Whether you've just purchased Minnetonka luxury real estate or you're still searching for the right Linden Hills realtor, moving into the Twin Cities area requires a fair amount of preparation. This is especially true for home buyers who've never experienced a Minnesota winter before. With four distinct seasons, countless outdoor activities, and ample nighttime recreation, the Twin Cities area is becoming increasingly popular among property shoppers throughout the nation. The following are nine things to know before heading into the region.
1. Winter weather in the Twin Cities
If you've never lived in Minnesota before, get ready for below-freezing winter temperatures. It gets pretty cold in the Twin Cities just as autumn starts winding down. You'll need to have winter tires installed on your all-wheel drive vehicle, and perhaps perform other forms of season-specific automotive maintenance to prime your vehicle for the season. Snow is the primary form of precipitation in Minnesota in winter, but you can also expect freezing rain, hail, ice, and sleet. Temperatures in the Twin Cities rarely dip below -11 degrees Fahrenheit, but you can expect them to hover around just nine degrees during the coldest winter weeks.
The good news is that, unlike areas that only get occasional snow, the Twin Cities is well-prepared for the seasonal onslaught of ice and flurries. More importantly, no one really slows down. Not only will you quickly learn the best ways to continue making your way to work or school, but you'll also have access to an undeniably dynamic range of activities. Twin Cities residents don't wait for warm weather to immerse themselves in and explore nature.
In winter, Twin Cities residents can:
- Enjoy downhill skiing
- Ice skate on the plethora of frozen lakes, ponds, or designated rinks
- Snow tubing or sledding
- Take a tour of Ice Castles in Minnesota
- Visit local trails for cross-country skiing
- Take the family ice fishing
- Visit the Winter Carnival in St. Paul
2. The tech scene in the Twin Cities is thriving
Although it isn't as well-known as California's Silicon Valley, the tech scene in the Twin Cities is thriving. In fact, SmartAsset recently used census data to rank the best cities for women in the tech industry, and St. Paul and Minneapolis both made the list. If you've been kicking around the idea of starting your own online marketing, graphics design, web design, or software company, this is definitely the place to be. If you're looking to relocate your tech business, you'll find a solid market, ample small business resources, and ample opportunities for networking.
3. Twin Cities has a healthy job market and a solid economy
4. Taxes are high in Minnesota, but the benefits are worth it
Get ready to pay a bit more in state taxes. If you're moving from a state like Oregon that doesn't charge state taxes, take some time to prepare for the change. The income tax system in Minnesota is a progressive one, and residents pay one of the highest tax rates in the nation. The flip side of this is that Minnesota also spends more on government initiatives, like health and human services, than states with lower tax rates. You may be paying more, but you’re reaping the benefits as well.
Although there is no tax on the sale of clothing, there are a number of locally imposed taxes on specific goods and services to be mindful of. Hiring a certified public accountant (CPA) is a great way to get ready for this aspect of relocating. If you don't have one already, a CPA can help you identify the best tax shelters and the best methods of investing to limit your tax liability. You can also use simple online tools to estimate your tax bill ahead of your move.
5. Twin Cities has one of the largest shopping and entertainment complexes in the world!
The Mall of America is the largest shopping mall in the nation and one of the largest shopping and entertainment complexes on the entire continent. Boasting no less than 5,600,000 square feet of retail space, it is a shopper's paradise. With four floors on its South and East wings and three floors on its North and West Wings, it's got something for everyone. There's no shortage of foods to sample, boutiques, bookstores, department stores, and sports stores to visit, movies to see, and games to play. For family entertainment, there are:
6. The Twin Cities area has a bustling nightlife
Bring your dancing shoes and head out with friends! The Twin Cities has a number of lively nightclubs and dance venues, jazz and blues lounges, and pubs. There's also a variety of unique options in entertainment from companies with innovative offerings such as yoga and beer pairings and sports mash-ups. For instance, you can head over to Utepils Brewing for an acoustic jam session that's combined with both vinyasa flow yoga and Czech, Belgium, and German ales. Spots like Whirlyball Twin Cities are perfect for adults who want to let loose. Here, you can indulge in a game that's part bumper cars, part lacrosse, and part basketball. They've also got laser tag, escape rooms, and bowling.
For a more refined evening, you can head over to The Exchange and Alibi Lounge for drinks and dancing in an upscale environment or visit AxeBridge Wine Company for charcuterie, live music, and wine tastings. The most important thing to know about the nightlife in the Twin Cities is that it's year-round. You'll find just as many engaging activities and unique places to visit in winter as you will in spring and summer. When winter rolls around, many hot spots, like Heather’s in Minneapolis, turn their outdoor patios into heated oases where you can find refuge from the cold weather. With tents and outdoor heaters, you can enjoy a bite in the fresh air just like you would in the summer.
7. The Minneapolis Skyway System makes life easier and more fun
If you're wondering how Twin Cities residents continue to get around and live active lives when the outdoor temperatures plummet, the Minneapolis Skyway System is your answer. Before moving to Minneapolis, take a minute to view the interactive Skyway map and familiarize yourself with all of the many connected businesses, access points, and features. This enclosed and interlinked system of pedestrian bridges allows for comfortable travel across 9.5 miles of downtown Minneapolis. Spanning 80 blocks, it offers a climate-controlled environment that's just as enjoyable to traverse in summer as it is in winter. Open Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 6 p.m., the Skyway system provides access to:
- Numerous corporate headquarters and business offices
- Dentists and doctors' offices
- Fitness centers
- Live theaters
- Nail salons
- Liquor stores
- Grocery stores
- Retail stores
8. There's an excellent parks system that's perfect for both people and pets
If you're a dog-lover, Twin Cities is the ideal location for your next home. This region has a top-notch parks and recreation system that includes:
- Dog parks
- Youth and adult sports leagues
- Off-road cycling trails
- Public arts workshops