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Relocating Boston to Minneapolis

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Relocating Boston to Minneapolis

My husband and I (30ish) are looking to relocate sometime in the next year from Boston to someplace "not northeast" - tired of the work-oriented lifestyle, paying so much to have crappy weather (6 mos winter, 2 wks spring, 4 mos humidity, and if lucky a lovely 6 wks of autumn), and general Boston crankiness, political polarization, weird mix of diversity and segregation, and obnoxious students (25% of city pop.).

Both our fields seem to have a fair amount of opportunity in Minneapolis (he = public radio engineer, me = international education in higher ed). We love what we hear so far but are wondering a few things:

- we will be visiting from 5/25-6/4, mostly for work but esp 6/2-3 to check out the city. suggestions?

- avg rent for a 2BR in a neighborhood that will feel "city"? avg starter house (curr paying $1600 for decent 2BR, avg Boston house $400-500K)?

- typical commute if work/home are both in Mpls/St Paul city limits?

- our perception is YES we know worse winters....but, you seem to accommodate the winter much better than we do. True?

- we are civic/political types but here it's a blood sport...true that Mpls is more "progressive" than Dems vs Repubs? open-minded etc?

And finally, having lived in the cranky northeast for some time we will probably need some transition time....will the citizens be kind to us as we get used to eye contact, normal driving and the overall niceness we've heard about? If you know other NE transplants, how have they fared?

THANK YOU, Lisa and Aaron, Bostonians seeking a better life

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1. Re: Relocating Boston to Minneapolis

Hi lisa aaron.

I have lived in Mpls for 10 years so I'll give you my honest impression.

Boston probably has better weather than MN ....that said, our summers are to die for, there are so many festivals and things to do, you just need the time and money to do them all! Because winter is so long, yes, people do a lot of activities...we just don't seat indoors all winter long!....we also go in vacation during winter! Personally I don't mind the winters and yes people exaggerate a little bit about how cold it gets here (it does get cold thou!).

I find house prices in Mpls/St Paul to be very reasonable compare to other cities....you can still find a nice house for $300K and condos downtown start in the upper $100K (1 bedroom)...like everywhere else...location, location and how fancy you want to live. I think now it’s a great time to buy, there is so much for sale that you can negotiate better what you want. About rent, I can't tell you, I haven't rent in over 8 years, so I'll let someone else answer that. I think some of my friends pay around $1K per month for a 1 bedroom but they live downtown Mpls.

About commute....this is a car happy city...people just love the suburbs and drive everywhere, it is ridiculous some of the commute my coworkers have...I think it is a waste of money and time but they seem to be happy....I got a job four blocks from my house so my commute is less than 10 minutes! I love it! If you stay within the city limits and work in the same city that you live it would be around 20 minutes commute.....good bus service in the city (have no clue about the suburbs).

About politics..my impression is that people don't talk about religion/politics/personal lives that much....Mpls and St Paul are very very liberal, the suburbs are more conservatives but in general I would agree with your perception of people being progressive. It is also that people are very involved in their communities and neighborhoods and yes there is a great deal of philanthropy, people are very giving.

It is hard to make friends in this city, people are just a bit weird with their social skills....I suggest to enlist in group/classes of things you are interested and start from there....it takes sometime to get to know people unless you meet people that have arrived recently to the city. One of the good things about this is that I have the must diverse group of friends I ever imagined and 95% of them are from out of the State or the USA....let say we enjoy our dinner parties!

And I have to say this.... there is no such thing as MN nice.... it is all passive aggressiveness. Sorry to burst your bubble!

After all this I have to say that I LOVE this city. It is save, clean, great art scene, restaurants, sports, outdoors, good job market, diverse economy. It feels weird when I get back to the Twin Cities nowdays, this is home! It is a great place to live!

One of my best friends just moved back to mpls from boston....she lived there for 3 years and got sick of it....So let us know if there is anything else we can help you with.

Here is something to start dealing with the "cultural shock"!


Everett, Washington
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2. Re: Relocating Boston to Minneapolis

Figure to have to "embrace" winter and make the most of it. That said this is a place where global warming could be a good thing. Already climate here seems to have shifted us the equivalent of several hundred miles south and winters are more like Omaha or Kansas City. Still there is less snow (and what there is is more powdery) than Boston and even when there is a big storm roads are generally totally cleared in 12-24 hours.

Housing would be considerably less. Even if planning to rent work with a realtor to identify various areas and their features or deficits. With a fair down payment a decent house in a first ring suburb could easily have a payment less than $1,600/month...including property tax.

"MN nice" has seemed to have faded some. Recently we rated fairly poorly in driving agressiveness and rudeness. Reluctance to expand social contact and make friends may be outgrowth of embedded reticent Scandanavian culture. Then again there are leftover elements of pioneer spirit that make people more likely to be really helpful...from the days of "work together or die" in the harsh climate.

Commute from within city limits would be best done by public transit (meaning bus). Even from far corners of either city it should be a half hour or less.

Politics has become much more polarized over the past couple decades. In general, even in both major parties, there is a strong populist streak that has driven up taxes of all kinds. Politicians of all stripes have a multitude of taxing one group to buy another's vote. At least corruption and such is fairly rare. Nothing like "the big dig". Most political processes are pretty transparent. Both major newspapers are super liberal and tend to promote big government spending or nanny state ideals. As was stated previously suburbs are a bit more conservative but "out state" is a lot more so...with a few local exceptions such as the Iron Range area. Mostly though the processes are civil.

Another notable factor in the area is access to healthcare. Wold renowned facilities include the Mayo Clinic at Rochester and U. of MN Hospitals. Longevity is (I think) still second only to Hawaii. Maybe it is all the outdoor activities that are available. I fyou like to golf MN hasa very high "course to population" ratio. If you smoke be aware that as of next October it will be virtually banned from all work places including bars and restaurants. Good for everyone's health...bad for personal freedom....see? populist leanings.

Bottom line is it's a good place to live and even the long winters only serve to make spring that much better. After winter it's hard to beat glorious spring days like today...sunny, low humidity, and just warm enough without being hot.

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3. Re: Relocating Boston to Minneapolis

We moved to the Twin Cities area last fall and so far we like it. We moved from Eastern Wisconsin, so it wasn't much of a climate change. However, we have found there is so much to do that even in the winter you can keep busy. There are so many museums, malls, festivals, shows, etc. We live in the southern suburbs and both my husband and I have a 30 minute commute, which isn't too bad. Once you get that MN license plate, other drivers treat you much nicer and for the most part will leave you room to merge.

You can get a nice house for under the $400k that you are listing. A starter house for even less. I think you are looking at about $1000 for rent, from what I have seen in the paper for an apt.

You will find that politics are a bit strange here. A statewide smoking ban was just enacted, and the Democrats are working to raise the gas tax. With a Republican governor and Democrats in majority not much is getting accomplished. I am not sure on Boston, but here in MN everything is taxed strange. Vehicles cost a lot to license due to taxes, income taxes are high, but property taxes are low. It all evens out, we thought we were paying less than in WI, but when added all up it is about the same.

There is a lot to do in the winter, and we have a wonderful spring and fall. Even summer isn't too unbearable. The scenery is great and there are many remote places to escape to for the weekend. One downside is the mass exodus that occurs on Friday nights make for a horrible drive if going anywhere.

Have fun with your visit. Make sure you get out of the city and see what the suburbs have to offer. We live in Prior Lake and I am amazed at how much it still feels like a small town.

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for Minneapolis
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4. Re: Relocating Boston to Minneapolis

I live in downtown Minneapolis & travel to Boston for work about 5 times a year. You'll enjoy it here.

If you don't have any kids, consider renting, or even buying downtown Minneapolis (or St. Paul). There's a glutton of new condo buildings that have went up, or are going up.

Check out the Downtown Journal and their condo 'pipeline'.


Check out the StarTribune & the rental section.


For the pulse of the city, check out CityPages.

Concerts / events / restaurants, etc.


The trick is to get to know one or two native Minnesotan's, and have them introduce you to their social circle.

Hit me up if you have other questions.

Minneapolis, MN
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5. Re: Relocating Boston to Minneapolis

My boyfriend is from northern NJ, has lived here 5 years, and likes it. He lives and works in downtown Minneapolis, and walks to/from work. Obviously on the E. Coast that would be prohibitively expensive, but here, you can get a nice, new 2 br condo in downtown for 200-300k. Because of his locale, he can walk to lots of cool cultural and recreational activities: the Guthrie Theater, Acme Comedy Company, Minneapolis Instititue of Arts, Walker Art Center are all nearby. At least 50 good restaurants/bars in downtown, and we love hanging out at them and walking home. If you're a sports fan, the Metrodome is walking distance (Vikings Football, Twins Baseball, U of Minnesota football) if you live downtown. The University of Minnesota is a 5-minute bus ride from downtown Mpls. He lives in the Warehouse District, and I highly recommend it. It's not as noisy as living in central downtown. Commute to anywhere within the city limits is 20 minutes or less.

I'm from here and live within the Minneapolis city limits in SW Minneapolis. I live in a 3 br/1 bath single family home built in 1922, and am 2 blocks from a boutique shopping district. My commute (by bus) to downtown Minneapolis is 25 minutes. I can also ride my bike to work, exclusively on bike trails, and pass by the cities beautiful lakes along the way. Houses in my neighborhood go for about 300-400k for one similar in size to mine.

If children are in the future, the schools here are quite good, you can send your kids to a public school and they will do quite well.

Hope that helps.

Destination Expert
for Minneapolis, Minnesota
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6. Re: Relocating Boston to Minneapolis

Being a transplant myself, I would in large part agree with everything posted. I've been here for 6.5 years and it had exactly what I was looking for - higher quality of life, better career opportunities, culture, more educated, affordable, beautiful.

Of special note:

Traffic is often horrid, and drivers ALL need to be in front of YOU ;-)

You can easily make friends if you get involved in one of your hobbies. I've joined volleyball leagues and a choral group and have a great circle of close friends now.

All my acquaintances living in large cities (Seattle, New York, San Diego) seem to have the same problem - not being able to afford much more than their quality of living. They are educated professionals with great careers, but so much of their income goes to support their living, they don't have much expendable income for things like travel or other "extravagance". I don't find that problem here and I'm a single female professional who owns her own home.

It's really only cold for a 2-4 weeks a year on average. And the north shore usually gets a ton of snow - Lutsen is excellent skiing for the midwest. Spring/summer/fall are wonderful here - just be ready for the mosquitoes.

Politics is crazy here, but so many of my friends are Republicans without me even knowing it. We all get along and for the most part don't talk too much politics unless we know everyone in the room is of like minds.

Good luck with your move. Minneapolis is comparable to mostly all the big cities, without the same headaches.

7. Re: Relocating Boston to Minneapolis

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