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Happenings at the Commons Park

Minneapolis gets some green space next to U.S. Bank Stadium—now how will we use it this summer?


Last summer, the Commons opened a couple blocks west of U.S. Bank Stadium as a green space where all are welcome to roam and relax—even dogs. It’s operated and managed by Green Minneapolis, a nonprofit conservancy created to improve the vibrancy of downtown with sustainability projects that have included planting trees and revitalizing Peavey Plaza.

Photo by Kelly Allen

Before venturing to Green Minneapolis’ first project—the $22-million Commons park—for the first time, I imagined it as a large, simple patch of grass. In actuality, it’s much more. A sizeable green space does lie between Portland and Park Avenues, but winding paths, small grassy hills, and a play area with a sculpture-like jungle gym (for kids and kids at heart) fill the area. Food trucks line the park with delicacies to enjoy at the tables and benches dispersed throughout. If you don't want to spend cash on a drink, water fountains stand at your disposal.

Park amenities include two carts: a game cart with lawn and board games and a reading cart full of best sellers and titles from local publishers. A public art installation will appear for a short time June 10 through July 31.

The Commons
Photo by Kelly Allen

The Commons
Photo by Kelly Allen

The Commons
Photo by Kelly Allen

Perhaps more exciting than these daily features are the programs and events taking place throughout the summer.

The lineup includes events created by Green Minneapolis and local partners, along with independent providers such as the X Games. Green Minneapolis based its programming this summer (falling on a testing year to gauge interest) on input gathered from social media. (This might quell any annoyance over the Vikings getting programming rights over half the public commons during home-game days.)

The Commons
Photo by Kelly Allen

Whip out your calendars and save the dates, folks. Here are a few events headed your way:

Recurring Events (free and open to the public)

Mill City Farmers Market
When: Tuesdays, July 18–September 26, 3:30–7:30 p.m.
Pick up fresh, organic produce and local artisan foods from Mill City Farmers Market. Food vendors will cook up seasonal recipes in the evenings. Arrive hungry, enjoy live music, and feast surrounded by good company.

Film Festival
When: June 29, July 27, August 10, & August 24, 7 p.m.
A large-format LED screen allows for easy viewing of four popular titles and features by local filmmakers, before and after sundown. The event is the first ever Commons-produced BYO event. So if you want to bring and consume your own wine or beer in the park, you’re in luck. (The scheduled films have yet to be announced.)

Summer Extravaplaza
When: June 23, June 30, July 21, & July 28, Noon–1 p.m.
Looking to liven up your lunch break? Grab some grub, take a walk, and check out musical performances by MacPhail Center for Music students. Just make sure to finish chewing before you sing along.

Fly Feet HIIT & Run
When: June 15, July 20, August 17, September 21, 6–7 p.m.
Take a step toward shattering your fitness goals with the help of running coaches at Fly Feet Running. Test out the free classes and maybe you’ll find yourself wanting to sign up for classes at their downtown location.

Single Events (free and open to the public)

Northern Spark
When: Saturday, June 10, 8:59 p.m.–5:26 a.m.
At Northern Spark’s art festival, experience nearly 70 art projects along the METRO Green Line from sunset to sunrise. The festival explores the effects of climate change. Rest up for a night of thought-provoking pieces.

Lit Community Picnic
When: Saturday, June 17, Noon–2 p.m.
Celebrate eight years of the Twin Cities Literary Calendar with a picnic lunch in the park. Load up on soft drinks and snacks, bring a picnic lunch, or tote a food item to share. Go for the giveaways and announcements regarding upcoming author events, stay to hang out with other members of the literary community.

Make Music Day Twin Cities
When: Wednesday, June 21, 7–8 p.m.
Go out for a bite to eat in the city, then take a walk through the Commons to enjoy a series of performances by local musicians. Maybe your next favorite musician has been in your neck of the woods this whole time.

Aquatennial Yoga with CorePower Yoga
When: Friday, July 21, 5:30–6:30 p.m.
Partake in yoga with instructors from CorePower Yoga. Whether you’re a professional yogi or you’ve never touched a yoga mat, all are welcome.

External Events

X Games Concerts
When: June 14 at 10:45 p.m., June 15 at 10:45 p.m., and June 16 at 5:30 p.m.
ESPN will produce a concert series at the Commons in conjunction with the televised X Games competition inside U.S. Bank Stadium. This is a ticketed event, and the acts include A Day To Remember, Flume, and Atmosphere.

Badass Dash
When: June 3, 8 a.m.
Badass Dash comes to Minneapolis for the first time with an ultimate obstacle course challenge and endurance race. Competitors will compete on a 7K course through the inside and outside of the stadium.

Vikings Activations
When: August 27, August 31, September 11, September 24, October 1, October 15, October 22, November 19
On home-game days, the Minnesota Vikings will provide inflatables, music, food trucks, and more. The event is free and open to the public.

The Commons
Photo by Kelly Allen

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