Minneapolis is a city with a lot of history and culture, and visitors from far and wide travel to the fine city for the art, music, and friendliness of the city. Historic theaters complement popular sports stadiums. Art galleries and science museums showcase the beauty of the human experience while students from a variety of schools see the city in living color, from Uptown to the north side, from local shops to George Floyd Square. Winter months reveal beautifully decorated city streets and cold winds blowing into warm and cozy coffee shops tucked off main drags. Summer months are vibrant with festivals, walks around the city lakes, and outdoor markets. So, where is Minneapolis? When is the best time to visit?
Perhaps you’ve been there before or maybe it’s your first time visiting. Maybe you’re a full-time resident or temporarily living in the city. No matter what it is that brought you to this page to learn more about it, we have some of your answers. We’ll take you through the map location of Minneapolis and we’ll give you a little insight on the history of the city and the things you can see and do there today.
Where is Minneapolis?
Minneapolis is a city in Minnesota. Minnesota rests in the northern part of the midwest portion of the United States. It is the “Land of Lakes”, named for the 11,842 lakes that pepper the state. In fact, the state of Minnesota has more miles of shoreline than Hawaii, California, and Florida combined. Some of these lakes rest right in the city of Minneapolis. Yes, Minneapolis is a lake city, and some of those lakes are even safe to swim in. According to Meet Minneapolis, there are 22 lakes in Minneapolis alone, including Lake Nokomis and Bde Maka Ska. Minneapolis also rests on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River – the second-longest river in North America.
Where is Minneapolis Located on a Map?
We’ve included an interactive map to help you get a better picture of where Minneapolis rests. You can see that it is right next to the capital city of Minnesota, St. Paul. The two cities share an airport – along with many other things. They are separated by the Mississippi River, but several bridges connect the two cities.
Minneapolis and St. Paul are two of only a few large cities in the state of Minnesota. They are the only two cities with populations that exceed 100,000. We’ll take a look at the population of Minneapolis and compare it to other cities in the next section.
Population of Minneapolis
Minneapolis has a population of 425,336 (2021 census). It is the largest city in Minnesota and the 46th most populated city in the United States. This is the population for Minneapolis proper. Greater Minneapolis (also known as the Twin Cities or the Minneapolis Metro), which consists of Minneapolis-St. Paul and its surrounding suburbs and counties, have a population of 3,690,512.
The median age of Minneapolis residents is 32.3 years old and the median income is $35,555. About 17 percent of the Minneapolis population experiences poverty – nearly 1/5 of the population. This living wage calculator estimates that an individual would need to make $31,722 a year to afford the expenses of living in Minneapolis.
The next largest city in Minnesota is St. Paul, with a population of 307,193 (2021 census). St. Paul has a similar median age (32.5) and a lower median income ($31,435). The same living wage calculator estimates that an individual needs to make the same amount of money in St. Paul ($31,722) as in Minneapolis to afford the cost of living. As you can see, the median income does not account for the cost of living. The poverty rate in St. Paul is only slightly higher than in Minneapolis at 17.6 percent.
Here’s a table of other cities in Minnesota for comparison on population and other helpful statistics.
|Cost of Living (Annual)
Minneapolis was originally inhabited by the Dakota people, who settled along Saint Anthony Falls. This was the only natural waterfall along the entire length of the Mississippi River and a beautiful place to live. When the Dakota Sioux lived in the area, they named it Bde Óta Othúŋwe, which means “Many Lakes Town”. It still is the city of lakes now, a nickname that residents proudly carry on in history. In 1680, the French found and explored the region, bringing with them the beginning of endless European exploration and settlement – and the end of Dakota Sioux life and culture in the area.
By 1819, Fort Snelling was erected and the remaining Native Peoples in the area were being told to give up hunting and cultivating the land. Forced assimilation of Indigenous people – especially children – began. Finally, the Indigenous tribes ceded their lands in a series of treaties to the new US settlers. The US Government didn’t honor the terms of these treaties and stole many of the resources promised to the tribes in the area. Famine broke out among the Dakota people. When a war for resources broke out, the colonists exiled the starving Dakota people from their own lands and stole the rest of their native birthrights.
Now that the settlers had full control of the land they wanted, they had to name the area. In 1852, residents couldn’t decide between naming the city in honor of the Greeks or the Dakota people, so they chose a hybrid of the two. They picked the Dakota word for water (mni) and combined it with the Greek word for city (polis). Minneapolis was born and achieved incorporation in 1867.
Minneapolis had two founding industries, and they were the biggest in the world! Lumber and flour milling came to prominence in the 19th century and dominated the area – and the world. Flour milling was huge for Minneapolis. The Pillsbury Company and General Mills both had mills running out of Minneapolis, and the Pillsbury A-Mill was the largest flour mill in the world for 40 years. This massive mill was completed in 1881 and operated two direct-drive waterwheels that were some of the most powerful ever built. At its peak, the mill put out 17,500 barrels of flour a day.
Most of this mill still stands in Downtown East Minneapolis but has been repurposed as artist lofts and a museum. You can explore some of the ruins of the mill and tour the Mill City Museum. There is a beautiful river walk and access to the Stone Arch Bridge. This historic riverfront carries the history of the founding industry of the city along with its more Bohemian roots.
The lumber industry was also booming in the area. The first lumber operations kicked off in 1839 with the opening of a sawmill in Stillwater, Minnesota. Soon, Minneapolis was a leader in the lumber industry, but most operations ceased by 1929, never to reach the peaks they achieved in the 90 years previous.
Industry in Minneapolis Now
Minneapolis now leads in medical technology, commercialization, and manufacturing. The Midwest tends to lead in agriculture and manufacturing, and Minneapolis is no exception when it comes to helping out on the manufacturing end. When it comes to manufacturing, Minneapolis leads in advanced manufacturing. Other industries include food and agriculture, clean tech and renewable energy, and leading life sciences.
Things to do in Minneapolis
Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, you’re probably looking for fun things to do when you’re hanging out around the city. We’ve compiled some small lists of things to do around town. Most of these items will simply be listed, some with links to their pages. A couple of the items will have short descriptions to give you a better idea of what they are.
- Spyhouse Coffee Roasters
- Carma Coffee
- Uncommon Grounds
- Bob’s Java Hut
- Backstory Coffee Roasters
- The Get Down Coffee Co.
Restaurants (Vegan and Vegetarian)
- Trio Plant-Based
- Vegan East Cafe
- Reverie Cafe + Bar
- French Meadow Cafe
- Stray Dog Restaurant
- Tongue in Cheek
- Herbivorous Butcher
- J. Selby’s
- Seed Cafe
- Eureka Compass
- Matt’s Bar
- Holy Land Bakery, Grocery and Deli
- The Capital Grille
- Young Joni
- Zen Box Izakaya
- Bar la Grassa
- Midtown Global Market (This is a location with several different food and market vendors. You can get food from several different cultures or sit down with classic American fare. A great central location with a wide variety of options for every palate. A lot of affordable options for those on a budget, as well.)
- Mesa Pizza (Giant slices of all sorts of pizza, served hot and ready at all hours in a few convenient locations)
- Uptown Diner
- Walker Art Center
- Mill City Museum
- Foshay Museum and Observation Deck
- Weisman Art Museum
- Bell Museum
- The Bakken Museum
- Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA)
- Science Museum of Minnesota (Technically located in St. Paul)
- Hennepin History Museum
- Loring Park
- Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
- Mill Ruins Park and Stone Arch Bridge
- Minnehaha Falls Park
- Tower Hill Park and Witches Hat Observation Deck
- Boom Island Park
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Jacob Boomsma/Shutterstock.com
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