Quick Facts About Minnesota
Calling the state of Minnesota the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” is a misnomer — actually, there are 11,842 recreation-ready spots ideal for boating, kayaking, swimming, ice fishing and chilling out shoreside.
A state that exudes Midwest-meets-North-Woods-charm — or “Minnesota nice”— it’s the kind of locale beloved by intrepid, outdoorsy types. So, it should come as no surprise that Minnesota residents come from hearty stock — after all, long, snowy winters require that. Cold weather not your cup of tea? Whether you paddle through boundary waters to the tune of howling wolves; explore the remote waterways of Voyagers National Park; or set your sights on the jaw-dropping Northern Lights, a good down jacket — fashion de rigueur — will take care of that.
Of course, it’s not all about outdoor activities. Prefer to stick to the bustling, cultured Twin Cities or the freighter-stippled port city of Duluth? There are endlessly enriching experiences just waiting to be had.
As for other draws — and drawbacks — Minnesota was ranked the best state to raise a family and the third state in child well-being. Adding to the appeal, Minnesota affords residents a low cost of living compared to the national average, with a median household income of $73,382 — higher than that of neighboring states. Meanwhile, the median home price increased 4.4% to $330,000 in August 2022. Beyond increasing real estate prices, it’s important to note the state’s income tax is significantly higher than most of the country, sitting at 9.85%.
Want to learn more about the cost of living in various Minnesota counties? Explore the cost of living by county here.
Weather in Minnesota
Located in the upper Midwest, there’s no denying Minnesota’s continental climate ushers in temperature extremes, which translate into cold winters and hot summers. The lowest temp ever recorded? A bone-chilling −60° F in the city of Tower on February 2, 1996. But be careful what you wish for since, by contrast, the high clocked in at a sweltering 114° F in Moorhead on July 6, 1936.
Consider yourself a gardener? It’s important to note that the growing season varies from 90 days in far northeastern Minnesota to 160 days in the state’s southeastern reaches, near the Mississippi River.
Considering a move to the state of Minnesota? Understandably, you may find yourself wondering about the best time to move. January is the coldest month of the year, while July is the hottest. Late spring, summer and early fall are the most temperate seasons for a move to the state.
Advantages of Moving to Minnesota
Fastest Growing Cities — and Jobs — in Minnesota
If you’re thinking about moving to the state of Minnesota, it’s important to consider both the opportunities and the overall vibe that suits you best. Those who prefer to live in or around a big city are in good company in Minneapolis, which grew to 425,336 in 2021 (up from 382,578 in 2010), followed by St. Paul, which saw a rise in residents to a total of 307,193 (285,068 in 2010). These remain the most densely populated locations in the state.
Other cities that also saw big growth were Brooklyn Park (84,526 residents, up from 75,781 in 2010) and Rochester (121,465 residents, up from 106,769 in 2010). Not to be overlooked are Bloomington (89,987, up from 82,893 in 2010) and Duluth (seeing a slight population increase to 86,372, from 86,265 in 2010).
From a job perspective, the outlook for those living in Minnesota is good. According to DEED’s Labor Market Information office, the one-year employment projections forecast an average of 5,159 added jobs per month, bringing employment to 99.8%, on par with the February 2020 pre-pandemic level. To that end, Minnesota hosts plenty of Fortune 500 companies, including Polaris Industries, Hormel Foods, Land O’Lakes, Ameriprise Financial, General Mills and Ecolab, to name a few.
And present labor market constraints aside, all but one industry in Minnesota — utilities — is expected to add jobs in the year to come, with the largest number falling into the manufacturing; educational services; administrative support; waste management; and the food, beverage and hospitality industries.
Fun Things to Do in Minnesota
It has been said that Minnesota is the best place to vacation from, though plenty of residents beg to differ — there are just so many fun and interesting things to do.
For one thing, you can learn about Viking history firsthand, whether it’s visiting the Gokstad Viking ship at the Hjemkomst Center in Moorhead or catching an interactive event from the Viking Connection, which specializes in Viking Age crafts of Scandinavia.
For a surprising but true experience, plan a day trip to Black Beach in the town of Silver Bay, where taconite tailings — a very hard rock containing low-grade iron ore used to make iron and steel — mimic black sand on Lake Superior’s north shore. Bordered by jagged cliffs and rock formations, it’s a great place to while away a day.
Minnesota is Paul Bunyan country, making a visit with Babe the blue ox requisite when thrill-seeking at amusement park Paul Bunyan Land in the Brainerd Lakes area. While you’re there, hang out with a 26-foot animatronic version of the lumberjack himself.
Another unique outing can be had at Running Aces Casino, a Columbus hotel, gambling destination and racetrack that features harness horse racing and the chance to catch your own trout for dinner from a pond outside.
Have a sweet tooth? Make fast tracks to Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store in Jordan, a seasonal, family-run venture that’s mind-bogglingly large and open mid-May through November each year.
Given the climate in Minnesota, residents are accustomed to bundling up. That’s why a visit to the Faribault Mill proves both functional and fun. Known for its warm wool blankets — on the scene since 1865 — there’s surely something to suit your style.
Then again, you can always “meat” your match at Austin’s admission-free Spam Museum, which offers self-guided and guided tours that reveal the brand’s history. Then, keep the theme going with a visit to the Hormel Historic Home, an 1871 house-turned-museum that belonged to George A. and Lillian Hormel.
Last but certainly not least, is Paisley Park, Prince’s home and studio in Chanhassen. A tour takes you through his private sanctuary and production complex, with the chance to see the museum’s limited exhibitions, such as the one that showcases 300 pairs of Prince’s custom shoes.
Outdoor Things to Do in Minnesota
Animal lovers will appreciate the fact that there are opportunities to see wolves, bears, birds and other wildlife at three unforgettable destinations in Ely. Black bear-populated Bear Head Lake State Park in the Boundary Waters region offers recreational opportunities that include hiking, paddle boarding, camping and fishing amid 23 miles of shoreline. Meanwhile, the International Wolf Center offers programs and tours to see its furry ambassadors — not to mention a “howling safari,” during which you learn about calls and can vocalize to a pack to see if they respond. From there, head to the North American Bear Center, the only black bear and wildlife educational facility of its kind. Offering a wide array of opportunities to see and learn from the magnificent creatures, it’s a spot with all-ages appeal.
Near the Canada border, outdoor enthusiasts can revel in the remote natural beauty of the vast, 218,055-acre Voyagers National Park in International Falls. A wonderland of rock ridges, cliffs, wetlands, forests, streams and lakes, there are fishing, hiking, boating and camping opportunities galore. Arguably best explored by its waterways, you may even catch the mesmerizing Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) if luck is on your side.
Northeast Minnesota is the perfect place to try your hand at classic winter pastimes, like snowmobiling and ice fishing. Not sure where to start? Try the 146-mile North Shore Trail, keeping watch for wolves, moose, foxes and coyotes.
In the mood for a unique day trip? Head to Niagara Cave in Harmony. Located about two hours outside of Minneapolis, an underground tour of the limestone cave reveals a subterranean stream, not to mention a 60-foot waterfall, fossils, stalactites and stalagmites. On the other hand, if an above-ground adventure is more your speed, consider a trip to the sandstone Wabasha Street Caves, a notorious gangster hideout and man-made wonder.
Then again, on a hot summer day, few things are more refreshing than plunging into a swimming hole like the one at 683-acre Quarry Park & Nature Preserve in Waite Park. There are biking and hiking trails there, too.
Eat Local Minnesota Cuisine
Home to Swedish immigrants for over 150 years, they have left their mark on the state’s cuisine. One of the most iconic eats that prevail are allspice, juniper and pepper-inflected Swedish meatballs, blanketed in a creamy, comforting sauce and served atop the likes of mashed potatoes, traditionally alongside pickled cucumbers and lingonberry jam. Try them at FIKA, the American Swedish Institute’s Nordic-inspired café in Minneapolis.
Minnesota’s state grain is wild rice, and it often makes its way into soup. Buy it by the cup or the quart at Lunds & Byerlys grocery stores for a particularly rich, creamy take.
Among the state’s most popular cold weather comforts is the hot dish casserole, a rib-sticking combination of beef or chicken, veggies and canned cream of mushroom soup topped with tater tots and baked until golden brown. Not up for making it at home? Mason Jar Kitchen & Bar in Eagan has your back.
Home to a large Vietnamese and Hmong community, Minnesotans have more than embraced these cultures’ flavor-packed fare. With endless outlets for enjoyment, you can find some of the best — and most authentic — eateries in the Twin Cities. That includes colorful Vo’s Vietnamese at 34th and Lyndale, decades-old Quang’s Restaurant and Pho Tau Bay, a vibrant Eat Street eatery serving numbing dried pepper curries and thin, fish-sauced noodles that keep patrons coming back for more.
Sausage lovers will groove on Eastern European fare, another fringe benefit of the state’s proliferation of immigrant settlers. A great place to start? With the iconic sausages, stews and sauerkraut pierogi from Kramarczuk’s in Minneapolis.
Redolent of fennel and garlic, porchetta was brought to Minnesota by the state’s wave of Italian immigrant miners. For the best take, hit up porchetteria Terzo in South Minneapolis, where it’s served in sandwich and bowl form, the latter atop a bed of creamy polenta, offset by peperonata, rapini and a runny poached egg.
Smoked fish is a Minnesota staple. It’s also big business at Duluth specialist Northern Waters Smokehaus, which does salmon and whitefish just right, whether timelessly with dill; with a lemony coriander and black pepper punch; or with tongue-tingling Cajun flair.
Prepare for Your Move to Minnesota
Need long-distance movers to get you to Minnesota? Not sure how to start the process? United Van Lines can help you move cross-country.
Looking for local movers instead? Our moving experts offer both local and long-distance moving packages that simplify and streamline the process for both in-state and out-of-state moves, leaving you to focus on other tasks at hand.
Because it can be hard to stay organized during your move, we also provide a helpful moving checklist to keep you on track, along with a wealth of resources to guide you through your move — whether you move with us or DIY your relocation.