16 Pros and Cons of Living in Minnesota

Updated On December 21, 2023

As someone who lived in South Dakota for nearly a decade, Minnesota was the best-kept secret of us East River folk.

You could drive for a few minutes from my house in Brandon and be in Minnesota before you spit out a sunflower seed.

About 18 miles, to be exact.

Meanwhile, I will stop daydreaming about the Land of 10,000 Lakes and take you there in words to see if it is worth a move for you.

Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Pros of Living in Minnesota

1. Being Near the Mall of America

Located in Bloomington, the Mall of America is Disneyland for shopaholics.

There is at least one amusement park with eight rollercoasters in this mall.

I have been there; it is insane.

You do not have to pay to walk into the mall, either, but they certainly want you to spend some money while shopping!

2. The Science Museum of Minnesota is Fun for All Ages

A very spacious and expensive science museum is located in Minneapolis.

The Science Museum of Minnesota has Egyptian mummies, dinosaur replicas, and giant ships.

There are so many exhibits to experience, including an indoor sports area for testing your arm strength when throwing all types of balls.

This is a great way to spend a winter’s day when there is a blizzard outside.

Plus, you can score one of those cool trending purple sweatshirts as seen in the “Stranger Things” television series.

3. The Great Lakes is Everything in the Land of 10,000 Lakes!

Speaking of outside, the Land of 10,000 Lakes is in the northern part of the state of Minnesota.

The state has 11,842 lakes, which is even more epic.

More than 14,000 ponds, lakes, rivers, and streams of freshwater take over Minnesota throughout the year.

If you love to swim, fish, ice fish, or sail, then this is the state for you.

Grab an oar and prepare to paddle!

There are outdoor recreations, including ice skating, ice hockey, and camping, that let you enjoy these picturesque waterways all over the state.

4. Cost of Living in Minnesota is Not High

The cost of living in Minnesota is 2.5 percent less than in the rest of the nation.

If you want to move to Minnesota, the cost of living is the 20th highest in the US.

Expect to pay less for healthcare, but almost 100 percent (at 101.9 percent) for housing, and less for utilities.

According to the Minnesota Employment and Economic Development, the monthly costs for two parents, both working full time, with two children, as a family unit, is $94,164 a year, or:

  • $22.64 an hour
  • $1,905 in childcare
  • $1,073 for food
  • $571 on healthcare
  • $1,602 on housing
  • $814 transportation
  • $732 on miscellaneous
  • $1,150 on state taxes

5. Twins Baseball is a Major League Sport and the Vikings Rule in Football

If you are into baseball and love the Minnesota Twins, you are always going to get a first glimpse at your favorite team.

Yay for baseball and the concessions that it brings each spring!

By fall, everyone will be sporting purple shirts to support the Vikings, football team.

Minnesota is one of few Midwestern states big enough to have its own NFL team.

This means most of the locals, including the Dakota residents, will travel a few hours just to see a game.

Sports also give residents something to do indoors as a break from the weather.

6. Vegans Have the Only Vegan Butcher in the State in Minnesota

Minnesota is not exactly the most famous for its vegan or vegetarian cuisine.

But neither are any of the other states in the Midwest.

I lived in South Dakota for eight years and found one vegetarian restaurant in all of Sioux Falls–forget a vegan restaurant.

However, if you are vegan and live in this Midwestern state, you must check out the first vegan butcher in the US called The Herbivorous Butcher.

The butcher is located on 1st Avenue in Minneapolis.

It is amazing and worth talking about.

Especially after visiting the Prince Museum.

7. The Prince Museum aka Paisley Park is in Minneapolis, Too!

Speaking of purple, one of the princes of pop, the actual Prince, was alive and then died in Minneapolis.

It was a big deal when it happened, and now you can visit Paisley Park and see some of the musician’s prized collections of guitars, outfits, and music facts.

Prince lived and had his personal recording studio in Paisley Park, in the town of Chanhassen, southwest of Minneapolis only 20 miles.

In fact, Chanhassen is worth considering if you are moving to the state.

The City of Chanhassen was recognized as the Best Community Festival for the 4th of July; among the Best Places to Live in the Nation, and a Top 10 Town to Raise a Family.

8. Ice Castles!!! They Have Actual Ice Castles Open to the Public

As a South Dakota resident, I never made it to one of those ice castles in Minnesota.

The only reason being it was a long drive of a few hours that had to occur super early in order to see these ice sculptures in the daylight.

If you get there at 2 pm, the sun is cresting the ridge already.

However, if you live in Minnesota, the many free ice castles that are giant playgrounds of solid ice are really happening and probably in your backyard.

That is the biggest pro I can find about living in Minnesota!

Cons of Living in Minnesota

1. Some Counties are More Than $100,000 a Year on the Cost of Living

The most expensive counties are Scott, Sherburne, Wright, Ramsey, Isanti, Hennepin, Dakota, Carver, and Anoka, where it is more than $100,000 a year to live in these counties.

Other counties in the state cost a yearly average of less than $100,000 for food, health care, housing, etc.

If you are on a budget, avoid moving to these more expensive counties, at least until you get settled.

2. It Snows Heavily and Gets Very Cold in the Winter Months

If you have never lived in cold temperatures, be advised it gets hairy.

Blizzard conditions and subzero temperatures with wind chills of negative 40 degrees Fahrenheit are not uncommon.

You might even get snowed in or lose power due to ice storms in the wintertime.

It is a whole new world for someone who comes from Florida or Hawaii.

Be prepared to shell out big on winter gear in the first few seasons as you get your bearings.

For example, you will soon appreciate the $10,000 price tag on a machine-operated and human-powered snow blower to clean off your driveway.

3. Winter Sports Include…Ice-Related Activities

Ice hockey, ice fishing, camping on ice…these are a few of a Minnesotan’s favorite things to do in the wintertime!

Watching TV while bundled up and staying indoors where it is warm is also a winning sport.

If you want to see sunshine and play basketball on the court in your new neighborhood, you had better sign up for an indoor sports center.

You do have to have an affinity or at least an appreciation for winter sports if you plan on moving to Minnesota.

4. Shopping is a Major Sport Here, Too!

The largest shopping mall in the US–the Mall of America–is in Bloomington, right outside of the Twin Cities.

You will want to go more than once, just to see the entire place.

There is also the Midwest’s IKEA store right there, too.

The thing is, in South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa–not many of the stores in the Mall of America are found.

Therefore, everyone from the Midwest comes to shop at the Mall of America.

Sure, it might be big. But it also stays busy most of the year thanks to plenty of regional and international shoppers.

Living in the mall area means far too much traffic and attention to the mall, too.

5. The Pacific and the Atlantic are Both Equally Very Far Away

Feeling sick about the sea?

Stop thinking about moving to Minnesota then, because you will only distance yourself further away.

The state is smack dab right in the middle where the oceans are the last thing on anyone’s mind.

You avoid talking about the ocean, beach, waves, and surf because it only makes everyone sick with envy.

Therefore, if you lust for sea breezes, stay away from Minnesota.

6. Mountain Climbers Will Have a Hard Time Climbing a Peak Here

Minnesota is a flatland state.

Flatlanders love it, but those who crave mountain crags do not get the open space at all.

If you prefer to see mountains and climb them, forget it in Minnesota.

7. Recreational Cannabis is Not Legal, but Medicinal Cannabis is Sold in MN

The state of Minnesota legalized medicinal cannabis available through a doctor’s office under strict protocols in 2014.

But this is not recreational cannabis sold at dispensaries as they do on the West Coast, at all.

So if you are used to smoking cannabis legally and recreationally, forget about it here.

You will be able to find and purchase cannabis only if you go through a medical provider and prove that you need it for health reasons.

For most cannabis users, this is a lot and not worth the hassle.

8. Flannel is For Real in Minnesota, and So Are Hot Dishes and Midwesterners

There is a culture in the Midwest that stipulates you must wear red and black flannel button-up shirts and serve hot dishes at dinner time.

These Midwesterners, including Minnesotans, sure, are also very into their own culture.

If you spend some time listening to their regional accents, you will start to pick up on this a little bit.

In time, you will also become a Minnesotan in some regard.

You will also start to lose your previous identity, and find yourself wearing far too much flannel.

That could be an issue.

St. Paul, Minnesota
St. Paul, Minnesota

Pros and Cons of Living in Minnesota – Summary Table

Pros of Living in MinnesotaCons of Living in Minnesota
1. Being Near the Mall of America1. Some Counties are More Than $100,000 a Year on the Cost of Living 
2. The Science Museum of Minnesota is Fun for All Ages2. It Snows Heavily and Gets Very Cold in the Winter Months
3. The Great Lakes is Everything in the Land of 10,000 Lakes!3. Winter Sports Include…Ice-Related Activities
4. Cost of Living in Minnesota is Not High4. Shopping is a Major Sport Here, Too!
5. Twins Baseball is a Major League Sport and the Vikings Rule in Football5. The Pacific and the Atlantic are Both Equally Very Far Away
6. Vegans Have the Only Vegan Butcher in the State in Minnesota6. Mountain Climbers Will Have a Hard Time Climbing a Peak Here
7. The Prince Museum aka Paisley Park is in Minneapolis, Too!7. Recreational Cannabis is Not Legal, but Medicinal Cannabis is Sold in MN
8. Ice Castles!!! They Have Actual Ice Castles Open to the Public8. Flannel is For Real in Minnesota, and So Are Hot Dishes and Midwesterners

Minnesota Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Minnesota Safety Review

Safety Index:

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most popular sports in Minnesota?

Major league sports, including baseball and football, as well as ice hockey, are the most popular sports in Minnesota.

What is the Twin Cities all about?

The Twin Cities are Minneapolis and St. Paul, both of which are in Minnesota.

The reason they are called the Twin Cities is that they are bordering on each other and are connected by waterways.

A suspension bridge connects the two cities.

Twin Cities was a name used for the two cities in the 1840s during the settlement of the area.

Really, there is no really good explanation for the use of Twin Cities, but it sticks.

How many people live in the Twin Cities?

Minneapolis has 443,715 people while St. Paul has 311,504 people.

These are the two most populated cities in the state of Minnesota.

The third most populated state is Rochester with only 117,134 people, which is a third fewer by comparison.

Why should I avoid moving to Minnesota in the winter months?

The winter months often experience blizzard conditions and whiteouts of snow and ice.

You might find yourself stranded in a snow storm unable to unpack or even get up to your driveway to your new rented home.

What do people like to do in the wintertime in Minnesota?

Along with the largest mall in the nation, the Mall of America, where people can stay warm and indoors for hours on end, there are other cool places locals hang out during the cold months.

The Science Museum is a massive complex downtown in St. Paul.

Fun for all ages, this is also a great excuse for combining learning and entertainment while on a holiday.

Hockey and ice skating, as well as ice fishing and camping in the summer, are also very popular in this state.

8 Comments on 16 Pros and Cons of Living in Minnesota

  1. S
    Susan Johnson says:

    Avoid moving to Minnesota. It sucks. Trust me… I have lived here my whole life. Horrible climate, tons of crime, (Car jackings on a daily basis), passive aggressive citizens, high cost of living for “flyover country.” Also, no consequences for criminals, and the state is filled with 3rd world trash refugees who take advantage of Minnesota’s liberal welfare. Google “Feeding Our Future” for more info

    1. S
      Stephanie C says:

      Yes, if believe people from poor nations and immigrants are trash, and/or have the bigoted viewpoints that Susan has: PLEASE AVOID MOVING TO MINNESOTA. You will have to put up with diverse people from all over the world existing around you, and most people won’t share your ignorant and hateful viewpoints. Also avoid Minnesota if your knowledge of basic facts is so twisted from living in a far-right echo chamber that every fact/statistic you believe about your home state is demonstrably false.

      Minnesota has a long history of welcoming migrants and has many thriving immigrant communities, it also has a significantly lower crime rate than the national average. Undocumented immigrants are HALF as likely to be arrested for violent crimes than native-born Americans (1)

      ‘Feeding our Future’ was NOT a government/state-run ‘liberal welfare’ program, but a private sector enterprise. By Susan’s logic, it seems this private-sector fraud is an example of how state run welfare programs are superior to private sector charities in terms of reducing waste and fraudulent activity as well as increased transparency and oversight.

      Minnesota has a cost of living 2% LOWER than the national average, with housing being a full 13% LOWER in MN than the national average. (2)

      I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, in the case it would be assuming that Susan is honest about always living in MN, and lives here despite hating everything about the state. Though to be honest, it is always people outside of MN that assume it is a flyover state that is a hellhole to live in despite ranking above-average, if not in the top 10 in every metric comparing states (including 5th best state to live in overall, and 2nd best in total quality of life (3), due to right-wing pundits insisting all non-red states are simply unlivable. As someone who has NOT lived in Minnesota their whole life, and had to live in red states that ranked worse than Minnesota in every measure of standard of living, quality of life, education, healthcare, crime, poverty, employment… etc, I’m a bit more qualified to speak about comparisons. Not to mention having a basic command/understanding of the facts and regarding how MN compares to national averages that isn’t profoundly warped by xenophobic vitirol and bias.

      Even in a highly educated, progressive state that tends to be more tolerant and open minded, there will still be people who give their minds (and hearts) to bigotry, hatred, and ignorance. How else could someone:

      -claim that a state that consistently ranks as one of the best states to living in with the highest quality of life/living standards is one no one should move to because it ‘sucks’

      -blame public sector social welfare programs for a private sector charity committing fraud

      -falsely claim MN has a higher than average cost of living, crime rate

      -see fellow human beings as actual ‘trash’ based on their country of origin

      It is pretty clear hatred rots the mind, just speak to any bigot for more than a few minutes, and witness how warped their perception of reality is, how their viewpoint is easily debunked by reality, and nothing they claim is based on actual facts. Now, a reasonable person will re-evaluate their viewpoint when confronted with facts that contradict their prior views. A person who sees other human beings as ‘trash’ is not a reasonable person, and will almost certainly continue to allow vitriol, rather than facts, empathy, or basic human decency, guide their opinions.

  2. A
    Anonymous says:

    I’ve lived here since 1966, hate it more every year,looking to get out!!!

    1. S
      SC from MN says:

      If your reason for hating it is because of seeing immigrants as human trash, as Susan does, please leave ASAP. I’ll trade migrants for bigots any day.

  3. Don’t move to MN, crime, wasted tax dollars, CONSTRUCTION NEVER ENDS, weather is depressing.

    1. S
      SC from MN says:

      Minnesota has a lower crime rate than the national average.

  4. S
    SC from MN says:

    Minnesota ranks #1 in infrastructure, this requires constant construction (especially considering the climate) as well as tax expenditures, I don’t see how that is a bad thing, much less a ‘waste’ of tax dollars.

    Personally, I find the winters here beautiful, though they can get a bit long, I appreciate living in a place with all 4 seasons that doesn’t have sweltering heat half the year. When it is warm, I can only take off so many layers: but when it is cold, I can always add a little more to keep warm. That’s a personal preference, though I doubt most people who have lived in MN their entire life understand how awful living in a place with long, excruciatingly hot summers is, and the toll it takes on a person’s health. (Minnesota is also one of the healthiest states)

    Minnesota’s crime rate is well below the national average. People stuck in far-right echo chambers believe the opposite, and think all blue states are crime-ridden, impoverished hellholes. You can argue about the reasons for the data, but the fact remains that in comparison to blue states, red states have:
    -higher crime rates (both violent and property crimes)
    -higher incarceration rates
    -higher poverty rates
    -higher percentages of people on welfare
    -higher unemployment rates
    -higher teen pregnancy rates
    -lower graduation rates
    -lower numbers of college graduates
    -lower educational and health outcomes in general
    -lower wages
    -lower GDP
    -higher infant mortality rates
    -decreased life expectancy
    -higher rates of obesity and chronic illness

    and rank significantly lower in terms of quality of life and standard of living and are inferior when it comes to just about every metric used to compare states. Minnesota is both one of the bluest states in the US, and ranks as one of the best in the nation by just about every metric available, any data showing otherwise is either false, or SEVERELY cherry-picked/misleading.

  5. A
    Anonymous says:

    Well, don’t consider moving to Colorado if you think it’s bad there. Been here all my life and would move in a heart beat if I could figure out where to go.

Leave a Comment

Facebook Pinterest Comment Comment