I'm a big fan of public transit and use the bus system regularly. It's an excellent way of travelling around Minneapolis if you're staying within the city itself.
The most popular bus lines run 24 hours, although you'll want to check schedules as they can come far and few-between during the wee hours.
A large majority of the city buses make their transfer points on Nicollet Ave in the heart of downtown. Also on Nicollet, you'll be able to transfer to and from the light rail. When in doubt, pop onto any bus and ask the driver where you need to go. They're always helpful.
Fares on city buses and light rail are $1.75 during rush hours (6-9am and 3-6:30p), and $1.25 all other times. (This may change, as there is the possibility of a fare increase taking place over the summer of 2005.)
Transfers are free, ask the driver for one when you pay your fare. You're allowed to hop on as many buses as you want during a 2.5 hour period with one transfer.
To plan a bus trip, go to metrotransit.org and click on the trip planner link. It's highly accurate and really comes in handy even for seasoned bus riders such as myself.
As a bonus: if you're here during the big drinking holidays, such at St. Patricks Day or the Fourth of July, you'll be able to ride the buses for free. It's just the city's way of making sure we all get home safe.
If you like to see characters on your trips then try taking the 21 bus which runs from Uptown Minneapolis along Lake St. to St. Paul. This is a straight west-east route. The 18 runs north-south along Nicollet Ave. from downtown to Lake St. and beyond to the suburbs. These are two bus lines that may prove useful and in the city at least they run straight and won't turn you around at all. If you get lost just hop off the bus and catch one in the opposite direction until you're in familiar territory again. One good thing about the bus system is the fare. You pay your $1.25 or $1.75 (non-rush and rush respectively) and a little paper card transfer pops out the top of the machine, you may have to ask the driver for a transfer if it doesn't come up automatically. Don't forget to take this card. It marks the time you entered the bus and you are entitled to ride any bus or the LRT in any direction for the next two and a half hours. Just insert the card in the machine on your next bus and keep it until your time runs out.
Bus transportation from the Airport
Buses run between Mall of America and the airport every 30 minutes. To connect with a bus at the airport, exit Door 5 on the lower level and follow the signage to the bus stop. The transfer to Mall of America takes approximately 5 minutes. Approximate one-way fees:
Non-rush hours $1.00
Rush hours $1.50
If you are staying in the city, taking the bus here isn't quite so bad, but if you are staying out beyond the actual city of Minneapolis, it can be rather annoying waiting for that occasional bus. The new LRT should make it easier if you're headed to the Mall, downtown, airport or in between, but be aware that any other destination outside of that is best reached by car.
To go from place to place, the best transport (and least expensive) are the city buses. They run on time, maps are easy to follow, and make available most areas of the city.
Other than the bus, there are taxis (although not as easy to find as in NYC or other large cities), and in the next several years there will be light rail connecting downtown Minneapolis to the MSP airport and Mall of America.
By Bus: You can go to www.metrocouncil.org/transit
to go to Metro Transit's webpage. From there you can go to the "trip planner" which makes it much easier to use the bus system. If you don't know the address, you can go by intersection or landmark, and enter the times you want. The bus system is actually the 11th largest bus system in the United States. Also, in late 2003, a light-rail line will open between Downtown Minneapolis and Fort Snelling (northeast of the airport). A year later, the line will extend through the airport to the Mall of America.
Holiday inn metrodome is right on the busline, easy to get to the Orpheum Theatre, Nicollett Mall, First Avenue Bar (where Prince was discovered).
It's a .50 cent ride on the bus as long as your staying in Minneapolis-we didn't know this so paid the $1.75 price as listed on the entrance of the bus, still cheaper than cab fair, and easy to get around.
One thing about Minneapolis is that it doesn't have alot of "storefront" type shopping, you can walk and walk for one store. If you want to shop probably best to go to Nicollett Mall-especially in cold weather. Locals also said "uptown neighborhood" has lots of shops-which we didn't go to.
I didn't know whether to put this under sports or local customs:)
The bus service in MSP is good. In the university area there are free connector buses available to anyone.
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