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Maximize Your Minneapolis Trip

Regular season, Week 3, Sept. 26: Seattle at Minnesota, U.S. Bank Stadium, 1:25 p.m. Pacific

SPONSORED – The site of the coldest football game in Seattle’s history is also where I got the hottest burger I’ve ever tasted.

Not the spiciest, mind you. The hottest. I’m talking molten cheese that is cooked into the middle of a formidable beef patty on the grill at Matt’s Bar and Grill. It is called the Jucy Lucy, and it is a regional specialty that is a specifically delicious source of historical dispute over who created it and how it’s spelled. Juicy Lucy?

I opt for Matt’s Bar and Grill (3500 Cedar, Minneapolis, 612.722.7072) for the very specific reason that it is close to my brother’s house. He’s lived in Minneapolis for more than 5 years now. Just don’t ask him if you get used to the cold. You don’t. You learn to appreciate the benefits of the three other seasons, though, and September is an especially pleasant month in the city.

Starting in 2014, Minneapolis was the site for a “Rails and Ales” event that celebrated the local breweries and tap rooms. This year, it will be a self-guided tour that you can take any time between Sept. 12 and Oct. 25. You must be 21 or over, and tickets are $35, but it is an absolutely great way to get a taste of some of the region’s best beers.

If you’re looking for an unfermented afternoon, there are some really good parks:

  • Minnehaha Regional Park features a waterfall more than 50 feet high
  • The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, which encompasses 19 acres and is free to enter
  • Chain of Lakes Regional Park, which is southwest of the city center and has pedestrian trails connecting five different shorelines with biking and boating available and the Lyndale Park Rose Garden

As for Sunday’s game, there will be a roof overhead this time, which is a marked change from the playoff game back in January 2016. That game was played on the campus of University of Minnesota and was the coldest game in Seahawks history: -6 degrees Fahrenheit at kickoff.

Travel: Alaska Airline has two non-stop flights from Sea-Tac to Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) on most days. The Minneapolis airport has an incredible website that tells you everything from current security-line waits to parking availability. There is a local light-rail service that goes north – to downtown Minneapolis – or south to the Mall of America.

Stadium: This is the fifth season of operation for Minnesota’s fancy new football stadium with an angled glass roof that allows views of the Minneapolis skyline. It is the first fixed-roof stadium in the league since Ford Field in Detroit, which opened in 2002.

Last time here: Seattle played a preseason game at Minnesota last season. The last meaningful game before that was absolutely unforgettable as the coldest game in Seattle’s history took place in January 2016, a playoff game in which Seattle scored 10 points in the fourth quarter and then survived a missed field-goal attempt in the final minute.

Dining: Matt’s Bar and Grill (3500 Cedar, Minneapolis, 612.722.7072); The Butcher and the Boar (1121 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, 612.238.8888) is heaven for any carnivores while my personal off-the-wall favorite is Pizza Luce, which has eight locations, features the baked-potato pizza, which is outrageously good.