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Skyline of Downtown Minneapolis at sunset

16 Things to Know About Living in Minneapolis

Moving to Minneapolis? Twin to St. Paul and home to The Jucy Lucy, Prince, and one of the largest state fairs in the country, this Minnesota city is full of things to do year-round. Here are 16 things to know about living in Minneapolis!

Find Affordable Living in the City of Lakes

Minneapolis skyline featuring trees and buildings. Photo by Instagram user @mspblacklimo.

Photo via @mspblacklimo

While living in Minneapolis, you can benefit from small-town vibes and big-city amenities. Although the cost of living is 3% higher than the state average, Minneapolis offers a budding economy, excellent and affordable healthcare, and 0% tax on clothing and shoes. Housing can also be very affordable! While median home prices sit at $345,500 and median rent prices at $1,658, there are plenty of safe, affordable neighborhoods in Minneapolis to choose from, making it possible to find a home that fits your budget and lifestyle.

Start Your New Career in the Mini Apple

Moving to Minneapolis in search of a new career? Fortunately, the average salary in Minneapolis is higher than the U.S. average, and the city’s unemployment rate is just 2.1%. Minneapolis’ key industries are healthcare, manufacturing, technology, retail, and agriculture. Additionally, the state of Minnesota is home to 16 Fortune 500 companies, five of which are located in Downtown Minneapolis. Have a good work/life balance at “one of the best companies to work for” and seventh-largest retailer in the U.S., Target headquarters. For jobs in the financial industry, look at U.S. Bank, Ameriprise Financial, and Thrivent Financial. Check out the extensive Hennepin Healthcare system for a variety of career paths in healthcare. Or seek employment with Xcel Energy, a power and utilities facility working toward clean, carbon-free energy!

Make the Most of Minneapolis Transportation

Person riding Nice Ride bicycle on a bike path in Minneapolis. Photo by Instagram user @ niceridemn.

Photo via @niceridemn

With plenty of transportation options, it’s easy to get around Minneapolis! Take the MetroTransit, offering bus routes, light rails, and commuter trains throughout the Twin Cities. Many residents also ride their bikes on more than 200 miles of on- and off-street bikeways. If you don’t own a bicycle, rent a bike through Nice Ride, which has multiple stations scattered throughout the city. Explore Downtown Minneapolis shops, venues, and restaurants any day of the year via the Minneapolis Skyway System. This climate-controlled, above-ground walkway stretches over 9.5 miles and connects 80 city blocks, making it the world’s largest network of second-level indoor bridges. Or take a quick 15-minute taxi from Downtown Minneapolis to the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport for domestic and international flights.

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Further Your Education at Minneapolis Schools

Students walking to class on The University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus. Photo by Instagram user @umntwincities.

Photo via @umntwincities

You’ll find an abundance of colleges and universities in Minneapolis and the larger Twin Cities area. Become an Auggie at Augsburg University, a private liberal arts college ranked fourth among the best Doctor of Nursing Practice programs in the U.S. Take notes for classes in social science, finance, math, and more—including the highest-rated public education program in the world—at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Pursue a degree in animation, graphic design, filmmaking, and more through Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Enroll in a faith-centered curriculum of education, business, marketing, and more at North Central University. Attend one of the best undergraduate entrepreneurship programs in the nation or earn your degree in Health and Exercise Science the University of St. Thomas Minneapolis Campus.

Embrace the Great Outdoors All Year Round

No matter the weather, there’s plenty of outdoor recreation to enjoy in the Mini Apple. Summers are warm and winters are freezing cold, with annual temperatures typically varying between 9 and 83 degrees. But the below-freezing temperatures in winter don’t stop MPLS residents from enjoying the outdoors! Go snowboarding, snow-tubing, or sledding at Theodore Wirth Regional Park. Spend time ice-fishing in the Land of 10,000 Lakes at places like Lake of the Isles, Cedar Lake, or Lake Harriet. Visit Sociable Cider Werks on Friday nights to ice skate and have a warm drink. Celebrate winter with events like fat-tire biking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and more at the City of Lakes Loppet Winter Festival. Go for a walk or bike ride in the springtime on the Stone Arch Bridge. Enjoy the summer heat by supporting local small businesses at the Mill City Farmers Market every Saturday. Or take in the summer sunshine with a beach day full of canoeing, paddleboarding, fishing, and more at Lake Nokomis or Bde Maka Ska.

Take a Day Trip to the Mall Of America

Outside view of the entrance to the Mall of America. Photo by Instagram user @smn_bhl.

Photo via @smn_bhl

Located just 15 minutes away from Downtown Minneapolis, you can spend a whole day shopping, eating, and exploring the Mall of America. With over 520 stores, 50 restaurants, and more, it’s the biggest mall in America! Shop for clothing and shoes while benefitting from the city’s 0% sales tax on these items. Grab lunch at Bussin Birria Tacos or the upscale Cedar + Stone, Urban Table. Enjoy an adult night out with shows full of laughs at Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy. Take the family to see their favorite Nickelodeon characters and ride rollercoasters inside the Mall of America at Nickelodeon Universe. Or watch thousands of tropical fish, sharks, and stingrays swim above you in a 300-foot-long underwater tunnel at SEA LIFE Aquarium.

Explore The City’s Many Parks

People kayaking in a Minneapolis lake. Photo by Instagram user @mspmag.

Photo via @mspmag

With over 274 parks scattered throughout the city, 98% of Minneapolis residents live within a 10-minute walk from one—and the Minneapolis park system ranks fifth best in the U.S.! The abundance of parks contributes to Minneapolis’ status as one of the fittest cities in the United States. Enjoy walking, biking, and rollerskating at one of many local Minneapolis parks like Mill Ruins Park. Have your pick of water-related activities like fishing, paddleboarding, swimming, and more at Minneapolis Chain of Lakes Regional Park, which connects five of the largest lakes in Minneapolis. Get a close-up view of the 53-foot waterfall at Minnehaha Regional Park. Enjoy plenty of walking, hiking, and biking trails at Mississippi Gorge Regional Park. Or take a quick day trip to neighboring St. Paul to see Fort Snelling State Park and the Mississippi National River & Recreation Area.

Experience a City With Pride

Crowd celebrates Twin Cities Pride parade in downtown Minneapolis. Photo by Instagram user @marktimemedia.

Photo via @marktimemedia

In 1975, Minneapolis became the first city in the country to pass a non-discrimination ordinance. The city embraces and celebrates diversity and inclusion all day, every day, but especially during the Minneapolis pride parade. Party at one of the largest annual gay pride festivals in the country with approximately 400,000 attendees at Twin Cities Pride, packed with vendors, food courts, a beer garden, and music stages. The festival celebrated its 50th year in 2022 with a slew of events, vendors, and a giant parade. After the parade, you can head over to The Saloon, an LGBTQ bar and nightclub for dance parties, drag shows, open-stage talent shows, and karaoke. Watch creative and entertaining drag queens perform on the Union Rooftop. Or celebrate the power of music and inclusivity at a Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus show.

Attend Unique Fairs & Festivals

Three human pyramids performing a water skiing show on the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. Photo by Instagram user @sammifolkenson.

Photo via @sammifolkenson

Minneapolis hosts several festivals and events year-round, which are perfect for a variety of age groups and interests. Celebrate the city at the Minneapolis Aquatennial—known to many as the “Best Days of Summer“—a four-day festival bookended by the CenterPoint Energy Torchlight Parade and the famous Target Firework Show. Attend one of the largest performing arts festivals in the Midwest with shows built around equity and fighting injustice at the Minnesota Fringe Festival. Enjoy specialty markets, a vintage car show, dancing at the bridge, and more at the Stone Arch Bridge Festival. Rock out at the annual summer music festival Rock The Garden, hosted by the Walker Art Center. Bundle up for shopping, interactive art installations, and entertainment in Loring Park at the annual holiday festival Holidazzle. Or embrace winter at its finest at The Great Northern, a 10-day celebration of the northern climate and culture—presenting food, art, performances, featured speakers, and more.

Check Out the Vibrant Minneapolis Art Scene

With galleries, art museums, murals, and performance venues scattered throughout the Twin Cities metro, the Mini Apple has plenty for art lovers to discover. Attend Art-A-Whirl—the country’s largest open studio tour and an MPLS staple for 28 years—for art demos, hands-on activities, live music, and more. See over 90,000 artworks from around the world, plus featured exhibits on topics like the Renaissance and South American art, at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Attend events like immersive dance performances and explore the collections at Weisman Art Museum. See visually striking pieces across all mediums at the Uptown Art Fair, one of the most exceptional art fairs in the U.S. Catch shows like Rinaldo or The Song Poet from the Minnesota Opera at the Luminary Arts Center. See classic and Contemporary plays at the Guthrie Theater, a fixture in the community since its founding in 1963. Experience everything from visual to performing art at the Walker Art Center—or head outside into the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden to see iconic Minneapolis sculptures like Spoonbridge and Cherry or the gigantic, 25-foot-tall blue rooster, Hahn/Cock.

Visit Top Twin Cities Museums

Family observing bird exhibit at the Bell Museum. Photo by Instagram user @bellmuseum.

Photo via @bellmuseum

Looking for history, culture, and science in the Twin Cities? There are plenty of museums to visit! Explore the ruins of Washburn A Mill Complex—once the largest and most technologically advanced flour mill in the world—at Mill City Museum. Explore a historic Swedish mansion, celebrate countless festivals, enroll in programs like Nordic handcrafting, or language and culture at the American Swedish Institute. Learn about Black history, culture, and art in exhibits like UNBREAKABLE: Celebrating the Resilience of African Americans in Minnesota at the Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery. Make a stop-motion movie in the Spark exhibit, meet the mother of science fiction in Mary & Her Monster, and test out some of Ben Franklin’s favorite experiments in the Electricity Party room at The Bakken Museum. Check out the Bell Museum—just 12 minutes away in St. Paul—for planetarium shows, interactive exhibits, and wildlife dioramas. Or explore 8.5 acres of exhibits covering space, physics, nature, dinosaurs, volcanoes, and more at the Science Museum of Minnesota.

Cheer On Your Favorite Sports Teams

Minnesota Twins baseball player runs and throws bat after hitting a homerun. Photo by Instagram user @twins.

Photo via @twins

Sports fans will love living in Minneapolis! Watch the Minnesota Vikings (NFL) play at U.S. Bank Stadium. Catch a Minnesota Twins (MLB) ballgame at Target Field. Cheer on the Minnesota Timberwolves (NBA) or four-time championship winners Minnesota Lynx (WNBA) at Target Center. Watch Minnesota Wild (NHL) players hit the ice at Xcel Energy Center. Cheer on Minnesota United FC (MLS) at Allianz Field with fellow soccer fans. Or get ready for the heated college football rivalry between the Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Wisconsin Badgers, dating back to 1890, in which the two teams fight for Paul Bunyan’s Axe.

Enjoy Year-Round Family Fun

Giant green and black kite being flown at the Lake Harriet Winter Kite Festival. Photo by Instagram user @nickbusse.

Photo via @nickbusse

Looking for fun things to do with the family in the Twin Cities? Explore exotic animals, beautiful plants and gardens, and take classes at the Minnesota Zoo, or make a whole day of seeing animals in neighboring Twin City at the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory. Watch the sky fill up with bright and colorful kites, enjoy lots of winter activities and games, and eat s’mores by the fire at the Lake Harriet Winter Kite Festival. Go to the 12-day-long Minnesota State Fair—the second-largest state fair in the U.S.—for rides, a parade, an art exhibition, and delicious fair food. Tee up for Skyline Mini Golf on the Walker Art Center rooftop, which features 10 one-of-a-kind, artist-designed holes. Play a grand piano, listen to selections from over 15,000 albums in the vinyl record collection, or bring the kids to Storytime at the Minneapolis Central Library. Or browse endless shelves at family-friendly bookstore Magers & Quinn.

Food Options Are Endless

Dinner plate with a turmeric dill filet o fish sandwich and a side of tater tots. Photo by Instagram user @haihaimpls.

Photo via @haihaimpls

Minneapolis is a food lovers’ paradise with diverse culinary cuisine! Have the Breakfast Poutine or the Chicken and Waffles at Eggy’s Diner in the Loring Park area. Looking for a not-so-traditional cheeseburger? Devour Minneapolis’ must-have staple, the original Jucy Lucy, at Matt’s Bar and Grill near Powderhorn Park. Enjoy Creole-style comfort food at Brasa Premium Rotisserie, which also has vegan and vegetarian options to pick from. Stop for authentic Cuban food such as the Cubano, Ropa Vieja, and Maduros (fried sweet plantains) at Guava’s Cuban Cafe. Visit the Northeast Arts District for savory Vietnamese cuisine like Balinese Chicken Thigh, Coconut Shrimp Toast, and Pork Ribs Tocino at Hai Hai. Try Indigenous and Native American cuisine like Cedar Braised Bison and Grilled Forest Mushrooms from Chef Sean Sherman at Owamni, winner of Best New Restaurant in the Nation at the 2022 James Beard Awards. Or satisfy your sweet tooth with the Blueberry Buttermilk Cheesecake, Chocolate Sorbet Sundae, and Lemongrass Banana Crème Pie at Edwards Dessert Kitchen.

Grab A Beer at Twin Cities Breweries

Pint of beer being poured from a beer tap. Photo by Instagram user @pryesbrewing.

Photo via @pryesbrewing

Beer and cider lovers will have their pick from over 80 breweries in Minneapolis! Sip on beers like the Furious IPA, Before I Die Lager, and 27 other rotating taps every day at Surly Brewing Co., a 50,000 square-foot brewery. Gather at a taproom and beer garden to try European-style lagers and ales at Utepils Brewing. Enjoy one-of-a-kind alternative beers inside the custom-built brewhouse of Modist Brewing Co. Check out award-winning craft beers and wood-fired pizza at Pryes Brewing Company. Make your way to Lakes & Legends Brewing Company, a family-friendly taproom known for their Farm Series beers, games, and non-alcoholic craft soda from local Northern Soda Company. Try small-batch production beers at Dangerous Man Brewing Co. and visit their growler shop just two doors down. Or grab a pint of Pistachio Cream Ale, Mexican Honey Light Lager, or Cherry Dust Sour Ale at Indeed Brewing Company, the first production brewery to open a taproom in the heart of Northeast Minneapolis.

Enjoy a Night Out in MPLS

Looking for things to do at night in Minneapolis? There’s plenty of nightlife to go around! Attend a show at the iconic First Avenue rock venue, which has featured music acts like Prince, Hippo Campus, and Lizzo, among others. Ride, sing, and drink on the Pedal Pub Twin Cities, the first-ever party bike in the U.S. Head over to LITT Pinball Bar to experience over 20 rare and popular pinball machines, craft beers, cocktails, and creative hotdog concoctions. For refreshing micheladas, weekly salsa dancing, and live music visit La Dona Cerveceria. Dance the night away as DJs perform at The Exchange & Alibi Lounge, a nightlife experience featuring state-of-the-art sound and light equipment. Or attend one of many shows inside Minneapolis’ historic Firehouse #21 at The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge.


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Minneapolis, MN - 16 Things to Know

About Mike Beutler

Mike Beutler is a writer and digital content specialist who transitioned to self storage in 2020 after several years in the airline industry. His travels cultivated a passion for exploring cities across the U.S. and abroad and inspired him to learn more about practical insights for urban living. With 14 moves under his belt, both locally and cross-country, he also has a passion for minimalism and organization, and sharing tips to help others make any space feel like home while staying organized.