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Official Review by Blake Benzel, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
In the best of times, the Target Center has struggled to keep up over the last decade. With a championship team playing there now, in the Minnesota Lynx, it’s definitely time to get to the Target Center and check out a game.
The venue opened in 1990 with the addition of the Minnesota Timberwolves to the NBA. The Lynx joined the WNBA in year three of the league’s existence and are beginning to thrive with stars like Maya Moore and Lindsay Whalen.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The food at the Target Center isn't going to blow you out of the water, but it isn't bad either. When the Lynx are playing, you won't find any food that is extraordinary, but it will be your standard stadium fare. At the concession stands that serve burgers and chicken tenders, you can expect to pay anywhere between $8 and $11, but if you're just looking for a hot dog or a brat, you can find that for a much more reasonably priced $5.50. Now, all of this isn't to say that the Target Center doesn't have its special nooks and crannies for food. They have a cash-only stand that has Food Network specialties. You can get a hot dog or sloppy Joe for not much more than a regular hot dog.
If you're looking for beverages, you've got your standard choices - beer, soda, and water. The beverage range runs from $4 to $12, for a gigantic beer. Again, nothing spectacular, but nothing that is going to turn you off from the experience, either.
With the Lynx being Minnesota's lone championship team, there is a definite buzz around the arena. The fans are into the game, the in-game entertainment is diverting and the product on the court is pretty fantastic. The team gives away some pretty cool prizes during the game - the halftime prize for the game that I attended for this review was a basketball autographed by the entire team - and there's a live DJ that helps make the standard music a little more fun. All in all, there's definitely not as much going on as in a Timberwolves game, but the whole place is buzzing about the Lynx.
There is never a lack of things to do in the Warehouse District, which is where the Target Center is situated. From bars to restaurants to shopping, the Warehouse District is always filled with diversions - especially if you want to stay for a day or two. Kitty corner from the arena is the historic First Avenue, where you can typically find a terrific concert on just about any night.
If you're looking for good food, there is any number of restaurants within walking distance. Fogo de Chao is just a block or so away and for the modest price of $48.50, you can get an all-you-can eat smorgasbord of the Brazilian steakhouse variety. If you want something a little less pricey, you can always hit up the Alley, right down the street from the Target Center, where you can get a quality adult beverage and a darn good burger for around $20, total.
While the Warehouse District certainly isn't the worst neighborhood in Minneapolis, there is something to be said for not wandering alone in the area after dark, either.
While the fans at the Target Center certainly aren't impassionate, the crowd can be a bit hit or miss. Maybe it was because there was a Vikings game at Mall of America Field on the same day that I visited the arena or maybe it was just an off night but, for every passionate Lynx fan that was in attendance, there seemed like there were two more that just really didn't care much about the game.
That being said, the fans that were there to see the game were loud and proud, decked out in their Lynx gear. They were into the game, they knew their basketball and, at times, seemed louder than when the Timberwolves play - which says a great deal about their level of enthusiasm.
A block away from the light rail, and at the heart of Minneapolis's downtown area, it's ridiculously easy to get to the Target Center. If you don't have the desire for public transport, there are at least four parking ramps within a block's walk of the arena. As with any parking at sporting events, though, it can be a touch pricey, so taking the public transportation could be your best bet.
The Lynx are the lone championship team that the landscape of Minnesota sports has, so you know you're going to get a good product on the court. On top of that, the only tickets sold for the games are in the lower bowl, so you can get a very good seat for $10, at the very least. While there isn't a ton going on outside of the game, the on-court product and the basic stadium food is more than enough for an enjoyable evening, and you certainly can't beat the prices.
The Target Center isn't the shining jewel of downtown Minneapolis that it once was. For the most part, it's a bit outdated and, quite frankly, dirty in some spots. Also, going to a Lynx game, you're not going to get the full effect of the stadium as you would at a Timberwolves game, because only half the stadium is open. Expect a lot of this to change, however, as there is a multi-million dollar renovation of the Target Center in the works.
In the litany of sporting arenas in the Twin Cities, the Target Center is undoubtedly drifting towards the bottom. While it's not a terrible place to go see a game, the fact is that the venue isn't entirely open certainly inhibits the amount of fun that could be had. That said, the Lynx have a tremendous product and it's an exciting time to be a Lynx fan, as the team is the top team in the WNBA at the moment. Maybe it's time for you to head down and check out a game.
Member Review by paul on Aug 23, 2012
I haven't been to a Lynx game, but I have been to a couple of T-Wolves games at the Target Center, and while the facility is fine, it really is all about location. I really like Minneapolis as a sports town, and I would see a trip to see the Twins and Lynx on the same day as a great doubleheader. Go to Ike's in between games for a fantastic cheeseburger
645 Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55403
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