With quaint towns and bustling cities alike, Minnesota is the ideal place to invest in a home or lakeshore property — especially if you’re attracted to well-rounded destinations boasting commerce, culture and recreational activities. This article dives into the top 15 things you need to know before making a move to this Midwest state.
And, while we’re sure you’ll fall in love with Minnesota just as much as we have, relocation is a big step that requires thoughtful consideration. This extensive overview of Minnesota, the lifestyle of the area and the local housing market will equip you to make a confident decision while relocating — and it’ll help you to avoid the common mistakes people make when relocating.
A brief overview of the North Star State
Whether you’re a young professional eager to start a career, a family ready to settle into a new location or a retired couple in need of a downsized home, Minnesota has housing options to suit everyone’s needs. Plus, the area offers something for everyone to enjoy.
What is Minnesota known for?
Minnesota is situated in the Midwest of the United States, bordering Canada. Thanks to this unique geographic location, Minnesotans are gifted a variety of seasons, landscapes, cuisines, pastimes and more. Here are a few tips for living in Minnesota and fast facts regarding residents of the area. You may want to keep these details in mind when deciding whether to relocate to this state.
- Neighboring Lake Superior and home to more than 10,000 lakes, Minnesota is popular for outdoor recreation.
- Hockey is a sport that many Minnesotans take pride in.
- Minnesotans enjoy all four seasons, including a snowy winter.
- Food festivals, cultural fairs and local farmers markets are celebrated.
- Minnesotans savor the arts and frequent museums, theaters and concerts.
15 Important things you need to know before moving to Minnesota
Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty details about life in Minnesota. Here’s a comprehensive list of 15 things folks need to know before moving up north.
1. The Twin Cities have a lot to offer
The state’s two largest cities, Minneapolis and Saint Paul, are commonly referred to as the Twin Cities. Diverse activities and experiences fill this metro area, making it a desirable location for both visitors and homebuyers.
Whether it’s hockey games at Xcel Energy Center, experiencing unique visuals at the Walker Art Center, introducing kids to STEM at the Science Museum or live concerts at the legendary First Avenue, the Twin Cities truly have something for everyone. Plus, don’t forget about the Mall of America — the ultimate destination for shopping and recreation.
Plus, the Twin Cities are connected by public transportation and paths for walking and biking. So, you can rest assured that you’ll have easy access to any activity you choose.
2. Duluth, Rochester and smaller towns offer plenty of appeal
Following the Twin Cities, Minnesota’s next largest population centers are Duluth and Rochester.
Duluth is a bustling industry town and has been since the early 20th century. Today, the city is home to the busiest port on the Great Lakes, and it doubles as a major tourist destination. In Duluth, homes range from glistening new waterfront condos to stately properties from the early 1900s.
Rochester is frequently recognized as home to the Mayo Clinic, a hospital system that is consistently ranked as one of the top medical facilities in the world. The city also boasts a growing technology community, anchored by a long-time corporate IBM facility in the area. Like Duluth, Rochester’s housing stock varies from new construction and multi-family housing options to larger, historic homes built around the 1940s.
If a small-town feel is more your style, look no further. Minnesota also has plenty of
charming communities with Main Street appeal. Some Minnesota towns with smaller populations include:
3. Minnesota is home to 18 Fortune 500 companies
A strong local economy, anchored by 18 Fortune 500 companies, provides opportunities for residents of the area. Industry specialties range from healthcare, to consumer packaged goods, financial services and more. Many move to Minnesota as employees of these major companies, such as:
- UnitedHealth Group
- Best Buy
- U.S. Bancorp (U.S. Bank)
- Xcel Energy
Of course, the state itself is a major job creator, and there are plenty of other large, non-Fortune 500 companies across Minnesota. Here is the list of top employers throughout the state.
4. Education is top-notch
Minnesota is known for having exceptional schools, which rank 12th in the nation. Whether you choose the public or private route, both education systems are highly revered in the state.
Education is valued at every stage in Minnesota. One of the largest universities in the Midwest, the University of Minnesota (a Big 10 school), is situated in the Twin Cities. The state also boasts a variety of other universities and liberal arts colleges.
5. Property values vary across the state
Property values may fluctuate throughout Minnesota, but this is likely the case in any state. Whether looking for a starter or dream home in the area, be sure to work with your REALTOR® to find a house that best suits you. Your agent will help find a property with the best value for you, while prioritizing your unique homeownership goals.
6. Income taxes are high
It’s important to mention that all of these benefits have an associated cost. Relative to other states, income tax brackets in Minnesota, which reach up to 9.85 percent, are on the higher end of the spectrum. The income tax rate in Minnesota is something to keep in mind, especially if relocating from a state with a potentially lower tax rate.
7. Diversity is on the rise
While the majority of Minnesota’s population identifies as white, diversity within the state is increasing. According to Minnesota Public Radio, “Nearly all of Minnesota's net population growth in the past decade has come from populations of color, and these populations are expected to drive future growth as well.”
- Minnesota’s Native American population is currently about 1.4% of the total state population, according to the U.S. Census.
- Of Minnesota’s 370,000 Black residents, up to 150,000 may identify as Somali. Minnesota boasts one of the largest Somali populations in the U.S.
- Minnesota is also home to the largest concentration of Hmong people in America, with an estimated 66,000 Hmong residents.
8. Winters are typically snow-filled
Every winter, an average of 36 to 70 inches of snow falls across the state. If you aren’t accustomed to the snow, be sure to stock up on warm winter gear, like a down coat, boots and mittens.
Although snow may sound daunting, winter invites a bunch of seasonal activities to enjoy. Here are a few ideas to keep you busy all winter long:
- Try ice fishing on Minnesota's best lakes.
- Take a lesson or purchase a pass to downhill ski, snowboard or tube.
- Ice skate on a nearby river or lake.
- Spend an afternoon snowshoeing through a state park or recreation area.
- Bundle up near a fireplace and embrace an environment filled with plenty of hygge.
9. It’s nicknamed the Land of 10,000 Lakes for a reason
Although the state is known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes, there are nearly 12,000 lakes in Minnesota. Lakes are a year-round destination for locals to engage in their favorite watersports, like fishing, kayaking and boating.
Additionally, owning a lakeshore home or cabin is popular in Minnesota. With so many lakes in the area, a property on the water — whether it’s your main home or a weekend retreat — is coveted.
10. The outdoors are part of life
Minnesotans love to partake in outdoor recreation. In fact, Minneapolis was ranked the 2nd fittest city in the country, and St. Paul wasn’t far behind. If you enjoy spending time in nature, Minnesota could be a great fit for you. Here’s a quick list of popular outdoor activities in the area:
- Hiking and rock climbing
- Bird watching
- Snowshoeing and cross country skiing
- Walking, especially around the many lakes
- Fishing and ice fishing
11. The State Fair is a BIG deal
The annual Minnesota State Fair originated in 1859, and the tradition is still going strong today. Over 322 acres of fairgrounds come to life each summer for Minnestons to gather and celebrate. Rides and exhibits are always anticipated, however, delicious food may be the biggest draw. Interestingly, the Minnesota State Fair is known for serving everything deep-fried and on a stick!
12. The North Shore is sacred
The North Shore is a stretch of land in Minnesota that borders one of the Great Lakes, Lake Superior. The area is brimming with outdoor activities and quaint towns to explore. Many flock to the area during fall, when the trees are brilliantly colored with changing leaves. Whether you’d like to visit or move to the area, be sure to check out this mile-by-mile list of things to do on the North Shore of Minnesota.
13. We take burgers and beer seriously
Picture a regular hamburger, but as you bite into it, cheese oozes out from the center. This is a Juicy (or Jucy) Lucy, and it’s a Minnesota staple. Once you’re a Minnesota resident, you’ll have to taste-test the offerings at Matt’s Bar and 5-8 Club, which have long been fighting over the title of Minnesota’s best Juicy Lucy.
The burger scene has been well-established for decades, but the brewing industry has taken off over the last few years and is expanding well outside major centers like the Twin Cities. Even rural towns are beginning to add craft breweries on Main Street. Here are some of Minnesota’s favorite breweries to check out — one might be in your next neighborhood!
Top breweries in Minnesota:
- Fulton Beer in Minneapolis
- Bent Paddle Brewing Company in Duluth
- Island City Brewing Company in Winona
- Lift Bridge Brewery in Stillwater
- Indeed Brewing Company and Taproom in Minneapolis
- Revelation Ale Works in Hallock
14. Festivals are popular year-round
While the State Fair is the biggest festival held in Minnesota, a variety of fun happenings and events are hosted throughout the year, including:
- 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)
15. Minnesotans are (really) proud of their state
This article is far from the last time you’ll see a Minnesotan bragging about all their state has to offer. Minnesota commonly lands on the top of many national “best of” lists, thanks to its culture, education, cost of living, low unemployment, great food and so many other factors. Once you become a resident, you’ll proudly share this news with your out-of-state friends and family, too!
Moving forward with Edina Realty while relocating
Home relocation can be a significant undertaking. If you’re considering a move to Minnesota or relocating within the state, Edina Realty can help you simplify the entire process.
Our comprehensive real estate services are second to none, so you can rest easy knowing that your Realtor is working hard for you. If you’re ready to move forward in your relocation journey, reach out to Edina Realty or your agent today.