Moving to Minnesota: 36 Reasons to Chose the North Star State

Reasons to Move to Minnesota

Thinking of moving to Minnesota? If you have an inexplicable craving to eat blueberry muffins or walk barefoot on the sands of a peaceful lake shore, your subconscious may be sending a message that should be heeded. What do warm, blueberry muffins and lake shorelines have in common? Why, Minnesota, of course! Whether you currently live in The Land of 10,000 Lakes, have lived there in the past or have plans of visiting or living there in the future, you can likely agree that there is much more to the state of Minnesota than meets the eye. Minnesota is a state rich with opportunity and adventure, with a unique history filled with interesting occurrences and inventions. Find out more interesting Minnesota facts while learning all about the midwestern paradise that is the North Star State.

9 Minnesota Fun Facts

  1. Shopping opportunities abound in this upper-mid western state, beginning with Bloomington, Minnesota's Mall of America that offers 9.5 million square feet of shopping pleasure.
  2. Every child's favorite truck – the Tonka truck – originated in the town of Minnetonka and continues to be produced there today.
  3. Milky Way candy bars were invented by famed Minnesota candy maker Frank C. Mars back in 1923.
  4. Laura Ingalls Wilder, beloved author of the "The Little House on the Prairie" books lived on Plum Creek as a child, near the town of Walnut Grove Minnesota.
  5. A popular mode of winter travel was invented in Roseau, Minnesota when Polaris Industries invented the first snowmobile there. Polaris continues to be one of Minnesota's larger employers today.
  6. The Mayo Clinic, a medical center famous for its teaching and innovative treatments makes its home in Rochester, Minnesota.
  7. Hibbing, Minnesota, holds the title of the largest open-pit mining operation in the entire world.
  8. Water from the State of Minnesota really gets around, making its way north to Canada's Hudson Bay, east to the Atlantic Ocean, and south to the Gulf of Mexico.
  9. Getting back to the dreams about blueberries, Minnesota Statute 1988-1.1496 made blueberry muffins the state's muffin back in 1988 and an official blueberry muffin recipe is actually posted on the Minnesota Secretary of State web site.

Adventure

For those who love to spend time outdoors but are new to the idea of living in or visiting Minnesota, its geographic location may be worrisome. With Canada as its neighbor to the north, it might seem that the state would be too cold for any real outdoor recreation. Surprisingly, however, Minnesota has four very distinct seasons, providing even more opportunities for year-round fun. Good examples are the state's numerous lakes, offering canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and swimming when the weather is mild and colder weather recreational opportunities such as ice fishing and skating during the winter.

The Land of 10,000 Lakes

Anyone who has ever flown over or taken a drive through the state will easily understand why its nickname, "The Land of 10,000 Lakes" suits it perfectly. Known for pristine, blue waters and sandy shorelines interspersed with wooded copses, Minnesota's lakes provide recreation for residents and visitors, alike. Because many of the state's lakes were created by mining activities, they offer a depth and clarity that just about anyone can appreciate.

Some of Minnesota's most memorable lakes include:

  • Sabin Lake, located in Saint Louis County, is a clear, deep blue lake perfect for swimming that was formed by mining activities from the Embarrass Mine operation
  • Three Island Lake, located in Itasca County, has the same name as another Minnesota lake, but its 254 acres of deep, clear water makes it a favorite among those who visit and enjoy it
  • Another Saint Louis County Lake, Fraser Pit, is also often listed among the state's favorite lakes and offers a massive 92 acres of water for swimming, boating, water skiing, fishing, and all types of recreational water activities
  • Those looking for extreme lake fun in Minnesota are likely to be drawn to the famous Clearwater Lake in Cook County for the 1,338 acres of clear water it offers for swimming, boating, fishing, kayaking, skiing and more
  • For those who want to go as far north as possible to enjoy Minnesota lake fun, Lake County's Knife Lake offers 3,694 acres of clear deep (up to 130' in some places) water and forms part of the boundary between the United States and Canada

Minnesota residents take great pride in their lakes, streams, and rivers, working diligently to protect them from pollution and misuse while helping to preserve them for future generations. Many of the state's lakes are part of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW), which was enacted in 1978 to help protect preserve, and enhance waterway, lakes, and forested areas and enhance the public's enjoyment of them.

Taking Hiking to a New Level

Enjoying water activities with thousands of lakes to choose from is not the only way to enjoy the great outdoors while living in or visiting Minnesota. In fact, there are many more ways to experience new adventures while surrounded by some of the most beautiful natural settings in the world. Minnesotans of all ages, along with visitors to the state love to spend spring, summer, and autumn hiking, biking, and walking on the state's extensive network of trails. In winter, many of those same trails come alive with cross country ski enthusiasts and others who want to enjoy the snow.

For those who really want to get away from it all, Minnesota offers a variety of longer trails perfect for a backpacking weekend or family vacation. The Superior Hiking Trail is one of the longer trails, offering a 310-mile journey through the wilderness and some beautiful views of Lake Superior along the way. Whether it's an afternoon spent enjoying the rustic beauty of the great outdoors or embarking on an actual adventure into the wilderness, Minnesota is sure to have a trail that fits every hiker's idea of perfection.

In addition to the 310-mile long Superior Hiking Trail, Minnesota offers many more trails of varying lengths to enjoy, including multi-use trails for biking, horseback riding, off-road vehicles, snowmobiles, winter fat bikes, and more. Some of the favorites include:

  • Arrowhead State Trail (an unpaved trail perfectly suited for horseback riding and snowmobiling)
  • Paul Bunyan State Trail (runs through farmland and natural settings)
  • Harmony-Preston State Trail (offers excellent biking with access to the river for a cooling swim along the trail)
  • Douglas State Trail (a kid-friendly trail near Rochester, Minnesota)
  • Casey Jones State Trail (located in one of Minnesota's many state parks)

Minnesota Fishing is Perfect for All Ages and Skill Levels

With so many lakes, rivers, and streams to choose from, Minnesota is known for some of the most enjoyable fishing in the nation. Crappie, Walleye, Northern Pike, Muskie (Muskellunge), Bass, Perch, and Blue Gill, as well as several other species of fish are abundant in the deep, clean waters. Whether you are taking the kids fishing for the first time or have years of sport fishing experience and need a real challenge, Minnesota is sure to provide the best possible fishing, time after time.

Minnesota's lakes, rivers and streams provide an abundant variety of fish for both eating and catch-and-release fun. Here are five Minnesota counties with popular fishing destinations, just to whet your appetite:

  • Itasca County - Bowstring Lake, Spider Lake, Pokegama Lake, Trout Lake, and Cut Foot Sioux Lake
  • Saint Louis County – Shagawa Lake, Lake Kabetogama, and Lake Vermillion
  • Otter Tail County – Otter Tail Lake and Annie Battle Lake
  • Cass County – Leech Lake, Lake Winnibigoshish, and Sand Lake
  • Hennepin County – Snelling Lake

Minnesota Offers a World Class Camping Experience

State parks and wilderness areas of all sizes offer camping opportunities ranging from camp grounds with water, electricity, and all the amenities to basic camp sites. Many of the wilderness areas allow campers to pitch a tent along the trails they are traveling as well. With more than 2,000 miles of forest roadways and thousands of rustic logging trails to explore, Minnesota delivers a new and unique camping experience every single time. State forest lands offer 46 campgrounds with approximately 1,000 campsites, while state parks offer an additional 5,000 campsites, along with a wide variety of other camping accommodations including cabins and guesthouses.

In addition to state facilities for camping, many privately owned campgrounds area also available offering lodging by the day, week, or month in some of the most popular recreational destinations in the state. While numerous camping facilities and sites are available near land trails and state parks, many also offer access to lakes and waterways, making them perfectly suited for stop-over camping spots for those exploring the rivers and lakes by boat, canoe, or kayak. Rice Lake State Park and Zippel Bay State Park are two excellent examples of waterside camping opportunities.

Minnesota is a Hunter's Paradise

With more than 810,000 acres of wilderness paradise in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, along with thousands of additional acres of hunting land throughout the state, Minnesota offers a veritable paradise for hunting enthusiasts.

Hunters from around the state and visitors from other parts of the nation regularly enjoy hunting big game animals, such as bear and deer, using modern guns and ammunition as well as bows and primitive weapons. In addition, many hunters regularly enjoy hunting birds, such as the dove, Canada Goose, Sharp-Tailed Grouse and Prairie Chicken, all of which are native to the state. Small game species, including rabbits and squirrels are abundant and provide additional hunting enjoyment along with unique, but delicious meat as a tasty reward.

Seasonal hunting for each species is managed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and requires proper permitting and licensing. Safety certifications and other regulations may apply. Trapping is also allowed in many of the state parks and recreational areas, as well as on privately owned land (with the permission of the landowner, of course). Additional information on fishing, hunting and trapping within the state can be found by contacting the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Affordability

One of the least known facts about Minnesota is how affordable the state is for those who choose to make it their home. In fact, according to a March 2, 2017 U.S. News and World Reports article, Minnesota currently ranks as the third best state in the nation in which to reside. For what Minnesotans have access to, the price they pay is comparatively low – something that certainly is not the norm across the country.

Affordable Housing

Residential real estate prices in Minnesota continue to remain well below those in many other areas of the country. This is an important factor in helping to keep overall living costs at very affordable levels for the state's residents. According to current housing statistics compiled by Zillow through March of 2017, median home values in Minnesota are currently at $205,200 with median rental prices averaging around $1,450 per month.

In addition to median sales prices, other positive real estate market figures include:

  • Average days on market (DOM) numbers for home sales of 115 days shows that homes are selling well within normal ranges
  • Negative home equity figures of only 0.1 percent attests to homes holding their value well
  • Very low home foreclosure rates of only 1 in 10,000 homes, which is half of the national average of 2 in 10,000 homes

Minnesota Offers Excellent Health Care Resources

With nearly 150 hospitals and hundreds more medical centers, care providers, and urgent care facilities, Minnesota is proud to offer excellent health care resources to her residents. Rochester, Minnesota is home to the world-renowned Mayo Clinic which is ranked number one in the state and number 15 nationwide for specialty and children's specialty care.

In addition to the Mayo Clinic, other sources of great health care available to Minnesotans include:

  • Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, ranked number two in the state and ranked as a high performing medical care facility on a nationwide scale
  • St. Cloud Hospital ranked number three in Minnesota and number one in the nation for specialty care
  • University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis ranked number four in Minnesota and number one in specialty and children's specialty care in the nation
  • Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids, ranked number five in Minnesota and rated as a high performing medical care facility on a nationwide scale

In addition to highly rated hospitals and medical care facilities, the state of Minnesota takes tremendous pride in making sure that all residents can get the medical care they need through a wide variety of health and wellness programs offered throughout the state, regardless of income.

Opportunity

In addition to being the third best state for living, Minnesota ranks even higher in providing opportunities for her people, currently holding the number two spot, nationwide. Good schools, plentiful employment, affordable housing, and many other factors have helped to put Minnesota into the third spot, nationwide, for the overall amount of opportunities enjoyed by each resident.

Home of the Twin Cities

The Twin Cities, home to both Minneapolis and St. Paul, offer an amazing vision of the state's vibrant, growing economy with approximately 60 percent of the state's population living and working in the area. The state is also home to 17 Fortune 500 companies, most of which are located in or near the Twin Cities area. These companies provide employment and opportunities for advancement to help keep employment rates well above the national average for the past two years. A strong medical and educational community, as well as a positive landscape for private business development and investing provides even more opportunities for Minnesotans to prosper within the state.

Among Minnesota's home-grown success stories are companies like 3M, General Mills, and Ecolab – all of which have grown from small companies to become global corporate success stories. Historically, the North Star acted as a guide for travelers, helping them to get their bearings and successfully reach their destinations. For those who make the North Star State their destination, many opportunities wait to be found.

A Stable Economy Fueled by a Growing Business Landscape

With a plentiful job market and reasonable housing costs, Minnesotans can enjoy the stability of the state's economy and secure a bright future. Economic health in any state is thought to largely rely on the health and growth of the businesses and industries who make their home within their boundaries, and Minnesota proves this to be true. In fact, Minnesota hosts a surprising variety of businesses and industries that offer employment to the current residents of the state, as well as those who come to the state to find good jobs. These businesses and industries include:

  • The biosciences, including medical device technology, human health microbiology, medical genomic research, stem cell research, animal science research, and biofuels research and development
  • Manufacturing, including a wide range of products from food to advanced technology
  • Data centers, including data and network operation centers
  • Clean and renewable resources, including developing clean technology and renewable energy sources
  • Banking and finance, including corporate locations for some of the most well-known banking institutions in the country
  • Health care services, including both well-known hospitals, such as the Mayo Clinic, and cutting edge research facilities working to find cures to many of the most prolific health issues facing America and the world today
  • Agriculture, mining, and timber industries

With such a wide range of employers concentrated within the state, residents can enjoy finding the job that fits their skill sets and interests. In addition, educational opportunities are fueled by the demand for a skilled work force, helping to keep the education quality and opportunities high for the residents of the state and their families. In fact, current statistics show that 40 percent of the population of Twin Cities area holds a Bachelor's Degree or higher.

Largest Employers in Minnesota

Minnesota is home to an unusually large number of major employers capable of employing thousands of people. According to statistics for the year 2015, the following employers ranked as the top five employers by size of workforce in the state.

  • The State of Minnesota: Employs 40,208 workers
  • The United States Federal Government: Employs approximately 34,000 people
  • The Mayo Foundation, including the Mayo Clinic and Mayo Health: Employs approximately 32,893 people, of which more than 3,300 are physicians, researchers, or scientists
  • Target Corporation: Employs 30,500 people within the state with more than 371,000 employees worldwide
  • Allina Health System: Employs 23,302 and has its headquarters within the state

In total, 16 Fortune 500 companies are located within the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul area of the state alone, employing thousands of Minnesota residents. In addition to Target, mentioned above, the list includes heavy hitters like:

  • United Health Group, with an estimate annual revenue of more than 130 billion dollars
  • 3M, with
  • U.S. Bancorp
  • General Mills
  • Land O'Lakes
  • Xcel Energy

Private corporations are also some of the largest employers in the state, including such well-known brands as:

  • Cargill, located in Minneapolis with a workforce numbering more than 130,000
  • Carlson, a hotel and restaurants company located in Minnetonka, employing more than 50,000
  • Schwan Food, located in Marshall, with employees numbering around 17,000
  • Holiday Companies of Bloomington, a convenience store and gas station company employing 4,600
  • Rosen's Diversified in Fairmont, a food, drink and tobacco company with 4,000 employees
  • M. A. Mortenson, of Minneapolis, a construction company with 2,200 employees
  • Anderson, of Bayport, a construction enterprise with 9,000 employees

The State of Minnesota, including heavily populated Minneapolis-St. Paul region, understands the importance having quality employers to provide jobs and tax dollars to support the needs of the citizens and works diligently to continue to have these kinds of employers make Minnesota their permanent home.

Culture

Native American influences run deep within the boundaries of Minnesota. Large Dakota, Sioux, and Ojibwe populations, along with numerous smaller tribes were present long before French fur trappers made their way to the area back in the 17th century. As more people came to the region to trap plentiful furs and take advantage of a booming timber industry, they adopted skills from the Native Americans that continue to be utilized today, such as making and using snowshoes to make walking easier in snowy winter weather and boiling down sap from maple trees to sweeten foods. Even more apparent is the Native influence present even today in the names of the state and its rivers, lakes and cities.

A Rapidly Evolving Population

During the 19th and 20th centuries, European settlers flocked to the Minnesota territory to take advantage of the rich soil for growing food, plentiful wood for building and heating, and the abundance of plants, animals, and fish to feed their families. Many of these Europeans originated in Scandinavia and Germany, and like the Native Americans, their influence continues to be seen today.

During the last century, immigrants from Latin America, the Horn of Africa and Asia have helped to broaden and diversify the population and add additional cultural elements of their own to the population of Minnesota. This cultural diversification can be seen in traditions, customs, and even the traditional recipes handed down from generation to generation.

Kindness and Generosity are Longstanding Minnesota Traditions

Residents of the state are so widely known for their kindness and generosity that the phrase "Minnesota Nice" has been coined to describe their courteous, pleasant, mild-mannered behavior. While much fun has been made of the phrase, Minnesota residents can be counted on to be kind and generous to everyone around them.

Minnesota Sports Teams

Being a sports fan in Minnesota offers a tremendous amount of options. For openers, the state is well represented in all four major professional sports leagues:

  • National Hockey League (NHL) – cold Minnesota winters are perfect for hockey and Minnesota Wild plays from their home rink in the Xcel Energy Center, offering exciting action for hockey fans all across the state and across the nation
  • Major League Baseball (MLB) – a perennial favorite, The Minnesota Twins play in the AL Central Division from their award winning stadium, Target Field in Minneapolis
  • National Football League (NFL) – The Minnesota Vikings play in the NFC North division and have a home stadium – the recently built U.S. Bank Stadium located in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • National Basketball Association (NBA) – The Minnesota Timber Wolves, famous for their dunks and no-look passes play to large crowds every season on their home court in Minneapolis' Target Center

In addition, Minnesota is also well represented in numerous other professional sporting leagues, including:

  • Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) – The Minnesota Lynx
  • Major League Soccer – Minnesota United FC
  • American Association (AA Baseball) – St. Paul Saints and the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks
  • Women's American Football (IWFL) – Minnesota Vixen

College, high school and local and regional level sports teams can count on homegrown support for their efforts as loyal Minnesotans continue to turn out for their games and cheer them on, season after season.

Minnesota also offers unique opportunities for sports fans who want something a little different from standard football or basketball, with sports such as bandy, lacrosse, golf, disc golf, and Ultimate Frisbee. NASCAR and other automotive racing sports are also huge crowd pleasers at both Minnesota's tracks, the 3/8-mile-long Elko Speedway in Elko, Minnesota and the 1/4 mile long oval known as Raceway Park in Shakopee, Minnesota. Minnesota is also home to the Brainerd International Raceway, where National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) races have been held since 1963.

Minnesota is Committed to Art

For a state known for its breathtaking wilderness areas and outdoor life style, a commitment to art might seem unusual. Minnesotans, however, have a wonderful appreciation of all forms of art, and have dozens of well-known museums and galleries to prove it, including:

  • Walker Art Center – offering visual art exhibitions, performing arts shows, film screenings and other contemporary art from around the world
  • Minneapolis Institute of Arts – offering masterpieces from a wide variety of cultures and eras, including Monets, Rembrandts, Chinese Jade, and American Indian pieces
  • Museum of Russian Art – an intimate museum located in the former Mayflower Church with rotating exhibits perfect for viewing in a single visit
  • Bakken Museum – at home in a century-old, English Tudor Mansion, the museum's offerings grew from Medtronic co-founder, Earl Bakken's collection of instruments, books and other pieces with historical scientific significance
  • American Swedish Institute – housed in two building, including the majestic Turnblad mansion, the museum is filled with stained glass and intricate woodwork and offers popular seasonal events and Swedish-inspired classes for all age groups
  • Bell Museum of Natural History offers taxidermy, environmental exhibits, and detailed dioramas, as well as star gazing via daily shows in the Exploradome

In addition to these and other large museums in the state, Minnesota also offers a wide range of opportunities to see the creations of local artists and craftsmen, many inspired by Native American culture.

Music in Minnesota

Preserving the rich and unique history of Minnesota is important to those who choose the state as their home. The Minnesota Historical Society was founded to assist with this effort by not only helping to research, record, and preserve history but also to make it available for residents, visitors, schools, and others to enjoy and learn from. From Native American and early immigrant cultures through today, this organization helps people learn from the past to improve their future.

The Importance of History

Preserving the rich and unique history of Minnesota is important to those who choose the state as their home. The Minnesota Historical Society was founded to assist with this effort by not only helping to research, record, and preserve history but also to make it available for residents, visitors, schools, and others to enjoy and learn from. From Native American and early immigrant cultures through today, this organization helps people learn from the past to improve their future.

Festivals are a Minnesota Specialty

Minnesota communities, both large and small, have made annual festivals, fairs and musical extravaganzas a wonderful tradition enjoyed by all ages of residents and visitors, alike. While some of the festivals are all about entertainment, games, contests and really good food, others have a specific focus, such as Farmfest, Arbor Day Tree Walk, the Apple Festival, or the Lake Minnetonka 4th of July Celebration. Country music fans flock to WE Fest yearly for camping and jams. With nearly seven hundred festivals, fairs, and musical events already planned for the coming year, it's a sure bet that Minnesota residents and visitors can always find fun, good food, and great companionship at one of these events near them.

So Much to See and Do

With plentiful land, abundant resources, affordable living and housing costs, and excellent employment and advancement opportunities Minnesota really does have a lot to offer for people of all ages. If you are wondering about whether Minnesota is a good fit for you, why not come visit?

Attend one of the many popular festivals or spend a few days paddling around in crystal clear lake water and you may find it difficult to leave. Take a tour of some of the major employers or visit schools and parks - its a safe bet you will like what you see.

Minnesota offers both bustling urban areas and relaxed rural living to appeal to those ready to build a successful career, those who are ready to relax and retire, and all those in between. Come to Minnesota for a few days or a few years and you will see how incredibly easy it is to call Minnesota home.

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