Author Topic: Thoughts on Minneapolis, St. Paul?  (Read 2706 times)

badassprof

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Thoughts on Minneapolis, St. Paul?
« on: January 03, 2018, 02:00:56 PM »
My partner and I are contemplating an opportunity that has opened up for us in Minneapolis, St. Paul. I have some familiarity with the midwest (father and partner's family is from Wisconsin), but don't really know this city.   Any insights or things to consider (besides the winters)? I'd be particularly interested in hearing from those who moved from  the Bay Area, as we would be doing. How was the transition?

Adding to the things we are contemplating, on the negative: we have an incredibly fortuitous housing situation right now, one that we probably won't be able to regain if we decide to move back to the bay.  We would also be leaving high paying jobs we both love, the salaries of which won't be replicated there. But of course on the positive side, the cost of living is less, so smaller salaries won't have as much impact. And we could probably pay for a house outright with the profits from the sale of our house here. Finally, we'd be closer to one set of family, although further from another.

wenchsenior

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Re: Thoughts on Minneapolis, St. Paul?
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2018, 09:07:48 AM »
I'm surprised no one with more detailed knowledge has responded, so I'll give you my very limited info.  We lived there for about 2 years in the late 90s.  We rented, so I can't speak to the housing market and it's too long ago to be useful anyway.  MN had a more 'big city' feel (to me, at least); whereas St Paul felt more like a collection of suburbs, some fancy and some modest.

We lived in a St Paul suburb on the north side.  The area was very nice, but DH worked on campus in the city and traffic was terrible, so we would both get up around 4:30 am to go to work (me north to a bakery) and him beating traffic going south into the city.  I assume traffic is worse now.  However, traffic wasn't too bad to just do ordinary errands in our immediate area.

What I really liked.  SO MANY LAKES. SO MUCH WATER. SO MANY CITY PARKS.  The city is essentially crammed in on all the dry areas between water bodies.  Even being born and raised in lake heavy northern WI, the amount of water was shocking and delightful.  The city also has a pretty good network of connected hiking/biking trails that can get you from one park to another.

What I disliked.  Hard to say...we weren't there that long and I was struggling with depression at the time.  I didn't dislike anything, particularly, except the winters, which are brutal if you have seasonal affective disorder or depression that is influenced by light.  The cold sucks, but the dark is the worst.  It's the same where I'm from in WI.

What was weird.  MN has kind of strange social/cultural vibe.  It is less notable in the twin cities where there are a high proportion of transplants, but it is still there.  You would think it would be similar to WI, one state over, but it felt very different.  Natives are very insular, and pleasant but sort of stand-offish.  They are not interested in expanding their social circles, as a general rule.  Also, they are not very direct but sort of slightly passive aggressive when working out disputes.  The nickname for this cultural tendency (not a particularly flattering one) is "Minnesota nice".

Also, the Lutheran and Catholic influences kind of seep into daily life in strange ways...lots of shops closed early on Wednesdays so the staff/owners could attend religious services or classes. 

DH and I are pretty introverted so this stuff didn't affect us that much, but an extrovert might have a hard time developing a social life with natives...you would likely have to focus more on transplants like yourselves.

Obviously, the proximity to two large city centers (particularly Minneapolis) allows for terrific cultural opportunities year round.

For a huge city/ies...it was pretty nice, assuming you can take the weather.

Sorry I don't have more info or more recent info.

GnomeErcy

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Re: Thoughts on Minneapolis, St. Paul?
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2018, 09:17:37 AM »
I lived in MSP area for 3 years, then out in LA for 2.5-3 years, and we moved back up to MSP in 2016.

Things are becoming more expensive it seems, that's for sure. At least, they are building a fair amount of new luxury apartments which has driven some rent prices up.

The job market is pretty good. Something like 22 major corporate HQ's here, and a lot of smaller startups and other non-HQ branches for large organizations. Amazon has a presence here, and it's growing. Depending on your job field, you've likely got some great prospects.

Things I love:

Springtime in Minneapolis and the suburbs are unparalleled, in my opinion. It's gorgeous, and lake life is awesome in the summer. Tons of stuff to do outside, relatively easy to get around by bike - tons of trails - and our public transit isn't half bad. Good food scene, decent night life if that's your thing, and plenty of microbreweries. Lots of free and cheap options to keep yourself busy and enjoy life.

Things I don't love:

Holy balls it's cold in the winter. Last week we got down to -17 as a high one day. The days are MUCH shorter in the winter than they were for me out in California. Wintertime can be depressing, but if you like skiiing or snowboarding there are some places you can do that in the winter. Otherwise, options are more limited. Hockey is a big one, too. If you can stomach the winter, you'll be fine. If you're not used to driving in snow, just go super slow. Better safe and late than dead.


Great food, good job market, but becoming more expensive over the years. Our crappy 1 bedroom + den in the suburbs ran 1424 a month, and that was on the cheap side.

I'd recommend it - as can be noted by the fact that I moved back. That being said, idk what your situation is like in SF. At least we don't need to worry about earthquakes here :) But tornadoes...those happen sometimes.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2018, 09:20:12 AM by GnomeErcy »

JoJo

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Re: Thoughts on Minneapolis, St. Paul?
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2018, 09:23:34 AM »
We just had 4 days where the highest temp was -4 F.

I went to college there and got frostbite.  I won't live in Minnesota again.

MayDay

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Re: Thoughts on Minneapolis, St. Paul?
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2018, 09:47:34 AM »
We lived in Minneapolis for 7 years, left, and moved back because we missed it.

Cons: weather. Can't really complain about anything else. The flip side of this is people don't stay inside. I'm playing in an adult rec broomball league. Weekly outdoor games in city parks. I play tonight, it's going to be cold as balls, but we bundle up and get out there. Every city park as an outdoor rink, tons of cross country skiing, etc.

Pros: cheap for the size of city (yes it is getting more expensive but it isn't that bad), great outdoor stuff, great biking, schools, healthcare, jobs, etc. Good airport.

Not as liberal as the bay area but progressive. Not that we don't have plenty of racial disparity, and racism mind you.

We love it.

tealduck

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Re: Thoughts on Minneapolis, St. Paul?
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2018, 09:58:55 AM »
We've lived in Minneapolis for 30 years and love it.  Yes, the winters can be rough but life doesn't stop and if you understand how to bundle up you'll be fine. 

Cost of living isn't as high as Bay area but area is not inexpensive.  We sold a 3-bedroom, 2-bath, 2400 sq. ft house by Lake Harriet 6-months ago for $535K.  This sw minneapolis area is known as being more expensive but lots of great restaurants and lakes you can walk to with good schools.  We rented the house out prior to selling for $3,100 per month for what that's worth.  The lakes area is really popular for running (all seasons), biking and cross country skiing. 

After selling our house we now live downtown Minneapolis and pay $1,700 for a 860 sq. ft condo, 12th floor.  Right on the Mississippi River, with beautiful views.  It's an older building so prices are lower than most of the more fancy/new stylish digs in what is called North Loop.  Lots of great places there with exposed brick walls, 20 ft ceilings, etc...very nice but they'll cost you $3-500 more per month without the view and less nature, more cement at this time in north loop. 

Parks, rivers, lakes all over, it was a policy for years that parks had to be within walking distance of every home. 

Culturally ranks pretty high per capita in number of theaters, etc.  Some decent music venues and plenty of sports.  Regarding sports, this is a very active community all seasons so yes we have major sporting franchises but people are as interested in going out on a run themselves as going to a game i believe.  The food scene is good, all options and more and more you see vegan and vegetarian restaurants. 

Minneapolis is generally a progressive city with good job market and as has been mentioned many fortune 500 headquarters.   

I'm not sure about insular comments, I've heard that about our state and city for years.  Here is my take, if you have an interest you can meet people with like interests and develop friendships.  We have good friends that moved here from Boston and they believed that people we generally insular but they have a ton of friends they're going to or hosting dinner parties all the time it seems.  It's what you make it in other words.  But, you'll find people with different opinions on this topic. 

If you have any particular questions please let us know and good luck on your decision process. 

foghorn

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Re: Thoughts on Minneapolis, St. Paul?
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2018, 09:59:26 AM »
I currently live in the Twin Cities area (a NW suburb).  I am from Minnesota and have lived in the metro area two different time in my life (from 1995-1999) and again from 2009-present.  I lived in New Jersey for 10 years from 1999-2009. 

I happen to love living here, except for the winters  - which has been articulated by others and is no surprise to anyone.

The parks, water (lakes) and outdoor activities are terrific.  If you like those kinds of things I think you will be pleased. 

I am not much of a foodie, but people I know that do follow such things tell me that the area has improved a great deal over the years and that there are many great restaurants in town.  Apparently it has become quite a "scene".

The state has a great employer base with many Fortune 500 companies (17, I think?) and a very low unemployment rate (well below the national average).  The education system is well regarded.

The "Minnesota Nice" thing is very true.  It is a non-commital, passive/aggressive thing that you will come to understand with time.  I did not really get what it was until I moved back after 10 years on the East Coast where Minnesota Nice was essentially beaten out of me.  Now I get what it is. 

Be prepared for your friends in the Bay Area to scoff at the thought of you moving to the middle of the country.  They won't get it and you will not be able to convince them.   They will believe that there is nothing here and will wonder how you could ever make such a move.

Regarding housing, you will have many choices - from a downtown condo, to old established neighborhoods to brand new construction in the suburbs - in all cases, most certainly cheaper than Bay Area prices. 

Lastly, the state (particularly the metro area) tends to lean left politically - you will decide if that is good or bad thing. 

Good luck with your decision.

badassprof

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Re: Thoughts on Minneapolis, St. Paul?
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2018, 10:07:05 AM »
Many thanks, everyone, for these helpful and thoughtful replies. I just returned from a holiday vacation in Madison, so I know what I'll be taking on in terms of winters. ("Holy balls, it's cold," is aptly put). That said, I did live in upstate NY for many years, and that isn't for sissies either. Warm clothes are the key as is true gratitude for a glorious spring.

We are (and our dogs) water people, so that aspect of the Twin Cities certainly appeals to us.  Progressive is good for us, and I have found insularity comes in all sizes. (Berkeley can be incredibly provencal in ways I wasn't expecting).

I have looked out housing prices and they are more expensive than I thought, but certainly cheaper than where we are right now. Groveland area would be convenient for work, but I'd love to hear your thoughts on other neighborhoods to check out.

omachi

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Re: Thoughts on Minneapolis, St. Paul?
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2018, 10:07:29 AM »
Didn't see the post yesterday, but I'm in the Twin Cities and love it here. Don't plan to move, ever. There's lots to like and very little I've found to dislike. I'll give some generic highlights, but what do you want to know?

The area has reasonable costs of living, though housing is heating up again. Job market, especially in tech, is tight and commands good salaries. Maybe not Bay area, but see cost of living. Taxes are high, but not CA high.

Lots of parks, water, open space. It isn't terribly crowded for a metropolitan area. We're highly bike friendly, constantly doing battle with the likes of Portland for best city to bike in. Despite the weather, the outdoors is a huge draw here. Or maybe to spite the weather. Lots of gardens too.

Lots of arts and the like here. Theater scene is thriving. Orchestra is very good. Good museums. Concert venues. List goes on.

Restaurant scene surprises many people on the coasts. Lots of good ethnic restaurants, too. You can find spicy, too, contrary to any rumors you might have heard about MN palates. More good craft brewing than you can shake a stick at. Variety of grocery stores to choose from, some specialty, some better than others.

Robust set of clubs for activities that I enjoy. I find this the best way to increase one's social circle. People are mostly polite or at least not rude, and if you can get past the barrier that everybody here seems to have, most are give you the shirt off their back friendly.

Traffic can suck at rush hour, but not like CA traffic. I can get to work downtown, door to door, in ~12 minutes on a clear day, on an 8 mile commute. Normal is still under 20 minutes. Bad is 30 minutes. Worst blizzard was 3 hours. Mass transit is so-so. If that's of interest, find a place near a route that won't require transfers. Light rail is pretty nice, but it's a touch slow and a limited network at the moment. Really nice where it runs and to get to the airport, though.

What else do you want to know?

tealduck

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Re: Thoughts on Minneapolis, St. Paul?
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2018, 10:17:07 AM »
I have looked out housing prices and they are more expensive than I thought, but certainly cheaper than where we are right now. Groveland area would be convenient for work, but I'd love to hear your thoughts on other neighborhoods to check out.

Mac/Groveland area is nice area and very close to Mississippi Boulevard which is great area to walk or run the dogs.  There are some very nice unleashed dog parks not far from there as i understand but don't have dog myself.  People love their dogs here:)

MayDay

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Re: Thoughts on Minneapolis, St. Paul?
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2018, 10:18:11 AM »
2 other thoughts: people say traffic is bad here but it's relative. I've always reverse commuted and had no issue. Even a regular commute will be cake compared to the bay area.

And pakrs/walking. The cities and first ring suburbs are grids of blocks that ware very walkable with a park in every direction. This was shocking to us when we moved. We couldn't walk to 5 parks like we can here.  I adore walking places and you cannot underestimate how much better life is IMO to be able to walk to the park, library, school, restaurants, etc.

This is NOT true in outer suburbs. We live in a first ring suburbs within sight of Mpls (literally one block) away. I am sure bay area is walkable in places, obviously SFO itself is, but just something to consider.

tealduck

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Re: Thoughts on Minneapolis, St. Paul?
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2018, 10:30:30 AM »
Depends on what you're looking for, in general you'll find lakes, lush greenery and parks everywhere. 

Vibrant and higher cost areas:
Lake Minnetonka/Wayzata area west of city. Within Minneapolis look at Fulton, Linden Hills.  Edina, St Louis Park, if you're ready to spend some money on housing, some perks with area but expensive. Hopkins out west is a great city, it was a city on it's own before sprawl reached it so it's got it's own identity.  There are other areas of Minneapolis that offer more affordable housing, many of these areas aren't seen as being as desirable but there fine to live in.  Minneapolis "nordeast" is great in many ways, this is an area that was rich in eastern european diversity years ago and it's an option.   

St Paul other than mac/groveland and crocus (or cathedral hill) i don't know much. 

Maenad

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Re: Thoughts on Minneapolis, St. Paul?
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2018, 10:42:53 AM »
I've lived here in the Twin Cities my whole life other than college. One thing you mentioned - salaries. I've worked at a number of companies with offices both here and in the Bay Area, and from talking to coworkers I've found that while salaries are lower here, the CoL is such that you actually make relatively more.

On the bad side, while we do have access to tons of cooking ingredients from around the world, access to fresh produce is severely limited compared to CA. There is honestly no such thing as "eating seasonally" and getting sufficient variety in your diet in winter, so you'll need to accept frozen or shipped in from afar. It does however mean that we REALLY appreciate fresh fruit when it's in season (Hopkins Raspberry Festival!) and everyone and their mother will bring in stuff from their gardens to share at work.

If no one at your workplace brings in zucchini something is horribly wrong. They may be pod people. Just sayin'.


Oh god I can't wait for spring. :-)

GnomeErcy

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Re: Thoughts on Minneapolis, St. Paul?
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2018, 10:58:03 AM »
If no one at your workplace brings in zucchini something is horribly wrong. They may be pod people. Just sayin'.

Wait hold on that's a thing? Like six years of working up here, never experienced that.

Maple-bacon donuts and Sweet Martha's sure, but zucchini??

newgirl

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Re: Thoughts on Minneapolis, St. Paul?
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2018, 11:15:18 AM »
I don't have much to add except that if you're looking at MacGroveland, also check out Highland Park and Merriam Park as options.

Also, just a warning... you say your partner's family is from WI, but not where you are from or have experience living. Visiting Wisconsin for a few days in the winter doesn't really give you a good sense of what it's like to LIVE in the cold, day in and day out for months on end before you get a reprieve. So if you don't have previous experience LIVING in an extremely cold weather location, be prepared for it to be pretty bad.

I moved here in 2012 from Portland OR, and this year my partner and I are discussing moving to warmer climate. We are both remote workers and I just don't know how many MN winters I have left in me.

The parks and biking system are amazing, though. I used to bike 9 or so miles to work every day from the west suburbs, and I was able to do all but 2 blocks of it on a beautiful off road paved trail that was like biking through a magical forest. Great way to start the day :)

FIFoFum

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Re: Thoughts on Minneapolis, St. Paul?
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2018, 11:21:08 AM »
Haven't lived there for 10+ years, but I liked being a transplant in the twin cities.

MN is a very "livable" city. Big city amenities without many big cities hassles. Good place for outdoor stuff (and dog activities). Best if you like water/lake activities and have some winter sport/hobbies.

Lower housing/renting price point to achieve low/easy commute compared to other cities, though public transit is very limited. Bike trails are great. I found it easier to go to cultural events (sporting, concert, etc.) than in other cities - tix more readily obtainable & tons of cool cheap options of things to do. Getting there and parking tends to be much less stressful. The airport is also super easy to get to, and it's nice having such a major one nearby. Getting to either coast is a relatively short flight. Chicago is only a 6 hr drive away too.
 
I found it relatively easy to find/make friends with other transplants. Sure, there were some natives too. In general, my social circle was filled with people who moved to the twin cities for work or educational opportunities (and stayed).

The biggest challenge is about 3-4 weeks in the dead of winter that are just brutally miserable (and unsafe to be outside no matter what gear you have). After that is just "normal" annoyances from the weather and geography - the summer is very short, it does get tiring having to clear snow so often, etc.

badassprof

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Re: Thoughts on Minneapolis, St. Paul?
« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2018, 11:22:21 AM »
I don't have much to add except that if you're looking at MacGroveland, also check out Highland Park and Merriam Park as options.

Also, just a warning... you say your partner's family is from WI, but not where you are from or have experience living. Visiting Wisconsin for a few days in the winter doesn't really give you a good sense of what it's like to LIVE in the cold, day in and day out for months on end before you get a reprieve. So if you don't have previous experience LIVING in an extremely cold weather location, be prepared for it to be pretty bad.

I moved here in 2012 from Portland OR, and this year my partner and I are discussing moving to warmer climate. We are both remote workers and I just don't know how many MN winters I have left in me.

The parks and biking system are amazing, though. I used to bike 9 or so miles to work every day from the west suburbs, and I was able to do all but 2 blocks of it on a beautiful off road paved trail that was like biking through a magical forest. Great way to start the day :)

You are absolutely right about what it is like to live in really cold weather.  I lived in upstate NY for six years (and by "upstate," I don't mean the Hudson Valley, as New Yorkers call upstate). Rather, real upstate--finger lakes.  I'll never forget my first year of grad school: the first snowfall was Halloween, and the last one was Mother's Day. During my stint there we also experienced an El Nino year. I will never forget crawling out of the second story window because we couldn't open the front door due to a snowbank blocking it. So yes, I know what those winters would be like. And it does give me pause.

newgirl

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Re: Thoughts on Minneapolis, St. Paul?
« Reply #17 on: January 04, 2018, 12:05:56 PM »
I don't have much to add except that if you're looking at MacGroveland, also check out Highland Park and Merriam Park as options.

Also, just a warning... you say your partner's family is from WI, but not where you are from or have experience living. Visiting Wisconsin for a few days in the winter doesn't really give you a good sense of what it's like to LIVE in the cold, day in and day out for months on end before you get a reprieve. So if you don't have previous experience LIVING in an extremely cold weather location, be prepared for it to be pretty bad.

I moved here in 2012 from Portland OR, and this year my partner and I are discussing moving to warmer climate. We are both remote workers and I just don't know how many MN winters I have left in me.

The parks and biking system are amazing, though. I used to bike 9 or so miles to work every day from the west suburbs, and I was able to do all but 2 blocks of it on a beautiful off road paved trail that was like biking through a magical forest. Great way to start the day :)

You are absolutely right about what it is like to live in really cold weather.  I lived in upstate NY for six years (and by "upstate," I don't mean the Hudson Valley, as New Yorkers call upstate). Rather, real upstate--finger lakes.  I'll never forget my first year of grad school: the first snowfall was Halloween, and the last one was Mother's Day. During my stint there we also experienced an El Nino year. I will never forget crawling out of the second story window because we couldn't open the front door due to a snowbank blocking it. So yes, I know what those winters would be like. And it does give me pause.

For the last 3-4 years at least, it's been more bitter cold than snowfall. It's been a while since I saw a single event snowfall of more than 4-5 inches around here. What kills you is the bitter cold (literally and figuratively). I don't know if upstate NY gets as cold as MN does, even if they get more snow. Like, for the last two weeks I think we have had one day where the HIGH was double digits (like 12), majority of days the high was in the single digits, and several days (5-6 I think) where the high was below zero.

Like, if it's 20 degrees and snowing, I'll go outside and have some fun. When the air temp is -8 and -35 with wind chill, I stay the hell inside and feel miserable. And it feels like MN is trending more and more towards the bitter cold direction than the heavy snows. Due to climate change I'm assuming. People will have lots of posts about how you just "bundle up and get outside!" in the winter but I have a full array of winter gear and I have not gotten my ass bundled up and outside for a good two weeks now. The cold is just too miserable.

seattlecyclone

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Re: Thoughts on Minneapolis, St. Paul?
« Reply #18 on: January 04, 2018, 12:22:03 PM »
I grew up in the Twin Cities. I think Minneapolis and St. Paul proper could be great places to live; lots of walkability and parks and stuff, as mentioned, and there seem to be real investments in transit infrastructure in recent years. I can't recommend the outer suburbs where my parents currently live. Super car-oriented, they didn't even bother to put in sidewalks when they built my parents' neighborhood because they knew there was nothing worth walking to. It's just an endless sea of houses, with the occasional pocket of strip malls or big-box stores.

Lady SA

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Re: Thoughts on Minneapolis, St. Paul?
« Reply #19 on: January 04, 2018, 12:46:55 PM »
I'm lived in MN my whole life except for college. My DH is a transplant from WI.

For me, I've always LOVED living here. Yeah, the winters can suck, but the way to combat that is to embrace it. Don't miserably huddle in your house -- find winter activities to join (lots and lots of clubs and activities in the area!) - sledding, skiing (or skijoring with your dog!), snowball fights, curling, broomball, ice skating, just to name a few. There are many winter festivals that happen during the frigid months that are pretty fun. My birthday is in December and I never dread it, I look forward to it because of all the activities I finally get to do that I really, truly enjoy that only happen during the winter months! I always get really excited for the first snowfall. I have a few coworkers who refuse to embrace the winter so they really have a hard time, but if you can find at least one fun activity to look forward to, it helps a LOT.

My DH was warned before we moved back about the "MN nice" phenomenon. In my experience, there are some friendships that are about sharing experiences and some about sharing your life. Minnesotans are generally reserved but friendly, and there is definitely a barrier to get to the "share your life" type of friendship. So I'd start out with the experience-type friendship (meetup.com or joining clubs and activities). Minnesotans are super good at the experience-type friendships! Then be persistent -- invite them out for coffee, dinner parties, and other things outside of the normal activity you share. Don't be discouraged by rejections, Minnesotans generally need to be asked a few times before they are convinced you *actually* want to hang out with them and aren't just being nice. Eventually, if you click, the barriers will slowly come down and before you know it, a Minnesotan will be one of your most valued friends. This has been true for my DH -- some of his native co-workers are now close friends of his.

One sort of philosophical thing I have noticed as a difference in MN vs other places we travel. Both DH and I feel that Minnesotans have a higher-than-normal cultural "connection" and sense of value of the land. We value the land and natural resources just because they are beautiful (see the approximately million parks and lakes and green initiatives, etc), and not necessarily value the land because of what we can get from it (ie farming and hunting). And you can see this in all the people who go to enjoy the lakes and parks and preserved natural areas all year round. I'm not really sure if I'm explaining it right, but there is definitely a sense of pride stemming from our gorgeous surroundings, not necessarily from what we can extract from those surroundings.

Also, what everyone else said about the twin cities being home to a higher-than-normal number of fortune 500 companies. There is no shortage of highly paid positions here. Companies here generally value work-life-balance, in my experience. Rush hour usually starts at like 3:30pm...(lol). Plus, with the lower cost of living, if you are a tech worker, your dollars go much further here. I live a bit out in the 'burbs and my 2 bd 2 ba apartment goes for ~$1500, and my DH who is a 25 year old software engineer makes over 6 figures, and is always home before 5pm. The combination high salaries and relatively lower COL makes for a really great situation.
Depending on the amenities you value, there is a neighborhood that will suit your needs.

I take public transportation to work every day and I have no complaints. Sometimes the busses are a bit slow on bad weather days which results in me standing outside in the cold for longer than I'd like, but most buses have free wifi. Right outside my house I have a major biking/walking trail that I use every day that goes through heavily wooded areas and around a gorgeous lake and park. When I go outside, layers are key. Base layers, mid layers, top layers. During the winter I always wear leggings underneath my pants even at the office (not because the office is cold). Then invest in a proper jacket, insulated waterproof boots (I got a pair of moosehide mukluks and I LOVE them), hat, scarf, and mittens, and you will be fine. Focus on windproof stuff if you can, because the wind is what will get you. On really chilly days (like the last few weeks of below zero temps), making sure everything is covered is key. I wrap a large scarf over my head and around my face (covering my cheeks and nose), then a wool hat over top. Another tip to avoid windburn: smear a thick layer of vasaline on your cheeks for skiing and such if heavy layers on your face are too much. My winter jacket is an 800 fill down jacket that was worth every penny, and I was completely comfortable during the -15 degree days a bit ago.

We frequently go out and try new restaurants in the cities for foods we couldn't make at home. Nightlife is fun, and we have the second-highest concentration of live-theaters after New York/broadway if performing arts is your thing. We also have museums and sports stadiums.

Overall, both DH and I want to live here long-term and are extremely happy here.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2018, 12:59:23 PM by Lady SA »

trailperson

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Re: Thoughts on Minneapolis, St. Paul?
« Reply #20 on: January 04, 2018, 03:17:47 PM »
I'm a San Francisco native who has been living in the Twin Cities for the past 4 years. The winters weren't difficult for me to adjust to. I walk and take the bus to get around. Two things about living here that have been hard for me to adapt to are how car-centric it is compared to SF and how spread out things are. Middle class people here tend to look down on public transportation and not really consider it as an option for getting around much more than they do in SF. There's room for improvements with the public transportation but it's not as terrible as a lot of Minnesotans who don't use it think it is. I have very little problem getting anywhere I need to.

I'm an introverted person who would have difficulty making friends in many situations, but in a place like Minnesota it's definitely amplified. When I first moved here I took a driving lesson (I never had a driver's license until I moved here) and the driving instructor told me that I would not make friends here because Minnesotans are very set in their social circles. Rude. But there are lots of transplants and Minnesotans who have returned to the state after an absence that are on Meet Up and similar places who are actively looking for friends so if you put in the effort, it's not that difficult to meet people. People seem to be less direct here than in California. At work I'm more likely to take initiative or ask for something I want like an assignment or an opportunity to learn new skills than my coworkers.

The Twin Cities has great public parks. They are ranked one and two in the country, just ahead of SF. http://parkscore.tpl.org/rankings.php#sm.0000q2r2denieetxw2y1kw9svr2qb I love that there are parks in St. Paul where you can feel like you're not even in an urban area. I'm a fan of St. Paul over Minneapolis because I enjoy the smaller feel of the city and that the neighborhoods are larger and have a more cohesive feel to them. I think St. Paul has an older feel with more character as well. I second the person who said to check out Highland Park if you're looking at Mac-Groveland. There's a lot in Highland that's easily accessible by walking.

I think there have been some growing pains with the increased ethnic diversity from immigrants and transplants. I have a lot of family here which is one of the reasons I moved here. I'm multiracial, but I come from a long line of white Minnesotans on one side of my family. Some people seem very attached to the way things have been, and some are open to change. I'm optimistic that people can still eat lutefisk and be friendly to new people.

The weather is so harsh here for much of the year that in the summer there's a lot of festivals and such going on. I really enjoy that. I love living here.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Thoughts on Minneapolis, St. Paul?
« Reply #21 on: January 04, 2018, 03:25:25 PM »
High Taxes

badassprof

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Re: Thoughts on Minneapolis, St. Paul?
« Reply #22 on: January 04, 2018, 03:34:04 PM »
High Taxes

Well, I imagine we might have them beat here on high taxes, LOL, but I take your point. And high taxes on a lower salary definitely pinches more!

Cyanne

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Re: Thoughts on Minneapolis, St. Paul?
« Reply #23 on: January 04, 2018, 05:05:08 PM »
No taxes on clothing. I remember shopping in San Francisco and finding out my $90 shoes were going to be closer to $100 with tax!