Main Content

What it’s like living in Minnesota

Mississippi River

Minnesota, the 12th largest state in the United States, occupying 86,943 square miles, is also the 21st most populous, with an estimated 5.71 million residents. 

From majestic natural landscapes to progressive cities, the North Star State boasts enthralling features. Families are spoilt for choice when it comes to the many suburbs and residential districts in which to raise their brood. The economy is equally robust, with finance, manufacturing, professional services, health and education, and the government contributing the most to the state’s GDP in 2020. And historically, Minnesota’s unemployment rates fall below the national average.

Meanwhile, Minnesotans have plenty of opportunities to pursue their hobbies and passions, and indulge in wide-ranging interests. Given the four-season state’s booming industries, enthralling natural beauty, charming cities, and some of America’s wackiest festivals celebrating everything from grumpy old men to the defeat of Jesse James, Minnesotans have a bottomless array of things to see, do, and be grateful for.

Indeed, there’s a great deal of pride from those living in Minnesota, thanks to its many successful, homegrown entrepreneurs, artists, and celebrities. 

It’s been home to icons like Prince and Bob Dylan, the beloved “Peanuts” comic strip creator, Charles M. Schultz; Hollywood stars like Judy Garland, Winona Ryder, Jessica Lange, Chris Pratt, and Judy Garland; and Academy Award-winning directors, Joey and Ethan Coen (at least at one point in their lives).

In fact, the state is often referenced in films and TV shows, offering a  peek into what it’s like living in Minnesota. Popular features include “How I Met Your Mother,” “Fargo,” “Juno,” “The Mighty Ducks,” “Little House on the Prairie,” and “Grumpy Old Men” (hence, the state’s wacky festival of the same name). 

It may be argued that these films and TV shows, as well as the celebrities who made Minnesota their home, raised the profile of the state and made people want to experience life in Minnesota. Screens big and small shone a light on the state’s beautiful outdoors, culture, and people and made a strong case for moving to Minnesota. 

But there’s more to the sheen than meets the eye. Here, then, is a quick guide on what more to expect before you move to Minnesota.

Living in Minnesota

Couple on Canoe

One of the biggest pros of making the big move up north is that there is no shortage of fun things to do in Minnesota, especially when it physically sits on land that makes up roughly 2.25% of the entire country. Its geography alone already promises a variety of activities outdoors.

For one, there’s a reason Minnesota is called the “Land of 10,000 Lakes.” There are, literally and precisely, a total of 11, 482 lakes encompassing an area totaling over 10 acres. That’s on top of the several thousand natural streams and rivers running through the state. 

Its most popular river, the Mississippi River, begins at Lake Itasca and flows all the way down 680 miles to the border of Iowa. Following the path of the river are museums, including one paying tribute to America’s greatest humorist and writer, Mark Twain.

Of course, there are more than enough parks to satisfy one’s cravings for fun in the outdoors.  Whether it’s hiking, kayaking, fishing in one of their many lakes, mountain climbing, or simply enjoying the fresh air and cool breeze in the countryside, there will be something for everyone, no matter their mood. 

The Minnesota lifestyle

When looking to move, it’s important to choose a location that will fit with your needs and preferences. In fact, lifestyle compatibility is among the top reasons people choose to move from their current location. 

This may include factors relating to the area’s cost of living, safety, security, demographics, religion, politics, and more. That’s why it’s ideal to first research what the target location has to offer, as well as what kind of adjustments will have to be made in one’s own lifestyle for a smooth transition. 

In Minnesota, the cost of living is slightly higher than the national average, with an annual cost of $87,246 for a family of four. This places Minnesota as the 16th highest in the country. 

When it comes to what it can offer in terms of well-being and overall living satisfaction, Minnesota strikes a healthy balance between the rugged outdoors and urban lifestyle. As mentioned earlier, the state teems with natural beauty.  At the same time, it can also hold its own when it comes to modern living. 

The Twin Cities of MinneapolisSaint Paul are among Minnesota’s unique features. Both are among the largest and most prominent cities in the area surrounded by the Mississippi, Minnesota, and St. Croix rivers.

Several companies listed in the Forbes 500 are headquartered here, giving an extra boost to the local economy. This is also where the biggest shopping mall in the US, Mall of America, can be found. It attracts thousands of people not only because of its intriguing size, but also because clothing and shoes are tax-free at the mall. 

Fairs and festivals



Among the most favorite fun things to do in Minnesota are attending local fairs and festivals.

The biggest one, the Minnesota State Fair, is held for 12 days leading to and through Labor Day. Otherwise known as “The Great Minnesota Get-Together,” the annual event is the largest of its kind across the US. Here, locals showcase their best livestock, local arts and crafts, and food. About the latter, the corn dog is said to have been invented in the Minnesota State Fair of 1947. 

Other state fairs in Minnesota include the following: 

  • The Minnesota Renaissance Festival (Shakopee)
  • Sever’s Fall Festival and Corn Maze (Shakopee)
  • WeFest country music festival (Detroit Lakes)
  • The Saint Paul Winter Carnival
  • The Minneapolis Aquatennial
  • The Twin Cities Marathon (Minneapolis and St. Paul)
  • Grandma’s Marathon (Duluth)


Minnesotans possess characteristics that become a definitive trait of their community – or a stereotype at worst. To visitors not used to the personality traits of locals, it would be best to tread easy and just go with the flow. Learn the culture before moving to Minnesota, or anywhere else for that matter. To do as the Romans do avoids awkward situations or misunderstandings. 

  • Minnesota Nice

    It’s almost impossible to talk about Minnesota without mentioning “Minnesota Nice.” This is a stereotype ascribed to folks living in Minnesota, pertaining to their image of being generally reserved and courteous. 

    Minnesotans are also characterized as being averse to confrontation, resorting instead to polite friendliness, if only to avoid stirring the pot or ruffling feathers. Minnesota Nice also refers to the locals’ emotional restraint and tendency for self-deprecation.

    If you aren’t used to confrontation-averse behavior, you might misconstrue it as a form of passive-aggressiveness. Don’t. While Minnesotans may not be vocal about the stuff they dislike, they do express their disapproval in some other way.

    Despite this stereotype, Minnesotans are actually warm and friendly, especially among family and friends. In fact, one other thing locals are known for is their penchant for long goodbyes. 

  • Minnesota Goodbye

    The Minnesota Goodbye is another stereotype. Locals like to linger long after they’ve said their goodbyes. It’s said that they spend another 20 minutes or so giving out hugs, walking to the driveway, having a round of last-minute chatter by the car and as everyone gets in the car, dispensing last-minute reminders (and possibly starting a new round of chatter) when they roll down the window to wave goodbye, until they finally, truly drive off while still waving to everyone else.

    Other common Minnesotan stereotypes, which may or may not be accurate, include everyone being able to ice-skate, their preference for Caribou coffee over Starbucks, and cow tipping for pastime. 


One of the most important factors that must be taken into serious consideration is the weather. In Minnesota, the topic of weather is not a matter of talk, but of survival. Summers can be extremely hot and humid, while winters can be severe.  

It’s also very likely for a sunny morning to transition into rainstorms by noon. That is why locals always bring a raincoat or umbrella, or at the very least, a windbreaker, so they can be prepared for a fickle turn in the weather. It’s not a stretch to say that Minnesotans plan their daily schedule based on the weather. 

If you’re moving from a place where the weather remains steady from one day to the next, Minnesota is a definite change of pace. There’s really no other way to prepare for it, other than to experience it firsthand and adapt accordingly. 

  • Four Seasons – Minnesota-Style

    The season that gets the most attention in Minnesota is winter. As early as November till about the end of March, winter temperatures can drop to minus 60 degrees.  

    As winter transitions to spring sometime in March or early April, snowstorms ensue. Then, when summer begins around June, temperatures can rise to the mid-80s.  By the time fall rolls around in September, rains and strong winds take over. 

    While those aren’t what we normally know of each of the four seasons, Minnesota is in a league of its own. And Minnesotans have thrived. Their land is lush and beautiful and their economy is robust. They’ve done the best of what they’ve been given, and the results have been good for all.

The Minnesota real estate market

Pin with home icon

Like the rest of the country, Minnesota did see a downturn in their economy because of the pandemic. And yet even with interest rates rising, the housing market has remained strong and on the uptick. 

There was a 2% increase in existing home sales month on month from the final quarter of 2021. The Twin Cities, which has always been a reliable barometer for the overall health of the real estate market, has also shown as much as 13.6% increase in the average home value in 2021. 

 The definitive action of Minneapolis to put an end to single-family zoning in 2019, making them the first ever major city in the nation to do so, is believed to be a contributing factor to the boom.

The law, which predates a similar action in California, allows small multi-family properties to be constructed on what used to be exclusive single-family lots. The potential availability of more lots was expected to ease housing shortages and  drive up the demand for single-family homes.

Key Market Stats

  • Minneapolis was a seller’s market as of July 2022 
  • Home value was at $342,239 as of July 2022
  • Minneapolis homes receive an average of five offers before being sold in around 14 days
  • Hot homes in the market can go as high as 6% above their listing price

Reasons to move to Minnesota

Minnesota Welcome to Adventure

Needless to say, there are more than enough pros to move to Minnesota. Of course, this will all depend on the motivations and priorities of the individual, but regardless, the state has been proven to be a great choice for families and individuals alike. 

The Great Outdoors

It’s already been mentioned, but it’s still worth repeating: Minnesota has everything one might want in the great outdoors. From expansive lakes and rivers to rugged mountains inviting all to hike, bike, and ski to farmlands and valleys – all is truly within reach in Minnesota.

There’s simply no running out of fun things to do in Minnesota outdoors because of it’s got:

  • 6 national parks
  • 75 state parks/recreational areas
  • 22,000+ miles of snowmobile trails, and
  • 4,000 miles of paved bike trails

Quality of Life

As of 2022, Minnesota ranks second in having the best quality of life in the United States. It also has one of the lowest levels of poverty among all the states, with  91% of its population living comfortably above poverty level.

Other relevant markers include the lifespan of its residents averaging 80.9 years. This makes Minnesota the fourth ranking state with the longest life expectancy in the country.

Food security, top K-12 metrics, and even low separation and divorce rates are also indicators of the overall happiness and satisfaction of Minnesotans. 

Top-Tier Education

Another aspect that Minnesota locals can be proud of is the quality of its education. The state ranks seventh throughout the nation in having the best public schools.

  • 6th in quality 
  • 2nd highest math scores
  • Highest median SAT score (tied with Wisconsin)

Career Growth and Opportunities

Minnesota’s economy is booming, thanks to industries setting up shop in the state. High-profile companies have generated thousands of jobs for the local communities.

In fact,  the Twin Cities is recognized to be one of the areas in the world with the highest concentration of Fortune 500 companies.

RANK   6   – UnitedHealthGroup 

RANK  39  – Target 

RANK  74  – Best Buy 

RANK  95  – 3M 

RANK  97  – CHS 

RANK  117 – U.S. Bancorp 

RANK  185 – C.H. Robinson Worldwide 

RANK  200 – General Mills 

RANK  201 – Supervalu 

RANK  212 – Land O’Lakes 

RANK  215 – EcoLab (Rank 215)

RANK  249 – Ameriprise Financial (Rank 249)

RANK   274 – Xcel Energy (Rank 274)

RANK  328 – Hormel Foods (Rank 328)

RANK  351 – Thrivent Financial for Lutherans (Rank 351)

RANK  476 – Polaris (Rank 476)

Get a fresh start in Minnesota

If this overview on Minnesota has got you seriously thinking about moving states, it’s time to get in touch with Ryan Platzke from the Helgeson-Platzke Real Estate Group. Call 1.952.942.7777 or  leave us a message here!