If you’re not a native and you’re wondering what it’d be like to live and work in the Twin Cities, we thought we’d do a little bit of bragging about our hometown!
The Twin Cities area is a modern, thriving community of more than 3 million people with everything you’d expect from a world-class metropolis but with a distinctly midwestern sensibility. Not one but two vibrant downtowns, 9 miles apart and surrounded by unique neighborhoods and beautiful natural areas which offer something for everyone. The area park systems are award-winning, and all sorts of cultural resources ensure that there’s always a wide variety of things to learn and explore. Our economy is among the strongest in the country and offers challenging and rewarding careers in many fields. Our residents are highly educated and known for being engaged in our community and government, and we pride ourselves on staying active all year long!
The Twin Cities rank highly in many quality of life measures due to our cultural and recreational opportunities, good public education, effective public transit, fantastic shopping and dining, great medical care and reasonable commutes. As a result, the area has attracted a highly educated, healthy and active population. The region offers a wide range of neighborhoods, whether that’s an urban condo with nightlife, a century-old house on a leafy city street, a suburban family neighborhood with a reasonable commute to work, or a cozy retreat on a lake. Local dining includes dozens offood trucks, booming craft beer and coffee scenes, family-run ethnic food restaurants, and some of the finest chefs in the midwest. Vegetarian / vegan / organic / farm-to-table / Asian / Latin American / Hmong / Somali / Eastern European / Middle Eastern / Hotdish? You’ll find it here. Shopping includes everything from farmer’s markets to international bazaars, neighborhood boutiques to the nation’s largest mall. And no matter the weather, you’ll always find people staying active- running or biking, rollerblading or cross-country skiing along the river, joining a lakeside yoga class, or maybe paddleboarding or sailing (or polar plunging) in the middle of it.
When it comes to work, the Twin Cities has a strong and diversified economy. This broad base helps us weather economic bumps better than most, and in 2014 our unemployment rate was a US-leading 4%. We havelarge employers in retail (Target, Best Buy), medical (Medtronic, St. Jude Medical, UnitedHealth, Ecolab), higher ed (U of Minnesota, Macalester, Hamline, Augsburg, St. Catherine, Concordia), food (General Mills, Land O Lakes, Cargill, Supervalu, CHS), finance (US Bank, Ameriprise, Thrivent) and manufacturing (3M, Valspar). We also have an innovative startup culture and thousands of small businesses.
TWIN CITIES AT A GLANCE
- Top 10: We’re “midwestern modest” around here so you may not have heard, but just a few of our Top 10s in recent years: BEST PLACE TO LIVE IN THE US, Residents with College Education (#7, at 32%), Most Bike-Friendly City (#1), America’s Most Literate Cities (#3 AND #7), Healthiest Cities (#2), Kid-Friendly Cities (#9) and Cleanest Cities (#4 in the World!)
- Climate: Yes, it gets cold! We’re the coldest major city in the U.S, with an average high of 24 in January and 45 inches of snow annually. As any Minnesotan would tell you, just get the right clothes, get on out there and ski / skate / sled / snowmobile / ice fish! What fewer folks know is that our summers are AMAZING, with average highs of 83 in July.
- Geography: The Mississippi River runs right through the heart of the metro area, connecting both downtowns and many neighborhoods along the way. The region is covered in lakes (more than a few of the lakes in the Land of 10,000 Lakes are in the area). Most of the area is relatively flat or gently rolling hills, making for great biking, but the river bluffs provide more dramatic scenery.
- Transportation: Getting to and from here is easy. MSP airport is one of the nation’s largest, and with direct flights to all of the 50 largest US markets and dozens of international destinations it’s easy to get where you need to be. In town, we have two light-rail lines (one of which is right outside of our office), commuter rail, bus rapid transit, city busses, car sharing and bike sharing programs to help you get around.
- Performing Arts: The Guthrie and the Ordway theaters anchor a world-class set of performance venues, which also includes spots such as the Orpheum, Pantages, the Varsity Theater, First Avenue, and the Children’s Theatre Company.
- Museums: Among our more well-known museums, St. Paul offers up the Science Museum of Minnesota, the Minnesota History Center, and the Minnesota Children’s Museum while Minneapolis features the Walker Art Center, the Weisman Museum, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and the Mill City Museum. There are also many smaller, unique museums to visit such as the Bakken Museum, the Museum of Russian Art, the American Swedish Institute and the Minnesota Transportation Museum, among dozens of others.
- Professional Sports: the Minnesota Twins (MLB), Minnesota Vikings (NFL), Minnesota Wild (NHL), Minnesota Timberwolves (NBA), Minnesota Lynx (WNBA), Minnesota United (soon-to-be-MLS :soccer) and the St. Paul Saints (minor league baseball) all play in the metro area.
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
We said we stay active all year, and we weren’t kidding! Here’s just a sampling of how we keep busy all four seasons.
- The MN State Fair: No list of Twin Cities events can be complete without mention of the 11-day “Great Minnesota Get-Together”. With 1.8 million attendees each year, it’s an annual tradition for many Minnesotans. If you’ve ever had the thought “I wish there was somewhere I could go to get 80 different foods on a stick all in one place”, this is the event for you!
- Fringe Festival
- Summer Movies and Musicin the Parks
- Twin Cities Jazz Festival
For more information about the Twin Cities, you can visit the University’s Twin Cities introduction site, Wish You Were Here.