Twin Cities Living

Urban lofts set amid a lively downtown. Cute bungalows nestling around a city lake. An active population that brings it outside, celebrating every season in the unique neighborhoods that make up the Twin Cities.

Students of every age find the Twin Cities community welcoming. With a variety of education models, a supportive community and strong educators, this is the place to learn and grow.

The wealth of options for play and learning make it fun to live in this energetic community. We boast more museums than most metros, a plethora of performance spaces, four major league teams and a wealth of talented authors and musicians.

In addition, Minnesota was ranked No. 6 best state for business by CNBC and No. 10 most innovative state by Bloomberg. In addition, Minneapolis was ranked No. 1 city for green commercial space, and Minneapolis-St. Paul ranked fourth best U.S. city to find a job. So join our business community and help us work to keep the Twin Cities among the best.

These are just a few of the many things that make the Twin Cities a great place to call home while going to school.

On-campus Housing

On-campus Housing

University of Minnesota’s Department of Housing and Residential Life has residence hall applications and other information for on-campus housing. Very few graduate students live in residence halls. If interested, submit an application as soon as possible to the Department of Housing and Residential Life.

Off-campus Housing

Off-campus housing means dormitories, apartments, rooming houses, and other rental housing owned and operated by private parties, not by the University of Minnesota. Most HRIR graduate students live off campus all over the Twin Cities. Rental rates for off-campus housing may vary widely. In general, rooming houses and shared housing arrangements are the least expensive type of housing. Apartments, duplexes, and houses have higher rental rates. Off-campus information, including searchable apartment listings, can be found here.

Nice Ride

Nice Ride

This is Minneapolis's new bike sharing program. You can buy a subscription (see website for payment details), rent a bike from any Nice Ride hub, ride them around the city, and return them to any Nice Ride hub. These bikes are convenient for getting quickly from point A to point B or for enjoying Spring/Fall weather in Minneapolis! Note, you do not have to buy a subscription to use the bikes. However, they cost more money if you use them for longer than 30 minutes, and you will receive a hold on your credit/debit card.
Another perk to commuting in Minneapolis if you happen to enjoy cycling: Minneapolis was rated the #1 City in America for Cycling!


Regardless of whether you are planning on driving or commuting to campus (see our section on housing/commuting suggestions from current MA-HRIR students for more perspectives), is a great website to check out. There is an extensive network of 127 bus routes in the Twin Cities that can help you get to campus and around town. The Next Trip feature on Metro Transit's website will update you in real time about when the next bus is coming! 
Some bus lines only operate during rush hour so be sure to check your schedule with Metro Transit's bus schedule if you plan on commuting to campus. The U-Pass program gives students unlimited bus rides for only $100 per semester. More info on a U-Pass is available online at UMN Transit Information. More info on bus routes that lead to campus can be found on Metro Transit's UMN Page and info on the Campus Connector bus can be found here for areas on or directly around campus.

The Light Rail

Light Rail

The Hiawatha Light Rail line can help you travel faster and easier by connecting dozens of bus routes at their 19 stations stretching from Downtown Minneapolis to the Mall of America. An alternative to driving and parking at the airport, you can take a bus to a Light Rail station and take the Light Rail right into the MSP Airport (see below). Check out their website to learn more about stations and bus connections.


Zipcar is an American membership-based car sharing company providing automobile reservations to its members, billable by the hour or day.

Get 24/7 access to Zipcars parked right on campus! Simply reserve online, let yourself in with your Zipcard and drive. Our low hourly and daily rates always include gas and insurance.

You only need to be 18+ to join. Members age 18-20 can use a dedicated group of Zipcars that live on campus. Members age 21+ also have access to thousands of Zipcars all around the world. Find cars on or around the UMN campus.


Here are a few names and phone numbers for cab companies in Minneapolis:

ABC Taxi (612-788-1111)
Red & White Taxi (612-871-1600)
Yellow & White Cab (612-343-3333)

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport

MSP Airport is a short 20-30 minute drive from the Carlson School. This airport is very convenient for traveling for interviews or just for visiting friends and family. The Light Rail (see above) conveniently connects directly with the Airport for easy commuting without using a car.


Running in Minneapolis

The winters in Minnesota can be cold there is no doubting that, but the other three seasons make up for the few months of cold weather. One of the biggest pursuits for people who want to get outdoors in the Twin Cities is running. In 2008 Minneapolis/St. Paul was named the sixth best metropolitan area for runners in the US, and with the miles and miles of great paved and dirt trails, it is easy to see why.

Parks and Green Space

Cherry Spoon with Skyline in Background

The Minneapolis Park System consists of 182 park properties, including local and regional parks, playgrounds, golf courses, gardens, picnic areas, biking and walking paths, nature sanctuaries and the 55-mile Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway. Together, these properties total nearly 6,732 acres of land and water. The backbone of the park system is its 47 full-service neighborhood recreation centers.



This is a cool place to meet up for a drink after class or to grab lunch between classes. They have a great selection of beers and some atypical yet very tasty bar food. They feature daily Happy Hour specials. When the weather is nice, they have a great outdoor patio with lots of tables and chairs to get together with friends.

Town Hall Brewery

The classiest bar in Seven Corners, Town Hall microbrewery has some of the best beers in the Twin Cities. They have a standard selection of bar food, and also have some outdoor tables and chairs for when the weather is nice. Sometimes, after alumni professional development workshops, we have walked here to catch up with old friends and hear new stories about work and whatnot.

Bullwinkle’s Saloon

Bullwinkle’s is your typical grungy hole-in-the-wall bar. The atmosphere is not what you’d expect at first, but it’s a great place to go for some greasy food and cheap beer (daily happy hour with $1 domestic taps and food specials, too). Bullwinkle's is famous for their Minnesota chili dog, give one a try!

Corner Bar

Also a bar found in the Seven Corners area, Corner Bar is literally one big open room with a bar in the center and a small dance floor. During the day they feature a pizza lunch buffet. At night they have a DJ playing music. You can also play pool and watch sports on their TVs, too. If comedy is your thing, check out their website as they host small comedy shows in the bar’s basement.


If you enjoy live music, check out Acadia. On the corner of Cedar Ave and Riverside, Acadia has a different act just about every night. Their menu is small but some of the best food in the area, try the French fries, they’ve won awards. The owners are also very friendly to Carlson School students (since they know we’re right around the corner). With free Wi-Fi, this can be a nice place to grab some lunch during a break and do some work (just remember to come back for your afternoon classes).

The Wienery

As seen on Diner, Drive-ins, and Dives, this dive is a small belly-up-to-the-bar restaurant that specializes in breakfast all day as well as multiple different kinds of hot dogs, brats, Italian sausage, and veggie dogs. The Wienery is a small, family-owned diner that shreds the fries right in front of you (so they’re really crisp). Note - they only accept cash.

Hard Times Cafe

This all-vegetarian cafe/restaurant features breakfast as well as a host of organic options. With entrees that range from dirt-cheap to moderate served in large portions, no wonder this diner is a haven for hippies, students and anyone looking for a place open 365 days a year, 22 hours a day (not a typo)! Note, they only accept cash.

Lucky Dragon

A stone’s throw from Carlson, $5.99 Asian buffet every day and don’t forget your ice cream cone on the way out!

Jambo! Kitchen

Across the street from Hanson Hall and near the Carlson School and featuring flavors from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East to make delicious new dishes that balance perfectly the familiar with the exotic. Jambo! Kitchen is one of the newest restaurants in the area. Delicious flavors and cheap lunch options make this restaurant a favorite with students. It gets busy at lunchtime but the food is worth the wait!

 Luiza DeRose

"The Twin Cities is great because you get the best of both worlds, something that not many other cities can offer. For those who love big cities, there’s always something going on - whether it’s the Holidazzle Parade during the winter or the State Fair during the summer. For those who prefer smaller cities, it still manages to bring the small city atmosphere with clean places, friendly faces, and a relative ease of getting around."

Luiza DeRose 
MA-HRIR Candidate - 2013 
Hometown - Urbana, IL

Matt Young

"What I value most about the Twin Cities is that it offers a great medium between city living and a small town feel, and provides an ideal environment for young professionals. Since several companies are headquartered in the TC, I feel the city caters toward young professionals - which is reflected in the strong local music and art scene, and the large number of local restaurants. However, you also do not have to venture far to enjoy the outdoors. For example, there are 50 miles of dedicated bike paths throughout the TC and you only need to drive a few hours to go camping."

Matt Young
Graduate 2012
Hometown - Tempe, Arizona

Yichen (Eason) Zong

"Have you heard about the natural and cultural surprise hidden in the headstream of Mississippi? It's the Twin Cities. Before I came here, I didn't know I would fall in love with this land - thousands of lakes, forest, peaceful rivers, the biggest Mall in the U.S., theaters with years of history, the State Fair, and about 20 headquarters of Fortune 500 companies. I am proud to be a student at the U of M, a school with a top reputation and great academic atmosphere, and I know she is always proud of me as well."

Yichen (Eason) Zong
MA-HRIR Candidate - 2013
Hometown - Chengdu, China

Tour the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul

See what all the Twin Cities has to offer.

Footage courtesy of Meet Minneapolis. Footage ©Explore Minnesota Tourism Photo/Video

"The Twin Cities offer unique cultural experiences that cannot be found anywhere else in the country. Minnesotans have a great affinity for fine arts and world-class entertainment. Additionally, Minnesota offers year-round entertainment with a wide array of music, cultural and art festivals.

Those who already call Minnesota home know why this is a great place to live. There is something for everyone in Minnesota, and I invite you to come and discover for yourself!" - Governor Mark Dayton

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