Hotel Accommodations and Attractions


Conference Hotel

The Commons Hotel 
615 Washington Avenue SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
800-822-6787 or 612-379-8888

A group room block has been arranged with The Commons Hotel. Conveniently located on the University of Minnesota campus with a five-minute walk to the forum locations, The Commons Hotel offers guests an on-site fitness center with state-of-the-art equipment, book butler, in-room art galleries, alchemist mixology lessons, and complimentary transportation within a five-mile radius of the hotel. The Commons Hotel is three minutes from downtown Minneapolis and provides easy access to several local attractions. More information about the University District can be found here.

Guest Room Rates

A guest room rate of $153 for a single or double will be available until July 7, 2017, or as space permits.

To Make a Reservation

Conference attendees are responsible for making and paying for their own room reservations. Guests can call 800-822-6757 or 612-379-8888 and ask for the International Forum on Active Learning Classrooms group rate to receive the discounted room fee. If you prefer, you can make on online room reservation here.

Hotel Parking

Parking is available on a first come, first served basis, in the parking lot located behind the Hotel. A daily parking fee of $15 per day applies and includes "in-and-out" privileges to registered overnight guests. Valet parking is available for $25 per night. 

Hotel Directions

Directions to the hotel are available here.

Campus Parking

The University of Minnesota is an urban campus. There is public parking on campus, but the space is limited. There is no reciprocal parking or in-and-out privileges for campus parking. Many campus surface parking lots do not allow overnight parking. Conference participants staying at hotels are encouraged to leave their vehicles in the hotel parking lots and use alternative means of transportation. There will be campus shuttles, and hotels offer shuttle service.

Please visit the Parking and Transportation website for public parking maps.

Travel Information


You may fly directly to Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport (MSP). Please contact your local travel agency for airline reservations. MSP is well served by nonstop flights from London, Amsterdam, Tokyo, and other major cities.

Ground Transportation

Information on ground transportation from the airport to the hotel is available at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport website. Available ground transportation includes the following:

Light Rail Service

Light Rail service is available to The Commons Hotel from the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport. From the airport take the Minneapolis/Target Field Blue Line to the Downtown East Station then transfer to the Saint Paul/Union Depot Green Line and after a short (five-minute) ride exit at the East Bank Station. The East Bank Station is a brief half-block walk to the hotel. Trains operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and run approximately every 10−15 minutes. The trip from the airport to the East Bank Station generally takes 30 minutes. One-way fare is $1.75−2.25 depending on time of day. View information and route map.

Travelers can find metro bus route information on the Metro Transit website.

Taxi Service

Taxi service is available from the Terminal 1 Tram Level. Taxi service cost from the airport to the hotel is approximately $35−50 one way.


SuperShuttle offers convenient shuttle service to area locations. Call 800-BlueVan or visit the SuperShuttle website to reserve your transportation. Shuttle service is available for approximately $14 each way.

Additional Travel Options

Catch a train: Amtrak

Chicago Megabus, express double-decker bus service from Chicago, Illinois.

Visitor Information

About the University of Minnesota

Founded in 1851 as the state’s land-grant institution, the University of Minnesota is one of the state’s greatest assets and one of the most comprehensive universities in the United States. Located in the heart of the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area, the campus is just minutes from downtown Minneapolis. The Twin Cities campus is situated along the banks of the Mississippi River and in the rolling hills of Saint Paul. Through its strategic positioning plan, the University is making strides to become one of the top three public research universities in the world within a decade. At all of its locations—the Twin Cities, Duluth, Morris, Crookston, and Rochester—the University is moving in a new direction to meet the challenges of the 21st century. To read more about the University of Minnesota, visit the website.

About Minneapolis and Saint Paul

The Twin Cities are located in the great state of Minnesota, proud of its many lakes, including the great lake of Superior; the mighty Mississippi River, whose origin is located in northern Minnesota and travels through the state, gracing the state’s rich landscape; and diverse cultures, industry, and history.

The cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul offer a wealth of attractions for its residents and visitors. The Twin Cities are home to world-class museums, an array of theaters, concert halls, diverse restaurants, exciting sporting events, and the largest retail and entertainment complex in the United States—the Mall of America.

Recently, Minneapolis has welcomed several outstanding new buildings for the arts and learning, including the Guthrie Theater (designed by Jean Nouvel), additions to both the Walker Art Center (by Herzog & de Meuron) and Minneapolis Institute of Art (Michael Graves), the Minneapolis Central Library (Cesar Pelli), as well as the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum (Frank Gehry).

More than 10,000 other lakes lie within a several hours’ drive, including vast Lake Superior and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, which stretches along the Canadian border.

To learn more about the Twin Cities and Minnesota, visit Meet Minneapolis or Explore Minnesota.

Things to See and Do

Chain of Lakes

The Chain of Lakes, which is part of the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway, includes Lake Calhoun, Lake of the Isles, Lake Harriet, Cedar Lake, and Brownie Lake. This district of Minneapolis was purchased in the early part of the 20th century and provides a variety of wonderful outdoor activity venues. Beach hours are from noon to 8 p.m. daily for most beaches from mid-June until near the end of August. Calhoun 32nd, East Cedar, and Southeast Harriet beaches are only open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Lake Calhoun

Lake Calhoun is the most central lake in the Chain of Lakes to Minneapolis life. Driving down Lake Street, one encounters Lake Calhoun, a popular summer destination, where there are many eateries, outdoor sports, and aquatic activities. There is a 3.2-mile walking path and a 3.1-mile biking path. Three beaches are located on this lake: Calhoun 32nd Beach at 3200 E. Calhoun Parkway, Calhoun North Beach at 2710 W. Lake Street, and Calhoun Thomas Beach.

For more information on the Chain of Lakes

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is located on Vineland Place, across from the Walker Art Center. The 11-acre garden is a joint project of the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB) and the Walker Art Center. It offers visitors an opportunity to enjoy important works of art by leading American and international artists in a setting of plazas, walkways, and plantings.

Look for these displays on your visit:

* The colossal Spoonbridge and Cherry Fountain by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen.
* The Irene Hixon Whitney Footbridge designed by Siah Armajani that connects the Sculpture Garden with Loring Park and downtown Minneapolis. Walk across the bridge to visit the Loring Park Garden and to find a selection of cafes!
* Frank Gehry's Standing Glass Fish located in the Palm Room of the Cowles Conservatory. This room features permanent and seasonal horticultural displays including exotic orchids, palms, and other fragrant and beautiful species.
* The northern boundary of the Sculpture Garden features the Alene Grossman Memorial Arbor. Along the entire 300-foot length of the vine-covered stainless steel arbor are colorful plantings of perennial and annual flowers.

For more information on the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.

Walker Art Center

Formally established in 1927, the Walker Art Center began as the first public art gallery in the Upper Midwest. The museum's focus on modern art began in the 1940s, when a gift from Mrs. Gilbert Walker made possible the acquisition of works by important artists of the day, including sculptures by Pablo Picasso, Henry Moore, Alberto Giacometti, and others. During the 1960s, the Walker organized increasingly ambitious exhibitions that circulated to museums in the United States and abroad. The permanent collection expanded to reflect crucial examples of contemporary artistic developments; concurrently, performing arts, film, and education programs grew proportionately and gained their own national prominence throughout the next three decades. Today, the Walker is recognized internationally as a singular model of a multidisciplinary arts organization and as a national leader for its innovative approaches to audience engagement.

For more information on the Walker Art Center

Science Museum of Minnesota

The Science Museum of Minnesota, founded in 1907, is a large regional science museum located on the banks of the Mississippi River in downtown Saint Paul. The Science Museum's programs combine research and collection facilities, a public science education center, extensive teacher education and school outreach programs, and an Imax Convertible Dome Omnitheater to provide science education to an audience of more than a million people per year. The Science Museum of Minnesota is known worldwide for its interactive exhibits, dynamic traveling exhibitions, and internationally distributed large format films. The Museum was an early innovator in the use of live theater as a humanizing interpretive tool and continues to be a training ground for other museums wishing to include live programming in their exhibit halls.

For more information on the Science Museum of Minnesota

Frederick R. Weiseman Art Museum

Housed in a striking stainless steel and brick building designed by architect Frank Gehry (who also designed the Bilbao Guggenheim) for the University of Minnesota. The Weisman Art Museum offers an educational and friendly museum experience. The museum's collection features early 20th century American artists such as Georgia O'Keeffe and Marsden Hartley, as well as a diverse selection of contemporary art. A teaching museum for the University of Minnesota and the community, the Weisman provides a fresh, engaging arts experience through an array of programs and a changing schedule of exhibitions.

For more information on the Weisman Art Museum

Minneapolis Institute of Art

In 1883, 25 citizens of Minneapolis founded the Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts, committing them to bringing the arts into the life of their community. More than a century later, the museum they created, the Minneapolis Institute of Art ("Mia"), stands as a monument to a remarkable history of civic involvement and cultural achievement. Mia's permanent collection has grown from eight hundred works of art to around one hundred thousand objects. The collection includes world-famous works that embody the highest levels of artistic achievement, spanning 5,000 years and representing the world's diverse cultures across all continents. Mia's free general-admission policy, public programs, classes for children and adults, and award-winning interactive media programs have helped to broaden and deepen this museum's roots in the communities it serves.

For more information on the Minneapolis Institute of Art

To find one of the many, many other great museum and arts experiences the Twin Cities have to offer please visit Twin Cities Minnesota Museums.

Guthrie Theater

The Guthrie Theater, founded in 1963, is an American center for theater performance, production, education, and professional training. By presenting both classical literature and new work from diverse cultures, the Guthrie illuminates the common humanity connecting Minnesota to the peoples of the world. While the Guthrie Theater's mission and artistic excellence have remained constant, much has changed over the past four decades. What began as a summer season of four productions supported by a minimal staff is now a complex organization employing more than 900 people per year. As the Guthrie entered the millennium, plans began to build a new multistage theater center on the banks of the Mississippi River. It opened June 25, 2006, and the complex includes three stages: a classic thrust stage for the grand-scale classics of the centuries, a proscenium stage for the more intimate classics of this century, and a studio theater for developing the classics of tomorrow. The new theater allows the Guthrie to retain its preeminence among theaters nationally and internationally.

For more information on the Guthrie Theater

Ordway Center for the Performing Arts

In 1980, Saint Paul resident Sally Ordway Irvine challenged her community to help her create a performing arts venue in which her dream of offering “everything from opera to the Russian circus” could be realized. The $46 million center opened to the public on January 1, 1985. Certainly, Sally’s vision is alive today in Ordway Center’s dizzying schedule of theater, dance, music, family events, and educational programs. Ordway Center contains the 1,900-seat Main Hall, the intimate 306-seat McKnight Theatre, two large rehearsal halls, and magnificent lobbies on each floor, including the second floor Marzitelli Foyer, a spacious, two-story lobby encircled by a glass facade.

For more information on the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts

Sports Opportunities

Minneapolis has a rich heritage of athletes and teams in many sports. From the high schools to the professional ranks, sports have been a major contributor to the Minneapolis experience. Here are a few sites to check out if you want to catch a game while you’re in town.

Minnesota Twins Baseball

Minnesota Lynx WNBA

Saint Paul Saints Minor League Baseball

Mall of America

The Mall of America has it all. Located in the heart of Bloomington and the Twin Cities area, the "Mall" is the largest mall in the USA. People from all over the world come here to enjoy the great stores and attractions inside the Mall of America. An entire neighborhood with a roof, this shopping and entertainment complex is virtually big enough to have its own ZIP code. Some of the 42 million annual visitors make a day of it at the many diverse eating spots, indoor amusements, and more than 500 retail stores.

For more information about the Mall of America

First Avenue

San Francisco has the Fillmore Auditorium. New York has CBGB and the Knitting Factory. And Minneapolis has First Avenue and the 7th Street Entry. Anyone who knows about music in this town will tell you that, for the last three decades, First Avenue has been integral to the Twin Cities' vibrant music scene. From the avant-garde to the mainstream, First Avenue is a music club committed to fostering the arts, and music and entertainment excellence. There are a lot of people who care deeply about this club and have effectively made it their lives. First Avenue is, quite simply, what a music club should be.

For more information about First Avenue