When Minnesota Vikings ticket buyers left the Metrodome in 2013, TCF Bank Stadium was supposed to just be a placeholder before its new stadium opened its doors in 2016. However, last season TCF proved that it could be just as formidable and welcoming a home field for the Vikings as the Metrodome ever was. What was supposed to be a mere pit stop now has some built-in character all its own.
TCF Bank Stadium is, of course, the home of the University of Minnesota’s Golden Gophers football team. Opened in 2009, TCF is perfectly suited for the college ranks but slightly undersized for the pro level. It’s 52,000 capacity makes it the smallest venue in the NFL, but that also ensures that every seat is filled—none of the expansive, barren upper bowls that sometimes dot other team’s home stadiums. TCF’s small size also ensures every seat boasts great acoustics and sight lines. And what comes across as cozy and communal for home fans can come across as tight and claustrophobic for opposing teams and spectators.
There’s plenty of parking available around the stadium, and you can also take public rail transit to and from the building as well. If you’re hungry, check out the stadium’s trademark chili. It’s delicious and relatively affordable, and it’ll warm your insides up in that frigid late season winter weather.
Barring really unforeseen circumstances, 2015 is going to be the Vikings’ final year at TCF Stadium. So this is your last chance to experience a game there for yourself. Not many people can say they’ve watched an NFL game on a college campus—and as beautiful one as this.