The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul make up the country's 16th largest metropolitan area. National models of urban growth and vitality, they are frequently named among the country's "most livable" cities.
The cities—home to 2.2 million people—are notable for their cultural activity, social awareness, thriving economy, beautiful parks and lakes, clean air, and relatively low crime.
The University of Minnesota is located in the heart of Minneapolis, a thriving cosmopolitan city with an eclectic cultural life. The more "laid-back" St. Paul, just minutes away on the other side of the Mississippi River, is a center for state government and the arts and for neighborhoods with strong traditions and cultural identities.
University of Minnesota community
City and community come together at the University of Minnesota. The urban Twin Cities campus is large and diverse—with 32,000 students and 12,000 faculty and staff of varied ethnic and geographical backgrounds. A world of educational and cultural opportunities is here—including world-class libraries and technology centers and more than 200 academic programs—including well-established programs in African American and African Studies, Asian Studies, and Chicano Studies; and one of the few existing American Indian Studies programs.
But community is key. The University campus is a lively, livable community in the heart of the city, complete with convenient campus buses, restaurants, a full-service credit union, a daily campus newspaper, recreation centers, outstanding bookstores, and even a global travel agency. Cultural centers (such as La Raza and the Africana Student Cultural Center) offer a place to relax, connect with other students, enjoy educational and social activities, and find campus and community mentors.
The University values safety with its own security force, motorist assistance program, well-lit walkways, and 24-hour escort service.
Twin Cities community
The cities have significant and active communities of color, including 90,000 African American residents, 25,000 Native Americans, 65,000 Asians and Pacific Islanders, and 34,000 Chicanos/Latinos (1990 census figures). Minneapolis and St. Paul offer a culturally diverse stew of arts, entertainment, shopping, recreational activities, and dining. Professional communities, such as the Minnesota Association of Black Physicians and the American Indian Physicians Association, also flourish.
Cultural diversity: Few areas of the country boast as many different racial and ethnic groups as do Minneapolis and St. Paul. Although predominantly Caucasian, the cities have a sizeable and growing African American community, the country's largest urban population of Native Americans, one of the largest regional Asian American centers (including the country's fastest-growing Hmong population), and a significant Chicano/Latino population.
The Twin Cities' nationally acclaimed cultural life is one of the area's biggest draws.
- More theater companies per capita anywhere but New York—including the renowned Guthrie Theater, the multicultural Mixed Blood Theater, and Penumbra Theater—one of the nation's premier African-American theaters...plus the best national theater and comedy shows on tour.
- A vibrant music scene—from the classical and popular lineups of the Ordway Theater and Orchestra Hall to blues and jazz venues to funky Warehouse District clubs. The artist formerly known as Prince has his recording studio here; so do mega-hit producers Terry Lewis and Jimmy "Jam" Harris. And Northrop Auditorium right on campus hosts musical headliners in rock and hip-hop, plus renowned dance troupes such as Alvin Ailey.
- For shopping, the Twin Cities are second in the Midwest only to Chicago. National retailers and eclectic homegrown shops fill downtown districts and neighborhood hubs—from trendy Uptown to an internationally flavored West Bank (next door to the University). And the 400-store Mall of America has made the area a global shopping sensation.
- And there's more—professional basketball, baseball, and football teams...comedy clubs...cinemas...museums, galleries, zoos...and restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets, including an outstanding variety of ethnic eateries.
- Even the seasons are diverse, with something for everyone: sunny, warm summers, lush springs, crisp maroon-and-gold autumns, and, of course, brisk, snowy winters. Each season finds people outdoors enjoying the Mississippi River (which runs through the University campus) and miles of beautiful city lakes, parks, and trails—for walking, biking, in-line skating, ice skating, skiing, golfing, swimming, or sailing, plus outdoor concerts or festivals year-round (from the St. Paul Winter Carnival to Cinco de Mayo, the Uptown Arts Fair, and much more.)