We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Weekend in Minneapolis in an RV

Dyer, Indiana
Level Contributor
149 posts
14 reviews
Save Topic
Weekend in Minneapolis in an RV

Hi all!

I am thinking about renting an RV here in Chicago and driving up with 6 friends for a Vikings game in late November. Problem is, I have no idea where to park the RV overnight in or around Minneapolis. I looked at all the local state parks and they close up by Halloween. I checked hotels, but downtown we would have to pay per parking space we take up (probably 4-5 since the RV is 29') and in the suburbs we would have to drive the RV into downtown to check out the nightlife (which would be a big pain). So where does this leave me?? Are there any tailgating lots around the dome where people camp out for a couple of days??

I appreciate any help anyone can provide.

Minneapolis...
Level Contributor
1,601 posts
1,061 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Weekend in Minneapolis in an RV

We once rented an RV in Alaska and I remember that Walmart allowed RVs to park overnight in their lots. You might want to check if this is still true. There are Walmarts located in several suburbs, but not downtown. You'd need a rental car, cab or bus to get into downtown. Sounds kind of complicated. Also, consider the end of November we could have snow and miserable driving conditions. Totally unpredictable.

Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
882 posts
91 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Weekend in Minneapolis in an RV

Yes, I have heard the Walmart deal (though have not confirmed) and there is one in Bloomington near Mall of America. If you could park there, you could take the Light Rail Train to/from downtown, but would have to figure out logistics of getting from Walmart to MOA. You should also consider weather as it is certainly no less predictable than Chicago at that time of year.

As far as parking, I think you'll frankly pay for parking anywhere if you find something downtown. There is almost no free parking downtown, and certainly not for a few days on end. You'd probably at best find something on a public street and only park in the evening 'til morning time. That said, you'll have to think about how important it is to do the RV thing versus just getting a hotel room(s).

There are parking lots with some tailgating, but not sure how to contact them and if they'd let you park for several days (and, again, cost). There are a few downtown churches with parking lots. A bit unconventional, but maybe they'd let you park for a lower amount?

In the end, just my two bits but it may end up bringing in enough expenses and hassles that you'd do just as well to do the hotel room(s) this trip around. RV's are fun, trust me as I've done them, but this may not be the ideal trip for it.

Dyer, Indiana
Level Contributor
149 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Weekend in Minneapolis in an RV

The advice you guys have given has been spot on, and I really appreciate it. I've considered the MOA parking lot, hotel lots, grocery stores, rest areas, etc. But as someone said, the logistics of parking and then getting around the city are really difficult to figure out.

A couple things that I didn't mention was that this is a bachelor party trip, and also my friends and I love roadtrips(who doesn't?). We have never done a RV but have always wanted to, and for those reasons alone I really want to do everything I can to avoid flying. I just think it would take away a major fun/once-in-a-lifetime aspect of the trip.

Anyway, I spoke with a Marriott close to downtown that said we can stay use their lot as long as we pay for it. I might go that route. Another thing to consider is parking somewhere close to the light rail.

How long is the train ride from MOA to downtown?

Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
882 posts
91 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Weekend in Minneapolis in an RV

RV's are a blast, and I agree road trips are great too. I am not much of a fan of flying (well, the actual flying part is okay, but it's the airport and airlines themselves I hate - security, undress to varying degrees, lines, getting nickel-and-dimed by the airline, etc.)

The train from MOA station (in the MOA itself) to downtown is about 40 minutes, not counting waiting for the train to depart, etc. During the day and evening it runs about every 10 minutes, and drops to about once per 30 later in the night. Go to: http://metrotransit.org/rail/index.asp for info on times and stops. If you could actually park in MOA, that may be the way to go. Keep in mind much of their parking is in ramps and I'm not sure of clearance. Also, of course, is the issue if they'd let you park for a few days on end. However, that does make me think...there is what is now a big open lot across the street from MOA next to the big Ikea store. I think I've seen semi's parking there. Maybe an option? You might want to call MOA to inquire if they know anything. That way you'd be only across the street from MOA and be able to get to the station with relatively little hassle.

Finally, which Marriott are you mentioning near downtown? There is the one on 7th Street, but can't imagine they have parking that would suit an RV. There are other Marriott brands nearby, but if you tell us which hotel you're thinking we can probably give you some idea of logistics of getting into downtown itself from that hotel.

Minneapolis...
Level Contributor
1,601 posts
1,061 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Weekend in Minneapolis in an RV

The Marriott Minneapolis West in St.Louis Park has a huge lot and I think one our family members cominging with a HUGE RV parked it there for a function I hosted at this hotel. It's less then 10 minutes down I394 to downtown. It also happens to be a lovely hotel.

Dyer, Indiana
Level Contributor
149 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Weekend in Minneapolis in an RV

The Marriott I spoke with on the phone was Townplace Suites West, so not really downtown. It looks like their sister property, SpringHill Suites West, has complimentary bus parking. But these properties are located in St. Louis Park (I think the same hotels that PlanetR was talking about?)

Is St. Louis Park a manageable cab ride to downtown?

Is there anything to do in St. Louis Park?

I think getting a hotel Saturday night might be a good option. I don't want to stay outside of the downtown area, but with an RV we really don't have much of a choice.

Minneapolis...
Level Contributor
1,601 posts
1,061 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Weekend in Minneapolis in an RV

I don't have first hand knowledge of the hotels you spoke with, but they are about 5 miles from downtown, straight shot down the freeway I 394. I pass them all the time and it's an easy location to get downtown quickly. The Marriott Minneapolis West is about 2 miles further then the 2 hotels you called. I do have first hand knowledge of it and I would recommend the place. As far as things to do, that depends on what your looking for. The time of year you're coming isn't the best for any outdoor activities. Plenty of bars, restaurants and shopping nearby. Consider dumping the RV idea and either driving or flying in and staying right downtown. I think it would be more fun for a group of guys then dealing with an RV in Mpls in the winter. Sorry to be brutally honest, but there you have it. Good luck.

Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
882 posts
91 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Weekend in Minneapolis in an RV

I won't quite say you should ditch the idea of renting an RV, but I think it is worth considering if you want to tackle these issues for this trip - not the least of which sleeping/living in an RV in Minneapolis in late November. I'm not sure how insulated they are (though I'd imagine fairly much so, just a matter of how much you'll want to spend in gas to heat the unit). There is also something to be said about just getting rooms in downtown and not have to worry about the RV at the end of a night. When I did the RV deal, it was to Yellowstone, Idaho for rafting, through Montana and other locations out west, a very different deal with an RV.

St. Louis Park is not a bad suburb by any means and fairly convenient to downtown, but it is still a suburb. There will be restaurants and bars, many of them chains. May not be a lot of other nightlife. If you decide to do the park in the 'burbs deal, I would lean towards Bloomington and within walking distance of MOA, for the reason of the train accessibility. In St. Louis Park, you will almost certainly be looking at taxis back and forth (or rent a car).

Dyer, Indiana
Level Contributor
149 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Weekend in Minneapolis in an RV

Well everyone, I think our trip is almost set.

It looks like we will be booking 2 rooms Saturday night at The Depot Renaissance. They are offering a no refund rate of $99 per room. They also charge $28 for the RV overnight, which is fine by me. The hotel seems close enough to the bars and restaurants we want to walk to. Plus, it just seems like a cool hotel! It will be great to stay in a place like this and get out of our cramped quarters for a night. Can anyone comment on The Depot??

Sunday morning we will check out and go tailgate at the Vikings game.

Friday night (traveling from Chicago to Mpls.) and Sunday night (traveling back to Chicago) are still up in the air as far as if we will pull over to sleep or not, but really that is the least of my concerns. Saturday night was the key to this trip, and it looks like I found the perfect place (I hope).

I haven't made any reservations yet because I want to make sure this is a good plan. If anyone has any more input, fire away.

Thanks to everyone who helped!!!!

Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
882 posts
91 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Weekend in Minneapolis in an RV

The Depot is a nice hotel, was one of my competitors when I was a hotel sales guy in another life. It is near the Dome and lots often used for tailgating, could be walked without much difficulty. If they only charge you $28 for the overnight for parking, I think that is not such a bad deal considering what you're parking. You'll now be able to have the guys trip, try the RV thing on a short term basis, and I bet you'll have a great time - excepting if you get into bad weather to have to drive in. I bet you considered that already. Finally, at $99/night that seems like a good deal for the quality hotel you'll get and on a night preceding a Vikings game.

There's my two cents...