Put on your buffalo plaid flannel shirt, grab your ax, and head to the cabin!
Or something like that.
If you’re thinking about moving to Minnesota you may be wondering if the stereotypes are real – is everyone nice?!? ARE there 10,000 lakes? Does everyone say “you betcha!”? (kinda, more than that & no.)
Why do people like it here?
By “here”, I’m going to say the Twin Cities Metro area + the hinterlands.
- Minnesota Nice. It’s a midwestern thing, I think. For the most part people look out for their neighbors and are willing to pitch in and help when you need it. They will definitely give you some friendly conversation in the grocery store check out line. I often also read that while Minnesotans are nice, they won’t allow you into their inner circle easily. I honestly don’t think it’s any different here than anywhere else I’ve lived. The way to get close to people in the community is to make the effort yourself – get involved in things you enjoy and you’ll find your group.
- Cultural diversity. Yes, nearly 84% of the population of the STATE is white. Look, it was settled by Scandinavians – they are a pale people. However! Minneapolis has a more diverse population – and with that comes the art, culture & food that makes a city vibrant. If you didn’t know better you might believe that the food would be bland here, and while it’s not like Chicago or New York, you will not be stuck eating tater tot hotdish every day (unless you want to- then have at it!). There is a Vietnamese population that keeps everyone happily eating Pho, and one of my favorite restaurants is Ethiopian, among many others.
- Autumn. People talk about going to New England to see the leaves… well, I am 100% sure that New England doesn’t have anything on Minnesota! Autumn here is something to behold. In addition to the leaves, crisp temperatures and apple orchards, if you like birds MN is a hot spot for bird migration in the fall and you can see some very unusual ones. One of my favorite things to do in September is bike over to Longfellow Gardens in the city – it’s a work of art with annuals and perennials and apparently the hummingbirds think so too – they stop on their migration south and there are days when you can see about 100 of them getting rest and fuel for their journey. It gives me awe to see them like that.
- Lake Culture. I’m calling it a culture because it really is a way of life here. Even when you live in the city, summers are spent at the MANY lakes in and around the metro area. Swimming at the beaches, eating at the beachside cafes, paddleboarding, kayaking or sailing on the water. Many people have lake cabins here, and spend weekends and holidays there. And winter is no exception, either! If you like cross country skiing on flat surfaces, lakes freeze to depths of many feet and are safe to ski on, many people enjoy ice fishing and park their ice houses out on the lake and while away the day there, and we even have a lot of festivals held on lakes in winter – the Eelpout Festival is HUGE in northern MN, but down in the cities we have things like the Kite Festival and the Art Shanties on Lake Harriet.
CONS! What? yes, there are negatives… according to some people…
- Winter… I am wincing as I write this because I like winter, but there are some days in winter here where you kind of question your sanity. Average winter temps are about 10 degrees F. Wind chill adds another dimension. It is cold, but not awful (dress properly! See my video about surviving winter in MN!). We do have cold snaps that are significantly below zero for a few days every winter. In northern MN, a friend of mine posted a photo of her car thermostat showing an external temp of -41. School still happens. Life goes on, you won’t hear a lot of moaning and groaning because it is what it is. Anyone can make it through a couple of nasty cold snaps, but what tends to weigh on people are the short days (the sun sets around 4:30pm and rises at around 8am), and while it’s often quite sunny here, that can feel like not quite enough. Winter also feels like it stretches on a ways. We usually have a frost in the beginning of October and first snowfall (that doesn’t stick) by Halloween.
- Slower pace. Once again – this is how you look at it. Personally, I don’t mind. I’ve lived fast paced in Chicago for a long while – LOVED it, but it can also be a big relief to not. The outdoor lifestyle here is naturally kind of a quieter way to be, people hunker down at bars for a drink and a good time with friends in winter, but it’s definitely got a slower pace. If you have kids, one thing that struck me here that I didn’t have in Chicago is that my daughter could play outside without intense scrutiny and people wanting to call DCFS. Kids still play in the park without parents helicoptering around them. It feels nice.
- Bland food. Yes – this is the exact opposite of what I said before. But we are talking about MN as a whole here, and while you can find some great options in the cities, you are very likely to encounter a lot of “meat and potatoes” food as a whole. Nothing wrong with meat and potatoes, but sometimes you want something else. Also, the Minnesotan version of “spicey” is comical.
OK – that is IT for me today! Let me know if you think this sounds like something you can handle. 😉