For those relocating to the area, or just wanting to learn more:
Minneapolis, the larger of the Twin Cities, is defined by its lakes surrounded by beautiful parks and by a skyline that reflects the sunlight to give it a contemporary look. The skyline is dominated by the towering glass IDS Center, the curvilinear stone, steel and glass U.S. Bank Plaza with its lighted halo top, and the tall clean lines of the Cesar Pelli-designed building that houses Wells Fargo Bank.
Minneapolis is a city with a thriving business community, a vibrant retail scene, big league sports and a nightlife that resembles that of much larger cities.
The city’s arts and culture is evident everywhere. Spoonbridge and Cherry, the Claes Oldenburg-Coosje van Bruggen sculpture installed in 1988 at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, has quickly become a landmark. So has the Siah Armajani-designed Irene Whitney Memorial Bridge that connects the Walker Art Center complex with Loring Park and downtown. Recent years have seen an increased effort to preserve the old and procure new sculpture for public places.
While there are 22 lakes and 170 parks within its borders, the chain of lakes in the city’s southwest corner give it definition as the City of Lakes and Parks. Surrounded by parkland and magnificent homes, each of these lakes has its own personality and its own activities.
Downtown is the heart of the city. The tree-lined Nicollet Mall, whose traffic is restricted to buses, taxis and pedestrians, is the city’s main, mile-long shopping street, animated with activity. Hennepin Avenue, the major thoroughfare of entertainment, is lined with restaurants, bars, movie houses and theaters.
The Warehouse District, north of Hennepin Avenue, boasts trendy stores, art galleries, night spots and Target Center, home of the Minnesota Timberwolves basketball team and the site of top name entertainment and concerts. At the eastern edge of downtown is the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, the venue of Minnesota Vikings and Minnesota Twins games along with other major events.
One of the most beautiful spots from which to enjoy the Mississippi River is the roadway edged with trees, walkways and overlooks known as the Mississippi Mile.
The Communities: The city occupies over 58 square miles and consists of more than 80 neighborhoods in 11 planning districts. Within these neighborhoods is some of everything, from the great homes of Kenwood and Lake of the Isles to the townhomes and condominiums along the scenic Mississippi River downtown, the classic pre-war bungalows of the Cooper neighborhoods and the interesting collection of modest to upscale homes in South Minneapolis.
The Twin Cities is unique in that many of the cities’ neighborhoods, including downtown Minneapolis, are very desirable places to live. Here is a small sampling of the interesting possibilities:
THE CENTRAL DISTRICT: In addition to downtown, the district includes the Elliot Park, Loring Park, North Loop and Stevens Square neighborhoods.
Downtown housing is a mix of high rise condominiums and townhomes. In fact, 80% of the city’s townhomes, condominiums and coops are located in the downtown area. A large concentration of population lives in the area around the west end of Nicollet Mall, called Downtown West. Recent years have seen vigorous development along the Mississippi Mile and its surrounding area.
Loring Park, with a small lake at its center, fountains and sculpture, has undergone major refurbishing. Renovated turn-of-the-century mansions and brownstone walk-ups blend with new condominium complexes and trendy restaurants to make an eclectic and sophisticated neighborhood.
CALHOUN-ISLES: Cedar Lake, Lake of the Isles and most of Lake Calhoun are part of the Calhoun-Isles district southwest of downtown. The neighborhoods of the district are: Bryn Mawr, CARAG, Cedar-Isles Dean, East Isles, ECCO, Kenwood, Lowry Hill, Lowry Hill East and West Calhoun.
Kenwood, at the center of the district, is flanked by Lake of the Isles and Cedar Lake. A neighborhood of elegant homes, many were built at the turn of the century by the city’s gentry and have been well-maintained through the years. Others are of more recent origin and retain their architectural interest.
At the heart of the Cedar-Isles-Dean neighborhood is the Calhoun Beach Club, an anchor of long standing, overlooking the lake for which it is named. The area contains a range of housing from upscale condominiums to magnificent homes and some classic apartment buildings.
Uptown, west of the lakes, is a trendy sort of place where attractive shops mix happily with restaurants, nightclubs, coffee shops and theaters. Housing in the neighborhood is a mix of pleasant older homes and apartment buildings.
SOUTHWEST: Residents of this community enjoy the proximity to Lake Harriet and the southern tip of Lake Calhoun. Homes, some from the early part of the century, others from the 1920s to 1950s, range from large and substantial to small and charming.
The district includes the neighborhoods of Armatage, East Harriet, Fuller, Fulton, King Field, Linden Hills, Lynnhurst and Windom. Once a lakefront resort area, the Linden Hills neighborhood has the flavor of a small New England town, where big shade trees line quiet streets and residents gather at the local coffee house, browse the antique stores and stop at the bakery on the way home.
Across the lake, The Lynnhurst neighborhood enjoys Lake Harriet on one side and Minnehaha Creek with its wide wooded banks meandering through.
NOKOMIS: Anchored by Lake Nokomis, one of the city’s larger lakes, this community is one of well-groomed lawns, parks and pathways. The district includes the neighborhoods of Diamond Lake, Ericsson, Field Hale, Keewaydin, Minnehaha, Morris Park, Northrup, Page, Regina and Wenonah.
Homes range from the 1920s to the 1940s craftsmen-built houses of Keewaydin to the eclectic mix of styles and prices of Regina to the stately older homes of the Diamond Lake neighborhood.
POWDERHORN: Powderhorn Park with a lake at its center is the highlight of the district that includes the neighborhoods of Bancroft, Bryant, Central, Corcoran, Lyndale, Powderhorn Park, Standish and Whittier.
The Whittier neighborhood is a mixture of elegant houses from the early 1900s and apartment buildings of the 1960s. With support from the active neighborhood association, the area is undergoing considerable restoration activity.
LONGFELLOW: The Longfellow community is bordered on the northeast by the Mississippi River and includes the neighborhoods of Cooper, Hiawatha, Howe, Longfellow and Seward.
Mississippi River Parkway, a beautiful drive along the river, runs through the Cooper neighborhood. Some 80% of the houses in the neighborhood are classic bungalows and pre-war one and one-half story homes, often with hardwood floors, built-in buffets and amenities of the time. These are popular with young families. Homes closer to the river are larger and more stately.
The Seward neighborhood, also bordered by the Mississippi River, is near the University of Minnesota and Fairview Riverside Medical Center. As such, its residents include many educators, students and medical professionals who enjoy this convenience.
UNIVERSITY: So named because the district is home to the University of Minnesota Minneapolis campus, the neighborhoods of the community are Cedar Riverside/West Bank, Como, Nicollet Island/East Bank, Prospect Park, Marcy-Holmes and University. The district includes Dinkytown, an unofficial extension of the university campus that is alive with bookstores (new and antiquarian), restaurants and shops, along with off-campus student housing.
Prospect Park stands beneath the landmark water tower of a bygone era and contains a large number of attractive older homes positioned on gentle hills and meandering streets.
Nicollet Island/East Bank, a neighborhood surrounded by Minneapolis history, trendy restaurants and night spots is across the river from downtown. An interesting mix of upscale condominiums and townhomes grace both the east bank and the northern half of Nicollet Island.