Monday, April 09, 2007

What is the Twin Cities?

This post is in response to Sarah who left a comment wondering about the Twin Cities and the U of M Vet School. (a blog conversation if you will!) I had written this in her comments but it got so long that I though I should just put it on the front page here instead! So what do I think of Minneapolis/St. Paul?

Minneapolis is a fast growing art town with some world class places like the Walker Art Center and the Guthrie Theatre as well as good local spots like the Soap Factory. Right now I am a bit removed from what's going on because I live out of town a bit, but I am very much looking forward to moving back in a few weeks. Places like the Carleton Artist Lofts where we will be living are part of the growing community there.

The outdoors is always available. It is hard to avoid dog parks, lots and lots of lakes with miles and miles of trails, natural areas, gardens, and so on. I think its because there is just so much water around with the lakes and the rivers that the city just built parks around them.

... But, its not always fun to go to those parks! Yes it does get cold and if you are not expecting it winter can get long, and .. cold. So scarves and big jackets are popular. But I think that this makes people appreciate nice days all that much more, to the point that in the summer every one is outside going a bit nuts. So a little bi-polar but I like it.

You need cars to get around most (if not all) of the time. There are buses but those are a bit of a pain. Light rail is growing and has become really popular in the last few years since it was built, and they are doubling its size by 2010 to go east to St. Paul. But traffic is not usually bad especially compared to other large cities.

The people are nice. Not as nice as we like to believe sometimes, but people will be very open and even affectionate to you quickly.

This is the land of Paul Wellstone and is a historicly liberal trending state, but right now have a Republican Governor, a Republican Senator, and Michele Bachmann from MN-6 who is just insane right wing. We also elected pro wrestler Jesse Ventura for Governor so try and figure that out.

Does any one else from the Twin Cities want to add anything? This is all from my sort of odd perspective of growing up in Minneapolis, then leaving 5 years ago mostly to live in rural Minnesota for college and now after college. I am very very excited to move back though, as proven by this long post!

Added @ 2:30: Bjorn Jeannette gets the first comment! Click on the comments link and be sure to add your piece! I want to hear what every one thinks of my past and future home town.

Added @ 2:35: You can't miss the wikipedia entry about the twin cities. Fun idea, Minneapolis is the furthest east "Western" city (a newer grid city), and St. Paul is the furthest west "Eastern" city (older and more irregular). I believe that.


Bjorn said...

buses are not that bad. I can get from the apartment in uptown to the U campus in a half hour. Parking is just ridiculous on campus. If someone coming to the Twin Cities doesn't have a car, don't worry!

Bjorn said...

Here's my take on the Twin Cities:

It's like a mini Chicago. There are great restaurants, great comedy, great music, and great theater. Minneapolis tries to make itself seem unique, and it is to the people who live here, but to the rest of the country, it's considered fly over space. To some degree, that's good. It keeps things small. You can get away if you need to, and you don't have to go far to do that. It's easy to get around, even without light rail, or underground subways, the public transportation is pretty good, considering their budget cuts. Even though I drive everywhere, with a little planning, it's so easy to get where you need to go. If I worked downtown, I'd get rid of my car in a heart beat.

Bjorn said...

Oh, and the first comment is from Jeannette, who has happily gotten around town without a car. Granted, if we need a bed, mattress, or large TV, a car is handy.

Anonymous said...

I agree that without a car you would be with out a care (see what I did there?) At least in the summer that is...waiting for a bus in the dead of winter can get pretty tough. Another great thing about Minneapolis/St. Paul is the people that live there. Perhaps it is my bias because I was raised in Mpls, but compared to all of the places I have lived Mpls has some of the nicest people around. To me it is a perfect balance between a big city, with big city conveniences and a small town, with small town warmth. Chicago is a close second to a favorite place for me, but the people there are a bit less warm than in Minneapolis from my experiences.