Monday, March 25, 2013

Love Where You Live

For those who know me well and have read this blog for awhile, I think it is pretty clear that I really, really love Minneapolis.  So much so that I could practically be an ambassador for this city.  My deep love for Minneapolis is part of the reason the move to Charlotte is so hard for me.  Now, I do realize that Minneapolis is not perfect. Our climate leaves something to be desired from December through March.  And it can be hard to be a new person in this city as people tend to stick to their groups of friends.  And it's not the best city for single 30-somethings since people tend to marry in their 20s around these parts.  But all in all, the good outweighs the not so good.

It's no secret that I am not exactly excited about the city of Charlotte.  I know quite a few people (mostly through work) that call Charlotte home and say that they love it... A frustrating aspect of this move has been the fact that most of the people who claim to love Charlotte can't succinctly explain what it is that they love.  It's almost like the city has, as the French would say, a certain "je ne sais quoi."  When I ask people to explain why they love the city of Charlotte, their love of the city is just something they can't seem to explain.

Maybe I expect too much when I expect people to have a succinct reason for liking the city they inhabit.  After awhile, I guess you probably just accept that it's where you live and you stop thinking about the reasons that you love where you live.

So maybe the average person can't succinctly explain why they love where they live.  But I can.  If someone was moving to Minneapolis and asked me why I love Minneapolis, I could easily answer that question.  I'd tell them that we are one of the top 10 cities for running and that we have beautiful running trails, many of which are along lakes and rivers.  I'd tell them that we battle Portland each year for the top spot for Friendliest Biking City and that our bike sharing program has been very successful and is something I utilize daily April-November.  I'd tell them that we have a wonderful live music scene and it's rare for a musical artist to not include Minneapolis on their tours.  I'd tell them that our downtown is vibrant year round and offers a great selection of restaurants - some of which have awesome happy hours.  I'd tell them that there are great farmer's markets throughout the city, my favorite of which is the one in my neighborhoood.  I'd tell them that many large companies, such as General Mills, Target, Medtronic, and Best Buy, are head quartered in Minneapolis which means we have lots of employment options (just not in my field of Fixed Income, unfortunately).

I'd tell them all of this, and so much more. 

If you love where you live, do you think you could succinctly explain why?  If someone was moving to your city, what selling points about your city could you provide?


Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

I can't wait to visit MN someday! It sounds like an amazing city. I actually think you should be able to explain why you love a city if you love it haha.

So, Boston :) We are also an extremely active city, with tons of opportunities for running, biking, hiking, and lots of walking. I love that it is a smaller (than some) cities that you can basically walk all around if you want. I love our pride, especially in our sports teams. I love that we have so many colleges here, which create a fun atmosphere, produce interesting research and learning and also create more jobs/diversity (many of the colleges bring in professors from other countries for a couple of years, this is how I get many of my students). I love that there is SO much to do in Boston, so much history and just culture in general. I love how easy it is to get to day trips and weekend trips in the area- at the Cape, in NH, Maine, Vermont, even New York City. I love that we have many, many good restaurants so many that I'll never try them all in my lifetime. I like that we are starting to move more towards a local food attitude- not nearly as much as Vermont and Portland ME, but we are getting there more and craft breweries too!
That being said, we also have our negatives. Our weather is also terrible from November-April :) We have a reputation of not being the friendliest, though having lived here my whole life- I don't notice it and whenever someone says it, all their examples are places I don't want anyone to talk to me anyways like the grocery store haha. I think all of the universities and just the northeast attract kind of type A people :) I can't wait for you to come visit!

Caroline said...

MN sounds like an awesome city! I think it's kind of weird that people can't explain why they love the city they live in..

I've thought about this a lot because leaving Boston for CT/NY for the past two years made me both further understand why I love Boston and see more clearly Boston's weaknesses. But in the end, Boston is home so here I am : )

I love Boston because it's small and clean (compared to NYC) and has great sports teams. I love the college feel, the history, the fact that the roads have no sense of order and you feel accomplished when you know where you're going. I love that there are so many convenient day trips (Cape Cod, NH, VT, Maine, RI, etc.) and you can easily go from mountains to ocean in a single day. I LOVE the seasons, even if I sometimes complain about winter, it's really not that bad. I love that we have a distinct accent, even if it's not very attractive. I love the sense of community and pride. When I was in NYC I would wear a sox hat a lot (probably not the best idea, but I only have a couple hats haha) and I would get so many comments from other sox fans like, "Go Sox!" - even when I'm farther away, I'll still find loyal Boston sports fans where ever I go. They're everywhere and it's a cool community. Last week when I was in NYC, I went to a Boston sports bar on a Monday night to watch the Bruins and it was PACKED. Everyone had their Bruins shirts on and it was like I was in Boston, it was awesome.

I didn't read Kelly's post but hopefully this isn't too repetitive haha : )

Gracie said...

Actually, it would be hard to put into words why I love New Orleans. There are so many things that make New Orleans unique that I'd be hard pressed to summarize without the list sounding like a vacation guide or "what I did this summer" paper.

missris said...

Haaaa I don't exactly love where I live, that's for sure. But I CAN tell people why I love Chicago or Austin. Weather aside, Chicago is amazing. It's a huge city with so much going on (and two great airports) but since it's in the Midwest, the people are really friendly and nice. It's cheaper than NY or SF, but still feels like a happening place. The foodie scene is really great, and lots of famous chefs have restaurants there. It's nice and flat, and has a great lakeshore trail for running and biking. It's on a grid, which means it's hard to get lost (just remember that the lake is east and you're golden!). The public transit is top-notch, and it's also super walkable so you don't need to own a car. There's a ton of interesting history, and lots of culture. They have a world class ballet and an amazing opera. I could go on and on... :)

Leigh said...

I would love to visit both MN and Charlotte one day. Want a house guest? :)

I love Calgary because you are close enough to the mountain that you can see them on a daily basis plus it's less than a hour to them so it's easy to take a day trip to ski, hike, board, bike, etc. Plus, it is a very active city with lots of running pathways that are maintained throughout the year. There is always lots of cultural and new restaurants opening up. And we get Chinooks in the winter, so it's not as bad as other Canadian cities

J said...

I really hope that you can find some of your favorite things that you love about MN, in Charlotte.

I love that my little city has four seasons. I love that there are many different restaurants to try even if they are not exactly close to my house. I love that I have a great running community. I love that this is where I grew up and I know my way around very well.

Its hard to leave a place, I know it would be very hard for me, but I really hope that there is a lot of good waiting for you!

Lauren Michelle said...

If I lived in New York, I could probably gives you lots of reasons why I loved where I lived, but since I live in Columbia, SC it is not subway stations or the fact that you can walk to get to pretty much anywhere. But you can't in Columbia....and you can. It depends. The fact that there's a university right in the middle of the city makes it easy to walk to many places, but if you want to go to Five Points, say, or the Vista for lunch, you're better off driving.

I like that Columbia is trying to pick up their arts scene, but it's still not to where I'd like it to be. I might think differently if I actually lived IN the city, but I live in a town next door, so I don't get the full effects of Columbia's lifestyle. I once applied for a job working with the visitor's center, because I wanted to be more involved with the Downtown scene, but I never got an interview and it cut pretty deep.

I'd just come back from New York and felt that it had given me this passion and drive to be more involved with my own city, so when I didn't hear anything back from them I felt slightly resentful, and still do to an extent. After that, I pretty much just threw my energy into realizing I eventually wanted to move to New York where I already knew some of the things I loved about Manhattan.

Marlys said...

It would be wonderful to live in a city you loved! I am nearing retirement and have never lived someplace that I truly loved, but I do love the state of ND as it is clean, quiet, and we have 4 seasons, which I do enjoy, except winter has been hanging around too long this year! I think living here has formed the person I am and I think I am resilient and strong! I do hope you find something to "like" about Charlotte, although it may never be your "real home"!

Abby said...

Minneapolis is a wonderful city. Maybe there's a feeling or a culture that people in Charlotte love. You might come to love it's close proximity to other cool cities -- as you are a traveler!

I love Tucson because of it's climate, and that I get to comfortably be outside 365 days. Yes, our summers are long and hot -- but that's why we have a pool. I love the views, the mountains, the green that comes monsoon season, the awesome food (not mexican food though..I hate the mexican food), and all the biking & running trails. I love that we are 6 hours from Las Vegas, from the Grand Canyon, & San Diego.

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

I TOTALLY DISAGREE with your statement suggesting that after living somewhere for a while, people stop thinking about why they like living there. I have lived in Chicago for 15+ years and can still rattle off the top of my head why I love this city. I can also tell you exactly why I loved/hated every city I've lived in since birth. So, either those people who cannot tell you why they like Charlotte are dumb or really have no reason other than the nice weather (which is definitely a bonus of living in the Carolinas, but surely cannot be the only reason one likes living in a locale).

I haven't ever lived in Charlotte (though, as you know, I spent my college years a few hours away and visited many times) and can tell you these positives about Charlotte (some specific to you): a couple hours to the mountains; a few hours to the ocean; excellent climate; LOTS of northerners relocate to Charlotte, so it doesn't feel AS southerner as other parts of the Carolinas; a banking center, so good opportunities for your career.

If someone was moving to Chicago, I would promote the fact it's one of the biggest cities in our nation and yet the city zip codes are MUCH more liveable than most other cities our size. I would tell you how awesome it is to live on one of the Great Lakes and how Chicago has worked hard to keep the beaches and lakefront accessible to its citizens. I would tell you about the amazing food scene (it's hard to keep up) and the awesome street fairs during the summers (there's one, if not many, on each weekend of the warmer months). I'd tell you there's a GREAT running community here. I'd tell you the cost of living is much easier to stomach than other large US cities. I'd tell you the city is very drive-able, but also has an amazing public transportation system and tons of bike lanes - pick your own form of commute! I would tell you that as you get older, it is harder to make new friends no matter where you live, BUT Chicago has TONS of interest groups (running, knitting, cooking, etc.), which are always a great way to meet others. Oh, and I'd tell you that I live here and would be happy to help you with your job and home search, if it meant you'd be moving to the place I lovingly call home. =)

Nora said...

I most definitely could explain why I love STL!

It is a great place to raise a family and Ballwin (suburb, where I am) was recently rated one of the top 10 suburbs to live in America. Our zoo is free and is rated #1 by Parenting magazine and it's awesome, not just because it is free but because of all they offer, the programs, the special events! Forest Park (which is bigger than Central Park) has museums, an outdoor theater, loads of biking and running trails and is home to many festivals throughout the summer. We have free concerts under the Arch July-September and usually it's big name bands (Jason Mraz, Live, Black Eyed Peas, Nelly, Train). No matter where you live, as long as you are within the County limits, you can get downtown with 20-25 minutes. We have amazing baseball culture from the team to the fans. We have parks galore, a great library system, excellent schools and there is something for everyone here. There's probably more but I'll leave it at that since you know a lot about my town already :)

Stephany said...

Oh goodness, I love Florida so, so, so much. Most people actually hate living here and I just don't understand it! I love our weather. Sure, it can be miserably hot in the summer and I have no concept of seasons but we have incredibly beautiful days probably 360 days out of the year. I love how I'm so close to any beach I want to go to, close to cruise ports, and just an hour drive from Orlando. I love our downtown area - the restaurants and the art scene and the culture. And we have Publix which is only the best grocery store ever. Ha. We also have a pretty great running community. I'm not involved in it, but we have some spectacular running paths and run groups and races going on.

Honestly, I feel, more often than not, that I live in paradise. :)

I love your love for Minneapolis.

Raquelita said...

When I first moved to Columbus, Ohio, I didn't love it and in many ways I expected to hate it, but after a year or two I discovered many wonderful things about the city and came to love it. I often wish I still lived there. I don't yet love Anchorage -- but I don't dislike it. I hope that someday I come to love it in the way that you love Minneapolis.

Charise said...

Oh, I have my reasons-Columbus-is-awesome spiel down pat, because no one ever believes living in Central Ohio could be great. My favorite - being an urban metropolis surrounded by farmland, we have tons of awesome farmers markets and a focus on local food. There's been a increase in really good locally owned restaurants and bars, as well as local breweries and distilleries. The city is big enough to have lots of cultural things (museums, theaters) and professional sports and fun things to do, but small enough that traffic isn't horrible and the cost of living is really reasonable. There's tons of parks that make you forget you are in a city. And, we are a reasonable drive for even a 3-4 day weekend to so many other great places - like getting to the mountains and beaches of places like NC, heading south for more warmth and different culture, or the big cities of the east coast.

I am with you on Charlotte, BTW - we have friends there and stay on our way to other places (like Asheville or Charleston, SC), but it doesn't seem to have much of an identity.

Amber said...

Oh man I had so much fun reading all the comments on this post. Your readers love their cities! I also loved visiting you in Minneapolis a couple of years ago and fell in love with it that long weekend I was there. I totally understand why your bummed to move.

I love the city I live in now BUT it wasn't always that way. The first year we lived here I kind of hated it. Nothing against Kamloops itself, we were just getting settled in and adjusting to living in a new place! Now that I've been here 4.5 years a few things I love include all the outdoor recreational activities, the climate and weather (most people associate Canada with COLD and SNOW but Southern BC has beautiful weather and in the 4 years I've lived here I've ran outside all 12 months of the year and right now almost ALL our snow is melted which is not the case for most cities in country!) I also love the close proximity to the mountains, oceans and Vancouver. You can be in the mountains in 2 hours of driving in either direction and on the ocean in 4 hours!

I hope that you can find some things to love about Charlotte. Maybe some of the things that Nilsa listed!

Jeanie said...

Well, I think you certainly make everyone want to move to Minneapolis!

Lansing, Michigan. I love the people here. I love that we're a small city -- big enough to have some good cultural attractions (outstanding local theatre, music, good roadshows), small enough that I can get from one end of town (the burbs, at that) to the other in 20 minutes or less. I love that in general we have four seasons, rarely tornadoes, no hurricanes or cyclones, rare-if-ever wildfires, not too much drought (unless everyone is having it) and winter does end. I love that within two or three hours I can be by big water (Lake Michigan or Huron). Yes, our economy is hurting, but it's turning around slowly. I don't like the sprawl, but there seems to be sprawl most places. I think of where I'd rather move, and there are places I'd consider. But I'm also perfectly content. And that's nice.

Kudos to your other writers! Lots of love of home there!

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

I love Minneapolis because you showed me all of the lovely things! I liked it before, but probably not for any tangible reason, but you really cemented my appreciation of your fair city!

I love where I live, but you know that! My list is endless: the weather, the scenery, the running community, the running trails and paths, the access to races, the open-mindedness, the diversity, the food options, the walk-ability, the parks, each neighborhood and it's cool little spots, the architecture, public transport, bike access...need I go on!?

And don't forget about the BISON!

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

I can't say that I love where I live ... only that I love the friends and family that are here.

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

I can sell my city but I dont 'love' where I live. I accept it and enjoy it, but until I'm in a tropical environment, I won't LOVE it ha. We have excellent running/biking/hiking trails here, a nature center, a public gardens, 100s of parks, live outdoor free music in the summer, a great farmer's market, a small but fun downtown, a minor league baseball team, a chemical company that donates a ton of money and hires people, great school system... etc.. things i dont like? the weather, the lack of variety in restaurants/shopping, concerts..

Alli said...

Argh! I want to visit MSP so badly!

Well you know that I could go on and on about why I love NYC so much. Honestly the problem with talking about why I love my city is that there's too much to say. The majority of NYers, myself included, would name "The people" as the number one reason why we love this city. Living here you really do feel like you're at the crossroads of the world. You meet people of every race, religion and from every country in the world. It really does make life such a rich and full experience. I also love how the people here are constantly surprising others. I think people watch shows that take place in NYC and think that's reality so tourists are happily surprised when they look confused on the subway and people rush over to give them directions. Also, people who move here are always shocked at the fact that you literally can't walk in to a bar here without someone including you in a conversation. That may not lead to lasting close friendships, but it most often leads to newbies having a group to hang out with when they first get here. I love that this city where's it's heart on it's sleeve and you can literally feel the mood of the city in your bones. I love that we walk... and walk... and walk. I love that when I've been gone and I return to the city that view of the skyline still takes my breathe away. I love how easy it is to get around here and I love that you can live here your whole life and still not manage to do everything there is to do here. I love how safe it is (yes people NYC is the safest big city in America, our violent crime rate is actually slightly lower than MSP ;)). And my favorite thing about this city is that NOTHING keeps us down. Terrorism, hurricanes; they break our hearts, but we come back better and stronger every single time! OK I could go on forever.

One thing on the negative side (and trust me there are plenty of negatives), I think people think NYers get used to how disgustingly dirty our city is, but nope we see it and we hate it too. The filth would be my least favorite thing about this city.

Shoshanah said...

I'm not to sure I could say I love my city. I do enjoy it, and have nothing against living her. But I can't really articulate what a like about it.

Although, I know my dad can basically argue why he loves and city, and could probably do it for every city he's visited. I think part of that is because he worked for the city of l.a. for so many years, on so many project that help tourism. So where ever he goes he really investigate the city, to find all the good things to do. And actually I had him write a list of things for our guests to do while they were in town for our wedding, since I really couldn't think of many.