Minneapolis often gets grouped in with its neighbor St. Paul as the well-known Twin Cities -- its name is a blend of the Sioux word mni, for water, and the Greek word polis, for city, an apt moniker for a city that straddles the Mississippi River. Along with St. Paul it is the second largest economic center in the Midwest, only behind Chicago, so if you’re moving to Minneapolis you can get that Big City feel with the charm of the Minnesotan accent. It’s also one of the wettest cities in the country, with 20 different lakes and wetlands with access for canoeing, fishing, and swimming when the weather is mild enough. On top of its water access, the city has been named the best in the country for biking with over 100 miles of bike paths, and the residents are pretty hardcore about cycling even in inclement weather. And Minnesota winters are nothing to laugh at. Park your bike on Eat Street and cruise more than two dozen restaurants to satiate any gustatory palate, from Italian to Mexican to gourmet coffee and everything in between. If the weather demands that you stay inside? The Minneapolis Skyway will keep you out of the cold while you’re downtown and let you get where you need to go. It has a decent selection of shops and restaurants within its raised corridors so you could, theoretically, completely stay out of the cold. Period. Just be sure you don’t miss seeing the Timberwolves play because this city is pretty serious about their home basketball team.
The climate in Minneapolis demands that its residents be fairly adaptable -- the record low was -41℉, while the record high was 108℉. Luckily temperatures are generally a bit more mild, with annual highs in the low 50’s and lows in the mid 30’s. Expect significant snowfall in the winter, so Minneapolis is prime for those who love snow and ice sports.
Arts and Culture
Minneapolis has been home to many of the greats like the late Prince, who helped make First Avenue and the 7th Street Entry into a hip and popular venues for emerging musicians. There are also plenty of theaters in Minneapolis, like the recently-renovated Guthrie Theater that was designed to emulate New York’s Broadway, or the Orpheum, State, and Pantages Theatres vaudeville and film houses on Hennepin Avenue, all of which have been renovated to host music and theater. The Minnesota Fringe Festival happens every August as the largest non-juried festival in the United States and artists get their kicks by staging performances and installations all over the city in the most unexpected places. Or, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden at the Walker Art Center holds more than 40 giant (seriously, enormous) works of art to boggle the mind and give you a kink in your neck year-round.
Unpakt’s Most Recommended
The Hard Times Cafe (1821 Riverside)
Known for its punk and hippie ideology, its gritty ambiance, and its large selection of vegan and vegetarian food, the Hard Times Cafe has had some rough spots, as one might imagine -- but city residents fought to keep it running. It is open 22 hours a day, closing only between 4 am and 6 am, so it’s your go-to spot for nights you’re out on the town a bit late.
Minnehaha Falls Regional Park (4801 S Minnehaha Dr)
The name Minnehaha does translate to laughing water, but this 53-foot waterfall and its surrounding 167-acre park are really quite lovely. There are biking paths, a disc golf course, and even the Sea Salt Eatery for when your strolling has left you peckish.
Cruise the Mississippi on the Queen (Port at Bohemian Flats)
Whether you’d like to head out for a Happy Hour cruise with your friends, Sunday Brunch with the family, or a midday tour to take in the summer sun, seeing the Mississippi from the deck of The Queen is the way to go. You can even charter the boat for special occasions.
Make any party more fun with the Traveling Tap
You provide the booze and the pedal power, and the Traveling Tap provides the bartender, the bike, and the driver to take you around the city. No word yet on whether bicycling while drinking makes you any less intoxicated.
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