Let’s just get this out of the way: Yes, it can get pretty cold here. Yes, both Minneapolis and St. Paul have “elevated sidewalk things” (skyways) connecting buildings downtown. And, yes, we’ve got the largest mall in the United States.
Those vague and vaguely dismissive impressions may be why people in the Twin Cities love hosting friends from out of town. There’s a deep satisfaction — and yes, a little smugness — when we treat out-of-towners to an authentic Vietnamese meal or to dinner from a national award-winning chef.
We love to wear guests out on the trails that wrap around the cities’ 22 lakes. It feels good to pull out the paper and say, “Feel like going to the theater? There are more than 45 professional shows tonight.” A proud local will view every satisfied visitor as a convert who will head back home and bust some Minnesota stereotypes: Mary Tyler Moore tossing her tam; Garrison Keillor’s Norwegian bachelor farmers.
We’re past that now. We’re modern. We’re hip. St. Paul is compact, pretty, and offers plenty in the way of sights and classic neighborhood bars. Minneapolis is the glitzy twin and the hub of the music scene where Prince, the Replacements, and Soul Asylum first rocked. Both cities are buzzing year-round.
Far from hibernating, we embrace the winter. Joggers put on an extra layer, windsurfers transform into ice surfers, cyclists install winter tires, and skiers exult. And when temperatures climb back above freezing, the whole process rewinds; the lakefronts, river paths, and outdoor restaurants fill with people who enjoy spring more than anyone on earth.
Yes, it can get a little cold here. And we love it.