Austin to Minneapolis move?
August 19, 2011 8:26 AM   Subscribe

Thinking of moving from Austin to Minneapolis for a job. What do I need to know and what should I look at in my one free day there to look around?

The office is south-west of the city. I understand the weather issues. I am looking to visit some places I am likely to spend time in and also for neighborhood suggestions.

Things I do in Austin: Food Carts, Craft Coffee, Club Dancing, Game Stores (high-nerd), Craft Beer, BJJ, Adventure Eating.

Areas I loved living in: South Austin, Arboretum, West Austin.

I am super liberal and GBLT. Help?
posted by jopreacher to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Minneapolis is often referred to as Austin North, so I think you'll fit right in. I would take a nice walk around lake Calhoun and stop at nearby Punch Pizza, which regularly makes the top 10 in Best Pizza in the World lists.
posted by sanka at 8:39 AM on August 19, 2011

Do you (intend to) have a car when you live here? To my carless mind, that's a big influence on where you can live.

If you're here on the weekend, I'd suggest waking around a lake other than Calhoun, as it tends to get rather crowded. You may want to avoid the area around Lake and Hennepin like the plague. There's a decent bookshop or two, but it really reminds me of being in a shopping mall.

For what it's worth, a friend and I used to joke that there were no straight people in Minneapolis. I think though that's because there's some sort of queer bubble that you can choose to be in or not. (That friend's no longer around and I no longer find myself thinking there are no straight people here, probably because I no longer find myself places where there are no straight people.)

I'll probably shut up after this, as I tend to be really cynical and a bit bitter when it comes to Minneapolis. (Unnecessarily so, I think, but I find it hard to be enthused about the city.)
posted by hoyland at 8:53 AM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

More info: My free day is Tuesday. I will have a car both while visiting and living there. Thanks so far!
posted by jopreacher at 8:57 AM on August 19, 2011

I lived in Minneapolis for 7 years. Minneapolis always struck me as a city desperately seeking attention as a great place to live (it was). But it had a massive inferiority complex that was compensated for by delusions of grandeur. St. Paul always struck me as more grounded place that wasn't looking for affirmation from the east and west coasts. So although I lived in Minneapolis, I preferred St. Paul. So don't ignore the twin!
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 9:03 AM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Game nerd: check out Tower Games at 48th and Nicollet.

Coffee nerd: Angry Catfish and Blue Ox Coffee Company are two places I can think of off the top of my head that have coffee brewed pretty much any (non-traditional-drip) way you can think of.

Beer Nerd: next to the Angry Catfish is Buster's on 28th where you can find a pretty extensive tap list. Surly is a local brewer that makes some delicious beers, so try them out if you see them on tap somewhere. Cafe 28 always has Surly brews on tap and it's near Lake Harriet if you need a walk after. The Acadia Cafe in Cedar-Riverside and the Happy Gnome in St. Paul also have extensive beer lists.

Minneapolis is a pretty awesome city.
posted by radioaction at 9:27 AM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Bloomington. Your office is in Bloomington, isn't it?

If so, and you're looking at living in a suburb rather than the city, mail me and I can give you a rundown of the surrounding areas.

Otherwise, I got nothin'. You're getting plenty of othr advice here already - if nothing more turns up, I'll try to get my hipster siblings (recently moved from MSP to Portland, OR) to make some suggestions.
posted by dust.wind.dude at 9:39 AM on August 19, 2011

Twin Cities does have sprawl and traffic issues, like most places in the U.S. You'll want to consider how much of a commute you're willing to deal with. Probably the south side of Minneapolis or the inner-ring suburbs (Richfield, Edina, St Louis Park) are your best bets. A significant number of people do now live in downtown Minneapolis, too. Anywhere in that broad area should give you a manageable (if only occasionally frustrating) commute, possibly made better by being a reverse commute where you'll drive past people who are stalled going in the other direction. Should also put you fairly close to the non-work amenities you like. Note that if it's not rush hour, it's generally not problematic to get around the Cities in general--assuming you have a car.

You'll have to decide for yourself how various locations match how much you're willing to spend. In some 'trendy' areas in south Minneapolis, and certainly downtown, you'll want to consider parking issues, that's another thing you'll want to measure against your personal comfort levels.

My tendency would be not to consider south of the river, Eden Prairie or points west (they might turn out okay, but might be less of a good "cultural" fit). I'm trusting you to avoid subdivisions full of starter castles.

Northeast Minneapolis, Roseville, St Paul, some St Paul suburbs are nice, but would mean longer commutes.
posted by gimonca at 10:13 AM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Looks like the office is in Eden Prairie.
posted by jopreacher at 10:36 AM on August 19, 2011

I am an Austin native and I now live in St. Paul, moved here for work as well. Provided that you have a real good handle on the weather issue, I'd do it in a heartbeat. I think that MSP has everything that Austin has with less traffic problems (Austin has horrible traffic for a city its size, imo) and prettier scenery-everything here is green and growing like mad as Austin wilts and turns brown. Getting over the winter took me a few years and I still complain all winter long, but the city itself is fun, clean, lots to do, vibrant GBLT community from what I can see, although I am straight and married so my opinion on this is second hand from coworkers.

With your one day here--I'd spend time in the neighborhood you think you'd want to live in, maybe check out a few parks along the rivers and drive around a lot-it's a big metro area and there isn't just the one awesome neighborhood. Working in Eden Prairie, you could easily live in the St. Louis Park or near the lakes maybe where there are many rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods. If you like the Arboretum, this would be kinda similar, I think. Actually, there are a few places you could live easily-working in the burbs means you will be going against traffic if you live in the city. Politically, I think you will be fine. It's like Austin---there are definitely the conservatives here but generally, I think people live and let live in the Twin Cities.
posted by supercapitalist at 11:09 AM on August 19, 2011

Food carts (a relatively new phenomenon to the MSP, though it will be a cold day in hell before Eden Prairie has food carts)

More craft coffee places

Adventure eating abounds:
Eat Street
Midtown Global Market
Hmong market
Hmong village
South Minneapolis adventure
Asian food on University Ave
African adventure dining

I did the Minneapolis-Minnetonka commute for a couple years and recommend living south of downtown Minneapolis and west of Hennepin - that way you can take the little residential streets out to the highway of your choosing (Hwy 7 is a good westward alternative to 394 and 62). Living by the lakes is highly recommended, at least until you want your own house or something. If you want quieter, non-Uptown living, you can head further south in Minneapolis - the neighborhoods of Linden Hills, Fulton, Kingfield, Armatage, etc. have nice restaurants, easy access to lakes/creeks, and other things to see and do. Minneapolis is mega liberal - in general, the further you get from Minneapolis the more conservative it gets.

If you're interested in bike commuting, there's a sweet bike trail that goes from Minneapolis through St Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka, Eden Prairie, and beyond. It's flat, has minimal traffic crossings, and is generally awesome (though watch out for deer at dusk).

My winter survival strategy is cross-country skiing - you can ski on the lakes! If you get yourself a winter outdoor activity it makes the winters fun. I actually got sad when the snow melted in April (yes, April - it was an epic winter).
posted by Maarika at 2:12 PM on August 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

I just moved here this summer, and so far I find it to be exactly as advertised, only better. The only thing I have to add to this list is that, if you like nature, take a few minutes to find out just how close it is to hand. Visit (or at least drive around) one of the lakes, walk on a greenway, etc. I knew all that was here intellectually, but I've been knocked speechless several times at the sheer natural beauty that's within a ten minute drive of me. I have a tan for the first time in eight years because of the accessibility.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 2:34 PM on August 19, 2011

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