Divided by the mighty Mississippi River, the Twin Cities are a modern Midwestern marvel.
If Minneapolis and St. Paul are twins, they’re definitely fraternal. Minneapolis is a vibrant metropolis with world-class theaters, museums and parks. St. Paul is the older, stately, laid-back capital, known for its glamorous Summit Avenue mansions, rich history and famous writers (Garrison Keillor still lives here, and F. Scott Fitzgerald was born here—you can even have a drink at the Commodore hotel, which Fitzgerald once called home). Together, these siblings form one of the largest metropolitan areas in the American Midwest, with more than three million residents and countless reasons to visit, from beautiful lakes to award-winning cuisine.
When to go
The Twin Cities burst into bloom and locals emerge from hibernation with smiles on their faces and pep in their step, eager for baseball games and leisurely strolls along lake and river paths.
A true celebration of all things outdoors, with movies and music in the parks; food, beer and art festivals; and packed rooftops, patios and lake and river trails. Don’t forget bug spray to ward off the infamous mosquitoes, which love the lakes as much as locals do.
September marks the start of the fall arts season, and there’s never a shortage of plays, musicals, exhibits, concerts and operas to choose from.
It may get cold here, but Minnesotans know how to make the most of it, with Nordic skiing in the parks, outdoor ice-skating rinks, the Red Bull Crashed Ice skating race and U.S. Pond Hockey Championships.
Light rail lines connect the two cities, with the Blue Line running from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to downtown Minneapolis, and the Green Line running between the two downtowns. The Metro Transit bus system and Nice Ride bike-share program are also good options.
- Twin Cities residents live up to their reputation of being quite friendly—commonly known as “Minnesota Nice”—so don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- Biking is many locals’ go-to mode of transportation; rent a Nice Ride bike (niceridemn.org) and join the masses to get an up-close view of the Cities.
- When in doubt, talk about the weather. Minnesotans may pretend that their obsession with the ever-changing temperatures and precipitation patterns is a myth, but it’s not. They love it.