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The Underground Bowling Alley

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The Underground Bowling Alley is a hidden gem on St. Cloud State University’s Campus on the lower level of the Atwood Memorial Center. This buried bowling alley offers all of the same amenities as a typical bowling alley for a cheaper price! 

The Underground Bowling Alley

Address: 720 4th Avenue South, St. Cloud, MN 56301 – Lower level of the Atwood Memorial Center.

Hours: Monday – Wednesday  11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Thursday – Friday  11:00 am – 11:30 pm
Saturday  12:00 pm – 11:30 pm
Sunday  12:00 pm – 10:00 pm


Cost: $3.00 per game + $1.50 for shoe rentals (or bring your own!) – Rate does not change based on date or time.  

Bathrooms: Manual flush toilets, sensor sinks & paper towels, changing station, handicap accessible.

Lanes:  Unfortunately the lanes are not handicap accessible due to a step to get down to the bowling lanes.

The Underground Bowling Alley - Pricing board
The Underground Bowling Alley - Hours of operation

I have many memories from my childhood of going to the bowling alley with my family & picking out my very favorite ball.  My sibling and I loved coming up with funny nicknames to type into the overhead game monitor for each of my family members.

The trip to the bowling alley was always a special treat in my family, and for that reason, bowling has always had a special place in my heart.

I still get those same fuzzy feelings walking into the bowling alley that I got when I was a kid. Even though I’m quite a bit older now, the excitement of a little friendly competition at a game I am arguably no good at still sparks my interest.

The only thing that has seemed to change is… now before picking out any bowling balls or nicknames, I must reach into my wallet rather than looking to my dad to pay.

As a college student, I am constantly on the search for inexpensive entertainment options to help break up the school week without breaking my bank.

So, when I heard of The Underground’s cheaper prices, I couldn’t wait to give it a try! I wanted to see how it stacked up to bowling alleys I’ve tried in the past. And lucky for you, you don’t have to be a student to enjoy the reasonably priced entertainment The Underground has to offer!

The Underground Bowling Alley at Atwood Memorial Center:

For the general public, the cost per person per game is $3.00 with an additional charge of $1.50 if shoe rental is needed. This is the standard rate no matter the age of the bowler, time, or day.

However, this pricing system differs slightly from off-campus bowling alleys. Those establishments typically charge players depending on the day and time. I’ve included links to Southway Bowl (St. Cloud) and Great River Bowl’s (Sartell) pricing below if you are interested.

However, for a quick comparison, I’ve crunched some numbers for you… For a family of four, one game with shoe rental on a Friday night would be:

The Underwood (SCSU Campus)  – $18.00 + tax.
Great River Bowl (St. Cloud) – $30.00 + tax.
Southway Bowl (Sartell) – $28.80 + tax.

I have never been to Southway Bowl, but I have played several games at Great River Bowl, and I believe The Underground offered a very comparable bowling experience for nearly half of the price!

Southway Bowl Hours and Pricing

Great River Bowl Hours and Pricing

Just because you are getting a discount price, doesn’t mean you’ll get a discount experience!

The Underground Bowling Alley - clean lanes ready for use
The Underground Bowling Alley - modern computerized score system

Lanes at the Underground Bowling Alley and surrounding sitting area clean and tidy because they take pride in their facility! I was pleasantly surprised by the hospitality of the front desk worker who offered a genuine smile and greeting upon my arrival.

The Underground has enough bowling balls to sustain an alley full of bowlers with a variety of ball weights ranging from 10 lbs to 15 lbs out for the general public. 

However, you can find lighter balls for children ranging in weights from 6 lbs to 8 lbs are kept behind the counter.  Just ask when you get your shoes for a lighter ball and they’ll happily supply you with one.  

The Underground Bowling Alley - green balls all lined up
The Underground Bowling Alley - Bowling shoes on bowling floor

The Underground Bowling Alley also offers bumpers for kids and less experienced adults.  Unfortunately they do not offer ball ramps for little kids.  So parents you’ll have to go old school with a ball roll between the legs “granny style”.

Bathrooms are located just out of the alley making a short stop with children easy and convenient. 

The Underground Game Area:

Bowling is only part of the draw to this hidden attraction. The Underground Bowling Alley is outfitted with several amusement resources to satisfy all of your gaming needs.

Pinball and Super Chexx (miniature dome hockey game) are available to play for a cost as little as 50 cents per game. The two are located in the back of the bowling alley and are visible from the bowling area.

You’ll also find in this same area a Foosball table that is rented by the hour for $3.00 by the public.

Separate from the bowling alley, but included in The Underground, is a game room. This room is filled with table tennis and billiards tables which can be rented out for $2.75 and $5.00 respectively per hour by the public.

The Underground Bowling Alley - gaming area with Foosball
The Underground Bowling Alley - pinball machine
The Underground Bowling Alley - close up of Super Chexx
The Underground Bowling Alley - close up of Fooseball

Eating at The Underground:

While bowling and playing games you may work up an appetite. There are two vending machines that offer quick, small snacks and refreshments.  However, food and drinks can be brought into the sitting area but not into the lanes (where the wood floor begins is a no food/drink/street shoe zone just like any other alley).

However, if you’re looking for a full on meal, you’re in luck!  St. Cloud State University has a restaurant called The Den, which is run by the restaurant chain Denny’s.  This is located just across the hall from the Bowling Alley!


Monday-Friday: 7 a.m. – midnight  
 8 a.m. – midnight
Sunday: Noon – midnight

The Underground Bowling Alley - snack vending machine
The Underground Bowling Alley - Sign showing where to easily find everything
The Underground Bowling Alley - The Den Food Place

Birthday Parties:

When I think bowling alley, I almost always think BIRTHDAY PARTIES! I noticed that advertised on the unused lane’s overhead screens were children’s birthday parties.

Although I don’t have any children of my own, being the naturally curious person that I am, I sought out information on all of the birthday party options The Underground offered. There are three different party packages that a prospective birthday planner can choose from: “Cake Package”, “Pizza Package”, and the “Deluxe Package”.

The packages range from $99 to $139. The picture below outlines the pricing for each package and what they all include. Once again, I crunched some numbers to compare the pricing for a standard party at either The Underground, Great River Bowl, or Southway Bowl.

The Underground Bowling Alley - birthday party planning sheet

For my pretend scenario, I planned a party for 15 children and wished to provide pizza, beverages, cake (provided by The Underground), rental shoes, and two hours of bowling for my “guests”.

A party of this sort would require the “Deluxe Package” at The Underground.  I’d also add on an extra hour of bowling for a total of $159.

At Great River Bowl, a similar package costs $225 and does NOT include a cake (no cake option offered).

Finally, at Southway Bowl I could plan a two-hour party meeting all of the same stipulations for $224.25 but only one hour of the party could be spent on bowling and once again, this price does NOT include a cake… YIKES!

However, the party packages at Great River Bowl and Southway Bowl did include a few other frills. For example: a retired bowling pin for the guest of honor, video footage of the party, and slightly more decoration options… etc.

In my opinion, it seems like these extras are only an effort to justify a steeper price and not necessary for a spectacular birthday bash. However, your party planning preferences may differ from mine. A retired bowling pin for your birthday boy or girl may be just the ticket to a successful outing.

As far as pricing goes, the numbers speak for themselves. The Underground is definitely the most frugal bowling option in the Saint Cloud area for both a typical night out and birthday party planning.

There are certainly benefits to Southway Bowl and Great River bowl that are consequently not offered at The Underground.

These include league and glow bowling.  If either of those options strike your fancy, The Underground is not for you! However, if you are looking to enjoy a standard bowling experience in a not-so-standard, underground location (and not trying to break the bank) then St. Cloud State has exactly what you are looking for!

Because we’re all kids at heart, I should mention that there is no age limit on the birthday parties! A college student or adult can have a birthday party there.  However they pay the same price as the general public.  Meaning, no student discounts on party packages.

Another fun idea is to throw your company Holiday party at The Underground Bowling Alley too!  As a result, your guests will have fun mingling with each other and playing games!

For those of you who have never been, and may be nervous about walking onto a college campus, the map below will help guide you there!

The closest and safest (to avoid a ticket) spot to park is in the 4th Avenue parking ramp. It’s only $1.50/hr and located right down the road from Atwood Memorial Center.

The Underground Bowling Alley - campus map showing where to park and go.

However, even with paying for parking, The Underground Bowling Alley is a great deal!  This hidden gem located on the St. Cloud State University’s campus in St. Cloud, MN is open to the public.  You wont need a student ID or friend to get you in! 

Bowling should be a fun family activity that everyone can enjoy without breaking the bank.  Creating memories with your children is one of the greatest gifts you can offer them.  Because creating memories shouldn’t break the bank, we hope you’ll check out  The Underground  Bowling Alley the next time you want to spend time with your family!     

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