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Old 02-26-2012, 04:59 PM
 
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Hi There - My husband is interested in taking a position with a company in Maple Grove, MN. The office is located at the intersection of 169 and 694. I have some questions regarding neighborhoods, job market (for me), yoga scene, funky/arts scene, and overall culture.

Below are several groups of questions. If you have time to answer any of them I would appreciate your input and insight.

Neighborhoods

We would like to be within 30 minutes of my husbands office. The burbs with boring cookie cutter houses, 2.5 kids and a dog does not sound appealing - I've been there, done that. Prefer country or funky now. We are interested in either a home on acreage, an old home close to the city or a plex in which we would live in a unit and rent out the others. We are empty nesters in our 40s so schools are not an issue. I would love a funky neighborhood, but it has to be safe. I want to feel safe walking with my dogs around the neighborhood at night and don't want to live in any areas where I have to always worry about graffiti or car/house break ins. We both love trees and nature. We also like a natural or funky non-corporate vibe. The stepford wive neighborhood is not for us. In terms of price point we still have a costly home in AZ so we would like to keep an MN house under $250K.

Yoga Scene
I am a yoga teacher and would love to learn about the yoga scene in MN. I prefer authentic studios, not gyms or overly commercialized locations. Do you have any suggestions for yoga studios? Vegetarian restaurants? And other funky stuff or areas that a tree hugging yoga enthusiast would enjoy? Also, I'm thinking about opening a yoga studio if we move there. Know of any good areas that would attract yoga students but is not yet saturated? (generally that means an area that is either very 'hipster', upper income or with retired folks who have a comfortable income.

Jobs
How would you describe the job market in minneapolis? My background is in nonprofit marketing. For the past year I have been volunteering at a Free Medical Clinic. If we move there I plan to either open a studio or apply for work in the medical or nonprofit world (503 c3 orgs only, no 501). Any suggestions about where to look for work?

Funky/Arts/Entertainment Scene

What's going on with your arts/funky scene? Where are the good art galleries? Good theaters? Stuff like drum circles, live art performances, pottery classes, live music? good ethnic or vegetarian food? I'm looking for the off grid stuff... not the stuff that is highly commercialized.

Overall Culture
Overall how would you characterize the culture of various parts of Minneapolis? What do you like and dislike about the city?

Oh, one last thing... what are the best thrift shops in town? I love to go thrift shopping? any ones particularly good for clothing? art? furniture?
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Old 02-26-2012, 05:17 PM
 
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You're definitely not going to find that in Maple Grove, alas. Might want to check out the Victory neighborhood in north Minneapolis -- although I don't know that area well enough to say if it's really "funky" enough (but it would be fairly convenient, and is by Wirth Park and is definitely not "Stepford wives" in the least) -- otherwise cross over the river into Northeast Minneapolis. I'm sure there are other areas, too, so this is by no means an exclusive list. (and there are certainly lots of areas that fit the bill in south Minneapolis, but might as well start with options a bit closer to work.)
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Old 02-26-2012, 05:24 PM
 
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Sounds like Uptown is your place. Your budget might be a bit on the low end but still doable. I know of one authentic Yoga studio in Eagan but that isn't going to help much.

If you want acreage/rural, you will have more options staying close to Maple Grove but you won't find anything else on your list for the most part. Stillwater would be a good option for the vege/crunchy feeling I am getting from your post but that will be on the outside of your 30 minute commute but doable and you would find the yoga culture there. Completely safe walking around at night. Old houses everywhere, price is somewhat of an issue. Stillwater reminds me a bit of the Flagstaff area, older houses though if that helps.

In otherwords, what are your priorities because it's going to be hard to find them all in one spot.
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Old 02-26-2012, 05:31 PM
 
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I can't speak much for areas outside of the city, especially in the northwest quadrant where Maple Grove is, but I can hopefully give you an idea of Minneapolis.

Two areas stick out in my mind as potential places for you to check out. I'm not sure how either would be for commute, though I imagine since it's a reverse commute, 30 minutes would be possible in most weather scenarios.

The first is south/southwest Minneapolis. Neighborhoods like Seward, Longfellow, and Powderhorn Park have been described as funky places usually with a progressive vibe and lots of artsy/hippie people. Their safety levels vary a bit, but generally the farther south you go from downtown, the less crime you encounter. These neighborhoods also vary in their demographics (with the most diverse neighborhoods being near downtown). Other neighborhoods near the Chain of Lakes might also interest you, though they're likely to be more expensive. Many of them are near Uptown, which is a little yuppie, but still maintains a granola-y, hipster vibe in many places.

The other general region in the city you might want to look is Northeast Minneapolis. The housing is likely to be cheaper than many areas south of downtown, which will help budget-wise. It's generally pretty safe and it's an up-and-coming area. The huge Art-A-Whirl is one of the largest open studio tours in the country where you can buy and look at amazing art. I'm not sure about thrift shops, but the area always give me a bit of a feeling of being thrown back with lots of mom-and-pop stores, funky places, etc.

Hope this can help!
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Old 02-26-2012, 06:28 PM
 
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Thank you for the replies.

Stillwater sounds cool, but probably too far. I'll go pay it a visit just for kicks, however.

Victory and Chain of Lakes - I had not heard of this neighborhood but will look them up.

Seward, Longfellow, and Powderhorn Park - I did see these neighborhoods online and thought they might be a good fit. I'll be sure to check them out in person when we visit in another two weeks.
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Old 02-26-2012, 06:43 PM
 
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FYI, "Chain of Lakes" isn't a neighborhood -- it's the lakes that run through Minneapolis. If looking around there, it's the Uptown area you should probably focus on.

If you're open to south/SW Minneapolis, another neighborhood name to look at is "Lyn-Lake." Sometimes it's lumped in with Uptown, sometimes not, but it sounds like it would also be a good fit. But with Uptown or Lyn-Lake (probably the other areas, too) I assume there's yoga saturation, or at least assume so based on the sheer number of yoga studios and all the people I see walking around on the streets carrying rolled up yoga mats. The area right around Lyn-Lake (named for the intersection of Lyndale Ave and Lake Street) has several theaters, a bunch of fairly indie galleries, lots of yoga studios, good restaurants, and a LOT of artists. The Calhoun Building has some interesting tenants, and I bet someone in there hosts drum circles. Nearby Whittier towards Nicollet would have even more "ethnic" restaurants, although that area gets more iffy at night. I'd probably stick closer to Lyndale. Official neighborhood names (as in Minneapolis there are both unofficial and official neighborhood names) to look up (everyone has facebook pages, websites, etc.) include the neighborhoods Lyndale, Whitter, Lowry Hill East (also known as "the Wedge"), CARAG.
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Old 02-26-2012, 07:37 PM
 
Location: Twin Cities
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I agree that for what you're looking for, you'll want to be in the city of Minneapolis, where you'll find everything you're asking for here. I'd try to get some decent freeway access to ease your husband's commute. Keep in mind there's a difference between areas, like uptown and southwest, and specific neighborhoods, which are usually about 100 square blocks or so. The terms are sometimes used interchangeably here, so it can be a little confusing. These quick neighborhood profiles might be helpful in familiarizing yourself with the specific neighborhoods.

Neighborhood Profiles - City of Minneapolis

Last edited by Glenfield; 02-26-2012 at 07:51 PM..
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Old 02-26-2012, 09:33 PM
 
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You might look into downtown Anoka. There's a food coop and a community theater. You could live out in the country not too far from there. Or you could live in some kind of condo near downtown Anoka. Or you could live in a 100 year old house.

You'd also be close to the multitudes of thrift shops in the north metro (specifically Anoka County).

Downtown Anoka is definitely under-the-radar for the kind of thing you seem to be looking for, but it seems to have the bones for it. And it's reasonably close to your husband's work. Plus, I'd guess it's way safer than most of the places people have mentioned.

I'd also suggest maybe looking at downtown Osseo, but I don't know much about it.
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Old 02-26-2012, 11:29 PM
 
Location: Minneapolis, MN
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I agree with Uptown's recommendation of Victory- which is the neighborhood we (wife, daughter, and I) live in. From here your husband would have an easy commute to Maple Grove, but you would still be in the city and get some of that city vibe (including some funkiness, although there are definitely areas of Mpls that are much more funky/granola, etc. comparative to the single family residential feel here- but we have diverse residents).

Victory's a good place for dog owners/tree lovers- miles of trails and green space (Victory Memorial Parkway) surround the neighborhood, we actually have the 3rd biggest dog park in the city right here in the neighborhood, and are walkable to a couple of smaller lakes- the aforementioned trails are part of the Grand Rounds system of trails/parkways in Minneapolis which is nice as well. There's a few great restaurants in the neighborhood- Victory 44 (big foodie gastropub), Papa's Restaurant/Deli, and Emily's Cafe- a number of little businesses on 44th/Penn and 42nd/Thomas intersections (masseuse, chiropractors, pharmacy, tailors, barbers/beauty salons, Workhouse Theatre, etc.)- and, although not as saturated as in other parts of town, there is a pretty good arts scene here on the Northside that's not as commonly known as other areas. In addition to the Workhouse Theatre, you can take a variety of classes (glass-blowing, etc.) at The Goddess of Glass (penn/lowry intersection), get active with Camden Music School, or hang out at a couple of galleries (Homewood Studios, CCaldwell, The Warren, etc.).

The other reason I thought of this part of town is that within the past couple of weeks I've seen a lot of talk from folks on Facebook groups (Victory Neighborhood and/or Get to NOMI, a North Minneapolis group) from folks interested in any yoga studios on the Northside. Apparently there used to be a group that took place in a building that had tornado damage last year, so it sounds like the market up here is wide open (from what the people in the groups were saying at least) for a potential yoga entrepreneur in this part of town, with likely a lot of local interest. Rent would be cheaper here than in other parts of town, and any business owner that's active with the neighborhood and neighborhood groups will get a lot of loyalty from local residents. If you're wondering if there is enough of a market, one recent set of data I read is that more than 20% of households in the Victory Neighborhood earn over $100K/annual, with a pretty diverse set of incomes below that. The surrounding neighborhoods, and suburb of Robbinsdale, similarly have households spanning the range of household income generally speaking. The Victory Neighborhood Association or Northwest Minneapolis Business Association could advise you on potential locations if you are serious.

This is a city area/neighborhood that is part of North Minneapolis, and you'll hear a lot about crime in North Minneapolis. There are some high crime areas on the Northside, and some low crime areas as well. But I've worked or lived in just about all areas of the Northside, and although using caution in certain situations, have never felt threatened for my personal safety. Victory's on the lower/lowest end of crime for the area- I see women and families walking dogs at all hours of the day here, and the area has a roughly equivalent (if not lower) crime rate to the areas of South Minneapolis referenced- Seward, Longfellow, etc. However, like those neighborhoods, the possibility of car and home break-ins (and sporadic other crime) is there- it definitely shouldn't be a constant fear, but taking precautions like locking doors, having exterior lighting, using timers, and calling in suspicious activity, etc. should be part of anyone's routine while living in the city and probably most suburbs. People are probably more paranoid about crime in these parts (whether rational or not), but a nice side benefit of this is that people do really take the time to get to know and look out for their neighbors and form active block clubs. Regardless, my wife that grew up in a small town feels at home here, and we have no concerns about raising our daughter here (there are actually a ton of young families here in the n'hood, but a lot of middle aged and older residents as well).

Good luck with your decision!
P.S.- you'll find a lot of people in the nonprofit/govt sector in this part of town- my wife and I are both execs for local CBOs!

Last edited by Camden Northsider; 02-26-2012 at 11:49 PM..
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Old 02-27-2012, 10:33 AM
 
1,114 posts, read 2,306,371 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by northsub View Post
You might look into downtown Anoka. There's a food coop and a community theater. You could live out in the country not too far from there. Or you could live in some kind of condo near downtown Anoka. Or you could live in a 100 year old house.

You'd also be close to the multitudes of thrift shops in the north metro (specifically Anoka County).

Downtown Anoka is definitely under-the-radar for the kind of thing you seem to be looking for, but it seems to have the bones for it. And it's reasonably close to your husband's work. Plus, I'd guess it's way safer than most of the places people have mentioned.

I'd also suggest maybe looking at downtown Osseo, but I don't know much about it.
I'd respectfully disagree with this. While there is a coop (pretty small, and frankly, not that great), and the community theatre seems well supported, there's very little else that fits with the tree-hugging, yoga-loving, granola bar lifestyle the OP is looking for.

The culture in Anoka is much more of the car show, motorcycle rides, fix your truck in your driveway, and go fishing off the dock style. Not necessarily better or worse, just not what the OP wants.
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