Women’s Final Four tournament gives boost to downtown Minneapolis businesses

This year’s NCAA Women’s Final Four basketball tournament has brought new life – and customers – to restaurants and hotels in downtown Minneapolis. 

"It’s helping our businesses stay alive and come back; it’s so important," Gluek’s Restaurant and Bar server Maria Evans said.

Across the street from Target Center, for the first time in a long time Gluek’s has been filling up and staying busy all night, with lines going out the door.

"Everyone is just here and being happy and excited together. It’s really cool, it’s a lot of energy," Evans said. "It’s like nothing ever changed, it’s awesome."

NCAA: UConn, South Carolina women meet for title game

The rush of out-of-towners has also been great for hotels. Royal Sonesta hosted the Louisville Cardinals and plenty of their loyal fans this week.

"It’s been since 2019 since we’ve seen business at this volume," hotel general manager Dan DeDecker told FOX 9 on Saturday. DeDecker says the hotel is currently hovering around 98% capacity. But, at the worst of the pandemic, those numbers were in the single digits.

"It feels like it’s almost a rebirth," DeDecker said.

Both DeDecker and Evans are looking to keep the momentum going, even after the final buzzer at the tournament sounds.

"I’m so excited for this summer, I know it’s going to be amazing with the Twins and concerts," Evans finished. "It’s really amazing how alive the city is coming again."