lines, but also as gateways to the incredible density of entertainment destinations in Minnesota’s largest city.
The current end of the line, Target Field Station, is intended to be the interchange between the current light rail lines, the planned Blue and Green line extensions, future commuter and intercity rail, and the new C-Line Rapid Bus service to Brooklyn Center. In short, it’s a hub of Minnesota transit activity. Surrounding the station is the North Loop, a trendy neighborhood that reclaims industrial warehouses into boutiques and lofts, which continues to grow up and out. If the name didn’t tip you off, Target Field Station has two platforms that directly serve the Minnesota Twins stadium, making it easy to step off the train and into the ballgame. The station will soon be home to a 2000 seat music venue, hotel, and apartments, meaning there’ll never be a dull moment nearby.
The next station is Hennepin Avenue/Warehouse District, in the middle of Minneapolis’ entertainment district. From here, it’s a quick walk to the Hennepin Theater District, First Avenue, the FIne Line Music Cafe, and a variety of restaurants and nightclubs. Sports fans can also enjoy a block walk to Target Center, home of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx, which recently got a much needed facelift. Providing access to Hennepin Avenue also provides access to the Hennepin Avenue Bridge, which connects Downtown Minneapolis to Historic St. Anthony.
Nicollet Mall Station provides easy access to the city’s pedestrian mall, a hub of shopping and restaurant activity. A recently completed street renovation has provided a backdrop for some of Minneapolis’ skyline defining properties to do renovations of their own - the Dayton’s Project is a new retail concept coming to Minneapolis in 2020 that opens up a historic department store into a modern, street focused shopping experience. Further down, you can find Peavey Plaza, the Minnesota Orchestra, and Loring Park. Nicollet Mall connects to the West River Parkway to the north, which gives train riders access to the Mississippi River, Stone Arch Bridge, Mill Ruins Park, and the world renowned Guthrie Theater.
Government Plaza Station is a stop on the seat of power in Minneapolis. Hennepin County Government Center looms over the plaza, with Minneapolis City Hall on the other side. Coming soon, Minneapolis will be consolidating city operations in a new tower on a third side of the plaza, and Hennepin County will be moving some of its spread out operations to a recently purchased tower adjacent to their current one. This station also places riders close by the District Court of Minnesota, the Minneapolis Passport Agency, and bustling Washington Avenue.
US Bank Stadium Station is the final shared stop between the Blue Line and the Green Line in Downtown Minneapolis, and is generally the station riders choose to use as a transfer point between the two. As the station name helpfully reminds us, the focus of this station is US Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings and one of two bank named football stadiums in Minneapolis. But in recent years, this station has become more than just a drop off point for game-day fans. The Commons park, stretching across two city blocks, has become the center of a new neighborhood called East Town. The old Minneapolis Armory has been renovated into a world class music venue, developments to the north and south of the Commons have brought hundreds of new residents to downtown, and it’s a stone’s throw from popular restaurants and theaters along Washington Avenue. This station also serves the Elliot Park neighborhood and Hennepin County Medical Center, and with the new Samatar Crossing, is directly connected to bike routes to South Minneapolis.
Stay tuned as the next installment will be a tour of South Minneapolis via the Blue Line.
Ready to make your move to a home near the Green or Blue Line? If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of BOARDMAN Realty, a call or visit my website for a FREE Home Buyer Success Guide or FREE Home Value Report. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.
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