When the TCF Bank Stadium opened in 2009, it brought a level of excitement to Big Ten Football at the University of Minnesota. This on-campus stadium is the first Big Ten stadium constructed since 1960 and the first LEED certified collegiate football facility.With a $288.5 million price tag, the stadium features an open-air, horseshoe design with great views of downtown Minneapolis.
Making room for more than 50,000 fans -- with the potential to grow -- TCF Bank Stadium has become a pride for all Golden Gopher fans and supporters. If you're looking to take your first visit to the stadium, here's a guide to help you make the most out of your visit.
Coming and Going
There is parking available on all three banks of the U of M campus -- the East Bank, West Bank and St. Paul -- but there are restrictions.
You need to purchase a season parking pass to use the East Bank facilities, where the stadium is located. Click here to purchase a season pass and for more information. Costs vary by location and directions to each specific ramp are given with purchase.
If you are looking for parking for a single game, you need to park on the West Bank or St. Paul campus. Cost is $10.
*Important Reminder: Do not drive to the East Bank if you do not have a season pass.
There are limited parking spaces available on the West bank however, so show up early if you plan on going there.
Free shuttle buses run from parking places to the stadium every 15 minutes starting 4 hours before the game and every 5 minute starting 2 hours before the game.
Driving To West Bank Parking
North on Interstate 35W: Continue on I-35W past downtown Minneapolis. Stay to the right and take Exit 17C, towards "3rd St U of M". Stay in the middle lane and take the exit marked "U of M West Bank." Then, turn right at the signal at the end of the off-ramp on to Washington Ave. S. The road will curve right and become Cedar Ave. You will want to turn left at 3rd St. for the 19th Ave. Ramp. If that's full, go past the ramp entrance and turn right at 19th Ave. Take the next left at 4th St. to access the 21st Ave. Ramp.
South on I-35W: Take Exit 17C at Washington Ave. Turn left onto Washington Ave. S. The road will curve right and become Cedar Ave. Turn left at 3rd St. for the 19th Ave. Ramp. If full, continue past the ramp and turn right at 19th Ave. Take a left at 4th St. to park at the 21st Ave. Ramp.
West on Interstate 94: Take Exit 235A at Riverside Ave. Turn right and follow Riverside Ave. for a few blocks. Turn right at 21st Ave. for access to the 21st Ave. Ramp.
East on I-94: Get off on Exit 235A at 25th Ave. Turn left on 25th Ave. and then left again on Riverside Ave. Turn right at 21st Ave. to park at the 21st Ave. Ramp.
Driving To St. Paul Parking
North on I-35W: Take I-35W to I-94. Continue on I-94 and exit at Snelling Ave. (Exit 238). Turn left on Snelling Ave. then continue north to Dan Patch Ave. (on the State Fairgrounds) and take a left. Follow the event parking signs.
South on I-35W: Take I-35W to Highway 36 East. Exit on Snelling Ave. Turn right on Dan Patch Ave. and follow the event parking signs.
East and West on I-94: Follow I-94 and take Exit 238 at Snelling Ave. Go north on Snelling Ave. to Dan Patch Ave. and take a left. Follow the event parking signs.
*Important Reminder: Tailgating is only allowed at designated surface parking lots and not allowed at any of above ramps.
Gopher Football Shuttles
Your feet won't get tired walking from your parking place to the stadium because when there's a game at home, free Gopher Football Shuttles connect you directly to all the action!
Four hours before the game, shuttles run every 15 minutes. Two hours before the game, they run every five minutes.
Shuttles run continuously for an hour after the game. Then service is dropped to every 15 minutes for the second hour after the game and every 30 minutes for the last hour. They do not run past midnight.
West Bank shuttles stop at 4th St. S. between 19th and 20th Ave. S., Coffman Union/Northrop Mall and TCF Bank Stadium.
The St. Paul Shuttle stops at Lot S108, north of the Gortner Ave. Ramp entrance, and TCF Bank Stadium.
The Campus Connector, the U of M's regular school shuttle, runs every 40 minutes on the regular weekend schedule.
Those with disabilities can ride the dedicated ADA accessible shuttles which load at the same location as the regular Gopher Football shuttles. The only difference is heading back after the game, when those special shuttles load on the west side of 23rd Ave., the same location they drop off at the stadium before the game.
You can take Hiawatha light rail line to get you closer to the game. Buy a 6-hour pass for $3.50. Trains depart from various Metro Transit locations every 10-15 minutes. To get to the game, take the train and get off at the Downtown East/Metrodome Station, then board route 16 or route 50 bus on 4th St. and you will be dropped off at the stadium.
Several bus routes drop off at TCF Bank Stadium. Route 2 (Franklin Ave.), route 3 (Energy Park Drive), route 6 (Southdale), route 16 (Midway), and route 50 (Midway - Limited Stop) all make stops there. A 6-hour event pass is also available for $3.50 from the driver.
If you are taking a taxi to the game, you will be dropped off and picked up along Beacon St. between Oak St. and Ontario St. Click here for maps.
Click here to see traffic restrictions that happen on the roads before and after the Gopher games.
In their first season back outdoors, season tickets were sold out for the 2009 season. Anyone is eligible for season tickets in the future, but the first to get picked will be people who are members of the Golden Gopher Fund.
If you don't want season tickets, but want to see the latest powerhouse to come to town, you can purchase single game tickets during the season. Those tickets can only be purchased online at www.gophersports.com at 9 a.m. the Tuesday prior to the home game.
Looking to spend a little bit more money? Check out TCF Stadium's premium seats. Choose from the following: outdoor club seats, loge boxes, private suites and indoor club seats. They're all located on the south side of the stadium with extra amenities designed to "enhance the game day experience."
While most games are said to be "sold out" there are definitely open seats in the stadium so check out other ticket brokers.
Want to watch the game in comfort? Try a premium seat. Private suites can accommodate 16-19 people, have a refrigerator and sink and concierge service. Private suites have both indoor and outdoor seating. Lodge boxes accommodate 4-6 fans, concierge service and a flat-panel television. Indoor club seats include access to a game-day buffet, a private bar and a private entrance. Outdoor club seats have some of the best sight lines in the stadium, offer access to the DQ Club Room and feature padded chairs.
Want to sit on the sunny side of the stadium? Sit in sections 101-117 and 201-219. They're on the visitors side, but they're quite a bit warmer if its sunny outside during the day games in late-October and November. Looking to stay out of the sun when it's 90 in September? Shoot for sections 133-145 and 231-246. The student section, which offers a fabulous view of downtown Minneapolis, is from 119-131 and 220-230. The students sit behind the University of Minnesota band.
At The Stadium
The Veteran's Tribute honors all Minnesota veterans -- the past, the present and the future generations. The tribute is located on the southwest corner of TCF Bank Stadium, between the main scoreboard and Gate E.
Third-Largest Outdoor Scoreboard
When the TCF Bank Stadium was built, beginning in 2007, a giant scoreboard was one of the prized new features. At 48-feet high and 108-feet wide, the videoboard in the East End Zone is the third-largest in all of college football.
Premium Seats at TCF Bank Stadium include access to the posh DQ Club, a place with 14 flat-screen TVs, a private bar and concessions.
Minnesota Tribal Nations Plaza
All 11 of Minnesota's Tribal Nations are honored on the exterior plaza on the west end of the stadium, thanks to a gift from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community.
Food and Drink
A new offering for Twin Cities sports fans is the inclusion of the northern suburbs' gem, The Panino -- a hot, rolled sandwich made with fresh bread and a number of fillings. For 18 years, patrons of the North Oaks, Minn. restaurant have enjoyed the full-page offerings of Paninos -- from ranch turkey to chicken fajita. But just for Gopher fans, the "Gopher Stick" Panino -- made especially for the stadium -- features buffalo chicken or steak and cheese (a top seller at the restaurant) made in a more compact, easily eaten way. You can also order the Panino's poppers or fries, served with their incredible homemade ranch dressing.
Chicken Gyro Sandwich
Straight from Dino's The Greek Place, fans can get their famous beef or chicken gyro sandwiches at the new stadium. For $6.25, fans can choose between a regular or spicy gyro, depending on their preference. The chicken gyro is served with raw onions, tomatoes, lettuce, feta and Dino's special Greek dressing. The beef comes with the same fixings, but subs the Greek sauce for tzatziki sauce.
St. Paul Bagelry Bagels
For those earlier Sunday games, fans can enjoy their choice of bagel sandwiches, including a breakfast bagel, bagel with cream cheese, a Reuben and a Lox bagel. Pair these with a Maui Wowi smoothie -- strawberry, raspberry and mango-orange -- and you've got a perfect meal to start a day of Gophers cheering.
From Klement's hot dogs and brats to jumbo pretzels and burgers and fries, Goldy's Grill has you covered. Walleye Fingers and Fries are also available here, for $6.25, as is Minnesota cheese curds -- $4 -- and chicken tender baskets for $6.25.
Mayslack's Roast Beef Sandwich
A favorite for many fans of Mayslack's, the signature garlicky roast beef sandwich is another offering at TCF Bank Stadium. The roast beef is slow roasted for eight hours to perfection in a mixture of garlic and other juices to make it oh-so-tender. It's served with onions, banana peppers, coleslaw and some au jus to top it off just right.
When TCF Bank Stadium first opened, beer was not for sale, which was standard in Big 10 stadiums. In 2012, the University's Board of Regents voted to allow beer sales at the stadium, with some restrictions.
It's a new stadium with lots of unique surprises around every corner. Here are some things you might need to know or just want to know so you can act like a tour guide to all your friends when you visit TCF Stadium:
• TCF Stadium is the first Big Ten Stadium constructed since 1960.
• It took over 1.3 million work hours to complete the project by July 1, 2009.
• The HD video board is the third largest in all of college athletics in terms of square footage. Only Texas and Mississippi State have larger boards.
• The home locker room at 60 yards long by 25 yards wide. It contains 120 cherry wood lockers and is the largest in both professional and college football.
• The design of TCF Bank Stadium allows for a potential expansion of 80,000 seats.
• You know you'll have to go -- so there are 113 restrooms in TCF Bank Stadium, which include 625 toilets and 268 urinals.
• TCF Bank Stadium has 844 doors.
• TCF Bank Stadium has 350 LCD televisions.
• The University of Minnesota became the 1st LEED Certified Collegiate Football Facility
• If you plan on tailgating - you can't save a parking space for someone else
• There's an extensive list of items you can't bring to the stadium. Some of the more "interesting" ones include: balloons, balls, banners, umbrellas and laser pointers
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