Free Parking at the Minnesota State Fair

Is there Free Parking at the Minnesota State Fair?

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The Minnesota State Fair is the biggest event in Minnesota, with around 1.7 million people attending every year over the 12 days of the fair.

Parking at the fair is available but is expensive ($12 in 2012) and lots can fill up fast. Here are the directions to the State Fair's parking lots.

What about parking for people with disabilities? There is parking for guests with disabilities in the Minnesota State Fair parking lots, but the fee is the same.

Motorbikes are not free either, the fee to park a motorcycle at the Minnesota State Fair is $6 in 2012.

What about free street parking near the Minnesota State Fair? All of the residential streets near the fairgrounds have parking restrictions during the State Fair to prevent fair visitors parking on the local streets. The City of St. Paul, the city of Falcon Heights, and the city of Roseville all put temporary parking restrictions in place during the fair, primarily to deter the congestion from State Fair visitors, so residents and also emergency vehicles can use the streets.

If you want to find legal street parking for the Minnesota State Fair and avoid the State Fair parking restrictions, you'll have to park and walk around 2 miles from the nearest unrestricted free street parking. Head south or north of the Fairground - otherwise you'll only find parking restrictions from Como Park to the east and the University of Minnesota St. Paul campus to the west.

If walking 2 miles doesn't appeal to you, then many entrepreneurial residents who live near the State Fair in St. Paul will let you park on their lawn or in their driveway for the right price. Look out for signs in neighborhoods immediately to the east of the Fairgrounds. Typical prices are $5-$15, depending on how far it is to the Fairgrounds.

Is there any free parking at the Minnesota State Fair? Yes, but only if your vehicle is a bicycle. There are three bike corrals at the Minnesota State Fair, which are free to use.

So how can you park for free at the Minnesota State Fair? There are several park-and-ride lots with free parking and regular free shuttle buses to the Minnesota State Fair. Drive in, park your car for free, and ride the bus to the Fair for free. There are over 20 park-and-ride lots distributed around St. Paul and Roseville which are open every day of the Minnesota State Fair, plus another 10 park-and-ride lots which operate at the weekends and Labor Day. Here's a map of the Minnesota State Fair parking lots.

The lots can get busy, especially at peak times, but they are close together so it's usually easy to drive to another lot if your first choice is full, and the buses run every 20 minutes.

Another option is using one of the Express buses which run to the fair from locations around the Twin Cities and suburbs. These buses require a fare - for 2012 the fair is $5 for a round trip for every person over 5 years of age. What do you get for the money? It's fast and the buses are air-conditioned.

And another bus option is by using the regular city bus. Metro Transit operates a number of regular bus routes that serve the Minnesota State Fair, with stops right outside the main entrance to the fairgrounds. Regular fares apply to all passengers. A one-way, non-rush hour ticket is $1.75 in 2012, children age 6-12 are 75c, and under 5s are free. The advantage of using Metro Transit buses is that they are much less crowded than the free park-and-ride buses.