Twin Cities Family Living

The Twin Cities is one of the top-ranked American metropolitan areas to live and raise a family in based on great schools, affordable homes, low crime rates, jobs, and parkland, according to Parenting Magazine

Cherry Spoon with Skyline in Background

Students with families naturally have many questions and concerns when going back to school and moving to a new city. Questions about housing, schools, family entertainment, job opportunities, and parks and recreation.

The Master of Human Resources and Industrial Relations program is proud of the Twin Cities and the many positive options the cities provide families who are joining our great program. Listed below is a compilation of information on housing, family entertainment, Parks and Recreation, Community, Transportation, and Testimonials from students and alumni who are locals and transplants.


Family at Commo

The University of Minnesota understands how challenging it can be for families to come back to school, but also recognizes the experience and the diversity that these students bring to the programs at the university. Because of this, the University has established two married and family housing locations, along with the many other housing options it has for single students.

Como Student Community Cooperative

CSCC is a University of Minnesota housing community serving student-families, married couples, domestic partners, single graduate students, and post doctorates. CSCC is conveniently located approximately 2 miles from both the Minneapolis and St Paul campuses. For more information about the history of CSCC housing complex and how to apply, please visit the link above.

Common Wealth Terrace Cooperative

Common Wealth Terrace Cooperative is a resident-directed management corporation with professional management and staff offering quality housing at affordable prices to University of Minnesota students and their families, married/domestic partnered couples, single graduate students, post doctoral fellows and eligible research associates.

Minnesota Children’s Museum

Children's Museum

For more than 30 years, Minnesota Children's Museum has embedded the research on play, creativity and child development into its interactive learning environments and programs. Open-ended experiences are designed for children to explore, discover, immerse, imagine and connect.

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 St. 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 Omni theater to provide science education to our audience of more than a million people per year.

Como Zoo and Conservatory

Como Zoo

The mission of the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory is "To inspire our public to value the presence of living things in our lives.”

The Como Park Zoo and Conservatory holds everything they do against the expectations laid forth in their mission statement. Every animal exhibit, plant exhibit, education class and youth camp is driven by this statement and their commitment to the community in which they are established. The Como Park Zoo and Conservatory has free admission; donations are always welcome.

Children, parents and grandparents are invited to experience the fun at the Eagles Nest! Imaginations will run wild as children leap into the ball pit, scale the 8 ft. climbing wall, zoom down the triple slide, and find their way through the wiggle waggles and the foam forest!

The Eagles Aerie, for tykes 3 and under, has its own colorful ball pit, challenging climbing structure, reading corner and other activities geared toward the early development of toddlers.

Mall of America


Since opening its doors in 1992, Mall of America has revolutionized the shopping experience and become a leader in retail, entertainment and attractions. Mall of America is one of the top tourist destinations in the country as well as one of the most recognizable brands.

Mall of America has earned a national reputation for entertaining guests. From musical acts to celebrity book signings to fashion shows, Mall of America is the Hollywood of the Midwest. Along with coverage in many national and local broadcast and print media outlets, Mall of America has been featured on the Discovery Channel, Travel Channel and TLC. By hosting more than 400 events each year, the Mall has become the place where fans can meet and greet their favorite celebrities or take part in interactive, one-of-a-kind events.


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.

Shoreview YMCA


By providing discounted memberships for families and individuals who have lower incomes, the Twin Cities YMCAs have made a commitment to students, community, and to physical fitness here in Minnesota. With the cold winters, this membership could prove beneficial to you, as it has been for many students and their families who deal with the challenge of supporting family recreation on a student budget.

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.

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 NiceRide 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 $97 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.

 Steve Hanson

"When looking to enter a graduate level program, I was not only looking for a great program and school, but also a great place for my family to live. I can say, without reservation, that the Twin Cities offered everything that my family could want or need. From community and social groups, to recreation and entertainment, we always had something to do and we made many new friends."

Steve Hanson
Global HR Advisor at ExxonMobil
Class of '13

 Emily Ehlebracht

"As a parent of young children, I love living in Minneapolis. We enjoy the multitude of parks with fun recreation programs, museums, indoor and outdoor play places, excellent schools, and much more. We like living near the Chain of Lakes, where we can bike or run on the paved trails and enjoy the outdoors in the midst of the city. The Carlson School of Management is centrally located so commuting is convenient, and there are great employment opportunities here in the Twin Cities."

Emily Ehlebracht
HR Business Partner at Entrust Datacard
Class of '13

Michelle Anderson

"I was already living in the Twin Cities when I enrolled in the Carlson MA-HRIR program, having moved here for work. I chose this program because it afforded me the chance to earn my degree while being able to juggle work and family commitments, taking classes at my own pace. My family and I enjoyed becoming a U of MN family, taking advantage of the sporting and cultural offerings on campus. The Twin Cities and the University are a great fit for families."


Michelle Anderson
Regional Manager, Employee Relations and Engagement, at Comcast
Class of '99

"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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