The NCAA Final Four men’s basketball championship finds its way to U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis this weekend. How’s your bracket? Most people I know are in tears.
Luckily, the Cities have some distractions on hand, for us and out-of-staters. (And, no, ironically misspelling “liability” on its “libility” disclaimers doesn’t count.)
Here are fun ways to turn your literal March madness around.
Finnegans Brew Co. knows that Sunday, April 7, is also National Beer Day. They have a Bracket Buster Ale, available alongside their flagship Irish Ale at the stadium, and game-day food by Elliot Park Hotel’s Tavola Italian Kitchen + Bar. There’s also a pedal pub going on: Weekend long, starting at noon or 3:30 p.m., groups of 12-16 people ferry themselves around Minneapolis on a sippable, 90-minute wheely tour that’s first-come, first-served. Meanwhile, at Punch Bowl Social on April 8, you’ll find all-you-can-eat wings, chips, and salsa, plus all-you-can-drink Coors Light and Hamm’s.
Cheffy pop-ups! Check out Justin “Iron Chef” Sutherland’s all-star barbecue party; he’s called on a team of chefs for his BlackStack Final Four Taproom Takeover, at St. Paul’s BlackStack Brewing—including JD Fratzke, Mecca Bos (*cough* Minnesota Monthly contributor *cough*), the man behind Cry Baby Craig’s hot sauce, and more. There’s also the Whole Hog Brunch at Butcher & the Boar, 10 a.m. through 2 p.m.
The Final Four Fan Fest posts up at the Minneapolis Convention Center from Friday, April 5, through Monday, April 8. This is the NCAA-official, athlete-sighting, “sports wonderland” event. Sink some shots, get some autographs, rock climb, smack some home runs, and get your kids in (12 and under) for free.
Final Four Friday lets you stroll through U.S. Bank Stadium free of charge, to soak it in and watch the teams practice.
The March Madness Music Series at the Armory (April 5-7) is, alas, sold out. But maybe you’ll spot a few of these performing artists hanging around: Katy Perry, the Chainsmokers, the Jonas Brothers, Zedd…
On Nicollet Mall:
Tip-Off Tailgate: Starting on Friday, April 5, you’ll find samples at setups by Coca-Cola, Wendy’s, Pizza Hut, and Buffalo Wild Wings among the tailgaters, along with DJ sets, dance offs, and crowd karaoke.
Ferris wheel: It’s 10 stories tall, in the middle of Tenth Street. Check in as soon as events kick off Friday, April 5.
Fitz and the Tantrums: On Monday, April 8, the indie pop group plays on 11th Street. Also look out for Belladiva and Good for Gary.