Are you considering living in Minneapolis, Minnesota? I think I can help.
I’ve called the Twin Cities home for the past 10 years and have learned a lot about the honest pros and cons of living in Minneapolis. I wanted to share that knowledge with anyone considering a similar more.
I hate small talk, so let’s just dive in.
Pros & Cons of Living in Minneapolis
Pros of Moving to Minneapolis
#1. Minneapolis is a manageable size
One of my favorite things about living in Minneapolis is the manageable size of the city because it doesn’t feel overwhelming. As a local, I have access to big city amenities (like great restaurants, plenty of entertainment, art, culture, etc.) without all the overwhelming chaos!
With a population of 425,000, Minneapolis is considered a mid-sized city, but it doesn’t sprawl or have high density, which makes it feel accessible. Plus, the ample green spaces around every corner don’t hurt either.
#2. Great quality of life
Something you may realize after moving to Minneapolis is that life feels less stressful (and it’s not just in your head!). The reason? Minneapolis ranks as one of the best cities in US for quality of life.
Between the abundant job opportunities, great culture and affordable cost of living it’s not hard to see why locals seem happier living in Minneapolis than other major cities.
Here’s some of the perks of the high quality of life in Minnesota:
- The 3rd-lowest levels of poverty in the country (92% of residents live above the poverty line)
- The 2nd-lowest unemployment rate in the nation
- The 3rd-longest life expectancy in the US (average of 80.8 years)
- 3rd-best state in the nation for Human Development
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard my coworkers claim they never plan to leave this city. It meets all their needs, checks all the boxes — in many ways it’s hard to imagine life getting better than this.
#3. Ample job opportunities
One of the biggest reasons for moving to Minneapolis is the plethora of job opportunities. The current unemployment rate is 2.4%, which is lower than the national average of 3.6%. The low unemployment rate suggests economic stability which in turn keeps attracting young professionals to the Twin Cities.
The industries span the gamut. Expect to find gigs in everything from tourism and entertainment to education and healthcare. In terms of competition, Minneapolis is one of the most educated cities in the country, so don’t expect to land (and keep) a job without some legwork.
Largest employers in Minneapolis:
- United Health Group
- Best Buy
- Mayo Clinic
#4. Access to some of the best parks in the country
This is one of the perks of living in Minneapolis that seems to catch new-comers by surprise: Minneapolis has some of the best public parks in the country! The city takes green spaces so seriously that 96% of residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park.
Spend a relaxing summer afternoon at Lake Harriet Park and you’ll instantly see what all the fuss is about. If you’re in the mood for an escape into nature then Mississippi River Gorge Regional Park can’t be beat.
There’s something so great about living in a city where public parks are within walking distance. Whenever I find myself frustrated I always have an inclination to take a walk in a nature and thankfully living in Minneapolis fits the bill. The parks are so green!
#5. The low cost of living in Minneapolis
I think the low cost of living in Minneapolis goes hand-in-hand with the high quality of life. Simply put, folks are able to enjoy things more because they can (actually) afford them! Things like eating out, grabbing drinks with friends, entertainment and every day errands like groceries and haircuts won’t cost an arm and a leg.
Ever since moving to Minneapolis I’ve found myself with more spending money, which is a perk I can’t state enough. Jobs pay decent wages and since things are super expensive, I’m able to shake the monkey off my back.
I don’t feel like I’m living paycheck to paycheck, which is a nice change of pace from New York City.
#6. Locals care about the environment
Yet another big perk that makes living in Minneapolis so enjoyable is how environmentally-conscious locals are. It’s easy to take pride in a city that cares about the environment and strives to reduce its impact on the planet. Don’t believe me? Well, Minneapolis is considered one of the greenest cities in the country.
This is largely due to a commitment to reduce waste, making the city walkable and bikable, buying local produce and offering residents green spaces.
Another bragging point about living in Minneapolis: it’s the 7th least-wasteful city in the United States!
#7. It’s one of the best biking cities in the country
Let’s stick to the theme of being green, did you know that Minneapolis is one of the most bike friendly cities in the country? The city is home to 98 miles of bike lanes, 16 miles of protected bikeways and 101 miles of off-street bike trails.
#8. The craft brew scene is top notch
Minneapolis has its eyes on an ambitious prize: make some of the best craft beers in the country. The city has stepped up its beer game and we are all better for it.
Home to 38 breweries, Minneapolis has the 9th highest breweries per capita. There’s a ton of great local spots to check out, especially if you love IPAs. If you need a little guidance, my favorite breweries are Bauhaus (order the Lounge Wizard Juicy Pale Ale), Modist and Utepils.
#9. Outdoor recreation
Minneapolis seems to be attracting outdoor enthusiasts that are up for a (winter) challenge. The city is know for its healthy lifestyle and access to great outdoor recreation.
We have all the classics covered: hiking, boating, skiing and canoeing (to name a few) and no shortage of great state parks and rivers to enjoy these activities on. Some of the top spots I recommend for newcomers are the St. Croix River Valley, Afton State Park, Fort Snelling State Park (especially in the fall) and William O’Brien State Park.
If you plan to pick up skiing while living in Minneapolis (way to go, you!) it’s helpful to know that the city is geared more toward cross-country skiing because the landscape isn’t very hilly/mountainous. If you’re looking for hill specifically then get to Afton State Park and Hyland Hills.
If you’re feeling up for a real adventure, make the 4.5 hour drive to Voyageurs National Park, one of the most underrated national in my opinion.
Cons of Living in Minneapolis
#1. Making friends is challenging
For reasons unbeknownst to me, making friends living in Minneapolis is really hard because locals are reserved. Even when I make an effort to go above and beyond (inviting people, beings super chatty/friendly) it doesn’t seem to go anywhere.
Don’t get me wrong- people are friendly just closed off. This seems to be a common challenge for newcomers is breaking into social groups. The thing that has helped me most is perusing interests that require social interaction because chances are high you’ll be exposed to other transplants.
To that end, if having a large friend circle is important to you then you will need to prioritize befriending other transplants or you may feel lonely while living in Minneapolis.
#2. Winters feel long
Is anyone surprised to see winters mentioned on a list outlining the cons of living in Minneapolis? Didn’t think so.
Here’s the thing, if you’re moving to Minneapolis you better learn to love winter (winter sports help) otherwise you’ll be in for a rude awakening. Winters feel long because of the blister cold temperatures and depressing gray skies.
With highs of 0°F several days in a row, I can’t stress this enough — winters in Minneapolis are rough. The best advice I can offer newcomers is this: learn to embrace winter completely.
Take up winter sports and learn about proper layering (also, don’t skimp on quality winter clothing or you’ll be miserable). If you don’t learn to love winter sports you’ll find yourself miserable and cooped up inside for months on end, which isn’t fun for anyone.
Oh, before I forget, another thing to consider about winters while living in Minneapolis is how late the sun rises and early it sets. If you’re working a standard office job you can expect to arrive around sunrise and leave after sunset, it’s a hard season to get through.
#3. Minnesota has some of the highest taxes in the country
Here’s a (not so fun) fact for you: Minnesota has the 5th-highest tax rates in the country. So what does that get you?
- Some of the best schools in the country (Minnesota is the third-most educated state in the country)
- A quality of life that parallels wealthy nations thanks to strong social programs, healthcare, infrastructure and welfare
So sure, even though taxes for living in Minneapolis are high, they pay for programs that greatly improve the quality of life. I feel like I hit the lottery by moving to Minneapolis.
Pros & cons of moving to Minneapolis (Post Summary)
In sum, here’s a quick roundup of the honest pros and cons of living in Minneapolis.
- Living in Minneapolis doesn’t feel overwhelming
- Good quality of life
- Job opportunities
- Access to some of the best parks in the country
- Low cost of living
- Minneapolis is one of the greenest cities in the country
- It’s one of the best biking cities in the country
- The brew scene is top notch
- Outdoor recreation
- Making friends is challenging
- Winters feel long
- High taxes in Minnesota
Juan Mejia says
I was checking a job offer that got published for Minneapolis and got curious about the city.
This information was quite interesting. I may apply for that job.
Very good site for real pros and cons not like articles you read about best places to live and we know its just paid advertisement.