Monday, January 27, 2014

Why I Love Minneapolis

It's winter and it's uncharacteristically cold all over the place, even here in Charlotte, but especially in Minneapolis where the temps have been as cold as -25 degrees, and even colder when you factor in the windchill.  Which means that I frequently get comments like "how could you possibly like living there?" But the fact of the matter is that I do love Minneapolis and I do miss living there, bitterly cold temperatures and all. 

If weather was a huge priority, I probably wouldn't love Minneapolis since we have long, cold winters, lots of gray days, and a short summer season.  For instance, today the high is -11...  But despite all of that, I still love Minneapolis.  So much so that I could probably be an ambassador for the city.  So if you are like my coworkers and wonder why on earth I love Minneapolis, here are some of the reasons!

- Minneapolis is a healthy city.  This was proven by the Today show last week as they did a feature on the healthiest, wealthiest and wisest cities in the U.S., and Minneapolis-St. Paul was chosen as the healthiest city in the U.S.  We have the most parks per square mile out of all the major U.S. cities and we have the 2nd highest number of bicyclists per capita. I love all of the rivers and lakes and the miles upon miles of running/biking paths.  I was so spoiled when I lived in Minneapolis as I could walk out my door and run on a paved running path along the Mississippi River, and that running path linked up to several other running paths that led to lakes and other parkways.  Minneapolis definitely makes it easy to be active (well, when the weather doesn't make that impossible!).

- Minneapolis has lots of bodies of water.  So it turns out that the cities I love most all have something in common - they all have a river running through them or are located on a large body of water.  My condo was located on the Mississippi, but besides this body of water, Minneapolis also has many lakes.  I prefer cities that are located on or near bodies of water because it makes it easier to be active since bodies of water tend to have running/biking paths by them. And they just make for a more picturesque place to live.  Need proof?  See the photos I took this fall...




- Minneapolis has a vibrant downtown.  Even though Minneapolis is small compared to other large cities in the U.S., it still has a vibrant downtown.  There are lots of dining and shopping options downtown, and it caters to people who both work and live downtown as we have groceries stores and a Target.  Large retail stores, such as Banana Republic, Barnes & Noble, and Macy's all have a presence.  When I lived in Minneapolis, I rarely went to a mall because pretty much everything I needed was walking distance from where I worked and lived (including my doctor and dentist).  Lastly, there is a plethora of coffee shops - nearly one on every block in the central part of downtown, and even on the outskirts of downtown where I lived, I had access to 2 different coffee shops in a one block radius.

- Minneapolis has great happy hour specials.  I am a frugal person so I love a good happy hour deal.  Luckily Minneapolis has lots of affordable restaurants with great happy hour specials.  From $3 glasses of wine to $5 margaritas to $3 tacos to $5 sushi rolls, there were a lot inexpensive options at places with a fun vibe. Outside of happy hour, Minneapolis has some great dining options with high quality food that comes with a reasonable price tag.

- The Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area has a lot of large, well-respected companies.  From a career standpoint, the MSP metro area is home to a lot of large corporations such as Target, Medtronic, Best Buy, General Mills, and 3M.  As a result, there are a lot of great career options.  Minneapolis has fewer financial companies so it's not the easiest place for me to find a job, per se, but there are some large financial companies with headquarters there such as Ameriprise, US Bank, and Piper Jaffray. 

- I have family and friends in the Minneapolis area.  I'm saving the best for last in this list.  All of the above-mentioned reasons are great reasons to love Minneapolis but this last one is what has my heart pining to live in Minneapolis.  I have a brother, sister-in-law and 2 nephews, an aunt & uncle, and cousins in the metro area, my parents' lake home is 3 hours away, and some of my very best friends live in the Minneapolis area.  I never have trouble filling my week nights or weekends with social plans since I have such a large network of family and friends in Minneapolis.  With the exception of Chicago, I don't think I can replicate what I have in terms of a network anywhere else in the U.S.

So there you have it.  5 reasons, among many other reasons, that I truly love Minneapolis and miss it so much.  What I love about Minneapolis reflects the core things I value - proximity to friends and family, career opportunities, and an urban lifestyle.  And it explains why Charlotte is such a poor fit as the only thing on this list that Charlotte has is career opportunities.  I recognize that what I value differs from what others value, which is why we all love living in different areas of the country and world. 

Why do YOU love where you live?

22 comments:

Caroline said...

I love Boston because it has very defined seasons, a young/active community, my family and friends are here, it's 90 minutes from both mountains/skiing in the winter and beach/ocean in the summer. I'm sure there's a lot more haha

Becky said...

I think you should look into trying to do your job (or something similar so you'd still use your degree/experience) for the city of Minneapolis! You'd be great! :)

I love this area because it's so diverse. I forget about that sometimes until I visit somewhere else and miss the difference of cultures and languages I can hear on a daily basis.

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

I completely agree with you that a city has to have water for me to love it. A LOT of water. I love coastal cities, or cities like Chicago that basically feel coastal. I agree that this water just makes things more beautiful and I find the water just has a calming effect on me.
Also, I need a downtown area to like a city too. The only city I've really been to without that is Phoenix and I was like... wait, so where is the city? I'm confused haha.
I curse the Boston weather too, but there are many, many things I love about it: it's also a very active and healthy city, I love all the colleges and what that brings to the city, I love the sports teams and the support from the city. I love that I will never run out of restaurants and fun things to do here. I love that it's a very walkable city. I also love that my friends and family are here :) To me that is really the most important thing! I think last year's marathon tragedy really made it clear to everyone else just how awesome this city is... obviously terrible that it had to be that way.

Abby said...

I am envious of people who get to live in MNPLS, or anywhere that has bodies of water! We feel so deprived - as there is absolutely NO WATER in Tucson! All the river-beds are dried up, and it seriously gets to you after awhile.

Can you tell I'm having a "desert-hating" moment lately?

I also agree that a city that has many companies tends to bring a great city - companies=careers=attracts professionals. And good things seem to come with that. If you don't have jobs, you don't have a good city! Which is another HUGE problem with Tucson. Besides Raytheon and the Air Force, there is essentially nothing to attract people.

I hope you get back to Minneapolis! Such a great place to be!

Jeanie said...

I think Becky has the right idea. The City of Minneapolis must have a position for you somewhere doing what you already do! My few (two -- over 30 years) visits to Minneapolis have been great experiences. I look forward to another. In nice weather.

For me, Lansing is home. And when the seasons behave (winter is being very naughty this year), I really appreciate having a diversity of seasons and few weather extremes (hurricanes, tornadoes, brush fires, floods). We're a small city with very friendly people and the university has lots of cultural options. Also, for a town this size, we have excellent theatre, music and arts in general. And a minor league baseball team which is occasionally good for grins! I've lived here forever and if I hated it, I'd move.

Marlys said...

I think you hit the nail on the head with the last reason as that is really what makes a place a "home". I pray everyday that a job opportunity opens up for you back in Mpls as I know the prospects are tight right now, but don't give up! I have existed for 42 years in a "town" I don't love but the people and family have made it home. I guess you could say I took lemons and made lemonade, but I dearly love having our lake home to retreat to and because it is by the water, it is a retreat! My problem is not "finding a job" but finding someone to replace me which is becoming almost impossible in a small town!

Nora said...

This is such an awesome post. I may have to borrow/do something similar on my blog one of these days.

I love STL because it's always surprising me whether it be a restaurant, a cultural event or the weather. And then 100 other reasons, too :)

missris said...

So I just looked at that list and they must be smoking something because Pittsburgh was named as the $16 healthiest city, which I find totally ridiculous. Everything here is fried and the people are super unhealthy! Not to mention the air quality will give you cancer. Maybe it's because of the big medical school and everything but yeah, no way. Anyway, yay Minneapolis! You're so close to getting to go home!

Raquelita said...

I really miss living a more urban lifestyle. Except for a small downtown (where we could not have afforded to buy or really to rent), everything has a very suburban feel here. It's lots of strip malls.

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

I mostly love my city because the people I love are here ... otherwise I'd move.

Amber said...

I love my city because of the proximity to the great outdoors. You can be in the middle of nowhere hills and trails within 10 minutes of being anywhere in the city. I LOVE that within 0.25 miles from my doorstep is a huge network of amazing trails that make me feel like I'm not even in a city at all but I also live a 7-minute drive from downtown. That is one of the big benefits of a smaller community I think and I really enjoy that.

The one thing that I don't have in my current city is being close to family. While I have a large network of friends here and it's been better since my mom moved here it's still hard being far away from my grandparents, my dad and our nieces and nephew, even after 6 years!

Carolina John said...

Wow, that's a great list. It's really good that you can identify why you like it so much! Not everyone likes the same things, so it would make for a very interesting discussion.

I can't imagine living very far away from water or mountains, don't like a city that's too big or too crowded but can still be cheap. Cost of living is important, so is the "red factor" of the people that live there. And really I can only compare Raleigh with a few other cities in NC and SC. It's harder to quantify "filled with people I like" that may not always include family. ha!

From your list, Raleigh has a vibrant downtown, the career ops are HUGE for high tech geeks. We have enough water, but there's not a river that runs through downtown or anything that cool. We did recently find a great restaurant with $1 taco tuesdays and $1.50 margherita mondays. oh yea.

Stephany said...

I love the way you love Minneapolis. :)

I love my city because it's where the majority of my friends and family are, it's close to the water and TONS of beaches, the weather is right up my alley, and I'm super close to cruise ports + Orlando so vacationing can be very cheap sometimes.

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

I appreciate the opportunities that are available here but I am over cold weather. We have tons of the stuff you like about Minneapolis here on a smaller scale. I do enjoy all the water activities available in the summer. But the entire winter? I can do without.

Mandy said...

I really liked Minneapolis when I visited you there. The downtown area was awesome and the farmers market was even more so.

I love my little town on the river. This is where my family is, but I love the 4 seasons, the smallness of the valley, the views, the accessibility to other cities.

Marisa A. said...

I wish I loved Minneapolis as much as you. I'm hoping the Junior League helps as I've met some pretty awesome women through it and while it will never be as good as living in Des Moines with all of my best friends, it will at least be better.

Lesli said...

I loved this post! You COULD be an ambassador for Minneapolis! :)
All great points! Sold!

Leigh said...

I would love to visit Minneapolis one day! It looks and sounds like such a great city. I love Calgary because it's close to the mountains, very active and has lots of events going on

26dishes.com said...

Such a fabulous post! Of course it only makes me want to visit Minneapolis more.

As you know, I could write a novel about why I love NYC so much! Of course the fact that my family is here is a huge factor for me, but I love that when you're in NYC you feel like you're at the crossroads of the world. Also, when I look back on my childhood in the NYC metro area, I think how amazing it was to have access to literally everything. I met people from every culture, went to world famous museums and Broadway shows on class trips, heard every language imaginable and got to celebrate so many different holidays with friends of different faiths. I want all of those things for my future kids which is why I could never leave here. Plus that whole NYC at Christmastime thing, You know that I couldn't live without that!

26dishes.com said...

Oh also, did you see that I posted an article on FB from the UK Telegraph where they named Providence as the coolest city in New England? I don't know that I could write a whole novel about why I love PVD so much, but I could at least fill a very informative pamphlet ;)

sannipanni said...

I do love Minneapolis but man, those winters are a deal breaker for me personally! I always have cold hands even here in Charlotte (except for in the summer outside of course ;-)) so I would freeze up there.

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

I also really love places near water. For that reason, I love Boston and Seattle, Sydney and Singapore, as well as many others. I had a lot of fun looking over the list of the most healthy cities and seeing San Francisco's stats! It's hard for us to beat you guys in terms of 'per capita' due to the high number of people here, but I loved that we had a high amount of people who biked, walked or used public transportation to get to work!