Last week, the Twins opened up the 2017 season here in downtown Mpls with a couple of annual traditions that have seemed to become commonplace since the team moved into Target Field in 2010. They hosted an afternoon ballgame in the home opener, and beforehand they hosted a unique breakfast on Target Plaza featuring hot dogs and brats, stadium treats, photo opportunities with T.C. the Bear and more.

It is the beginning of a season that lasts six months and takes us through the very best days and nights of our Minnesota year. When you visit Target Field during the summer, it’s an experience that brings all your favorite memories of the past and blends them with the excitement of the present. There’s nothing like the smells of the ballpark—the grass on the field, the food being cooked on the grills throughout the concourse.

Couple that with the perfect views at the ballpark—the vision of day turning to night under the lights as the sunset hits the downtown skyline before fading to darkness—and you have a perfect way to spend a summer night.

Being part of the baseball experience in downtown is a special part of our summer atmosphere here in downtown. It’s really a way to enjoy so many great aspects of our city. You come downtown before the game and take in an afternoon or evening on a local patio or rooftop, and in the meantime you’re able to enjoy the atmosphere among fellow Twins and baseball fans.

Then you get to the ballpark, browse the concourse for the perfect gameday meal, and find your way to your seats. While you’re enjoying the game, you’re watching the very best baseball players in the world competing at the highest level. You never know what special moment might happen on that particular night when you’re at the ballpark.

Really when it comes down to it, it’s the people you’re with and the memories you make before, during and after the game that make those evenings so special.

So when you come downtown this year, take some time to really enjoy the people and places around you. I hope the sights, smells and tastes at the ballpark leave a lasting impression on you as they do on me each time I watch the Twins play. Sometimes it’s easy not to think about how special it is to have this opportunity, but there are only 27 cities in North America that have a Major League Baseball team. We’re fortunate to get 81 opportunities each year to go out and enjoy a day or night under the Minnesota sky and take in a MLB game.

Before you come out, find that perfect way to spend the afternoon or evening downtown by viewing our mpls downtown council community calendar. There are plenty of ways to enhance your downtown experience by enjoying activities and converging events, and I hope that helps add to your experience as well.