View images from Tuesday's media tour of U.S. Bank Stadium, which will formally open later this week.
After nearly three years of construction, U.S. Bank Stadium is less than three days away from its ribbon cutting and grand opening.
Twin Cities media members were given the opportunity Tuesday to tour the venue. Although I drive past the stadium regularly and have been fascinated by the exterior progress, I haven't been on an indoor tour of the space since my **initial walkthrough on Jan. 16**. Needless to say, things have changed.* *
As a born-and-raised Minnesotan who grew up a Vikings fan, it's exciting to cover the launching of a new era.
Here are my ABC's of U.S. Bank Stadium that I think fans will enjoy:
It's nearly impossible to choose an element of U.S. Bank Stadium that's the most unique, as the entire venue offers fans a one-of-a-kind experience. One of my favorite aspects, however, is the artwork throughout the stadium. As part of the Vikings commitment to honoring Minnesota culture and the community, 350 custom art pieces – and more than 40 local artists – are featured.
From prints adorning the walls near main entrances, to larger-than-life game-action photographs by Vikings photographer Andy Kenutis in the FMP Club, to a pop art mural spanning 25 yards, fans will have the opportunity to view a myriad of creativity.
Although the video boards had recently been installed prior to my winter tour of U.S. Bank Stadium, they weren't in use. Today I had the opportunity to personally see the incredible quality of high-definition LED video boards that were made by Daktronics in Redwood Falls, Minnesota. The sheer size of the boards is impressive in itself (it was impossible to stand beneath one and fit more than half in a photo), but the low placement of the east and west boards allows fans to view them from any seat in the house without missing any game action.
Walking through the stadium, I couldn't get over how much accessibility is available for fans. In addition to 11 elevators throughout the venue, there are also 33 escalators that can change direction based on the event and traffic flow.
U.S. Bank Stadium is also fully ADA-compliant, and I appreciated seeing the number of ADA seating options available.
I'm fairly certain that, at any single point in U.S. Bank Stadium, you could look around and know you're in the home of the Minnesota Vikings. From the Norseman logo ornamenting the locker room ceiling to the "Vikings decades" wall wraps in the loft suites hallway, every bit of the venue will immerse fans in the Vikings culture and history.
One of the first things that I noticed after stepping foot into U.S. Bank Stadium was the immense amount of natural lighting that the state-of-the-art ETFE material on 60 percent of the roof allows in. It really does feel like you're viewing a game from an outdoor stadium, and yet you won't have to worry about the Minnesota elements.
Combine that with the number of windows throughout the entire space, and every area was well-lit.
Best seats in town
Wherever your seats are for a first look at the Vikings in their new home, they're good ones. In a stadium uniquely designed with fan experience as a primary focus, there's really not a bad seat in the house. **Single-game tickets** go on sale Wednesday so don't miss out on your chance to take part in the inaugural season of U.S. Bank Stadium.
Of the six club areas, no two are alike. The spaces range from 9,449 square feet (Buffalo Wild Wings Club) to almost 20,000 square feet (Hyundai Club) and each one offers a unique design, view and experience for fans.
The Delta Sky360° Club includes a player walkway that runs through the club from the Vikings locker room to the field and is closer in proximity to the field than any other suite area in the NFL. The Medtronic Club is the only two-story club and features two beautiful stone fireplaces.
My favorite club is Mystic Lake's Club Purple. True to its name, the space is decked out with Vikings purple – from the carpet, to lighted panels behind the bar to couches overlooking the field. Club Purple also capitalizes on incredible views of both the field and the downtown Minneapolis skyline.
If you grew up attending Vikings or Twins games at the Metrodome and remember the space constraints, you won't take the concourses at U.S. Bank Stadium for granted. Whether you're traveling to your seats, seeking out concessions at halftime or finding the nearest restroom, you won't have to go far! Exploring the Vikings new home will be much more convenient.
At Mall of America Field, the average concourse width was 24 feet. At U.S. Bank Stadium, all the concourses range from 32 to 50 feet wide, which promises to make the game day experience more enjoyable for fans.
While I haven't personally tasted the **variety of concessions options**, I was impressed simply at the number of options and also the types of food offered. What especially stood out to me was the assortment of local restaurants represented and the Minnesota-themed food – from "Stone Arch" Pizza referencing Minneapolis' Stone Arch Bridge, to a "North Star" concession stop. Whether you are craving a good old fashioned bratwurst or half-pound cookie from T-Rex Cookie Company, U.S. Bank Stadium has it all.