Opening day at the 2022 Minnesota State Fair. Credit: Drew Arrieta | Sahan Journal

The Great Minnesota Get Together can be a great pain in the butt without a proper transportation plan. 

Each year, some two million people arrive at the fairgrounds in Falcon Heights. Showing up in your car on a busy day to find the only available parking in someone’s front yard and will cost you $50 isn’t the best way to start what is already an expensive day for many families.  

The Minnesota State Fair starts Thursday, August 24, and ends Labor Day, September 4. Here’s how to get there smoothly, no matter how you roll. 


State Fair lots are first-come, first-served and tend to fill up in a hurry. Lots open at 6 a.m., an hour before the gates do. Vehicle lots are $20 per day. You can track the status of parking lots on the State Fair’s website. 

A number of unofficial parking spots are typically available in the neighborhoods near the fairgrounds. Some residents sell spots in their yards, but prices vary and can be expensive. 

Park and rides

There are 31 local park and ride lots that serve the State Fair. Parking and buses are both free from these locations, which are mostly in St. Paul and east side suburbs. The majority of lots are at churches and schools. 

All buses arrive and pick up at the transit lot on the west side of the fairgrounds. 

Express bus

Metro Transit, Minnesota Valley Transit Authority, and SouthWest Transit all run express buses to the fairgrounds. 

Metro Transit express routes are $6 roundtrip ($5 via the Metro Transit app). Service runs every 30 minutes from Blaine (95th Avenue Park and Ride), Minnetonka (Hopkins Crossroad Park and Ride), Bloomington (30th Avenue Park and Ride) and Cottage Grove (Cottage Grove Park and Ride). 

Minnesota Valley Transit Authority runs express service from Burnsville, Eagan, and Shakopee. Tickets are $6 round trip. The service operates from Burnsville Transit Station, Eagan Transit Station, and the Southbridge Crossings Park and Ride in Shakopee. Times vary depending on the location, but generally run every 15 minutes on weekends and every half hour on weekdays. 

SouthWest Transit offers express buses to the fair on select days from Chanhassen, Chaska, and Eden Prairie. SouthWest Transit will only run buses August 24-27 and August 30-September 3. Service on those days will operate every 20 minutes. Fares are $6 roundtrip and free for children under 5. Buses leave from East Creek Station in Chaska, SouthWest Village in Chanhassen, and SouthWest Station in Eden Prairie. 

Local transit lines

For local bus routes, Metro Transit’s Route 3, Route 61, and the Metro A Line all take riders close to the fairgrounds. Local buses are $2 for a ride or $2.50 during rush hours (Monday-Friday 6-9 a.m. and 3-6:30 p.m.). 

Route 3 runs between downtown Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul along Como Avenue. Route 61 also runs between the two downtowns, passing through the fairgrounds on Larpenteur Avenue. 

The Metro A Line, a bus rapid transit route, connects south Minneapolis to the fairgrounds via Snelling Avenue in St. Paul. Riders on the Green Line light rail can connect to the A Line at the Snelling Avenue stop. 


There are two protected routes that take bicycles and scooters straight to the fairgrounds. The Como Avenue off-street bike lane in St. Paul goes right by the main entrance. The University of Minnesota Transitway, open to university buses, all bikes, and scooters, also takes riders to entrances off Como Avenue. 

There is free bike parking at Gate 9 off Como Avenue (new this year), at Gate 2 on the north end near the intersection of Snelling Avenue and Hoyt Avenue, and at Gate 16 off Randall Avenue on the west side of the fairgrounds. 

Andrew Hazzard is a staff reporter with Sahan Journal who focuses on climate change and environmental justice issues. After starting his career in daily newspapers in Mississippi and North Dakota, Andrew...