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Categorized | IN OUR COMMUNITY

Light shows, scarves, Wonderwall: trip to Allianz Field

Posted on 12 May 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Building a Stronger Midway

By CHAD KULAS, Midway Chamber of Commerce Executive Director

 

The dream of Major League Soccer in the Midway, which only seemed like a fantasy four years ago, has become a reality. For those of us who have lived or worked in the neighborhood for years, Allianz Field looks like a spaceship descended upon our community. And a beautiful spaceship it is, especially when lit up. Whether in purple in Prince’s memory, red and green for Christmas, or its standard blue, the light show adds to the aesthetic.
The Minnesota United have now played three home games in Allianz Field. I was fortunate enough to attend the April 24 game against the LA Galaxy, but not fortunate enough to take part in the tradition of singing the Oasis song, “Wonderwall” after a United win (they tied their first two games before winning 1-0 over DC United).
Are you unsure if you like soccer? I never got into the sport until the Minnesota United, and while I still don’t know why a yellow card gets raised, the games are very fun. For low scoring affairs, the excitement is still off the charts, especially when your team scores a goal. The big soccer fans are unmatched in their enthusiasm, waving giant flags and banging drums in the fan section, but a first-time visitor will still have a great time. If you are skeptical, give it a try. The excitement is contagious.
Here are some observations if you decide to check it out.
There are things to do outside Allianz Field, so allow time to walk around the entire stadium, and then walk through the entire concourse. Walk into the Brew Hall, located north of the field. The Brew Hall is open Thursday-Sunday when there isn’t an event at Allianz Field, with non-game prices. It also stays open 1.5 hours after home games, so a great way to avoid traffic.
Another way to avoid post-game traffic is to stop by nearby restaurants and bars. If you can afford the time, a person is better off grabbing their last drink at the Black Hart or other bars before venturing to their vehicle or transit.
If you plan to come by car, the closest parking lots are $25. You can also take a shuttle bus from the State Fair, which charges $15 to park. I suspect more restaurants will use a shuttle service to get patrons to the game.
Transit may be the best way to get to the game. Cheaper than driving, Allianz Field is close to both the Green Line Light Rail Line and the A-Line Bus Rapid Transit – which ends up connecting to the Blue Line at Hiawatha and 46th St. So far, public transit is taking about 45 minutes to clear out after a game – typically larger events are considered good if the time is less than one hour.
Over the past few years, there has been a lot of thought going into Allianz Field. Would it actually get built? If so, would it be the best option for the old bus barn site from a community standpoint? Once it was a foregone conclusion, the talk turned to the details. What would the rest of the “superblock” look like? Would public funds be used for the development? What impact would it have on the neighborhood, both on game days and always?
The biggest concerns the Midway Chamber heard from both members and residents was parking and traffic – both strictly gameday concerns. With the United playing 17 home games a year and a handful of other larger events, traffic and parking are not regular problems occurring most days. Most games are also played on weekends, meaning games are rarely a concern for rush hour.
If you go, take notice of the neighborhood. Open Hands Midway, a nonprofit who can provide 28 meals for those in need with a $50 donation, is housed at Bethlehem Lutheran Church and will have hundreds if not thousands of fans walk by their door each game. Even organizations farther than walking distance will benefit from the thousands of fans coming from each direction as they drive by either by personal vehicle or transit.
I am thrilled the Midway will get to welcome 20,000 soccer fans 17 times at Allianz Field this year, college football fans for the Tommie-Johnnie game, and other events in the future. Our guests will support our local businesses and give many more added visibility and name recognition. Here’s to hoping we sing “Wonderwall” a lot in the Midway this year. Scarves all the way up!

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