Post # 1
My FI and I currently live in Portland, OR. He’s an Oregon native (family came here on the Oregon Trail!) and I’ve only been here for about 4 years now, originally from California.
Discouraged with the increasing cost of housing and horrible job market, we’re thinking of maybe moving to Minneapolis or Saint Paul in the next year or two and wanted to get some real thoughts and experiences. We’re doing tons of research now already.
I love Portland but we’re being squeezed out as I was squeezed out of the SF Bay Area where I was born and raised. I know the winter weather is tough which will take some time to get used to; especially I’ve only lived on the west coast. I will miss the ocean as well. I would like to hear how it is politically, socially, types of fun activities, diversity, etc.
Post # 4
I currently live in Minnesota. I think you will absolutly love the area. It will be a change in climate that’s for sure but it’s just the winter that is rough. The beautiful summers and changing seasons make up for it.
Post # 5
@Bribaby119: Thanks for your input!
Post # 6
I am from the St Paul area and I miss it. The winter was tough but the fall and spring are GORGEOUS. Summers were a bit humid for me but they are fine. And honestly, as long as you have a car the winter isn’t that bad. Mine was parked outside in the driveway but on icy days I just started it up with the defrost thing going full blast when I was almost ready but had to make my lunch or whatever, and then by the time I was out the door it was warm and the ice was mostly melted off. It’s not that cheap to live in MN but cheaper where I am currently (SoCal).
I’ll be honest, I kind of scorn parts of MN because my family is a tad bit snotty and would never live in the more redneck parts- but I adore the cities (tons of arts stuff, events, farmers markets, museums, nightlife) and I am from an upscale semirural area so I also like the nicer rural areas (not farmland areas- more like bedroom communities where people just like to have five or ten acres of woodland to hike in/ski in etc). The river valleys in Southern MN are gorgeous for minivacations and you can canoe.. I have been canoe camping in the boundary waters too and it is amazing. I love weekends on the North Shore especially in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail area.
Hope that helps a little- I’d be happy to discuss more details if you’re interested. You made me homesick!
Post # 7
Politically the twin cities are quite liberal, but the more rural areas lean conservative. My theater friends like to tell me the the cities have the second highest number of theater seats per capita, right after New York. Craft beer is fairly big up here and there are a lot of really great restaurants. Biking is also really huge as is recycling. As far as social diversity goes it kinda depends on where in the cities you are. Where I am now there is a very large Hmong population, but at the last place I lived at least 50% of my neighbors were Somali. Depending on your field, I think the job market here is decent. As far as the winters go, I’m from WI and the winters up here are a whole diffrent ballgame. I commute on foot and therefore need better winter gear than most. I have graded winter coats because the coat I could use all winter in WI is just not enough come late December/January. For the several weeks where you’re lucky if the high is 10 degrees (without factoring in wind chill) I have a calf length down coat which is a lifesaver. I also knit which is a great hobby to have up here 😉
Post # 8
@Eckle: The rural areas and small towns here (outside of the college towns) are pretty conservative too so I avoid as much as possible though my SO’s roots and property are in a rural town so we do visit every once in a while.
From what you described, from the beer to biking to restaurants, it sounds a lot like Portland except for the weather and the lack of diversity we have here.
I fear hot weather more than the cold. Because of my chronic illness I do horrible in the heat so I’m always looking out for places with hot summers so that I can avoid it. No tropical honeymoons here!
Post # 9
@CARA1978: Ha, I live in Portland (born here, moved when I was 3), but also lived in Minnesota (Minnetonka, St Cloud, and St Paul)! The winters are rough to say the least, honestly I would never go back. The housing market is pretty cheap, but it just doesn’t compare to out here in the PNW! Don’t underestimate how hot the summers get, either. The Land of 10,000 lakes has horrid humidity and is WAY hotter than we’re used to up here in Portland.
Post # 10
@PacificMrs: I love, love, love the PNW but its getting harder to afford it. I had no idea about the summers there – Uggh!
Post # 11
I have never lived anywhere else, so I am not expert on Portland compared to Minneapolis, but I can tell you what I know from growing up in the Minneapolis area. Minneapolis is definately a more liberal area, which it sounds like you are on the liberal side so you would probably fit in with the culture here. I have heard from numerous people though (although I don’t see it as much as I grew up here) that MN is quite cliqueish, and it can be difficult to immerse yourself in a group of friends here. It really is beautiful, although I have hear Portland is as well. I don’t think that the winteres are actually that bad, but the summers are actually quite hot and humid, but short. The lakes are beautiful and there are a ton of festivals going on at all times. Plenty of theatres and arts….also alot of hipsters. I read an article that Minneapolis was the #1 hipster place in the country…which I was surprised by. I woudl agree that there is not much for diversity here as others have mentioned. I can’t really comment on the it being cheaper. I did a quick Zillow search on Portland homes, and I think it may be slightly cheaper, but maybe not as cheap as you are expecting/hoping? With all that being said, I love it here….but I don’t know any difference either;)
Post # 12
Minneapolitan here. It’s wonderful. Politically, we’re pretty deep blue, though not as deep as Washington/Oregon/California . . . the people are friendly . . . traffic isn’t too bad. Good theater and entertainment venues. The metro area itself is pretty young with lots of universities. The suburbs are some of the cleanest, nicest, and more afforadable in the nation. Overall, if you can handle the extreme weather (and yes, it DOES get crazy effing hot in the summer), you’ll probably love it here.
Post # 13
@Soon_to_be_wed: Sooooooooo many hipsters and bikers. Like, so many. LOL.
I actually would agree that it’s kind of cliquey, even though everyone is nice. I feel like it’s because the majority of people who live in the Twin Cities are from the area. I grew up in Wisconsin and went to the U of M for school and it seemed like all the people I knew who were from the metro area and suburbs were still friends with all their high school friends because everyone still lived here. Like, there was never any reason to leave. You can probably find a school that fits your tastes in the area and you can probably find a job in your field once you graduate.
My husband is still BFFs with people he’s known since third grade. Thank god they’re all awesome and nice. I do feel like they have accepted me and are truly MY friends now, not just his friends.
But restaurants, night life, breweries . . . I mean, it’s fun to live here. It really is.
Post # 14
@CARA1978: I’m from Southern California, but spent a year in the mid-West, primarily in West St. Paul. I’ll admit, it was odd as a minority to always be the darkest person in each and every room, but people were very VERY nice.
One weird thing I had to get used to- the food. I went to a burger place and ordered the California burger. In California (and I think most of the West) this would mean it had avocado on it. When they brought me a basic burger (bun, burger, lettuce, tomato) I complained. Apparently the fact that there was lettuce and tomato made it a “California” burger! What?! I guess fresh veggies are harder to come by year-round.
I’mma be honest with you- the weather is HORRIBLE. I’m not just talking about winter. Yes, winter is insane. They are frozen for like 5 months (I’m not exaggerating). I always thought I’d prefer a cold climate to a hot one, but I had no idea what it’s like to live in snow for half the year. Your nostril hairs freeze! I got the winter blues BAD.
But then there’s Summer, when it’s humid as all hell and HOT. My curly hair was a frizzy tangled mess the whole dang time. I would take a shower, dry off and by the time my clothes were on I was soaking in sweat. It was horrendous. I had never even heard of a DEhumidifier until I got to St. Paul!
There is like 2 weeks of Spring and a nice 6 weeks of Autumn. I loved that. The changing of the leaves, the flowers… gorgeous. But 8 weeks of beautiful would never outweigh the other 44 weeks for me. Ever.
Post # 15
@CARA1978: if you don’t do well in heat, I would avoid MSP. The humidity of the Midwest makes me feel awful (although MSP is less humid than where I’m from). We live in a very hot desert climate now, and I do way better without the humidity even though it’s hotter. Back home, I was never comfortable because winter is so cold, and humidity would make me dread summer (which most people can’t wait for). Fall is absolutely amazing, but that breezy weather only lasts a month or two.
Edit: @MexiPino: I should have just read your response because, exactly.
Post # 16
@MexiPino: Ha ha! I’m from California too and to me, California anything means avocado! At least they are shipped to Oregon! I think the humidity would do it for me. 🙁
@BlondeMissMolly: Yes, hearing about the summers doesn’t sound very good. Back to the drawing board for us – almost!