1. Travel

Relocating to Minneapolis

Relocating to Minneapolis - What is the City of Minneapolis Like?


Peavey Plaza, and Orchestra Hall, home of the Minnesota Orchestra, downtown Minneapolis

Peavey Plaza, and Orchestra Hall, home of the Minnesota Orchestra, downtown Minneapolis

Clara James
Relocating to Minneapolis?

Your boss just came in and told you that there was an opportunity in the Minneapolis office. You are looking for a new job, and saw an interesting opening at a Minneapolis firm. Or you are looking for a new city to live, stuck a pin in a map and it landed on Minneapolis. Whatever your reasons for a relocating, or thinking about relocating to Minneapolis, many newcomers know very little about the city before they arrive.

Minneapolis, and Minnesota, don't experience much tourism compared to other destinations in the US. The city of Minneapolis is a long way from anywhere else, and it doesn't have much about it that's famous or nationally recognized. Well, Minnesota is the home of Spam. And you've probably heard of Target, founded and headquartered in Minneapolis.

Aside from processed meat products and superstores, many Americans don't know much about Minnesota, except for the stereotypes perpetuated in movies like Fargo. There are plenty of people who say Yaah? instead of Yes?, lots of traditional Midwestern and Lutheran charm and plenty of snow, but there's much more to Minneapolis than that.

So what is Minneapolis like? What is it like to live in Minneapolis?

Every city is a product of its history, geography, and residents. Minneapolis grew into a city in the mid 19th century with the arrival of immigrants from Scandinavia, and became a commercial center with the taming on waterfalls on the Mississippi River to grind wheat and drive the timber trade. The milling industry was once the largest in America and General Mills was founded, and is still headquartered, in a Minneapolis suburb. After the decline of the local milling industry in the 1950s, Minneapolis refocused on becoming an economic hub rather than a production one. Many corporate headquarters are based here, and industries like banking, retail, medical technology, health care and computer technology are all important to the local economy.

Minneapolis and adjoining St. Paul form the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul, the largest urban area in the Midwest after Chicago and Detroit. Downtown Minneapolis is on the west bank of the Mississippi River, and the city layout is on the traditional grid system, with deviations around the river, and the city's lakes, creeks and many parks.

About 350,000 people live in Minneapolis, and the Twin Cities metropolitan area totals around 3.2 million people. Part of the population growth has been from migration within the US including many Native Americans, and part is immigration from overseas. There are large populations from Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, Somalia, Mexico and Latin America.

The oldest existing housing in Minneapolis was built around 1860. Large parts of the city of Minneapolis was developed around the turn of the 20th century and much of the empty space was mostly filled in by the 1950s, with postwar housing built mostly in less desirable neighborhoods in the far south and north of Minneapolis. New, modern housing, condos and apartments are available, especially in the fashionable parts of town, but if you want something contemporary the best places to look is in the old industrial districts around downtown Minneapolis for a refurbished warehouse apartment. Minneapolis has a distinct neighborhood setup, with the character of the city changing markedly between neighborhoods.

The suburbs surrounding Minneapolis offer every kind of suburban living you could want, from identikit subdivisions, older suburbs with character and cute downtown districts, there are upscale areas and affordable choices. The commute into Minneapolis is about average for a large city, and predictably, it can get very congested on the major freeways, I-35W, I-94 and I-394 which bring commuters in from suburbs.

Minneapolis is relatively quiet, and calm for a city its size. Of course there is crime in Minneapolis, as in every metropolitan area, but most violent crimes are concentrated in specific areas of Minneapolis.

But does quiet equate to boring? Minneapolis is no New York, but locals who call Minneapolis the "Mini Apple" could be said to have a point.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.