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Minnesota State Fair Pro Tips

There are a few tricks to the trade when it comes to navigating the Minnesota State Fair. We hope these 6 tips will help you skip the lines or save a few bucks.

1. Get Discounted Tickets

You know you’re going to end up going, so why not save yourself a little cash with pre-fair discount tickets? Tickets are available for $13 through August 25—get them online, the fairgrounds ticket office, by phone or at a variety of Twin Cities Cub locations. Save even more fun money by purchasing pre-fair ride and attraction tickets. Regular fair-time admission prices are $16 for adults, $14 for seniors (65+), $14 for kids (5-12) and free for children 4 and under. 

2. Deals

With more than 150 food, merchandise and attraction coupons, the $5 Blue Ribbon Bargain Book more than pays for itself.
Plan your visit around Discount Days for savings on gate admission, food, merch, games and rides. 2021 Discount Days include Opening Day (Aug. 26), Senior Day (Aug. 30 & Sept 2), Military Appreciation Day (Aug. 31) and Kids Day (Sept. 1 & Sept. 6). 
Stop by any information booth for the Deals, Drawings & Giveaways Guide listing the day's best values, free stuff and hidden values at the fair.

3. Food

  • There are three Sweet Martha’s locations. You’ll nearly always find a line at the Grandstand and Carnes locations. Save yourself a little time by venturing out to the North End for the lesser trafficked Randall-Underwood stand.
  • You’re going to need milk to go with those cookies, and the best deal on dairy at the fair is the $2 All-You-Can-Drink Milk Stand kitty-corner from the Coliseum at Judson & Clough.
  • Did you know the State Fair has a grocery store and deli? Steichen’s, the slightly hidden market behind the Poultry Barn on Commissary Way, is your stop for general convenience store items and anything you may have forgotten at home.
  • Study up on the fair's new foods for the year and make a plan for which ones to try.
  • The fair has an online Food Finder, which is your go-to for mapping out the 500+ menu items available. 

4. Transportation

While the fair does provide limited on-site paid parking, it’s one of those “better get there early” kind of things. We recommend taking Metro Transit’s State Fair Express (operating out of dozens of free parking sites in the Twin Cities) or utilizing the free park & ride service from 30 locations around the fairgrounds.

5. Getting Around

If you want to get from one end of the fair to the other without weaving through hundreds of fairgoers, it’s worth spending a few bucks on the Skyride, Skyglider or trolley (bonus that they’re fun to ride). Scooters, wheelchairs, wagons and strollers are also available to those who need extra assistance. (Photo: Will Wright)

6. Stay Cool

Beat the heat (and the crowds) by arriving when the gates open at 6 a.m. You won’t find everything open that early (typically happens by 9 a.m.), but it’s a great opportunity to grab some coffee, breakfast and navigate the streets with ease. Portable fans can be a life-saver later in the day and we also recommend a refillable water bottle for free hydration (plus environmental brownie points).

 

Are you a Minnesota State Fair Pro? Send us your expert tips and share using #MYSAINTPAUL.

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