Things just work better here
I've lived in the Twin Cities for six years, and plan on living here in the future. No place is perfect, but Minneapolis and St. Paul are hard to top.
I think it comes down to a culture of honesty and public-spiritedness. Minnesota has the highest percentage of voters of any US state and the local newspaper here is one of the only ones anywhere in the country that isn't cutting staff and going downhill. People here are well-informed and engaged in improving their community. Corruption is not a big issue. Conversations about local issues are civil and productive. Things just seem to work better here, and it makes you optimistic about the future.
You see comments here about crime and traffic, but if you go look at the pages of other cities, you'll see the same stuff. The truth is, the Twin Cities are safer than most and easier to get around than most. Crime is going down just about every year, and this city is the cleanest in the country. In terms of getting around, the region is making big investments in transit and bicycle infrastructure that make it even easier to go to work, visit friends, or go shopping without having to get in the car. The light rail system may be small, but it's frequent and convenient. The bus system is decently extensive. They are building new light rail and rapid bus lines right now. There are also protected bike lanes all over, and the urban trails like the Midtown Greenway are what makes Minneapolis so great for bicycling. There's also a ton of housing construction in the densest parts of the city, where you can walk to everything you need.
Where Minneapolis and St. Paul especially shine is in the parks system. There's no other American city that I know of that has such great parks, and they are everywhere. Each neighborhood has at least one nice park, and the lakes and the river are really accessible to everyone. It's a legacy of how both cities were built in the early 1900's, and we are blessed to have it today.
I imagine a lot of people might read what I've written above and think that it sounds fine, but the climate is what scares them off. A couple things to say about that. First, the Twin Cities have seasons that each have something different to offer. Spring can take a while to get here, but when it does it feels like the whole earth is coming alive just for you. Summer in Minnesota is dry and the perfect temperature nearly all the time. Fall is beautiful, with the full suite of colors and dry brisk days.
Then there's winter. It can get really cold, especially in mid-January. But winter opens up all kinds of opportunities for outdoor activity, like skiing, skating, and sledding. It's also a great time to sit by a fire, drink hot chocolate, and get closer to the people you love. People here aren't paralyzed by the winter, they get out and enjoy it. Once you learn how to dress, nothing is a problem in winter. Lots of places have seasons that are tough. The East Coast has horrible muggy summers. The Pacific Northwest has winters where it's cold and rainy. The South and Southwest have summers that are just as incapacitating, except you sit inside in the dark with the air conditioning pumping instead of staying inside watching the snow fall and reading a book with a warm drink. Give me a Minnesota winter anytime.
This isn't a place for everyone. It helps to be kind and outgoing and willing to make the most of things in life. But if you like parks, or seasons, or enjoy being involved in your community, there are few places better.
Bartholomew | Minneapolis, MN