Twin Cities: Part 1 - Minneapolis

Having traveled to over 30 states in the US and having seen almost every major American city, my expectations of the Twin Cities, as Minnea...

Having traveled to over 30 states in the US and having seen almost every major American city, my expectations of the Twin Cities, as Minneapolis and Saint Paul are often called, were on a lower side. After all, what can you expect from a far away place that became a synonym of brutally cold and long winters? Right, not much. Oh boy, was I wrong. The Twin Cities turned out to be a very livable, attractive and culturally diverse place with a lot of things to experience. Their fine American architecture with distinct old mill style blended nicely with surrounding prairie and mixed forest landscape. And the weather was perfect, at least, in the month of June.

The name "Twin Cities" is not just a formality. Both Minneapolis and Saint Paul, although located side-by-side, are equally worth visiting although each with its own special character.
This article will focus on Minneapolis, the bigger of the two. 
I personally found Minneapolis to be more energetic and lively comparing to a bit sleepy Saint Paul, a capital of Minnesota. 
Minneapolis's old mill heritage and other historical buildings demonstrate both age and maturity.
Unlike many other old major American cities that grew in size and population mostly thanks to heavy manufacturing, Minneapolis emerged and flourished as the world's largest flour-milling hub.
Over twenty five different mills once dotted the waterfront of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis in mid-19th century. One of them, half destroyed, has been converted to Mill City Museum.
Impressive St. Anthony Falls on the Mississippi River is a natural attraction in the heart of Minneapolis. 
In spite it was and still is an impassable obstacle for boats to travel upstream, some entrepreneurs in 19th century saw an opportunity in them to generate energy to power mill operations.
And Mississippi River provided an easy and cheap way to transport flour to the rest of the United States and even abroad. Check more in my article about the Working River.
Downtown Minneapolis is experiencing a development boom - a sign of a growing economy. They call it "The Big Build". 
An aboveground passageway between buildings is common for cities that experience cold winters or extremely hot summers. Guess where Minneapolis is leaning towards?
New condominiums with daring contemporary design attract both young people and those who wish to downsize for their retirement. 
Older buildings blend nicely with new ones.
Downtown no longer empties at the end of the work day as more and more people choose to live in the heart of the city.
New public places such as sport venues, libraries and cultural centres emerge helping attract after-work crowds.
Nature is never too far from the city.
In fact, beautiful Minnehaha Falls are located right in the middle of Minneapolis. 
A short metro ride or a car drive will get you there in no time.
Although it does not feel wild, it provides a good opportunity for people for walking, jogging, running, biking and even practicing some yoga.
Or maybe only posing for a nice shot.
What becomes the mighty Mississippi River, the main inland artery of the United States, is still tiny and narrow in size in Minneapolis. 
Whether you're heading farther north to experience pristine forests and lakes of northern Minnesota or having a short stopover, it's well worth your time to check out the Twin Cities.

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