Tailgating Gets A New Location

Most of the tailgating space previously held along Washington Avenue will be wiped out this season because of new construction, but the Vikings have an alternative plan in place.

Construction of a ramp, the new Guthrie Theater and other buildings along Washington Avenue last year put a small dent in Vikings fans' ability to tailgate. This year, the continued construction will knock out most — if not all — of the tailgating opportunities for fans on Washington Avenue.

But the news isn't only bad for die-hard tailgaters. The Vikings have replaced those parking spaces and more with tailgating opportunities in the Rapid Park area west of the Target Center. Fans will be able to use the new light rail system to make their way to the Metrodome from Target Center and vice versa. The Vikings have also arranged for a shuttle to run between the Metrodome and Rapid Park. Hours of that shuttle are scheduled for two hours before kickoff and up to two hours after the game for the Vikings' first preseason game against Arizona on Saturday night. The schedule for the remainder of the season hasn't been finalized yet.

The Vikings originally had about 1,200 spaces along Washington Avenue, but last year the beginning stages of construction brought that number down to about 800 spaces. The Rapid Park spaces allow for about 1,700 tailgating spaces.

Owners of other private lots around the Metrodome were allowed to apply to the City of Minneapolis for a tailgating permit, but very few of them elected to do that, said Debra Jones, manager of special events for the Vikings. The Vikings held the tailgating permits for the Washington Avenue lots and had to supply cleanup crews.

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