Introduction to Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis, located on the Mississippi River in southeastern Minnesota, is the largest city in the state, with a population of around 400,000. It and adjacent St. Paul were dubbed "the Twin Cities" by Mark Twain. St. Anthony Falls, the only waterfall on the Mississippi River, supplied electricity for dozens of Minneapolis flour and lumber mills built in the late 19th century. Within a short time, the city was the flour milling capital of the world; industry giants Pillsbury and General Mills are still based there.
Today, Minneapolis is a modern city with more skyscrapers than mills, and additional Fortune 500 companies Target, Best Buy, Northwest Airlines, Xcel Energy and Medtronic based in the area. It's no wonder Minneapolis ranked #1 on Entrepreneur's 2003 list of Best Cities For Entrepreneurs. A thriving economy coupled with a safe, affordable environment make Minneapolis a great place to live, ranking it high on many publications' list of top cities. It ranked #4 among big cities on Men's Journal's 2004 list of the 50 Best Places to Live, #3 on Child Magazine's 10 Best Cities for Families and #7 on Ladies Home Journal's 2002 List of Best Cities for Women.
Minneapolis is home to the Minnesota Orchestra and the Minnesota Opera and quality museums such as the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum and the Walker Center, whose huge and varied collection of American and European art makes it the fifth-most visited museum in the country. The city's top architectural attraction is the IDS Center, a 51-story, octagonal skyscraper in front of which Mary Tyler Moore tossed her hat during the opening credits of her 1970s sitcom.
Greater Minneapolis is famous for its amusement parks and its shopping. Just 14 miles southwest in Shakopee, Valley Fair Amusement Park is Minnesota's largest, with one of the country's most spectacular roller coaster rides. There's even an amusement park inside in the Mall of America, the nation's largest shopping mall (more than 4 million square feet on 4 levels), in nearby Bloomington. In downtown Minneapolis, Nicollet Mall spans 12 blocks, offering great shopping, dining and entertainment.
Minneapolis Sports and Leisure
The Twin Cities are well represented in professional sports, with 4 major league teams. In downtown Minneapolis, the Metrodome hosts major league baseball's Minnesota Twins, the NFL's Minnesota Vikings and University of Minnesota college football. The 19,000-seat Target Center, also located downtown near the Warehouse District, is home to the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves. In St. Paul, the 18,600-seat, ultra modern Xcel Energy Center holds the home ice of the NHL's Minnesota Wild.
Despite its cold climate, Minneapolis is one of the country's best cities for outdoor recreation. Beautiful trails and clean air are two of the reasons Runner's World Magazine ranked the Twin Cities #2 on its list of the best running cities. Opportunities for swimming, boating, ice skating and fishing are practically everywhere. Known has the "Land of 1,000 Lakes," Minneapolis has 22 of them within its city limits and 949 within its metro area. The city's excellent park system includes many inter-linked parks. Minehaha Falls Park has the famous falls immortalized by Longfellow, as well as trails for jogging and biking trails and an off leash dog park. Lovers of snow will find plenty of it in the winter. Although the area lacks mountains for downhill skiing, greater Minneapolis is excellent for snowmobiling and cross-country skiing, with great scenery and literally dozens ski areas are less than an hour from the city.
Minneapolis at Night
After decades of being thought of across America as a cold, dull area, Minneapolis is now recognized as one of the country's hippest cities. With a nightlife that doesn't take a back seat to any of America's larger cities, Minneapolis ranked #14 on Forbes Magazine's List of the Best Cities For Singles. The Warehouse District and First Avenue Area, made famous by Prince (a Minneapolis native) in Purple Rain, are loaded with good restaurants, trendy bars and clubs offering great music. The St. Paul offers a quieter scene.