My boyfriend and I are considering moving to the Twin Cities.
posted by stoneandstar to Society & Culture (27 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
We both currently live in Chicago. I am a MN native (northern MN), while he is from the Chicago suburbs. We have both been to the Twin Cities for several times but don't have much of a feel for what it would be like in the day-to-day. We are considering moving to be closer to my family (I have a large-ish family and a lot of babies are being born and such, plus we would like to have our own babies in the next 3-5 years, and I would prefer to be closer to my family then). We are also interested in the Twin Cities because unemployment seems low, it is affordable, it seems like a clean and vibrant area, and we have never really felt perfectly at home in Chicago.
However, we have our hesitations, mostly because we are big snobs. We just discussed this option and these are our interests/concerns:
Food. We are pretty obsessed with food. Is there a good variety of food in the Twin Cities? Is it high quality? Is there a good mix of tasty neighborhood places and high-end restaurants worth the buck? We recently went on a trip to NYC which frankly blew Chicago out of the water in terms of food and excitement, but there's still a lot of good food in Chicago. Are we going to get to the Twin Cities and find that everything tastes strangely bland and gluey? (We are not bad cooks and can make a lot of our favorites at home, so not a total dealbreaker.) One thing we are sick of in Chicago is 4.5-5 star restaurants that cost too much and don't deliver, so I'll be just fine with a lack of pretentious restaurants with "swank" decor and overpriced menus. Good food and good cafes are my main concern. Good variety. Good donuts. (I will miss a good espresso as well.)
Speaking of, things like good bookstores, cute public places to work outside of the home or read and sip/nosh... also things I love and value.
Culture. I enjoy the multitude of museums and concerts in Chicago, but truth be told, we are not going out to the museum once a month, or even once a year. I am fine with doing these kinds of activities "on vacation" and spending most of my time at home curled up with a good book. My boyfriend, on the other hand, is a bit of a cultural adventurer, and I think he will miss being near great art and architecture. We are not sure though where we fall on this.
Also, I know the Twin Cities have a ton of theater, but I am super picky and bored with bad and "vampy" theater that ignores the source material in favor of staging and props, &c. I realize you can't escape this kind of thing anywhere, but will there be good theater companies in the Twin Cities to balance it out?
Sports and outdoors. I know the Twin Cities are beloved for this, and it's not something we're super into, but we would like to be. I am currently a runner and my boyfriend is into sports, and we are both interested in doing more outdoor sports-- hiking, camping, boating-- so we think this is pretty much a given (especially compared to Chicago which is a little sad this way).
Higher education and jobs. Right now, there's a lot on the table for us. We are both figuring out our careers and life paths. Boyfriend is considering law school or getting a PhD in a humanities/social sciences field. I am considering going back to school for computer science. I have really no feel for how challenging the University of Minnesota is, and if we will feel at home academically there (I fear not-- it is much bigger than the private schools we have both liked and also the programs feel much more mediocre). On the other hand, we have been little fish in the big pond for so long, maybe it will be a relief to be big fish again. I don't think we'll have trouble finding careers in law or technology (?), but I am currently an editor-- how hard will it be to find editing jobs there? Jobs with nonprofits? Typical humanities-grad jobs?
Schools / kiddie stuff. Is it a good place to have kids? Good schools? A lot of activities for children? My boyfriend's dream is to have kids in NYC (which is not going to happen), but we would love to take our children out a lot and have them experience a city and all of that good stuff.
To summarize: I like living "small," spending a lot of time with myself, exploring used bookstores and antique shops and tending my garden (metaphorically). I like unique peculiar things (like thrift shops in small towns), I like feeling close to my "roots" (working class, Midwestern). My boyfriend likes living "big": big cities, excitement, doing things and being places that other people will have heard of, and being on the cutting edge. We both like quality, we both like the idea of being able to afford a car and eventually a house. Would the Twin Cities be a good compromise, or are we tending too small?
OKAY, now that we sound thoroughly hateable, I'd love to hear from people who have lived in the Twin Cities recently, especially if you have moved there from a bigger city or consider yourself a bit of a snob. (If it helps not to judge, I was born in a town of <1000 people, and have a lot of "issues" when it comes to deciding where I belong.)