Here are 10 things you should know before moving to Minneapolis

Photo credit on this post goes to here, with their full Minneapolis page of photos located here.

If you like this post, feel free to share it with your friends. Share buttons are at the bottom of the post. 


I moved to Minneapolis in the summer of 2012; my wife and I actually got here on the night of August 1, 2012. We had basically nada — everything was in a moving truck somewhere in Illinois — but we went out that night to the Old Chicago in Uptown (since closed) and their tap list basically destroyed everything you’ll find in New York City (NYC obviously has other advantages on Minneapolis, as we’ll probably get to later). We thought this was pretty cool. We got home, fat/drunk/happy, and thought “Nice, this is a cool place.”

About two years later, we’re leaving. I came here for graduate school — a good experience, although not always the best one — and so we always knew there was a chance we’d be leaving when that was over. I ended up getting a pretty solid job down in Dallas, so we’re headed there in the next week or so. In the course of these two years, I (and we) learned a lot about Minneapolis. I wanted to share some of it. Maybe someone will stumble across this post in the process of considering their own move, and maybe it’ll offer some enlightenment. Maybe not. Regardless, here goes nothing.

It’s a tremendously civic place: You hear about stuff like Nice Ride (the bike share program) all the time, but Minneapolis really is the most civic place I’ve ever lived. I don’t know exactly how I’m using that word, but I think what I mean is this: the infrastructure generally seems to care about the humans involved. For example, before I got here, I would have assumed that a place like Minneapolis was a definite two-car city for two people. Not at all. They have an excellent bus system, and the light rail system is getting better (they just added a Green Line that basically connects UMN to downtown Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul). They do great with bikes, farmers’ markets, green spaces, etc. It’s a very comfortable place to live. It’s not surprising that it tops a lot of quality-of-life lists.

It’s also tremendously insular: This, and No. 4 below, are probably the biggest reasons we ultimately decided to leave. Quick story. We went to the SPAM factory in Austin, MN last winter. After touring the place, we went down the street to a bar to grab lunch. The bartender was a nice 24 year-old girl. She had gone to college at USC — in SoCal — and while she wanted to work in entertainment, she was back slinging bar in Austin, MN. Why, we asked. Well, it’s Minnesota, she explained. Everyone just comes back. That story didn’t take place in Minneapolis, but it could have. Admittedly it’s hard to make adult friends pretty much anywhere when you move, but Minneapolis was really hard. I had three or four great friends through school, and we met some people via church (which seemed odd at the time), but this is a highly insular place. Families have been here for generations, and it can be hard to break into social circles.


There are, however, jobs: Bunch of big companies here, as you probably know — Target, General Mills, 3M, Best Buy, Cargill, Medtronic, and others. It’s actually considered a hub for marketing and advertising, almost on par with a NYC. I didn’t do very well getting gigs here, alas, but there are jobs to be found. My wife found a job in probably 2-3 weeks once she started the process. Pay isn’t going to be the same as a coastal city, in general, but the cost of living is pretty solid.

Let’s talk about the winters: This is probably the first thing you associate with Minneapolis if you’re not from here. The winters are bad, and they last a long time. There is no real way to sugarcoat this. Minneapolis would probably be a top-10 U.S. city for population if global warming was advancing at a more rapid rate. We were here for two winters — the first one wasn’t as bad, but it was long; I would say it was cold as hell when I got off the plane back from Thanksgiving, and then there was still snow at the bus stop on Cinco de Mayo (do the math there). The second winter was brutal. We had the famed -50 (negative 50) degree day, and the ice was everywhere. I skidded into probably 2-3 cars this winter (no one was harmed). The snow is annoying, but the ice is really bad. It’s hard to drive and walk, and it makes you a bit limited socially as well. It’s impossible to move here without considering the winters. People will say, “Oh, you’re from the Northeast / South / etc, so you’ve seen crazy winters.” You haven’t seen winters like this. Minneapolis does a great job getting planes out on time and buses to run on time in the winter, but … it’s still a hard thing to live through for 5-6 months.

The beer is excellent: When you talk to beer snobs, people always lob Denver and Portland at you. Those are great beer cities, no doubt, but Minneapolis is right up there. The list of breweries is super: Surly, Indeed, Fulton, New Glarus (Wisconsin, but still), 612, Tin Whiskers (new), etc. Here’s a good list. I’ve heard people say it has something to do with the water being better here. I’m not sure if that’s true, although it does seem logical, but whatever’s clever: the beer is good.

If you’re associated with UMN, get used to slow-moving elephants: I went to grad school at UMN. I liked the place and they have a great faculty and a strong research commitment, but they have crazy bureaucracy that makes it hard to get things done (I worked in an office for the first year I was there). They got kinda slammed in The Wall Street Journal over this at the end of 2012, and I wrote a little about it too. It kinda goes back to that insularity aspect: UMN plays full-time, tenured professors very well — and pays support staff pretty well too — and because there’s good child care, you’re in the heart of the Cities, and your co-workers are probably Minnesotans too, there isn’t a ton of turnover. That can foster more of the insularity and also make it hard to get new things done. You’ll hear a lot of UMN people say it’s a slow-moving elephant.

You earn your summers: Goes to the winter point above, but every year when it gets nice again (be that mid-March or early May), the entire chain of lakes in Minneapolis will be awash with people biking, running, sitting, and hiking. It’s a beautiful thing, but also a little bit overwhelming.

Live in Uptown if you like walkability and can deal with 24 year-old wrecks: I lived in Uptown the entire time I was here. It’s great for walkability — I think my exact address had a walk score of 97 — and I was within a few blocks of eight bars, two supermarkets, a gym, a CVS, some restaurants, etc. It was awesome. However, it’s also becoming the playground of the mid-20s wreck who makes a good salary at a place like Target. Right now, outside my window, there’s construction on four new luxury apartment complexes (all with one-word names like “Verb” or whatever). The base rent for a 1BR on these will probably be $1750 or above. For context, I had a 1BR in Queens (20 minutes from midtown Manhattan) and paid about $1660. You shouldn’t be paying more to live in Minneapolis than NYC, even if the fixtures are brand-new. The bar scene in Uptown is fine until about 9pm, then it starts to fall off a cliff. Go to happy hours, but don’t do late night in the area. It’s a grinding mesh of bodies most nights.

If you’re more of a hipster (self-professed or not), live in Northeast: Maybe a little less walkability, but cool bars and more of a “vibe.” They have an Art Festival over there every May. They also have a cider brewery now. One of my good friends lived out here and we hung out here a lot. It’s a cool vibe. If you’re reading this way past 2014, look into Powderhorn — it’s still kind of gentrifying itself right now, but you see bars and coffee shops going up a lot, so there’s a chance that could be a thing down the road.

Find a way to get out in the winter: Final thing, which I probably could have tied to the winter discussion above. Find a way to get out. Whether it’s a bar, a restaurant, a quick walk, cross-country skiing at a lake, or whatever … find a way to do something every weekend or once every couple of nights. People in Minnesota will tell you that winters alternate — one good, one bad — and I saw that in my two years (first good, second bad). For the bad ones, you’re talking about 5-6 months of crappy temperatures and ice. That’s half your year. Don’t just go to work, then sit inside. Grab that life by the icy balls and get after it. Spit in Mother Nature’s face.

Final thought: Minneapolis is definitely a very “Midwest place,” and by that I mean standard tropes like casserole-baking, family-first, weird-accent stuff. I’m a coastal elite (LOL, hardly “elite”) and I used to think that was weird. It’s not. It’s actually great. It’s a tremendous place to live, work, and raise a family — you do just need some context for the above.

Ted Bauer


  1. Thank you for the tips! Moving there in two months, my wife is from there originally. I guess you’re right that people come back! Thanks. 🙂

  2. I think you hit this one spot on. I moved to Minneapolis after graduating college in Iowa (grew up in Des Moines). Lived there for four years before moving to Denver for a job. My biggest complaint was by far the winters. If you aren’t from that part of the country (Minnesota, eastern Dakotas, central/North Wisconsin), prepared to develop a hate for the cold. Not only is it brutally cold for days on end, the geographic location dictates having a very low sun angle compared to other metro areas during the winter months. If you aren’t from there, it is difficult to meet new people. Not impossible, but you will have to put extra effort in. Summers are great, good urban charm, good theater/arts scene, and the river is beautiful during the summer. It’s a great city with a lot of plusses, but I think one has to fit a certain mold to truly love living there for more than a few years.

  3. My husband and I moved here from NYC two months ago and I feel compelled to comment on this old post because it was one of the things we read and talked about before the move. Some background:

    – I was actually born in MN and have visited at least once a year for most of my life but have never lived or worked here.

    – I’ve lived in several cities including London, DC, Chicago and have spent the last 17 years in NYC. My husband is Irish and has only lived in NYC and Ireland. We came here for a better quality of life and to help my mother.

    While I thought the transition would be hard, we are experiencing some odd things, including strange reactions during interviews (we came out here without jobs). By far the weirdest thing that keeps happening–about a dozen times so far– is that we’ll mention in the course of some conversation that we’re not from here and what follows is…silence. The second iteration of this is a forced “where are you from?” Followed by “New York” followed by…silence. WHAT IS THAT? I mean, even basic etiquette would dictate some follow up. And, to be clear, we’re not throwing it out there looking for reaction. It comes up in the context of Uber drivers asking a question about directions or someone mentioning a place we don’t know.

    Are people simply incurious? I have never encountered this before. I’m thinking of writing an article on it, but still need to find a job and I’m sure it wouldn’t go over well. There is no explanation that makes sense to me.

    Sorry for the vent–I realize you’re happily ensconced in Texas now, but I thought you might have some insight!

    • I’ve seen that … and saw that in interviews when I was there too. It’s so, so odd. Especially at MN legacy companies, like a 3M or whatever. They are like “Wait, you’re not from here? What?” It’s annoying as hell..

      • It’s terrible. Particularly at a place like their 3M. Very insular. Their Minnesota History Center is just as bad. They prefer to hire their own native sons and daughters and only promote from within.

    • I returned here in May 2014 after six years in New Mexico. I wanted to be car free. Bad choice. It has not been good at all. I fractured my wrist in early March 2015. Never been able to work well after that year. And, although I did live here from 1994 to 2007, I have been told several times the past few months (it’s August 23, 2016) to either “go back to the east coast” or “you must be from the east” in a very harsh tone. The insularity hasn’t changed. There is just a certain level of resentment that Minnesota natives have toward easterners, particularly. I hate the thought of being here through this coming winter, but I know I need to leave once and for good.

      • It is an incredibly insular corporate culture. I thought I did my research before coming out here, but that was one thing I didn’t count on. I recently went 0-2 on jobs that went to internal hires. We will likely move back to NYC. It’s a shame. There are some really good things about the Twin Cities. However, in hiring, they seem to stick to what they know. There isn’t a lot of out-of-the-box thinking here. I just created a four-month gap in my resume for nothing. Ack.

    • Hey Transplanted,

      I moved here from NYC two years ago. I grew up near NYC, my significant other is a born and bred MN native. We moved here ’cause NYC was too expensive and I was repulsed by the “hit the ground running” work culture I experienced in pretty much every job I had in NY. I did some research on Minneapolis, found it ranked highly for young professionals with college degrees, and decided it might be a good fit.

      It’s been a weird two years, and though I wish I’d known about locals’ weirdness towards non-natives I think it’s one of those things you have to learn by living here and putting up with it. While I lucked out and found a good paying job that offers the right work environment I was looking for, it took much longer to find a job here than expected and I ran into a lot of judgey “duh, where are you from” and “why did you move here” type questions that really soured me on the place. I even had interviewers accuse me of being dragged along by my SO to live here, which is funny because I was actually the one who convinced her to leave NYC to come home.

      I also had some pretty negative experiences trying to get involved as a volunteer with a local non-profit that led me to the conclusion that the Twin Cities can be very hostile to those who aren’t from here. I’ve caught scent of something smacking faintly of delusion among many locals, too –esp. those who work in entertainment—as if Minneapolis is some sort of Midwestern Los Angeles. Some of these people include non-natives who have become inured to the culture here, I guess.

      Making friends here has been especially difficult. I’ve heard the “it’s hard to make friends as an adult” cliché time and again when pointing this out to various people, but like you I’ve lived in multiple other US cities throughout my adult life and have never had to work this hard at meeting people.

      It isn’t all terrible—I’m saving a lot of money, finally have time and money to pursue grad school, and have a decent place that me and my SO can share—no more rooming with 5 other people at the end of the D train in Brooklyn 🙂 Much of the state of MN outside of the TC is also rather beautiful.

      Seems after two years here that the compromise I’ve had to make as an outsider is to not complain about the place and pretend everything Minnesota-related is amazing, which is tough as our cultural currency back East is to kvetch. It’s what binds us together. Deep down inside I think Minnesotans would like to complain but their mindset is very different than ours—they’ve been raised to maintain a sunnier disposition (good God, the passive aggressiveness here is outlandish though).

      I plan on leaving eventually. Though it’s been nice to make a decent living, and though I’ve gotten used to spending time with myself, I’d like to be around friends and family again. My Minnesota Compromise has on balance been beneficial to me, but it’s a temporary fix, not a permanent solution. I wouldn’t advise people to move here unless they were admitted to a top program in their field of study at one of the local universities, grew up here, or have an extensive network of friends who are ready to welcome them to the area. It may be an area that’s cheaper and offers good paying jobs, but the cultural insularity isn’t worth dealing with (plus, housing prices are rising in the TC, and eventually it may not be that affordable a place to live in).

      If you need someone to commiserate with about your Minnesota experiences, you can e-mail me at plopcornblog@gmail.com. Cheers and stay strong.


      • Very interesting! Thanks for that. I feel bad because I have family here I love very much, but it’s just such so weird. The idea of the “Minnesota Compromise” is very much on my mind. Is it worth trying to stick it out, build up some equity, enjoy the low stress, while not really feeling like we belong–or are really welcomed–here? From the distance of my NYC galley kitchen, the tales from Lake Woebegone seemed charming; the stilted interactions and suppressed emotions. The reality is actually kind of sinister. The Coen Brothers have it right. I wonder sometimes here whether people actually understand that they’re close-minded, even though they’re “progressive.”

        I had a phone interview the other day with an NYC company. The recruiter cut me off a few times and was basically just trying to get to the facts. I felt invigorated afterwards. Like I’d finally had a conversation after which I knew where I stood.

        I’m interviewing in New York after Labor Day. I’m fairly certain that I’ll be able to get another job in the most competitive market in the country before I can get one here. This experience has made me think a lot about what “quality of life” really means.

    • Transplanted, I wish you luck with your interview in NYC (I hope the comments sequencing is correct). I feel you – every time I’ve visited home, I’m energized by Easterners’ no-nonsense approach. While there are certainly many upsides to the slower pace of life up here, sometimes I just want an answer when I’m asking a question.

      I completely agree with you that the Coen Brothers’ sensibility about their home state is spot-on. Check out this Grantland piece wherein Minnesota natives express their butthurt about the movie “Fargo”: http://grantland.com/features/fargo-minnesota-fx-coen-brothers/

      People here have a really hard time taking criticism about themselves. I wonder if it’s the product of years of feeling slighted by folks from the coasts. To be fair to my MN neighbors, when I told people in NYC I was moving here they guffawed and behaved as if the Twin Cities was some sort of mashup between “Hee Haw” and the ice planet Hoth from “Star Wars”. There’s a lot of willful ignorance about the area’s positive qualities which unfortunately many Minnesotans seem to have internalized. It doesn’t in any way justify their insularity, but I believe it’s helpful for context.

      Perhaps the most disappointing thing for me so far has been natives’ indifference towards my interest in their culture. I have a hard time imagining there are hordes of people who are actually excited to move here, so you’d think locals would embrace my enthusiasm. That hasn’t been the case. The “we’re all set” attitude towards newcomers is pervasive here, which is befuddling as there’s the possibility that in the not-so-distant future the Twin Cities will experience a labor shortage and will NEED to embrace people from outside of the area to fill job vacancies: https://www.mprnews.org/story/2015/10/13/worker-shortage-worries-drive-twin-cities-recruitment-push

      Your observation about it being easier to find a job in one of the most competitive markets in the country than here is one I’ve observed too. You’d think that ability to succeed in a highly pressurized work environment would be valued. Oftentimes with the way people beat around the bush here it’s a wonder any business gets done.

      “Minnesota Nice” is a perplexing phenomenon I’ll never fully wrap my head around. Granted ignorant townie homerism is an unfortunate facet of life in every city, but it’s REALLY weird to experience in an area that values education, progressive values, and polite social behaviors. Check this “City Pages” piece out: http://www.citypages.com/news/minnesota-ice-twin-cities-transplants-think-were-kinda-jerks-7768729

      The closest thing I’ve experienced to the attitude was a small but vocal minority during my time in New Orleans who felt that post-Katrina transplants were somehow ruining their city’s integrity. Those people were at least easy to spot, and you knew deep down inside they were on the wrong side of history….New Orleans is a port city and tourism hub built and sustained by people from all over the world. Katrina recovery couldn’t have taken place as it did without money and labor from outside the region. I don’t know what the “come to Jesus” moment will be for Minnesotans, but I hope that as its youth leaves the area for friendlier environs that folks consider being a bit more hospitable to newcomers.

      If only there was an exchange program where I could swap jobs with a Minnesota native struggling in a Northeast city so we could be around family/friends again….

  4. So I suppose I shouldn’t volunteer the fact that I just moved to here from Dallas? Now, that probably explains why I don’t get first or 2nd interviews even though I’m well qualified for the job?

    I’ve been here four weeks, and yeah, when you strike a conversation while shopping at people in l e, you only get stared at it quick silence ensues! Darn, I should have read your blog or done my research before moving here. Now, I’m still job hunting and has signed a one-year lease which I am not allowed to break! Please pray for me!

    • You’ll be fine … but ’tis a challenge, yes.

    • Very sorry. You could probably get out of your lease, or just leave the keys on the counter and walk away. Yes, there is no reason why you can’t get hired, but many here will not hire someone from out of state for good jobs. Your last name doesn’t fit the mold. I need to find a way out now. And I’m breaking my lease.

  5. Thanks for your insights on this state of Minnesota. I noticed it when I moved here in 1994, and people still talk about it today, just as you. The facts remain the same. Just a few months ago, when I left a store job over job misrepresentation, the owner from Owatonna texted me with the comment, “I knew you’d be a failure. Go back to the east coast.” At a recent job, I’ve been yelled at my rude customers saying, “You must be from the east coast.” I’m tired of insular neighbors who live on the same block, or the next one. Yes, the winters are not worth it. I returned from New Mexico in May 2014 and fractured my wrist in March 2015. I’ve had a difficult time since. I’ve been called racist by white Minnesotans when I’ve questioned their hostility toward me. I’m supposed to be white, I guess, but being a native easterner who looks too Italian, I have never fit in here. So, looks and accent don’t help. I’ve decided I need to find a way to leave, since I sold my car when I returned in May 2014. But, leave I will. I really wanted to have the same address for a few more years, but it’s not worth it to me emotionally and physically. I need to leave to feel worth something again.

      • Yes. I would definitely warn against moving here if you don’t have a job lined up. The stats are good on the surface in terms on low unemployment and a plethora of Fortune 500 companies, but there’s something at work here that makes it really difficult for an outsider to get hired.

  6. Totally same at Walker Art. I don’t know why they bother to interview non-Minnesotans only to be rejected. So annoying!

      • Don’t be fooled by “Minnesota nice.” There’s no such thing. It’s all pretense and hypocrisy coupled with extreme passive aggressiveness and disturbing silent treatments. I’d have so much better treatment and acceptance in Seattle which is also blessed by nature’s beauty with people who work hard to make it so…

  7. Interesting just yesterday I receive an email from the Minnesota History Center, which includes the historical society, alerting me I wasn’t chosen fro a position I applied in MARCH 2016. They just filled the program assistant for their Mill City Museum. A position in which they didn’t require a four year degree (I have a master’s however), which pays around 17-18/hour. I returned an email slamming them over their insularity which prevents them from making sound and efficient decisions.

    As I’ve stated earlier, I’m not wasting my time on these state, county or local agencies, including educational institutions. I’d rather be with a corporate entity, even if I had to start out small, which is not a Minnesota based company. So forget 3M, which hires kid contractors anyhow for its lab tech positions (now that’s really showing lots of initiative when Minnesota native college graduates of chemistry settle for contract jobs at 3M – you’re being paid by an agency and not 3M – instead of pursuing grad studies), forget Medtronic, General Mills, ETC.

    They really don’t want anyone who isn’t local, but they also know the better talent comes from outside the state’s borders.

    • Hi Susan –

      If it makes you feel any better, I’m a non-MN-native who applied to work at the MHS and didn’t even get an interview. I have a degree in history from a well-renowned school back East and had plenty of requisite experience for the admin job I applied for.

      Somehow I ended up with a job in accounting with a different org, and though I’d amassed a bit of bookkeeping experience from various temp gigs over the years, I’m far more qualified to work in a history museum. I suspect that primarily has more to do with employers over-valuing behavioral interviews—a serious issue all its own—but I had plenty of weird comments directed at me as an “outsider” during job interviews here in MN that veered into personal territory. It’s disappointing. The state has a history of progressive social values but many people here aren’t living up to them, I guess, or they’re taking credit for/coasting on the achievements of their predecessors.

  8. Thank you Dan D. I never got an interview either. I actually pulled my application after a month of waiting, and told them how insular they were then. I looked up reviews from former employees, and even some current ones, which spoke of the insularity, and I knew the place was not going to work for me. Still, it took them 5 months to hire for this lame position? Yes, I’ve encountered that weird comment interview at some places and considered it to be very offensive. They just don’t want to work with “outsiders” and really dislike many from the East, yet I haven’t lived in in the East for a few decades. I did send you an email from the link you have above. Thank you.

  9. I am a native Minnesotan, but one who moved away to CA. I want to preface this comment by saying that, in my opinion, as someone whose been to all 50, lived in 6 of the 50, and has lived abroad states EAST of the Sierra-Nevada really have nothing to offer. The East Coast sucks, it’s too crowded and expensive. The South sucks because it’s too hot, socially conservative, and has poor standard of living, the Midwest is, well…the Midwest. The Intermountain West and Southwest are arid and empty. All I have to say is that there is a reason why 40 million people live in CA.

    THAT BEING SAID, Minneapolis isn’t that bad. If you move somewhere it’s your job to adapt to your surroundings, not theirs to accommodate you. And it seems completely implausible that Minnesota employers only look at locals first. If it sounds like BS, it probably is. The reason you can’t trust Yelp reviews is because either are being paid to trash or praise an establishment; that or they are easily outraged by even the most minor slight (or impressed with things they shouldn’t be impressed by). My point is that the only people who comment about it are people who feel strongly enough to do so.

    Most of the people commenting here, by their own admission, are only living there for a few years. So what’s the problem. Do your time and move away. Living somewhere for 4 years makes you a transient, not a transplant. If you intend to STAY in Minnesota, learn to adapt to Minnesota culture. If you intend to move away, why does it bother you? A home is a place to hang your hat anyway, nothing more.

    • I liked Minneapolis overall, but I’m honestly glad I peaced out eventually.

    • Eric,

      Your contention that one should adapt to their surroundings is one I’ve heard voiced quite regularly when this topic arises. I agree that Minneapolis isn’t that bad, and to an extent I agree that one should adapt to their surroundings. I’ve made adjustments to my personality to make life in every city I’ve lived in tolerable: in New Orleans I learned to deal with people being aggressively friendly and chatty, in NYC I learned how to market myself to survive in a hyper-competitive environment.

      That said, the contention we transplants, or transients, or whatever you wish to call us are offering is that we aren’t sure what accommodations native Minnesotans are asking us to make in order to act in accordance with their standards. In a culture infamous for an indirect communication style and an aversion to confrontation, how are we supposed to know what it was we did to over-step the bounds in a given situation so as to not do it in the future? Many of us WANT to fit in and be here for a while, but we genuinely don’t know what to do, so perhaps that’s why we resort to assumptions that native Minnesotans chafe at. In times past, if I was not acting in accordance with local customs in wherever I was living, someone would call me out for it and often include an explanation. They understood this was not only to benefit me, but to help streamline communication for future interactions with other members of the community. I don’t see that here. A LOT of us don’t see that here.

      I should also note that I strongly disagree with the underpinnings of your conception of cultural adaptation. While there remain some strong regional identities in America, we’re still “one nation under God”, for Chrissakes, and our cities—particularly those that pride themselves on being progressively-minded, like Minneapolis—are supposed to be nodes wherein people from different nations, cultural traditions, and beliefs intersect and make compromises in order to foster a better union. Your assertion that “it’s your job to adapt to your surroundings, not theirs to accommodate you” is flawed—in order to make a city function smoothly, we need to be able to interact with a wide range of people and not insist on one rigid code of behavior to the exclusion of everything and anything else. Hell, the folks who founded this place didn’t care about adapting to the native peoples’ ideas—manifest destiny, y’all!—so Minnesotans’ claim to having the last say on how to adapt to their culture is set on a wobbly moral foundation, anyway (as is most of America, but I digress).

      A statistic that’s often cited when people explore the issue of Minnesotan insularity is that a high percentage of people who live here are from here and have never left. Of those people, many maintain strong social ties to old friendships dating back to elementary school or before. There have been a rash of transplants who’ve noticed that native Minnesotans don’t really seem interested in adding to their social groups. I mean, if you hung out with the same five guys for twenty years knocking back Grain Belts at Tav on the Ave, would you want to add a dude to your group fresh off a move from Massachusetts?

      Combine that inertia to meeting new people with an indirect communication style and where we non-Minnesotans are confused is how Minneapolis can advertise itself as progressive while evincing “small town”, conservative behavior. We see a paradox: where are we, an overgrown small town from a Garrison Keillor story, or a modern big city full of folks from all over the world? This helps inform how we interact with people, which relates back to your point about adjusting to local customs. Without a defined frame of mind for how to approach Minnesotans in their element, of course we look awkward and feel frustrated at our attempts to “fit in”. To use an analogy from a cultural touchstone developed by a native Minnesotan—think of Lucy pulling away the ball from Charlie Brown. We keep striving to get to know people—we’re social creatures, we thrive on belonging and inclusion—and the people we want to know keep pulling away. Why would we stay?

      “And it seems completely implausible that Minnesota employers only look at locals first. If it sounds like BS, it probably is”

      Yeah, that said, enough people have noticed this phenomenon, why not at least look in to it? The state faces a potential labor talent gap in the not-too-distant-future; young, educated people are leaving and not being adequately replaced. If I were an employer, I’d want to find out how to attract and retain talent from outside of Minnesota in light of the area’s reputation for insularity and passive-aggressiveness. In fact, some forward-thinking companies, including General Mills, are already involved in initiatives to make non-natives feel welcome. They understand that as the economy continues to gradually improve, Minneapolis won’t be the only city offering good paying jobs and a low cost of living. Minnesotans may be chiding us to adapt to their norms now, but keep that up and in 20-30 years, good luck recruiting people to move here. THAT’s where native Minnesotans should be concerned; if you don’t care about what we say or think relative to the way you behave, that alone ought to raise an eyebrow.

      “The East Coast sucks, it’s too crowded and expensive. The South sucks because it’s too hot, socially conservative, and has poor standard of living, the Midwest is, well…the Midwest. The Intermountain West and Southwest are arid and empty. ”

      Eric, you criticize us for making generalizations about your home, yet you didn’t hesitate to bash people living in these areas. Unless you’re 14 (and I don’t think you are), I’m sure you’re better than resorting to that nonsense. The South features increasingly progressive pockets—Charlotte, Atlanta, Austin (if you count TX as part of the South), Nashville, Birmingham, New Orleans. There are plenty of affordable pockets back East: Providence, Philadelphia, Baltimore. Come on, man.

Comments are closed.