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Thread summary:

Minneapolis versus Grand Rapids, job transfer causes relocation, walkability, corner store, close proximity to restaurants, neighborhood block party, rural versus cosmopolitan

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Old 11-26-2008, 09:31 AM
 
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I have two options for a new job - one is in Minneapolis and the other is in Grand Rapids MI. Clearly there are differences in the size of the cities. I'm looking for a friendly place with some diversity where people are not afraid to welcome newcomers. After visiting both areas for just a day, my first reaction is that GR is a bit more blue collar, and the people seem more genuine. The people in Minneapolis felt a bit more 'cookie cutter' and not willing to show their independence. Please note that these observations are just from watching people (how they dress and interact with others) and by talking with a few cab drivers.

I like urban and rural (aka suburban) living, but what matters the most for me is the culture and the people.

I grew up in NY, went to school in Mass, and now live in California. Moving to a cold city doesnt bother me that much, but I have to admit the 10 degree difference between the two cities is playing a role in my decision. I'm an outgoing person who would rather tell it like it is than to hide how I feel - but do not particularly like the 'in your face' attitude of a stereotypical new yorker.

Any opinions between the two cities? Thanks.
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Old 11-26-2008, 10:50 AM
 
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Think you get the reward for most unique question of the year.
The differences between Mpls. and Grand Rapids are not as drastic as those between, say, a New Yorker and a Plattsvillian.
Minneapolitans will be a little more cosmopolitan, Grand Rapidians will more more rural, blue collar. Since this is Minnesota, that doesn't nec. mean redneck; but a convention of doctors may yield many in flannel shirts.
I would put it like this. If you go for Minneapolis, it is only worth it if you are living in or relatively near the city itself. If the idea was to go for a small suburb on the far outskirts of Mpls., it is easier, cheaper and less hetic to just move to Grand Rapids. Just my opinion.
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Old 11-26-2008, 07:20 PM
 
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Oh and I have a 2 yr old son. We like the city life, but will want a house with a decent yard and a neighborhood where we can have an occasional block party and hopefully walk to a restaurant or corner store.
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Old 11-26-2008, 07:35 PM
 
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One thing to think about is that Michigan is in tough shape right now-the economy is worse there then in most parts of the country. What if that job doesn't work out and you have to find something else, it won't be easy in MI. MN economy is more stable and would have more opportunities. I think you will find a nice mix in the Twin Cities area where the suburbs are more walkable then most areas and you will easily be able to find a house with a great yard yet have the flexibility to walk to the store or out to eat if you choose.
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Old 11-26-2008, 07:50 PM
 
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good point. I think the job is stable though (thank goodness). So two questions - 1) is the weather difference that signfiicant and 2) are the people and culture much different? I live in Orange County now (in California) and there is no sense of community down here. I want to feel at home in my next move.
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Old 11-26-2008, 10:56 PM
 
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I feel pretty stupid right now. Thought we were comparing Mpls. to Grand Rapids, Minn.. Somehow the much more obvious comparison to Grand Rapids, Mich. escaped me.
I don't know much about Michigan in general. It will be more culturally eastern, not the same tight nit, familial, aloof culture of Minnesota. I think the cultural difference would be greater than the climatic ones.
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Old 11-27-2008, 05:15 AM
 
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Originally Posted by megnadam View Post
good point. I think the job is stable though (thank goodness). So two questions - 1) is the weather difference that signfiicant and 2) are the people and culture much different? I live in Orange County now (in California) and there is no sense of community down here. I want to feel at home in my next move.
No, the weather isn't really all that significant. MI tends to get more snow then MN, MN will have a couple days that is a lot colder then MI but our summers are warmer. Culturally I would say that MN had a definite advantage over MI. The Twin Cities is one of the most highly educated areas in the US. There are plenty of places that you will feel at home all over the country. The funny thing is my Dad lived in Orange Co in CA for several years and they said that was one of the better places they lived as far as doing things with their neighbors, etc. They are still in contact with most of their neighbors from there and they moved 5 years ago. It all comes down to the neighborhood you select.

We live in a town where everyone goes to the high school football games, where you run into people at the grocery store that you know and it takes twice as long to shop because you are chatting with people. You know your neighbors and it isn't uncommon to be sitting on your deck with a drink and have the neighbors wander over to join you.
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Old 11-27-2008, 07:26 AM
 
Location: Houston, TX
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I think GR is inland enough to avoid lake effect snow, but it make get some big amounts. The recent troubles in Detroit are going to significantly affect the states tax base. Expect some services to be cut. A lot of folks thought they had a stable job until the last couple months. In Mpls it may be easier to get by in a tough environment. I'd choose Mpls.
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Old 11-30-2008, 10:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by golfgal View Post
No, the weather isn't really all that significant. MI tends to get more snow then MN, MN will have a couple days that is a lot colder then MI but our summers are warmer. Culturally I would say that MN had a definite advantage over MI. The Twin Cities is one of the most highly educated areas in the US. There are plenty of places that you will feel at home all over the country. The funny thing is my Dad lived in Orange Co in CA for several years and they said that was one of the better places they lived as far as doing things with their neighbors, etc. They are still in contact with most of their neighbors from there and they moved 5 years ago. It all comes down to the neighborhood you select.

We live in a town where everyone goes to the high school football games, where you run into people at the grocery store that you know and it takes twice as long to shop because you are chatting with people. You know your neighbors and it isn't uncommon to be sitting on your deck with a drink and have the neighbors wander over to join you.
Dont get me wrong...there is a lot to like about orange county. Maybe i'm hung up on the fact that all the houses are brown! I lived in LA which I didnt like..and spent some time in San Francisco which I totally enjoyed. I agree its what you make of it. I like GR because it feels a lot like the east coast culturally. I'm sure I'll like Mlps but I know nothing about the city and the culture. Any advice on how I can 'learn' about the Minnesota culture without actually spending a bit of time there? Any recommended reading or local newspapers that I should read?

Thanks again.
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Old 12-01-2008, 03:00 AM
 
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Originally Posted by megnadam View Post
Dont get me wrong...there is a lot to like about orange county. Maybe i'm hung up on the fact that all the houses are brown! I lived in LA which I didnt like..and spent some time in San Francisco which I totally enjoyed. I agree its what you make of it. I like GR because it feels a lot like the east coast culturally. I'm sure I'll like Mlps but I know nothing about the city and the culture. Any advice on how I can 'learn' about the Minnesota culture without actually spending a bit of time there? Any recommended reading or local newspapers that I should read?

Thanks again.
Reading this and your neighborhood post, you really need to look into Stillwater. Stillwater has the grand Victorian homes and the hills (although not as steep) as San Fran, as well as the small town feel yet close to the cities.

They don't call Minneapolis the "Mini-Apple" for nothing. It often gets compared to New York City as far as the cultural opportunities-theaters, museums, etc. I haven't been to Grand Rapids but my guess is that Minneapolis and St. Paul combined will trump Grand Rapids with cultural activities.

The two major papers are the StarTribune.com: Breaking news, video, blogs and more from Minneapolis, St. Paul and around Minnesota and HOME - TwinCities.com . You might also want to look at Minneapolis/St. Paul magazine online.
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