Loving Minneapolis: A "Minneapo-list"

Sunday, November 9, 2014

I am sure that many of us who have made the journey to the Twin Cities (or those that are considering it) are familiar with the initial reaction from friends and family when declaring your intent to move:

Something along the lines of –

“….Minnesota? ….Doesn’t it snow there, like, 90% of the year?” 

Or maybe something a bit more Midwestern – 

“Are you going to start saying things like ‘ya der hey’ or ‘you betcha’?” (Thanks Fargo).  

Well, for everyone who is contemplating the move, I hope I convince you to start your own love affair with the Twin Cities. And for those in the process of moving, I am here to arm you with a vast array of comebacks to these general comments.

Besides referencing the world-class education you are about to receive, you can use this “MINNEAPO-LIST” of fun facts and interesting tidbits to convince family and friends to come visit early and often.

Music – Ever heard of Bob Dylan? Prince? The Replacements? Minneapolis is a melting pot of music tastes and genres. Big names in music put on stellar shows at Target Center in downtown Minneapolis and Xcel Energy Center in St Paul (How will I get to St Paul, you ask? Take the new light rail line connecting the Cities!). If local music is what strikes your fancy, venues like (the famous) First Avenue and the Cedar Cultural Center host a wide variety of shows, paying homage to community favorites and many up-and-coming groups. 

Involvement – The Twin Cities value giving back and getting involved. Both are heavily focused on minimizing environmental impact and increasing awareness of the issues we face within our community. If you are interested in volunteering and making a greater impact on the city you live in, you will have ample opportunities. 

Nature – There are plenty of open spaces within the city to walk, jog, or read a book. If the great wide world is more of what you’re craving, head 30 minutes out of the city and you will find yourself hiking in national forests or camping in one of Minnesota’s seventy-two state parks.  

Neighborhoods – Minneapolis & St. Paul have diverse and unique neighborhoods that allow new residents to find their own smaller home within the cities. Head to Uptown to take advantage of the happenin’ nightlife and participate in an active lifestyle with other singles and young families. Visit the historic Northeast to experience and immerse yourself in a variety of cultural traditions and customs (including some amazing food!). For whatever you are looking to surround yourself with when you head home at the end of the day, the Cities have it. 

Eats – If you are craving a particular kind of food, have no fear – you will be able to find it here. Besides exploring the thoroughfare known as “Eat Street,” foodies can participate in cooking classes, attend events like Taste of Minnesota, and explore the various areas of Minneapolis and St Paul to find a variety of cuisines that will satisfy any appetite. (Besides food, we also have a large craft beverage scene, including pop, beer, and spirits).

Cherry Spoon with Skyline in Background

Arts – The Twin Cities are known nationally for their dedication to arts and culture through a variety of different projects and organizations. There are the permanent contributors – like the Walker Art Center (put Cherry & Spoon on your to-do list), the Institute of Arts, and the Science Museum – and seasonal events like Art-a-Whirl and the Uptown Art Fair.  The Hennepin Theatre district is host to multiple theatres as well as other performance venues, and every summer, the Basilica Block Party shines a spotlight on Minneapolis’ contributions and love for music. 
People – The term “Minnesota Nice” is an actual thing. Because Minneapolis has the luxury of being a bigger city with a small-town feel, people are extremely welcoming. I guarantee, at some point, you will be invited to your new Minneapolis’ friends Grandma’s house to join their family for “hot dish” (casserole for everyone outside of Minnesota) or take a trip with new friends to the “Great Minnesota Get Together” (state fair for everyone outside of Minnesota).
Opportunities – The Twin Cities are home to 27 Fortune 1000 companies as well as some of the most successful private companies in the nation. The thriving economy and support for innovation and exploration continues to propel companies to increase their presence here and encourages new companies to open their doors in the Cities.

Paddling in a Lake

Lakes – Our license plates literally say “10,000 lakes.”  But to be precise (because we’re graduate students after all), the actual number is more like 11,842 lakes – each being over 10 acres in size.  You might be asking yourself, ‘who cares?’ The great residents of Minnesota sure do. The lakes are an integral part of life around here. Minnesotans spend their summers fishing, boating, waterskiing, and they make the most of their winters by taking part in ice-fishing and ice-hockey.

Interesting Winters – Okay, I know this one is a bit of stretch, but cut me some slack, “I” is a hard letter to work with, especially twice! Also, I think it’s necessary to cover an obvious topic like winter in a list focused on Minneapolis. It’s important to note that sometimes it is as doomsday as everyone makes it seem – last winter we had temperatures at -30 below with the wind chill. That being said, in 2012, we reached 80 degrees on St. Patrick’s Day. Don’t let it dissuade you from wanting to move here, especially if the place you call home has a much more temperate climate. We all make it through winter together – and you’ll be surprised how resourceful Minnesotans can be to make it as fun as possible!

Sports – The cities have it all – professional teams in basketball, football, baseball, and hockey. Admittedly, the teams aren’t doing so well as of late, but isn’t that why the term “Cinderella story” exists? Better to jump on the bandwagon now than right after they get really good.  Also, if you haven’t heard, Minneapolis is already slotted to be the ‘hostest with the mostest’ for the 2018 Superbowl. And if organized sports aren’t necessarily your cup of tea, but your interested in staying active, Minneapolis is home to the 9th largest marathon in the country as well as a number of other road and biking races throughout the year. 
So, have you packed your bags yet?