Moving from San Francisco to Minnesota?
April 28, 2021 5:22 AM   Subscribe

Possibly relocating from the cradle of tech urban craziness to the semi-urban Midwest. Feeling a lot of inexplicable angst. Looking for advice!

Job offer is on the table— I applied impulsively in the middle of COVID depression and am now thinking it through more soberly. I would either be living in Rochester, MN or the Twin Cities and commuting 1-2x times a week to Rochester. (Awkward but this is how it would have to work out for awhile. I currently also have a terrible commute in the Bay Area when not in COVID.) It’s kind of a unique opportunity to work on something I’ve been interested in for awhile. I lived in Chicago for about 10 years before getting a tech job in Silicon Valley. My husband loves Chicago (me not so much), I love San Francisco (him not so much). We’ve both been able to make do, though.

We’ve been out here for about 5 years. He works in construction / real estate and doesn’t really like it. He’s ready for a change. I’ve been thinking the same for the last year or two, mostly because I can’t see myself ever settling down here— housing is so expensive, school / childcare is so competitive and expensive, etc. I was raised in “the country” and it’s really hard for me to imagine giving my kids the “rat race” version of childhood. I grew up near MN and most of my family still lives there. I miss them a lot, but there are also a lot of... issues... I’m afraid would overwhelm me if I were geographically closer.

We are probably going to try to have a kid within the next couple years, so moving somewhere more sedate seems kind of appealing. But then I wonder if I’m just condemning my kid to the super boring childhood I had. Plus I worry (maybe bizarrely) that if we can’t conceive, I’ve made a very big trade off that will fall flat.

We don’t have a lot of friends out here— I’ve had a hard time befriending people in my industry and spend most of my time (non COVID) working and commuting. But I do have a strong sense of things being more “cutting edge” out here, which I initially found alienating but now have gotten used to. Furthermore, career opportunities & flexibility are way better in SF— I’d be relocating to a pretty small office and would probably have to pick up and relocate again if things didn’t work out.

In other words, my concerns are:
* Lack of career opportunities outside of my immediate role
* Reduced compensation (not sure how this will shake out, but I will definitely take a COL cut)
* Cold
* Boring?
* Less cutting edge culture

The pros are:
* Cheaper, could buy a house!
* Maybe better for having kids (maybe not)
* Closer to my family of origin, which mostly seems like a huge plus for having-kids reasons

It seems like the cons outweigh the pros, but it’s hard to weight things like “close to family.” I’m about 50/50 on feeling either rejuvenated or overwhelmed when I visit currently. (Haven’t in about a year due to COVID.) Also, it’s so expensive and frustrating and undignified to live in SF, IMO— but maybe in another few years, I would be more senior and be OK with the expensive housing, etc.

Anyway, if you’ve made a move like this—or stuck around instead— I’d be interested to hear your tale. I know different strokes and all that but I’m worried there’s a side to this I’m missing. I’m pretty repelled by the idea of living in Rochester, but if I do end up being based in the Twin Cities that sounds kinda fun. I think the 2x a week commute could be killer, though. Not sure there are options for commuting besides driving. And I hate winter driving...
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (31 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I lived in Minnesota for a while. I don't know what you like and what your preferences are, so it's hard to say if this is right for you. But personally, there's not much in Rochester that would make me want to live there. Living in the Twin Cities is better - but while housing may be cheaper than SF and some other coastal cities, it's a tight and competitive market. And the prospect of a very long commute with no real transit options is a pretty solid red flag - especially if you hate driving in the winter (which is half of the year).
posted by entropone at 5:46 AM on April 28

Rochester is a pretty boring small city, more boring than your average small city. I can’t recommend living there.

Minneapolis is great. Certainly not as big or diverse as the Bay Area but I doubt you’d be bored there. Pretty great music/theater, lots of great restaurants, and great outdoor spaces. If I were making this decision it would really rest on being open to commuting to Rochester. One day a week seems doable and two too much.

You don’t say what you do but if it’s in Rochester I imagine it is maybe healthcare related. If that is the case there are a tons of healthcare-related jobs in Minneapolis. Med tech (huge there), hospitals/clinics, and health insurance are all big employers in the Twin Cities.
posted by scantee at 6:09 AM on April 28 [6 favorites]

Can you look for a job in the Twin Cities? Or somewhere else more palatable? I feel like this particular opportunity doesn’t sound quite right for you, but also that you may well be a lot happier leaving SF. My husband and I moved from Pittsburgh to the Bay Area to Seattle and back to I kind of get it. Both the Bay Area and Seattle were terrible for us meeting people, not to mention the crushing costs. Our 2500 sq ft house here costs less than our terrible 800 sq ft apartment in Mountain View. We had a great friend base in Pittsburgh, which is what ultimately brought us back here.

I went to college in SE MN. My experience of Rochester is twenty years past, but at the time it seemed like a place with pretty much nothing going on, and I couldn’t tolerate that commute. But I’m also intolerant of long commutes.
posted by another zebra at 6:12 AM on April 28 [3 favorites]

I can't speak to living in either city (I live a couple hours away from both locations), but there are a ton of health care workers for Mayo that live in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and commute via coach bus to Rochester and vice versa. I would ask your possible future employer about the logistics of that.
posted by HortonHearsWhat? at 6:24 AM on April 28 [5 favorites]

I live in the Bay Area but really like the Twin Cities. I spent time in Northeast Minneapolis not too long ago, which is a great hilly neighborhood with multiple beautiful parks with views, lots of art studios, cute tiny 1920s houses, etc. I've heard good things about St. Paul, which might be closer for your commute. I was there in the summer when the weather happened to be gorgeous, so that probably skewed my opinion, but the quality of life seemed better to me there.
posted by pinochiette at 6:32 AM on April 28 [1 favorite]

There are a lot of people on Metafilter from the Twin Cities, so you'll get a lot of good answers about that. I wan to talk a little about Rochester, though, because it's a pretty unique place. The central fact of nearly every small or medium-sized town in the Midwest is a half-century history of economic decline, anxiety about further decline, and the desire among residents to escape the cycle. You can see this in some of your concerns (pro and con) in your question: Are there other jobs? Houses are cheap! This is not true of Rochester. Because of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester's economic base is solid, and there's plenty of money to go around to community stuff. And since there are so many people who grew up elsewhere (both permanent moves like yourself but also visitors, lots of visitors), it's not as provincial as most Midwestern towns. It's almost like a college town, without the college. That, as others have noted, means that there's not much in terms of culture or nightlife, but that's true of nearly all towns that size. The big difference is that Rochester doesn't show as many visual signs of depression as other cities.

In terms of your future kid's boring childhood, that's hard to answer, but like, most kids' childhoods are pretty boring. There aren't many seven-year-olds going clubbing in Lower Manhattan. As someone who grew up in a Rochester-sized city before moving to a large city as an adult, the big advantage that cities offer isn't more restaurants or museums or anything like that. There are plenty of restaurants, some quite good, in Rochester; there are several cultural institutions, and you're within a long weekend of quite a few others. The big advantage is growing up without that sense of pervasive dread about the future that comes with growing up in a depressed little town where everyone who can moves away as soon as they graduate high school. And at least in that respect, Rochester doesn't have that problem. It's my contention that boring childhoods are more the result of boring parents than boring locations. If you're a hermit living in the Twin Cities (or San Francisco for that matter), your kid's life will be more boring than if you're an outgoing, enthusiastic participant in the social and cultural life of a small town.

All that being said, if it were me, I'd move to the Twin Cities, because I really like the Twin Cities, and it's easy to get to Rochester from there. But don't count Rochester out. It's not a bad little place.
posted by kevinbelt at 6:33 AM on April 28 [20 favorites]

I wouldn't want to commute from the southern suburbs of MSP to Rochester in the winter.

The terrain is not ideal. There are both hilly areas that will be icy, and flat open farmland that will get drifted over when the wind blows. US-52 is a better road than it used to be, but it will probably be challenging.

Rochester is in the Driftless Area and really close to the Mississippi River, so if you are outdoorsy at all, you will be able to find something to do within a short drive.

The other major employer in town besides Mayo is IBM, so it's not like there's no tech there. It just doesn't suffuse the whole area like it does in the bay area.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 6:46 AM on April 28 [1 favorite]

I grew up in SF, attended college and lived in the twin cities for a while and have been in NY for over a decade. Nthing everyone elses comments that you probably really dont want to live in rochester.

If you found housing in the southern part of the twin cities the commute would be bad but not outrageous - i think if you dont have to do it more than 2x a week its not that bad (if it was 3 hrs round trip thats still only a little over an hour per work day of RT commuting time which is a lot for some people but objectively not the worst).

The twin cities have a lot going on - the job market is strong - its a big regional hub with an educated workforce and low-ish cost of living, honestly the cold keeps enough people away to make it really great (although its a major reason we didnt stay, my partner was not raised with winter).

Im going to come in to say as a NYer that the twin cities arent boring and you wont doom your kids to a bland midwestern life (unless you choose that path there) from my coastal perspective the great thing about TC culture is that it is accessible - sure there are 1000s of restaurants and art openings everywhere but honestly, there are only 7 days in a week and 24 hours in each of those days and we just dont have leftover time to get too almost any of it (ignoring the intense competiton for limited reservations/tickets etc). my impression from my time there, regular visits back and having a lot of folks still there is that if you hear about something cool happening in minneapolis or st paul, you can actually show up and enjoy it, instead of having had to pre-order tickets six months before when it was a big secret. Also, and it kills me to say this, but SF is not cutting edge anything anymore unless that thing is gentrification - i know more people scrapping it together selling zines and home made pickles in Minneapolis today than SF (without the power of a trust fund even), by like a lot.

thats my $.02
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 6:49 AM on April 28 [5 favorites]

Other things to look forward to about the twin cities:

- The roads here are crack free, cleaned of snow quickly, and incredibly well designed. I've NEVER been stuck in traffic here, including rush hours. The pure infrastructure of the twin cities is amazing. The highways, sometimes, connect directly to parking structures, so you can get from suburbs to downtown without any streetlights. Streets are wide and parking is ample (outside of some neighborhoods).
- There's very little visible homelessness.
- Theres hundreds of delicious restaurants of all sorts of varieties, with few lines or wait times. Employees are usually professional and make solid money.
- Minneapolis has lots of young people, compared to most other midwest cities. It attracts all the young people from the midwest pretty solidly, and has economically done well.
- All those protests and riots and stuff were pretty isolated so some areas, and while people like to worry about them, in general, minneapolis is very safe and much safer than other big cities. I know people that don't lock their doors.
- There's beautiful nature trails, dog parks, and greenery everywhere. The summer is perfect weather all summer, and it lasts well from spring into fall. My favorite dog park is a mile long hike through the woods, down to the Mississippi river, where the dogs like to swim and splash around on crystal clear beaches.
- The winter is cold, but you get used to it. There's lots to do indoors! Having seasons is kind of nice. They clear roads really well compared to other cold weather cities, so bad weather driving is rarely an issue.
- There's tons of cheap grocery stores and available food. Even in walkable areas, usually there are 3-4 grocery stores within 10 minutes, with VERY affordable groceries. ALDI has moved in and is everywhere and it's so satisfying to save so much money.
- There's this cool skyways system downtown that lets you walk through the tunnels above roads if you want to. Not sure how useful that will be to you, but it's pretty neat.
- It's pretty left-leaning, which is kind of nice.
- Every city thinks their housing is unavailable, but Minneapolis isn't hit quite as hard as other big cities. There's TONS of available apartments and condos, so it's no so much a housing shortage as much as competition between landlords/homeowners. I think you'll be very happy about the prices in Minneapolis compared to anywhere in California.
- The mall of america is pretty neat. I mean, I like it.
- christmas is absolutely beautiful and people really go all out. A neighbor decorated a 200' tall and 100' wide tree and standing under it looks like there's a new set of stars in the sky.

So yeah, I mean, from my perspective, I'm a big fan of the twin cities. It seems like it's all the best things about big cities, but without most of the annoyances (housing, groceries, traffic). And, yes, it's cold a few months of the year. I don't know much about rochester.

Hope this helps with the decision!
posted by bbqturtle at 7:06 AM on April 28 [4 favorites]

I live and work in Rochester. We've been here for 9 years. It's a good place to raise a family, the schools are decent. We will drive up to the twin cities every month or so. In the summer we'll spend a couple long weekends there for an easy vacation. With work and school I'm not sure living there we'd take advantage a great deal more. It's likely we fall into the boring parents category though. I've lived in Chicago and Boston so i don't feel like I've missed out on anything. I don't know if we'll stay here once the kids are out of the house, but I'm happy we're here now. My girls are sitting behind me doing their distance learning, so I asked them in they thought Rochester was boring. They replied:

"It's got plenty of excitement. No murders. No criminals on the loose. Things are happy here. I like that."

They're both 10 and I have no idea why they'd be preoccupied with crime this morning, but I think the general sentiment is accurate.

If your future employer is the same as mine that 2x a week in Rochester might be flexible. We've switched to permanent full-time telework. If your position doesn't require direct contact with patients / customers you might ask about that. When I started I commuted 2-3 times a week from Northfield ( about half way between Rochester and the Twin Cities. After a year I'd had way more than enough of Route 52.

Feel free to memail me if you have specific Rochester questions.
posted by roue at 7:21 AM on April 28 [4 favorites]

I would point out this sentence of yours: most of my family still lives there. I miss them a lot, but there are also a lot of... issues... I’m afraid would overwhelm me

Sorry, but I can pretty much guarantee they will be all over you if you have kids and live nearby (*especially* if there are, as you say, issues there), so start to develop coping strategies now.
posted by aramaic at 7:25 AM on April 28 [1 favorite]

My brother's wife grew up there.

Roch is kind of out in farm country -- but it has a world-class hospital and IBM and other interesting folks, so it's not totally rural. There are good German beers down there, and lovely small towns to visit, a little airport -- you know, Stuff.

That said, do come up to the Twin Cities periodically for excitement & food & shopping & travel.

Could you do a reverse commute out of the southern suburbs to Rochester, and have the best of both worlds?
posted by wenestvedt at 7:37 AM on April 28

I grew up half an hour south of the Twin Cities and at the time it was much more rural than it is now, and yeah, it was kinda boring.

I am raising my kids in the city of Minneapolis proper (south Minneapolis, to be exact) and I think it is a FANTASTIC place to raise kids. We are never lacking in things to do, never (both kids and adults). There's always tons of other children around, and a great atmosphere of neighborly community (this will vary greatly block to block but it definitely exists). The cost of living is very manageable. It's just wonderful.

There's lots of people here who do the Rochester commute a few times a week and no one loves it but it's doable, it's a straight shot with very little congestion or traffic. Maybe look into carpooling? I definitely would if it were me but I really hate driving.
posted by anderjen at 8:06 AM on April 28

I do have a strong sense of things being more “cutting edge” out here, which I initially found alienating but now have gotten used to.

I lived in SF for almost a decade until earlier this year. After a complicated divorce, I was left with a mortgage that was at the upper end of what I care to pay and a market that had long since passed by my ability to get into anything new without renting. After being a homeowner in SF for so long, the thought of being a renter in SF sent chills down my spine. And so, with much trepidation, I jumped at the opportunity to move out of the country with my work and decided to sell my much-loved little SF house.

I thought I would genuinely struggle to anywhere that didn't have the SF vibe that you mentioned above, but, you know what? I don't really notice a difference... and if I do, it's maybe a good difference? I was talking about this with a friend shortly after moving, and his response (especially given your line of work) was golden: you know the internet goes everywhere, right?

He was half joking, half serious. But I get it. The notion that the bleeding edge of culture is geographic is something that doesn't really exist in the Internet Universe. If you want to find that edge, you can find it wherever you live. And when you need to look for it a little bit, it (maybe) feels more cutting edge than it does in SF, where it's so omnipresent that people are jaded about it.

I've only been here for a couple of months. Because of my attempts to hunt down the kind of cutting edge that I like, even in a pandemic, I already have more acquaintances who I can imagine becoming good friends who aren't my neighbors and/or people I already knew than I did after years in SF.

This is all to be taken with a grain of salt, the size of which depends on your interest in socializing with strangers, COVID comfort levels, etc. etc., but my 2021 has reminded me that I was not serving my values very well by imagining SF to be my perfect home in spite of details that I recognized at the place's failings. I miss my house so much. I miss my neighbors so much. I miss Rainbow Grocery so much. I'll miss the Sierras, and Russian River, and Big Sur forever. And I am still glad I made this hop.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 8:12 AM on April 28 [1 favorite]

Re: the Rochester airport. It's one of the more interesting people-watching airports in the country. "Little" is accurate; there isn't much to it, except for the private planes. It has customs specifically for the private planes. "The Saudis."
posted by kevinbelt at 8:13 AM on April 28 [2 favorites]

I work in tech and live in Minneapolis; we moved here from Seattle three years ago to raise a family close to my wife's family. I am from Columbus, OH, and I have also lived in St. Louis.

We don't love living here (all opinions circa 2018-19, we haven't experienced the city in a real way since the pandemic began). It's harder to have a real big city experience in Minneapolis: the area of density is quite small and the city quickly degrades into single family housing. The amenities in the dense areas are slim; downtown really shuts down after the commuters go home. We felt suffocated here without a car, and people thought we were strange to even try to live without one.

People also think we're strange to raise a child without buying a single family home and strange to be indifferent about the State Fair. Strange not to be afraid of the black parts of the city, or "crime" or "the right schools". There's a white monoculture here in a way that hasn't been true in other cities. There are all these menacing guys driving around in blacked out, jacked up trucks even downtown; there's a limited walking culture here and pre-pandemic I had a hard time making the two mile round trip to work without putting my life in danger crossing the street--people drive like maniacs like they do in Chicago or pick-your-large-East-Coast-city but there is not a quorum of people walking with you here to protect you in the herd. I've been harassed about wearing a BLM pin like five times as often as I was in Seattle. The food is ok and the craft beer scene is a disappointment; Columbus does both about as well at a lower cost. The police are obviously a menace.

On much of the West Coast, even in the smaller places, there is a diversity of lifestyle and opinion that doesn't really exist here; Minneapolis is massively segregated not just racially but in mindset. We weren't prepared to culturally become white Minnesotans in the way that is expected of us, and the friends that we've been able to make are also generally not locals. We don't even really mind the weather, which is objectively tough! But we look forward to moving, perhaps back west in the US, or abroad, where at least being culturally out of step will have an easy, satisfying explanation for everyone, instead of giving everyone we meet an inexplicable faint whiff of Doing It Wrong.
posted by Kwine at 8:32 AM on April 28 [11 favorites]

I don't know much about the places in play (last time I lived in SF was before you were born and have never lived in MN) but just wanted to mention if you live close enough to your family to have much more frequent than yearly visits it won't be so overwhelming. When you just visit once a year too much gets packed into those trips and they can be really exhausting.
posted by mareli at 8:38 AM on April 28 [2 favorites]

1. Race and assumed whiteness: I don't hear anything about race from the OP or any commenters. Putting it out there that if you aren't white, MN vs SF might have a very very different calculus. If you are used to pan-asian cultural influence just being "in the air", that isn't true here.

2. As a software / tech person in MN, my opportunities would 10-50x better in the bay. Here: few startups, no money, and MN tech is biotech. Pay and conditions are bad at Medtronic, Target, Best Buy, and other tech employers, who resent / anti-hire bay area FAANG experience. This isn't Seattle or Chicago or even Pittsburgh, it's more like... Cleveland.

3. Seconding south suburbs (Hastings? Bloomington? Eagan?) as options for "in-between" that would make the commute easier. Rochester goes to bed at 8pm. Maybe Northfield, if you want a small college town vibe.
posted by gregglind at 8:43 AM on April 28

So I can speak to the family aspect of things. I grew up outside of Chicago and then moved 1000 miles away when I couldn't take it anymore, flying back to visit every 3-4 months because the guilt was real. Moved around a fair bit more, went back to 1000 miles away, dad had a stroke. Started thinking that it would be nice to be closer to family so we moved to Ohio which is about 5 hours from my mom (was able to be back while my dad was dying a few years ago) so I'm able to go visit my mom on weekends, and if something urgent came up I could get there quickly. I strongly recommend the "close to family but not TOO close" distance. 3-ish hours would be perfect; 5 is a bit of a haul after working all day but I can do it, but still don't get back to see her more often than every 3-4 months. If you can make this happen and give your family about a 3 hour+ buffer, I think you'll be glad you did it. It's very nice to be able to drive for a weekend to see family, and then return to your normal life.

And yeah, my Ohio city is way more boring than my old city, and the people are less my scene, but we were also able to buy a condo for cash which has at least doubled in value since we bought it 4 years ago. Cheaper housing is amazing.; not renting is amazing; can highly recommend the low cost of living life. And you can always go back to San Francisco if things don't work out!
posted by jabes at 9:08 AM on April 28 [1 favorite]

You may want to read up on the concept of "Minnesota nice."

As a CA transplant in MN who'd lived in several other places too, my experience of it was "calm friendliness, but detached, and you may struggle to break into locals' social circles; even if they think you're also a Minnesotan, expect to be kept at arm's length." I actually found it much preferable to various other regional-reactions-to-transplants I've experienced, but then, I think I might also enjoy the NYC thing of pretending passers-by don't exist.

Others have described "Minnesota nice" as passive-aggression, but for my money, that always struck me as harsh.

Memail me if you like!
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 9:53 AM on April 28 [2 favorites]

A quick note about the Twin Cities' housing market. I mean, I'm SURE it's better than San Francisco's, both in terms of affordability and availability! That said, I'm currently house hunting, and the market is NUTS. My mortgage broker has been in the business for 10+ years and says he's never seen anything like this. My realtor agrees and suggests that I pause my search until 2022. There is very little inventory; houses stay on the market for a matter of days, if not hours; and everything seems to be selling for WAY over asking. Obviously it makes a difference where you're looking (city vs. suburb, house vs. condo), your price point, and so forth, but just something to keep in mind.
posted by leftover_scrabble_rack at 10:36 AM on April 28

I have lived in the bay area and NYC and the Twin Cities are overpriced and boring.

Don't kick your career down a step because of your significant other or because you have vague plans to have a kid. You will be able to move when you're actually ready.

Women do this all the time and regret it very, very commonly. It's not a "bizarre" concern that you don't want to give up your current life and career for the vague possibility -- which might not come to fruition because of issues with this guy or for some other reasons -- that you might want somewhere more sedate to live in a few years.

Stick up for yourself. Your career is good, you're in a great location for it, you get stressed by being home, you hate winter driving, Rochester is a snorefest and you're signing up for a permanent career downgrade. Don't do it.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 10:57 AM on April 28 [6 favorites]

we were also able to buy a condo for cash which has at least doubled in value since we bought it 4 years ago

Right...the markets are doubling in price in 4 years. The idea that the midwest is cheap is not really the case anymore. That nice house everyone is telling OP to go for is no longer all that good a deal considering the different career prospects in the different locations.

I'm happy for people who bought in before now but the US is quickly approaching a housing crisis, and at least the bay area has some mechanisms for handling it and actually has the salaries to match the housing.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 11:00 AM on April 28 [3 favorites]

Anyway, OP, sorry for the multicomment, but you should consider NYC. Decent tech, exciting, lots of leafy neighborhoods that have a sedate/pro-kid feel, and overall a better-balanced city than SF. I like the bay area but find NYC to be infinitely more livable on a low six figure salary. Like, if you're willing to commute an hour, you can do so on a subway or on Metro North and you can live in a lovely dense suburb.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 11:02 AM on April 28

I really feel like this isn't the right opportunity for you, but that you should continue to look. Perhaps identify some places you and your partner would both like to live in, that would offer good career opportunities for each of you.
posted by plonkee at 11:28 AM on April 28 [1 favorite]

What a variety of responses! You should which ones make you want to argue with that commenter, and take stock of what that says about what's deep inside your heart.

We live in south Minneapolis and I commuted to Northfield daily for four years (only 42 miles.) Reverse commutes are mostly traffic free and it's really weather and road construction that make them annoying. There are better options of shuttles to Rochester than to Northfield, but if that then depends on the bus in Rochester, that may be annoying. I can't say though, I've never had to depend on their bus service.

Rochester feels like a suburb without a city to me. So you get all the strip malls and chains, but few of the Thai restaurants and taquerias. The arts scene exists in a moneyed middle aged way, not in a zines and experimental theater way. You aren't that far from the driftless region, a part of southeast MN that wasn't smashed by glaciers, and it's one of the prettiest part of the state as far as geography goes.

Minneapolis is a great city and I feel like I should hold a vaccinated meetup with all those above who haven't found their community here. Some of that may also be that I'm a social connector and just know a lot of people.

Only you can get a sense of what it means to be near family. Dr. Advicepig's parents moved to a suburb 25 minutes away and I feared they would always be in our business, and it hasn't turned out that way. Of course, everyone's family dynamics differ, but 25 minutes feels like a long way away in the Twin Cities.
posted by advicepig at 11:40 AM on April 28 [1 favorite]

The fact you didn't like Chicago does not bode well for you liking the Twin Cities. I've lived in both cities for extended periods of time and all of your concerns about moving here to Minneapolis would be significantly improved in Chicago--more cosmopolitan, more cultural opportunities, greater economic size/career opportunities. Not to mention better public transport and weather. If your problems with Chicago mirror your concerns about Minnesota, then it's probably a mistake to make the move.

One piece of advice is whatever decision you make, make it final and don't look back. If you keep second guessing your decision you'll never be satisfied with MN or happy in your new home.
posted by limagringo at 12:06 PM on April 28 [3 favorites]

leftover_scrabble_rack: I'm currently house hunting, and the market is NUTS.

My friend, everywhere is NUTS. Even suburban Rhode island is NUTS: a neighbor's maybe-1000 sq.ft. Cape just sold for $495k. A 2-bedroom house four doors up the block -- that I think floods occasionally -- sold in under a week.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:27 PM on April 28 [3 favorites]

Can the OP visit for a few days and see what they think of MPLS, and Rochester?

I have a hunch that remote work is about to adjust its scale and now mean "damn near anywhere" instead of "place you could commute from don't really want to" -- and you may not really being artificially limiting your professional opportunities by moving to MN. Heck, you might not even define yourself by your work!

But what do I know? I live in Rhode Island (so that we are near my wife's family), and work in IT in higher ed (so I get lots of time off and sweet tuition benefits for my kids), when I could have stayed working in Boston for the past 30 years.

That is, we got married early and our long term goals weren't the same as many of my peers (who stayed in NYC or Boston -- or the Twin Cities, where I grew up): we found a house quickly, had kids pretty quickly, and settled down. And living in a suburban or semi-rural area with access to good medical care and cultural events might actually appeal to this Asker.

So I repeat; maybe take a trip out and scout the area with an eye to five years and ten years down the road.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:30 PM on April 28

The Twin Cities are not "semi-urban"; it's a real metropolis with four million residents.

I grew up there and now live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I sometimes feel like the Bay Area is provincial compared to the Twin Cities, which are way more connected to Chicago and the East Coast and get much more traffic through that network. As a single example, I've attended far fewer concerts since I moved to the Bay Area because they're twice or three times as expensive as they were in the Twin Cities because it's twice or three times more expensive for east-of-the-Mississippi bands to tour here.

Just for the purpose of this paragraph, I'm assuming that you're white. With local and neighborhood exceptions, the Midwest and the Twin Cities are not very diverse -- it's mostly a lot of white people. If you're used to the Bay Area, and want to raise your future children close to and learning from people with different race/caste identities, you should be careful where you settle and send them to school.

If you're not white, you know how to invert the above paragraph. The Twin Cities have become much more diverse in the last 50 years, but it's still diverse enclaves in a white ocean compared to the Bay Area. Again, you'll want to think about which neighborhoods you want to consider.

You live in a terrific place, and you're thinking of moving to a terrific place. You're in luck either way -- congratulations!
posted by Scarf Joint at 3:52 PM on April 28 [2 favorites]

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