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3 tips for safely navigating Minneapolis on Super Bowl Weekend

The big weekend is finally here. It's been nearly four years in the making. And although Vikings fans may still be reeling from the heartbreaking end to such a hopeful season, there are plenty of reasons to celebrate this groundbreaking event at our state-of-the-art stadium.

Even if you don't have tickets to the big game itself, you might be planning to participate in the festivities - perhaps the Super Bowl Experience at the Minneapolis Convention Center, Super Bowl LIVE along Nicollet Mall, or the many performances, photo ops and pop-up events around town.

However, you'll need to beware of more than just Eagles fans. Traffic, of course, will be horrendous, and getting around could very well be a nightmare.

Follow these tips to stay safe while you're out and about:

1. Plan ahead.

As you're strategizing the weekend's activities, take the time to decide not just where you'll go, but also how you'll get there - especially on Super Bowl Sunday. An intimidating place to navigate even on normal days, downtown Minneapolis will be fraught with road closures, detours and out-of-town drivers.

Consider leaving the car at home and opting for public transportation instead. Although light-rail lines to and from the stadium will only be accessible to those with official Super Bowl tickets (and Gameday Fan Express Passes), extra buses will be available. Scope out your routes beforehand and review the official guide to getting around. This effort will save you from having to walk outside in the frigid cold for blocks or wasting time due to traffic snarls.

2. Pay attention while behind the wheel.

Driving downtown, you're likely to face distractions - from helicopters and blimps circling overhead to possible celebrity sightings to bar brawls between rowdy Eagles fans. Add to that the challenge of navigating and finding parking, and you might find yourself taking your eyes off the road - even rear-ending someone at a stoplight (or worse).

Put your cellphone away and enlist the help of passengers so you can focus on the road. Such dynamic, high-stress traffic situations demand your undivided attention.

3. Don't take chances when it comes to drinking and driving.

For football fans of all stripes, game day is synonymous with beer. Yes, it also brings to mind wings, pizza, nachos and other delicious indulgences - but mostly beer. And there's nothing wrong with that, so long as you don't endanger yourself (or others) by getting behind the wheel after a few too many.

Wherever you'll be watching the game - whether your favorite sports bar, the comfort of a friend's sofa or the epicenter of U.S. Bank Stadium itself - plan ahead so you're not tempted to take chances. Recruit a designated driver, call a cab, take a bus or get an Uber (and be prepared to pay top dollar). If in doubt, don't drive.

The last thing you want on such a momentous weekend is to end up in jail - or in the hospital. Make it memorable, but for the right reasons.

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