City of Lakes Loppet Winter Festival

Parking & Transportation


We encourage participants to bike, bus, ski, or walk to the City of Lakes Loppet Winter Festival events. For those who choose to drive, please read the sections below for information on parking and drop off / pickup.

With 15,000 participants making their way to Minneapolis’ Parks for the City of Lakes Loppet Winter Festival, transportation takes some preparation. Read this overview, then glance below to be sure you understand road closures, parking availabilities, and more that may affect your day.

On Friday, parking is available at Theodore Wirth Park in The Trailhead parking lot and the Theodore Wirth Chalet parking lot. 

On Saturday and Sunday, racers starting at Bde Maka Ska are responsible for getting to the start line on their own. Their best option is to be dropped off at the Bde Maka Ska North Beach parking lot (2710 W Lake St, Minneapolis), park in the Lakeside Center (formerly Calhoun Executive Center)lot (3033 Excelsior Boulevard, Minneapolis), or park in the public lots and neighborhoods nearby. A shuttle (operating 11:00am – 4:00pm) will bring racers from the finish at the Trailhead back to the Calhoun Executive Center after their races.

On Saturday and Sunday, racers, event participants, and spectators coming to Theodore Wirth Park should plan to park at the Mortenson Lots (700 Meadow Lane and 4100 Olson Memorial Highway, Golden Valley). 

Be sure to check your specific event page(s) in case there are specific parking or transportation instructions for your event.

Saturday Luminary Loppet participants should plan to take Metro Transit busses, bike, or park in the neighborhoods and public lots surrounding Lake of the Isles. We are working with Metro Transit to provide free bus passes for Luminary participants (stay tuned).

There is no shuttle bus transportation for bikes or dogs. Point-to-point bikers can arrange for separate pick-up or can take the shuttle back to the Executive Center, pick up a vehicle, then proceed back to Wirth Park for their bike.

Parking at Theodore Wirth Park

Saturday/Sunday Drop off / Pick up

Road Closures

Parking at Bde Maka Ska (Start of point to point races)

  • Please allow yourself extra time to find parking. Note that your car is your best warming place. If possible, it is helpful to pick up your packet before race day.
  • North Beach Parking Lot: No participant parking (volunteer/permit parking only). But drop offs are allowed. Please see section below about Bde Maka Ska drop offs.
  • Lakeside Center (formerly Calhoun Executive Center): Participant parking available
  • There is also significant nearby neighborhood and general lot parking.

Drop off / pick up near Bde Maka Ska

Parking at Theodore Wirth Park

  • Mortenson Lot: Participant parking available. Mortenson is walking distance to the festival.
  • Participant parking available on street in nearby neighborhoods.
  • There is very limited parking available at any Theodore Wirth Park Parking Lots. It is by Race Permit only (volunteers, staff, certain participant groups with extra considerations). Roads will be closed and monitored for permits.

Drop off / pick up in Theodore Wirth Park

  • Dropoffs and pickups will be allowed at the Chalet (1301 Theodore Wirth Pkwy). Please note that access to the Trailhead will be closed at Hwy 55. You will need to approach the Chalet via Plymouth Ave from the east or Golden Valley Rd from the north.

Shuttle

  • The Trailhead (where all races finish) to and from Lakeside Center (formerly Calhoun Executive Center) (near the point to point race start), 11:00am-4:00pm.
  • Note: There is no shuttle bus between The Trailhead and the Mortenson parking lot.
  • As there is an abundance of parking near the start at Bde Maka Ska there is no shuttle service to bring racers to the beginning of any point-to-point races. Park at the Lakeside Center (formerly Calhoun Executive Center) and walk/ski/bike to North Beach for the start.
  • The shuttle cannot accommodate dogs and bikes. Please check the skijor and bike event pages for suggestions and other alternatives.

The 10,000 Luminary Loppet participants use a number of means of transport to reach Lake of the Isles. We suggest the following, in order of preference.

Walk or bike

  • If you live within 15 minutes by human power you’ll likely be best served (as will the environment) to simply walk or bike to the event.

Take public transit

  • We are working with MetroTransit to provide free bus rides to Luminary Loppet participants. Stay tuned. Nearly one-third of all Luminary participants have used Metro Transit in the past. Visit metrotransit.org for information on bus service to the Uptown area.

Take a taxi or rideshare

  • Consider having someone else drop you off. We suggest on Lake St. or Hennepin Ave., as traffic slows down closer to the lake.

Drive and park nearby

  • While roads near Lake of the Isles are congested during the event, and nearby on-street parking can be hard to find, many people like to drive and park themselves.

Road Closures

Parking at Bde Maka Ska (Start of point to point races)

  • Please allow yourself extra time to find parking. Note that your car is your best warming place. If possible, it is helpful to pick up your packet before race day.
  • North Beach Parking Lot: No participant parking (volunteer/permit parking only). But drop offs are allowed. Please see section below about Bde Maka Ska drop offs.
  • Lakeside Center (formerly Calhoun Executive Center): Participant parking available
  • If the Lakeside Center parking lot is full, there is also significant nearby neighborhood and general lot parking.

Drop off / pick up near Bde Maka Ska

  • North Beach Parking Lot: Available for participant drop off/pick up. But there are also many places on the parkway around the lake where you can pull in and then ski/bike/walk to the start at North Beach.

Parking at Theodore Wirth Park

  • Mortenson Lot: Participant parking available. Mortenson is walking distance to the festival.
  • Participant parking available on street in nearby neighborhoods.
  • There is very limited parking available at any Theodore Wirth Park Parking Lots. It is by Race Permit only (volunteers, staff, certain participant groups with extra considerations). Roads will be closed and monitored for permits.

Drop off / pick up in Theodore Wirth Park

  • Dropoffs and pickups will be allowed at the Chalet (1301 Theodore Wirth Pkwy). Please note that access to the Trailhead will be closed at Hwy 55. You will need to approach the Chalet via Plymouth Ave from the east or Golden Valley Rd from the north.

Shuttle

  • The Trailhead (where all races finish) to and from Lakeside Center (formerly Calhoun Executive Center) (near the point to point race start), 11:00am-4:00pm.
  • Note: There is no shuttle bus between The Trailhead and the Mortenson parking lot.
  • As there is an abundance of parking near the start at Bde Maka Ska there is no shuttle service to bring racers to the beginning of any point-to-point races. Park at the Lakeside Center (formerly Calhoun Executive Center) and walk/ski/bike to North Beach for the start.
  • The shuttle cannot accommodate dogs and bikes. Please check the skijor and bike event pages for suggestions and other alternatives.