Living in the Twin Cities
When you're happy and you know it

There’s no doubt about it: living in the Twin Cities makes us happy. Minnesota was ranked as the second happiest state in the nation in 2016, and Minneapolis nabbed the number three spot in a recent list of the top 100 “happiest healthiest” cities. With an excellent K-12 education system, a thriving arts community, and trails and parks where we enjoy year-round outdoor fun, it’s no wonder we’re glad to live and work here. Join us!

Expand all


For two years in a row, Minnesota ranked first in the nation as the best place to raise a family. That’s partly because of our history of excellence in education (we have one of the ten best school systems in the nation) and partly because there’s so much for families to do here, from children’s museums to exploring the great outdoors to athletic and artistic opportunities.

Minnesota also leads the nation in being the best state for women, based on factors like economic and social wellbeing and health care.


Working at the University of Minnesota—which has campuses on America’s greatest lake, greatest river, and greatest prairie—means you’re never far away from nature. The state’s nickname is “Land of 10,000 Lakes” (in reality, there are almost 12,000), and Minnesota has 90,000 miles of shoreline.

In addition to providing access to water recreation, Minnesota consistently ranks in the top five bike-friendly cities in the nation. The city of Minneapolis alone has over 170 parks, and residents enjoy 75 miles of pedestrian, bike, and skate trails.

Music, Theater, Arts

Whether on one of the University of Minnesota campuses or in the broader community, the arts are a vital part of Minnesota’s identity. Minneapolis ranks as the fifth-most “creatively vital” city in the country, right after bigger metro areas like Los Angeles and New York City. In fact, the Twin Cities has the most theater seats per capita after New York City.


Sports fans will feel right at home in Minnesota. We’re one of just 12 cities nationwide with teams in all four major professional leagues—baseball, football, basketball, and hockey (you’ll hear Minnesotans calling our home “the State of Hockey”)—in addition to hordes of Gopher sports fans whose blood runs maroon and gold. Minneapolis also has professional teams in women’s basketball, soccer, and indoor lacrosse.


Whether you’re driving, taking public transportation, or biking, it’s easy to get around in the Twin Cities. In a 2019 report, the area's public transit ranked 15th nationally in connectivity, access to jobs, and frequency of service. A light-rail line runs right through campus, connecting you to the airport and the downtowns of both Minneapolis and St. Paul.

For those who prefer to commute on two wheels, Minneapolis is consistently ranked in the top five among bike-friendly cities in the nation—far ahead of places with warmer climates.


There’s no sense in pretending—yes, it does get cold here. But Minnesotans don’t stay inside when temps get chilly; they attend the St. Paul Winter Carnival, enjoy an extensive network of well-groomed cross-country ski trails, and even go ice fishing on the area’s many lakes. Or stay indoors and embrace the Danish concept of “hygge” (coziness) by curling up with a good book from the Hennepin County Libraries, one of the nation’s 25 largest library systems.

Summers in Minnesota can't be beat, whether you head "up north" to fish, hike, or relax or stay in the city and enjoy outdoor concerts, plays, and recreation.

Greater Minnesota

When you need to get out of the city, greater Minnesota offers everything from a photo op at the source of the Mississippi River (in Itasca State Park) to a view across Lake Superior from Duluth’s Canal Park.

The University of Minnesota’s campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, and Rochester offer up-close interaction with the forests, prairies, and lakes that make Minnesota such a diverse place to work and play.

"It’s certainly cold here during the winter months but it’s not as bad as I expected it to be when I moved here from Chicago. People in the Twin Cities don’t let the weather dictate their lives. They get out and enjoy all the outdoor activities the cities have to offer year-round. The great thing about the Twin Cities is that it has all the best things of a big city—culture, professional sports, and a pretty fantastic food scene—yet it’s easy to navigate."

Travis Smith

Associate Vice President for Principal Gifts and Strategic Initiatives
University of Minnesota Foundation