The largest city in Minnesota, Minneapolis is the seat of Hennepin County and the sister city of Saint Paul, with which it forms the 15-county Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan statistical area. Strategically located on the navigable head of the Mississippi River, Minneapolis traces its history to the early exploration of the Northwest Territory. The city encompasses within its boundaries 16 lakes (said to have been formed by Paul Bunyan's footprints) and is noted for its natural beauty and parklands. First a milling and lumbering center, Minneapolis today has one of the largest concentrations of high-technology firms in the nation. The combined cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul are highly rated for their livability and rank among the country's best places for growing a business.