Carl here, from 1500 Days to Freedom… Before I headed off to Camp FI Midwest, I had some time to spend in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. Before I get into my Minneapolis meanderings, allow me to go back in time for a moment…
I was born outside of Chicago and lived there for most of my life. As a child, my family would head up to Wisconsin Dells or House on the Rock for camping vacations. We also had relatives in the Twin Cities, so we’d visit Minnesota for the holidays.
Around the age of 30, Mrs. 1500 and I decided we needed a change, so we moved to Madison, Wisconsin. “Madtown” is a wonderful place to live in. It’s big enough to have a lot of interesting stuff to do and look at, but not so big that you sit in traffic for 2 hours. *looking at you, Chicago…*
However, the Wisconsin winters and taxes eventually wore us down, so we moved to Colorado. We love our little town of Longmont, but I still think about the Midwest often. Colorado is great, but when I’m back in the Midwest, I feel like I’m home.
Minneapolis: the Birthplace of Prince
I met Cubert for the first time when his family visited Longmont during the summer of 2018. He even wrote a (wonderful) post about the visit, asking if he should consider a move to Longmont. Today, I reciprocate by writing a post about (the notion of) moving to Minnesota.
The good thing about writing this in winter is that if I say anything negative about the Gopher State, its residents’ brains will be too frozen to comprehend my words! Just kidding. Maybe…
Before Camp FI, I spent a couple of fine days in and around the Twin Cities. Much of my time on foot, wandering around somewhat aimlessly, taking in the surroundings.
Day 1: Minneapolis
My first destination was the Minneapolis Institute of Art, but I wanted to experience the city, so I parked near the Stone Arch Bridge about 3 miles away.
Trains! Scooters!! Bikes!!! Oh My!!!!
Right away, I noticed all of the good options for getting around:
To support the scooters and bikes, there are non-motorized vehicle lanes everywhere. I like a city that supports transportation options.
I like the feel of the Twin Cities. There are big buildings and modern architecture:
And cool, funky bits too:
I always look for cranes when in a new city. They are a sign of economic vibrancy. Someone believes in the area and is paying for the crane to build something new. Minneapolis had lots of cranes.
The city also has loads of green space. Some thoughtful city planners were thinking ahead:
Moving to Minnesota gives you a chance to hang with a stellar community of personal finance bloggers. Financial Toolbelt, Financial Panther, and Physician on FIRE come to mind.
I know I’ve forgotten about 387 others. Please forgive me.
Minneapolis is home to some stellar breweries. One of my favorite beers in the world is Todd the Axe Man by Surly.
And the good beer isn’t just confined to the Twin Cities. When I visited the Physician on FIRE up north a couple of years ago, we shared some fine brews.
Day Two: The Minnesota State Fair
I had never been to the Minnesota State Fair and was surprised to see that the Twin Cities has a dedicated space for the event complete with permanent buildings and attractions. Some of the state fairs I’ve been to before took place in fields of rocks. This is much better.
And when I think of state fairs, I think of food. Very naughty food that isn’t good for you. Food that would cause your heart to seize up if you ate it more than twice per year.
First up on my Die Young Food Tour were cheese curds. I made the poor decision of ordering the largest size available.
While I didn’t feel good (mentally or physically) after eating the curds, it didn’t stop me from eating this monster of a sundae a short time later. Go big or go home.
Later in the day, I met up with the Physician on FIRE. Here he is defending his territory with a massive corn dog:
Heart-busting food and corn-dog-wielding Minnesotans aside, the state fair had interesting artifacts to observe. I never thought I’d see sexually transmitted diseases in the form of artistic stitchery…
The Verdict: Am I Relocating to Minnesota?
If you’ve been carefully following along, you may think I’m ready to pack up my dinosaurs and move to Minnesota. Not so fast. There is one, really bad, severe problem with Minnesota. It is best told with a picture:
For comparison, this is where I’m at:
Yes, there are hamster tunnels everywhere in the Twin Cities. Only, they’re for humans, not rodents. Their purpose is to prevent you from freezing to death in the winter.
I don’t want to live north of The Wall in a Game of Thrones episode. I don’t want uncovered appendages to freeze and fall off after 3 minutes of outdoor exposure. I like my nose, ears, and fingers. Thank you very much.
So, I will not be moving to Minneapolis.
But wait! Before you crazy descendants of Vikings march to Colorado to pillage and plunder our weed to stoke more appetite for cheese curds and oversized corn dogs…
Staying in Colorado, For Now…
One of the great facets of FIRE is the array of choices it grants. One form is geographic liberation. At the moment, I’m tied down in Colorado with children in school for much of the year. However, in 10 years, the baby birds will leave the nest. So will mommy and daddy bird.
It would be fun to spend summers in a place other than Colorado. It’s too hot here, and it would be good to live near the water again.
I can picture Mrs. 1500 and me spending some summers in Minnesota. Or maybe Wisconsin. Same thing, right? We’ll be reverse snowbirds (sunbirds?), leaving our home in the summer to head north. When winter sets in (September in Minnesota), we’ll hightail it back to Colorado before the cold kills us. Deal?
See you soon Minnesota. Just not until June.
Thank you, Carl! Great write-up. And honestly, your words sum up how I feel about Minnesota, pretty much to the letter. If we moved away from here, we’d probably yearn for the cooler temps in May, June, and September too. July in Viking Country can be a bit brutal. Hot and humid. Still, we roll with it. Find some shade and enjoy a few beers on the patio.
In the winter? Game nights by the fireplace make for a Hygge-good time. Wherever you happen to live, cultivate those friendships – it’ll help you tolerate the worst that any climate might throw at you. Giant microwave corn dogs help too… Minneapolis may not be in the cards for some, but we’re staying put!
Update 10/20/22: Since the death of George Floyd and the protests that followed in 2020, Minneapolis has gone through a tremendous amount of change. The damage caused by riots cost billions, and only now are many rebuilt storefronts back in business. We spent a weekend downtown earlier this month and noticed a strong resurgence with many patrons out and about and restaurants filling tables.
Given justice for George Floyd and a reckoning with our law enforcement tactics, Minneapolis will be strong and vibrant for the foreseeable future.
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Thanks for having me today Coldbert! I hope you’re still alive up there. I’m picturing you frozen in a block of ice, kinda like Han Solo in carbonite.
Don’t worry; only about 5 months of winter left! But then, mosquitos the size of California Condors show up. Maybe winter is where it’s at after all?
Minimal Millionaire Mom says
Being from the Midwest, I could relate to most of what you said. So jealous of temps in the 50s right about now. The pic of the extra large corn dog and sexually transmitted needlepoint almost made me lose my sip of coffee. Thanks for the good laugh!
Angela @ Tread Lightly Retire Early says
Okay, I JUST learned about those skybridges last week on the Simple Minded Millennial podcast (Mastermind Within) and here they are again! Soooo cool….and yet. That means there is enough of the year where just being outside walking between buildings is unpleasant enough to merit the construction of these bridges. I think I’ll stick to the PNW, where there is rarely a day when it is too bad to go outside, if you have the right (waterproof) gear.
Hard to argue with the Pacific Northwest. It’s one of my favorite places in the world.
The summers in Minnesota are what we live for. Long weekends at the cabin, fishing/boating/swimming on one of our thousands of lakes, thousands of miles of bike trails and 67 state parks. Boating on an inland sea in Lake Superior, attending a Twins game in downtown Minneapolis, or a minor league game at the Bill Murray owned St Paul Saints. Our craft beer scene is amazing – with hundreds of great craft breweries in the area. We’ve got a million and one things to do in the summer.
The winter can be cold at times, but honestly it only makes you appreciate the other seasons more. Plus if you’re hearty you can get out and enjoy the cold weather by skiing cross country or downhill (granted, it’s no Colorado), playing ice hockey on your local pond, sledding on your favorite hill, or building an ice castle.
Plus if you have an aversion to the cold weather, you can stay indoors and attend one of our world class theater venues, shop at one of the world’s biggest indoor malls/amusement parks, visit one of our many fine museums or attend a variety of other entertainment or sporting events.
We’ve got it all here in MN, and the quality of life is unrivaled!
With all that said.. yeah, it’s pretty cold. Don’t forget to blink or your eyes may freeze.
You paint some pretty pictures Peter! I do love your neck of the woods. So much so that I return every year. See you in July?
Erik @ The Mastermind Within says
Minnesota is home. There are days when I think I’m crazy that I live here (like today), but it’s a great combination of so many factors that make it worth it 🙂
Diversity, environment, economy, medium cost of living, family and friends – all of this makes for a great living experience 🙂
Great post from a great guy!
Hope to see you in July! Surly and pizza at the brewery!
We might actually be in town for a change! Would be great to hang with everyone then.
I can get behind that!
Financial Pilgrimage says
The temperature here in St. Louis got down to 3 degrees today and I don’t even want to look to see what it was in Minneapolis! ?
Minneapolis is a beautiful city. Just not sure if I could handle the winters.
Great write up. You had me cracking up!
Done by Forty says
Every summer I go up to Minnesota for work (and I even meet some other money nerds from time to time). It sure is tempting to move there when it’s 115 back home in Arizona.
But then sometimes my boss has me come up in February, and I realize that I’m a marshmallow soft yuppie who can’t handle the cold.
Maybe snowbirding, someday.
Hey man – If you choose to migrate every summer, I’d strongly suggest checking out northern Michigan — Traverse City region (including Charlevoix). It’s always mild thanks to the moderating lake effect. Oh, and there’s a great lake too.
My wife is from MN, we go back every year either on Thanksgiving or Christmas. I refer to the trips as the annual, “why we don’t live up there trip for my wife.” I will take the temperate winters here in DC just fine, I can deal with 0 degrees Celsius, not 0 degree Fahrenheit. It is a nice city with a vibrant food and beer culture, but I will stick with it being a nice place to visit, not live.
All of the things mentioned here are the reasons I want to move back all of the time, even though I hate the winters as well. My blood has thinned after being on the East Coast (even New England, which isn’t that cold) for 17 years. Minnesota will always be home.
Shawn @ ThesmartFi says
It seems every locale has some sort of upside and downside. The south=humid, North=cold, NW=Rain. I want to know the perfect place to live.
This past weekend, my wife and I just made plans to visit friends in Minneapolis; in August LOL! I last visited MN a few decades ago; lovely place to visit (in the summer).
There should be no snow by then…
Love it here. Hoping to move further north in the state later in life as well. It’s all about gear. Having the correct gear means the weather doesn’t matter and that glistening snow while most others are staying inside means I even get a lot of the city to myself in the winter.
Matthew Sedgley says
Cost of living may not be as low as some places in the state
Great vibe and you just gotta try ice fishing
Miss it greatly