Moving to Minneapolis, MN? Read Our Ultimate Moving Guide
Minneapolis is a city of contrasts. It’s progressive and modern, but with a dash of its old-world Scandinavian origins and an undeniable Midwestern perspective. The temperatures can be subzero with uncomfortable frequency, but the people are known for their warm welcomes. There’s much more to this metropolitan city, of course, so read our moving guide for more to the story. If you’re ready to plan your move there, Suddath® has all of the Minneapolis residential moving services you need.
It Has a Twin, But It’s Not Identical.
All twins have a lot in common, including the Twin Cities, but Minneapolis and St. Paul each have their own unique features. Ten miles apart and separated by the Mississippi River, the cities are as different as their names. According to an article comparing the cities on Twin Cities Agenda, a site that keeps up with trends in the area, “St. Paul is slower and with more highbrow cultural offerings. Minneapolis is younger, faster, brighter, livelier,” at least when it comes to culture and entertainment. St. Paul’s leadership takes care to preserve history, while Minneapolis “has traditionally stayed focused on the present—most of the history in downtown Minneapolis has been razed to make room for new.”
So, what’s the bottom line? Minneapolis is a vibrant, modern city with a global feel. If those are the qualities you want in your next city, a move to Minneapolis is probably right for you.
Living the Lake Life
There are many reasons why Minnesota has the nation’s highest number of boat owners—10,000 reasons, in fact. “The Land of 10,000 Lakes” includes 22 lakes just in Minneapolis alone! For residents, that means you’ll never run out of things to do on and around the water. Canoe, kayak, sail, swim, or take a stroll along 15 miles of paved paths that follow the shorelines of The Chain of Lakes, five bodies of water that offer exceptional public access. In summer, the lakes are the scene of festivals, concerts and sporting events; in winter, it’s time for skating and hockey. Rent a boat, rent a bike, or just sit and watch the world go by, all just 10 minutes from downtown Minneapolis.
Getting Around Minneapolis
One of the nation’s largest public transportation systems is in Minneapolis, making public transportation a great way to get around the city. Metro Transit fares start at $2.25 and there’s even a 50-cent “Downtown Zone” fare if you plan to ride just within the downtown area. Metro Transit buses have frequent runs between the Twin Cities’ downtown districts and offer light-rail service to 19 stations between the Mall of America and downtown Minneapolis.
Other transportation options include:
- Rideshare services, such as Lyft and Uber
- The Zipcar car sharing service
- Nice Ride, a bike sharing system
- Amtrak at the historic Union Depot in St. Paul
As for driving, keep these things in mind:
- Almost all of the downtown streets in Minneapolis run one way.
- It’s illegal to text and drive throughout the state, even when you’re stopped at a traffic light.
- There are “traffic agents” in the downtown streets during rush hour—they have the authority to override traffic signs and traffic lights, so follow their directions.
- Knowing how to drive on ice and snow does not come naturally. Do some research before you get behind the wheel in winter, and talk to long-time residents about it if you’re coming from a snow-free climate.
Here’s a look at just a few of the most popular neighborhoods to move to throughout the five districts of Minneapolis:
- The Central Business District is also known as the Theater District, which gives you a good clue as to what the vibe is here. In addition to the to-be-expected office towers, the district has a busy nightlife and a Skyway System that makes it easy to get from one great bar or restaurant to another.
- Loring Park is your destination for huge festivals and events, many with a focus on celebrating the city’s diversity, art and culture.
- Nicollet is one mile of some of downtown’s best entertainment and shopping. It’s so pedestrian-friendly that motor vehicles are restricted to taxis and buses.
- The North Loop/Warehouse District is where you’ll find Target Center and Target Field, where the Minnesota Twins play. Nineteenth-century warehouses now house trendy stores and restaurants run by James Beard Award-winning chefs.
- Looking for the ultimate walkable neighborhood? Head to the Lyndale & Lake (or just Lyn-Lake) entertainment district. It’s a funky place with pubs, live performances, vintage clothing shops and the venerable Bryant-Lake Bowl bowling alley and live theater space.
- “Uptown” isn’t literally uptown from downtown. It’s a general reference to the area around where Lake Street and Hennepin Avenue meet, which is where you’ll find popular nightlife spots and shops, plus older but stylish apartments and homes.
- East Lake’s diverse population make it a great destination for authentic global cuisine. Take time to explore East Lake Street’s Midtown Global Market, the Midtown Farmers Market, the Danish American Center, and the Somali Museum of Minnesota.
Things to Do for Families
Family fun is plentiful in Minneapolis. Indoor activities abound, of course—and you’ll need to keep a list of those handy for your sanity—but there’s a surprising number of things to with your kids outdoors as well. These are some favorites, including several free options:
- Take a trip to the top of the landmark Foshay Tower for an unparalleled view of the city on its observation deck. It’s open Thursdays through Mondays, but call ahead during winter since weather is a factor in its availability. Children aged 3 and under get in free.
- Wherever you are in Minneapolis, a park isn’t far away. There’s a network of 160 neighborhood parks, plus regional parks such as Above the Falls. Visit the website of the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board for a full list of parks and an event calendar.
- The Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary has public art, walking paths, public art and more. You can even schedule a private tour with a naturalist for youth and adult groups.
- The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is a treat for all ages. Operated by the nearby Walker Art Center, the garden is open year-round. At the Center, there are Free First Saturdays every month with free gallery admission where kids can enjoy art-making, games, performances, and films just for them.
- Every great city has a great zoo, and Minneapolis is no exception. The Como Zoo and Observatory offers fun, food and education at every turn, including a carousel, giraffe feeding station, and an amusement park. Admission is free, but voluntary donations of $3 for adults and $2 for children is welcomed.
- Free concerts with music just for kids and families are very popular (tickets can be hard to get) and frequent. Check the websites of the Minnesota Sinfonia chamber orchestra and Minnesota Orchestra for dates, times and venues.
Education in Minneapolis
Families and students will be pleased to know that there is a wide range of excellent educational choices in the area. Public schools regularly earn high ratings, including schools rated as some of the best places to teach in the state, but there are some schools that are currently struggling economically and educationally. You can learn more about public school options on the Wayzata Public School District and Minnetonka Public School District websites. There are also more than 600 private schools in the area, which includes summer programs.
In 1992, Minnesota was the first state to open charter schools. Today, there are more than 160 in operation in the state. The Minnesota Department of Education offers more information about charter schools, including how they are authorized and a complete directory.
Higher education institutions include:
- The public University of Minnesota is the largest university in the state, with more than 50,000 students enrolled. In addition to the Twin Cities, it also has campuses in Duluth, Morris, Rochester and Crookston.
- The University of St. Thomas is the state’s largest private university.
- Choices in technical and community colleges include Minneapolis Community & Technical College and Saint Paul College.
Minneapolis is for Sports Fans
Downtown Minneapolis is the epicenter of professional sports in Minnesota. Every major sport can be enjoyed at great venues that are just steps away from each other.
The U.S. Bank Stadium, which replaced the Metrodome in 2016, is an enclosed, 70,000-seat landmark for sporting and entertainment events. Target Field, dubbed the “#1 Baseball Stadium Experience in North America” by ESPN, is here as well. This baseball park hosts professional, collegiate and other baseball games.
Now, for the teams you can watch play when you move to Minneapolis or St. Paul:
- The Minnesota Vikings (NFL)
- The Minnesota Twins (MLB)
- The Minnesota Wild (NHL)
- The Minnesota Timberwolves (NBA)
- The Minnesota Lynx (WNBA)
- The Minnesota United FC (soccer)
Make the Most of Winter Days
Are you wondering how many things there are to do in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area during the long winters? We’ve got you covered, both outdoors and indoors:
- Catch some fish: If you’re coming from a warmer climate, you may think your time on Minnesota’s beautiful lakes is limited to summer months, but winter doesn’t get in the way of ice fishing fans. All you need is an auger to make a hole in the ice, your fishing pole and, of course, enough layers to stay warm and toasty. There are also ice fishing guides available to show you the ropes. Keep in mind that you’ll need a fishing license before you drop a line out there on the ice.
- Go cross-country skiing: Ski on a golf course or snowshoe through a city park? Yes! The Twin Cities know how to make the most of snow days with plenty of places to enjoy trails, including Como Regional Park in St. Paul, the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Theodore Wirth Regional Park, and Columbia Golf Club.
- Go bowling: Great bowling alleys are easy to find when it’s time to get out of the house and have some fun. Check out the hipster favorite, Bryant Lake Bowl (with breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night menus), the cheap rates at RanHam Bowling Center, or the state-of-the-art (but awesomely retro) Memory Lanes.
- Sample some small-batch brew: The Twin Cities area has always been home to serious beer aficionados, but they’re even more enthusiastic now about all of the new spots to enjoy locally brewed beer. You’ll find beer halls, brewpubs and restaurants serving small-batch beer throughout both cities.
Dining, Arts and Entertainment
Chef-owned restaurants, generous arts patrons, and residents who don’t let cold weather keep them from enjoying a wide range of events and entertainment venues: This perfect storm has made Minneapolis an epicenter of great food and great fun.
The Minneapolis dining scene:
Once you move to Minneapolis, it won’t be long before you hear about (and make your way to) Eat Street. This section of Nicollet Avenue runs south from downtown and takes you on a journey through an incredibly diverse selection of eateries. You’ll find everything from family-run diners with just a few tables to large, white-tablecloth-and-good-silver restaurants, and plenty of authentic ethnic spots in between.
A few suggestions, all on or just off of Eat Street:
- KhunNai Thai Cuisine
- The Copper Hen Cakery & Kitchen
- Spyhouse Coffee
- Pimento Jamaican Kitchen
- Pancho Villa Mexican Restaurant
- Christos Greek Restaurant
- Little Tijuana Restaurant
- Jasmine Deli
- Black Sheep Pizza
Minneapolis bars and nightspots:
Thrillist has the guide you need with its list of “The Best Bars in the Twin Cities to Drink at Right Now.” Here are some of their top picks for high-end cocktails, happy hours, wine bars and more:
- Eat Street Social
- Lyn 65
- Tattersall Distilling
- Twin Spirits
- Butcher & The Boar
- Bunny’s Bar & Grill
- Herkimer Pub & Brewery
- The Bachelor Farmer
- Domacin Restaurant & Wine Bar
Arts and culture in Minneapolis:
There’s no question that Minneapolis is a leader in cultural initiatives, with both the city and private citizens supporting the growth of arts and culture. The city’s world-class museums (there are 55 museums in the metro area alone), events and festivals, public art and more will keep you entertained and inspired.
These are just a very few examples of Minneapolis’s terrific offerings:
- Hennepin Theatre Trust
- Minnesota Orchestra/Orchestra Hall
- The Cowles Center for Dance & The Performing Arts
- Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
Spring/summer events in Minneapolis:
Minneapolis Fall/winter events:
Shopping in Minneapolis
Did you know there’s no sales tax on clothing and shoes in Minnesota? That’s just one of the many reasons that shopping in Minneapolis is so good. Farmers markets, special holiday markets, hip retail districts, a giant mall and more await you (and your wallet) all around town. You’ll need quite a few weekends to make your way through them all, but here are some popular spots to start with:
- What can be said about the Mall of America that hasn’t already been said? You know it as the nation’s largest shopping and entertainment complex, but you may not know some of the details of this tourist attraction that draws more than 40 million visitors every year from across the country and even around the world. It has more than 500 stores and 60 restaurants, two on-site hotels, a comedy club, a seven-acre indoor amusement park, the SEA LIFE Aquarium, mini-golf and so much more.
- Minneapolis makes the most of its relatively short growing season by having fantastic farmers markets throughout the city, bringing people together for art and culture as well as food. “Shop local” at the Minneapolis Farmers Market on Lyndale (first opened in 1876!), the Nicollet Mall Market, Mill City Farmers Market, and Kingfield Farmers Market.
- The city takes its holiday shopping seriously, hosting seasonal events that offer the chance to buy unusual gifts. Mark your calendar for the Northside Holiday Crawl, the Linden Hills Market, the Hygge Holiday Market, and Procraftinate.
- Stock up for those long, dark winter months with selections from one of the city’s many bookstores. Looking for local authors, sci-fi, rarities or children’s books? It’s all here. Check out Magers & Quinn, Wild Rumpus, Birchbark Books & Native Arts, James & Mary Laurie Booksellers, Eat My Words, Uncle Hugo’s Science Fiction, and Once Upon a Crime.
- What began as a small boutique just a few years ago has grown into Minnesota Makers, a one-stop shop for the artwork and crafts of more than 100 artists from around the state and also offers small group classes. It’s located in the Meet Minneapolis Visitor Center on Nicollet and also has a second location in Robbinsdale.
Important Minneapolis Links
Use these links to get settled after your move to Minneapolis:
Driver’s licenses, vehicle registration and more: The website of the Driver and Vehicle Services division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety has all of the information you need, and allows you to start your driver’s license or ID card application online.
Voting information: The Minneapolis Elections & Voter Services’ website has what you need to know about registering to vote, where to vote, absentee voting and much more.
Garbage and Recycling: Garbage, recycling and yard waste services are available from the city.
Emergency Preparedness: The Minneapolis Office of Emergency Management’s web page offers information on how to prepare for emergencies, severe weather preparedness, flooding and flood insurance and more.
Utility, Cable and Internet Service Companies:
- Xcel Energy provides electric utilities
- Gas service is from Centerpoint Energy
- Telecommunications providers include Comcast/Xfinity, AT&T, DirecTV, DISH, HughesNet and USI Wireless
- Water service is provided by the City of Minneapolis
Planning to Move to Minneapolis? We’re Here to Help.
We know that preparing to move, getting there and unpacking is a big job. That’s why Suddath has everything you need, including storage, to make your move go smoothly. You can have our expert movers take care of everything, or you can choose just the specific services you need. Call on us for your local, international or long-distance residential move to Minneapolis and get a free moving quote today.
Moving to Minneapolis, MN: FAQ
As with most cities, there are some areas that are less expensive than others. Overall, however, the city’s cost of living is slightly higher than the national average but it’s still well under other major American cities. Housing in Minneapolis-St. Paul is around the median price of $250,000 and rents are high. Some other expenses, such as food and car repairs, are a bit higher than other places. The good news? Lower utility bills and higher wages help offset expenses.
The crime rates in large cities can vary a great deal from year to year. For the most up-to-date information, the Minneapolis Police Department publishes crime maps and data on its website.
The Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) Regional Economic Development Partnership’s list of Fortune 500 companies headquartered here provides an excellent snapshot of the employment scene. Industries from health insurance, manufacturing and retail, to groceries and financial services are all represented. Companies on the list include Target, 3M, U.S. Bancorp, General Mills, Land O’Lakes, Xcel Energy and Best Buy. Also in the Greater MSP is Cargill, the largest privately held company in the nation and an employer of more than 155,000 people. According to Forbes, the area’s major industries include financial services, technology, biomedical and retail.
As in most cities, the highest-paying jobs in Minnesota are medical professionals such as general internists, obstetricians and gynecologists, and podiatrists, and chief executives of large corporations.
When it comes to the highest median wages in Minnesota, however, the list is different. With the exception of business management and positions in the legal field, fields with median wages above the state’s cost of living include these and more:
• Administrative and office support
• Installation, maintenance and repair
Minneapolis has plenty of plusses and minuses if you look hard enough, but here a few of the main ones to consider if you’re thinking of making a move to the city:
• With so many things to do year-round, Minneapolis is a major tourist destination for both indoor and outdoor activities.
• Summers on the lakes are a plus, as are winters on the ice and snow for those who love to ice fish, snowmobile or ski.
• The Twin Cities area has typically had below-average unemployment rates and the economy is healthy.
• Speaking of health, the state was ranked as the fourth-healthiest state in the U.S. according to a 2018 Gallup survey.
• Winter weather is, of course, the number-one item on most people’s “cons” list. Because the Twin Cities are truly great places to live, the weather is usually the only item on the list, as it is here. Winters are very cold and they last for several months. It can be a serious challenge (or even dangerous at times) to manage your daily routine in a blizzard or subzero temperatures day after day, and cabin fever can be a problem if you’re not used to being housebound for any length of time. Think of it this way: There’s a reason that Scandinavian hardiness counts here, because the Twin Cities is the coldest metro area in the continental U.S.