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Midwestern Charm: Living in Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN

The first city of the West and the last city of the East, Minneapolis-St. Paul has always been a place for people searching for fresh opportunities. Affectionately known as the “Twin Cities,” this rich urban landscape offers a unique blend of nature, culture, and commerce. Together with its friendly citizens, it's one of the most charming towns in the Midwest and one of the most attractive destinations in the United States. Anyone curious about living in Minneapolis-St. Paul will find a lot to love. The region might be known for its cold weather, but the Twin Cities are famous for their high-quality of life.

View of Minneapolis

Affordable Housing

No one moves to Minneapolis-St. Paul to save on consumer goods or utilities. Gas, groceries, electricity, medical care, telecommunications ‒ the cost of living in the Twin Cities fluctuates, but rarely strays far from the national average. The only exception to this is housing, which is significantly cheaper than most other American cities.

At the start of 2024, home buyers could purchase a house in Minneapolis for roughly $313,000, compared with $348,000 nationwide. Prices are even better across the river in St. Paul, where the average home costs only $277,076. Rents are more competitive, but still below what you would expect to pay elsewhere.

In Minneapolis, for example, average rent for an apartment is around $1,665, while in St. Paul, apartments typically go for $1,420, compared to $1,720 in the rest of the United States. What’s more, these prices reflect long-term trends, not a short term dip, as affordable housing has slowly become a stable and long-standing feature in the area.

Robust Economy

One of the advantages of living in Minneapolis-St. Paul is its historically low unemployment rate. Thanks to its diverse business sector, the Twin Cities has a particularly resilient job market. Science, technology, and retail are the biggest industries in town, but far from the only ones. A significant portion of the workforce is also employed in milling, machinery, graphic arts, food processing, medical engineering, and electronics manufacturing.

High-grade infrastructure and state-funded research institutions, combined with tax incentives, professional service networks, and an experienced talent pool, has made the cities fertile ground for corporations and startups. There are more Fortune 500 companies per capita in Minneapolis-St. Paul than anywhere else in the country. These include:

  • 3M
  • CHS
  • Target
  • Ecolab
  • Polaris
  • Best Buy
  • Xcel Energy
  • U.S. Bancorp
  • General Mills
  • Land O’Lakes
  • Hormel Foods
  • Thrivent Financial
  • Ameriprise Financial
  • C.H. Robinson Worldwide
  • Securian Financial Group

At the same time, the competitive landscape and broad range of talent has created a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem. With the assistance of local organizations such as the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, new businesses are more likely to grow, succeed, and survive in Minneapolis-St. Paul than in practically any other American city.

The region has even drawn attention from overseas. There are over 900 multinational operations in the area, from 40 different countries. Together, they’ve invested more than $36 billion into the local economy and employ over 170,000 people. With funds continuing to pour in from both American and international sources, unemployment rates are expected to remain low as demand for workers skyrockets across multiple industries.

Spectacular Parks

With over 12,000 acres of parkland, Minneapolis-St. Paul is one of the greenest urban areas in the country. Most residents (96 percent) live within a 10 minute walk of at least one local or regional park. There are over 350 in the cities’ limits, including:

  • Minnehaha Regional Park. One of the oldest and most popular parks in the city, featuring volleyball, disc golf, and a community garden surrounded by oak, elm, and cottonwood trees. But the main attraction is Minnehaha Falls, a 53-foot waterfall situated along limestone cliffs amid green undergrowth.
  • Battle Creek Regional Park. A sprawling 1,890 acre wilderness full of woodlands, wetlands, grasslands, and sandstone bluffs. Hike or bike along the Mississippi River and enjoy magnificent views of downtown St. Paul. Lucky visitors might catch a glimpse of deer, foxes, and hawks darting between the trees. There’s also a dog park, water park, and plenty of winter recreation, including sledding hills and ski trails.
  • Crosby Farm Regional Park. Consisting mostly of floodplain forest, this tranquil woodland offers nearly 7 miles of paved trails that guide you from Hidden Falls south along the shoreline to the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers. Belted kingfishers, herons and black-billed cuckoos are some of the most common wildlife, but during winter, you may be able to spot some bald eagles as well.
  • Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary. The oldest public plant garden in the United States, home to over 500 species of native trees, shrubs, ferns, and wildflowers. Visitors stroll through multiple habitats, experiencing the incredible diversity of the region's wildlife, including sugar maples, red oaks, highbush cranberries, Virginia bluebells, and geraniums. The sanctuary is part of the immense Theodore Wirth Regional Park, which offers multiple opportunities for outdoor recreation, including hiking, volleyball, fishing, and disc golf.

Bike Trails and Skyways

Minnesota is a big state, with communities spread out over 87,000 square miles, unconnected by bus or train. Cars are the preferred mode of transport in every city except Minneapolis and St. Paul. Though the Twin Cities have plenty of drivers, there are plenty of cyclists as well. In fact, Minneapolis and St. Paul are two of the most bike friendly cities in America.

They contain a spider web of bicycle trails, over 395 miles of lanes, paths, and roadways connecting the two cities. Cyclists have access to most regional parks and major destinations downtown, including the University of Minnesota. And even though the cities receive over four feet of snow during winter, the snow plows keep the bike paths open all year. Some cyclists even equip their bikes with snow tires, so they can ride in any weather.

Downtown Minneapolis also sees a heavy amount of foot traffic thanks to its skyway system: eight and a half miles of elevated walkways covering over 80 city blocks. The skyways are fully enclosed, so pedestrians can move between buildings without setting foot into the wind or snow outside.

Year-Round Adventure

Minneapolis and St. Paul receive more than 54 inches of snow every year. But while other cities hunker down and hibernate, the Twin Cities stay active. People go sledding, snowshoeing, ice skating, and cross-country skiing. Some hit the trails on fat bikes or snow mobiles. Others check out the frozen waterfalls in and around the city. There is downhill skiing and snowboarding as well, though they’re not very popular, due to the relatively flat geography.

The truly brave go ice fishing on the Mississippi. Residents have to bring their own augers and drill the holes themselves, but for the intrepid fisherman, there are plenty of walleye, crappies, and pikes swimming about under the water.

Hiking trails and campsites stay busy all year, but summer is the only time when Minnesotans have a chance to get out onto the water. Residents can grab a kayak or canoe and head off down the Mississippi to explore the wetlands, creeks, and inlets around the city.

Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes and there are plenty near Minneapolis and St. Paul, including Bde Maka Ska, Lake Harriet, and Lake Nokomis ‒ popular destinations for sailing, swimming, sunbathing, waterskiing, and paddleboarding.

Even though the state is almost entirely landlocked, Minnesota has more shoreline than California and Hawaii, making it the perfect place for fishing. The waters are packed with bass, pike, and bluegills. Integrated piers and boat launches provide ready access to dozens of pristine lakes and rivers throughout the area. They may be far from the ocean, but living in Minneapolis-St. Paul means you’re never far from the water.

Popular Entertainment

Minneapolis-St. Paul is one of the most dynamic metro areas in the United States, with a wealth of attractions for anyone in need of a little excitement. Besides its public parks and outdoor recreation, the Twin Cities also feature:

  • Professional Sports. Minneapolis-St. Paul is home to teams from every major sports league in America. Baseball fans root for the Twins. Football fans cheer for the Vikings. Hockey fans watch the Wild or PWHL Minnesota. Basketball fans have the Timberwolves and Lynx. In 2015, the cities even added a professional soccer team: the Minnesota United.
  • Mall of America. The largest mall in the Western Hemisphere, with four levels and up to 500 stores selling everything from clothes to books to furniture, electronics, and more! After you’re done shopping, grab a bite to eat at one of the dozens of restaurants then check out the fun adventures they offer, including a paintball range, immersive aquarium, roller coaster, flight simulator, and escape rooms.
  • Vibrant Theaters. Every year, the Twin Cities hosts a wide range of classic, contemporary, and offbeat stage productions. In addition to its big-name shows, you’ll also find a number of experimental works exploring race, society, and social justice. The cities are also home to the Minnesota Fringe Festival, one of the largest non-juried performing arts celebrations in the United States, not to mention the Twin Cities Horror Festival, which features plenty of spooks, scares, and screams.
  • Winter Carnival. Minnesota winters may be cold, but that’s no reason they can’t be fun. A tradition since 1886, the St. Paul Winter Carnival features torchlight parades, ice sculptures, and an autonomous snowplow competition. Ice skate under outdoor fairy lights. Jam with local music acts. Test your mettle at the annual ice run. Then marvel at the heart-stopping fireworks show over the city skyline.

Moving to Minneapolis-St. Paul

Moving cross country is no easy feat. Trucks, boxes, furniture, storage ‒ there’s a lot to organize and only so many hours in the day. Get the help you need to coordinate logistics and safeguard your belongings. For over 95 years, Allied agents have helped Americans start new lives in new cities. From packing to shipping to final delivery, there is no job we can’t handle, no challenge we can’t overcome. So whether you’re moving to Minneapolis, St. Paul, or parts beyond, trust us to get you there safely. Reach out today for a free quote!

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