Challenging place, but possibly worth it.
Disclaimer - yes I am a transplant, from another smaller midwestern city. Minnesota is not a place you just casually move to, you must think hard about here. Let's get this out of the way - if you're a pussy about winter, you will fail here. Unlike many cities further south, you will get a consistent four seasons, with winter being rather brutal at times, sometimes going late into April. Get good winter gear, and go outside and sled or something. Though the summers make up for it in that they aren't really that hot - low 80s for a high is common even in July.
You've probably read plenty about how native Minnesotans are passive aggressive, reserved, narrow minded in some ways, and easily offended. They are in fact all of that. They are not easy people to deal with, and the passive aggression will make even daily life challenging. They can take a lot of effort in order to befriend.
That said, I've had quite a bit of success making friends here. All of my friends are in fact natives. Sadly, I've acquired some of the trademark Minnesota Nice as well. No one here even tries to hide the truth about the Minnesota Nice, either. My secrets - I actually have tons of time to go out and be social and do the grind meeting people. I have many hobbies and interests that are quite prevalent here compared to other places, and have used that to my advantage. One thing I have found with many natives that I meet and try to befriend - they would cold shoulder me for quite a long time, and then OUT OF THE BLUE, they would start talking to me a lot more and opening up. This would usually happen after I've given up on them, and then after several months of us not talking. It takes much time and effort, but you can make friends here. This all despite being a strong Trump supporter who has often been more direct and sometimes offensive with people. When you make friends, they are often intelligent, sarcastic, and more honest than you might realize. Very little is taboo here to talk about once you know someone.
The culture here is more unique and prideful than Texas claims to be. Iowa is considered the South. Local brands dominate over national chains. We have more industry here than you might think. Natives generally don't leave, except for work or college, and then they usually return at some point after realizing the grass isn't greener in that other place.
The amenities here make it worth it. ENDLESS and very accessible nature, tons of parks in every suburb here. Excellent gyms. The U is a really neat place (5th largest campus in America). HyVee entering here recently improved quality of life given that Cub is such a crappy grocery chain. Tons and tons of bars, even really cool ones in suburbs too. Easily the gayest city in America, the gay bars here are far better and larger than places like the Castro. On any given summer weekend, you can expect at least 5 or 6 major festivals or large events throughout the metro, and even winter is more eventful than other cold cities.
The cost of living in some ways is certainly higher than smaller midwest cities or the South, but is still dramatically cheaper than the overhyped bigger cities like LA, NYC, SF, Seattle, etc. Rent in particular is fairly steep, even in outer suburbs. Traffic isn't nearly as bad as said bigger cities as well, though it is fairly bad compared to small cities. The roads are generally in excellent condition, however the designs used on our roads are either bizarre, or are deliberately designed thanks to the Met Council's raging hatred of cars/driving to slow traffic down to a crawl. Many roads have either much larger bike lanes than needed taking away car lanes, a couple of heavily travelled roads had light rail installed which messed up signal timing, and there are many cases where two sections of road once connected to each other, but NIMBYism cut off such access. My job is remote and so I don't know much about the local job market, but it does seem a lot stronger than the place I fled which lacks professional jobs. We don't have an infinite supply of illegals taking up the lower tier jobs, and job listings in my field appear to pay extremely well. Because of the high wages (and highish income tax), you should also expect any services to cost somewhat more than other places.
Again, likely worth it for the amenities depending on what you enjoy in life, but with some serious caveats. This place isn't for everyone.
Michael | Minneapolis, MN
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