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Old 03-11-2009, 12:11 PM
 
207 posts, read 754,849 times
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Hey everyone, I'm going to be attending U of M in September as a grad student and I'm just seeking more information about any trendy, hip neighbourhoods (shopping, eateries, etc) that I should know about. I'm thinking about cafes, vintage shops, boutiques, restaurants (trendy -- not cheap eats, but not fine dining)....

If someone actually has lived in both Toronto and Minneapolis, then a comparison would be great!! I'm curious to hear more about what downtown Minneapolis is like.

I'm NOT at all curious about places where grad students go to eat/shop/drink coffee and study late... That will be easy for me to find out. I am little bit older so I guess I'm just curious about what the city has to offer for people like me who aren't really that keen on the student scene...

Thanks!!!
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Old 03-11-2009, 02:37 PM
 
Location: Columbus OH
1,607 posts, read 3,184,302 times
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I've been to Toronto about 6-7 times and am very familiar with the city--its one of my favorites in North America.

I think there are some similarities between Mpls and Toronto, but also a lot of differences. The similarities include:

both cities are generally clean, prosperous and white collar
Both cities have densely developed downtowns with large non-street level pedestrian routes (Path Tunnels in Toronto, skyways in Mpls & St Paul)
Both cities historically were considered pretty bland, but have become much more cosmopolitan (Toronto was very Victorian, Mpls was very Scandinavian). Toronto has at least a 15 year head start on being cosmopolitan, however.

Differences include:

Toronto is much bigger: I think the metro is around 6 million versus 3 million for the Twin Cities. Toronto's downtown is also much bigger and has a much larger population. DT Mpls is pretty good, but not really comparable.
Mass Transit is much more advanced in Toronto (The Twin Cities have 1 LRT line, with a commuter rail line UC, though our bus system is excellent--especially if you're in the central part of the Cities)

Regarding trendy and/or urbane neighborhoods, there are a lot:

in Minneapolis:
Uptown/Lyn-Lake (Hennepin & Lake, Lyndale Ave & Lake, also Lyndale between Franklin & Lake)
Northeast Mpls (13th Ave NE around University, and Central Ave)
Linden Hills (43rd & Upton)
Kingfield (especially Nicollet between 40th & 48th St, plus 38th & Grand and 46th & Grand)
Dinkytown (near U of M)

In St. Paul:
Grand Avenue (from Dale to Fairview)
Highland Park (Ford Pkwy & Cleveland)
St Anthony Park (Como Ave)

Both downtowns have trendy areas too:

Mpls:
Nicollet Mall (especially around 8th to 12th St)
Warehouse District: for bars and clubs
St Anthony: East Hennepin & University

St. Paul:
Lowertown (near Mears Park)
Rice Park & West 7th (near the Xcel Ctr)

Other interesting areas include:

Eat Street (S Nicollet Ave
East Lake St (lots of great ethnic restaurants--Mexican, Asian, African)

There are others, plus interesting suburbs too

Arguably the best feature of the Twin Cities is the excellent park system, with great trails connecting the Mississippi River to area creeks and the lakes district. Its a great biking and rollar blading place (for 7 months out of the year anyway)
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Old 03-11-2009, 03:12 PM
 
207 posts, read 754,849 times
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Thanks so much for the info, Todd!! I'm going to print this out and save it for when I'm there and have time to explore. I know at least one person who moved to Minneapolis from Toronto and hasn't adjusted well. I'm not sure what the reason is, but from what you say, Minneapolis has a lot going on. And it may not be such a bad thing that it isn't as big as Toronto......
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Old 03-11-2009, 03:25 PM
 
Location: Chicago
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I would say that the two areas that best fit your wants are Uptown and the Warehouse District. However, I think that all the major throughfares from Franklin Ave all the way past Lake Street would qualify as trendy. Hennepin, Lyndale, Nicollet, and Grand (to a lesser extent) are all filled with independent coffee shops, trendy restaraunts, and niche shops. Although Uptown is certainly the trendiest neighborhood in Minneapolis, the wholearea between Lake Street and downtown west of 35w is a very safe urban communityfilled with commercial nodes.
The Warehouse District tends to be less residential than Uptown and certainly has less integration between it's commercial areas and it's residential ones. Where Uptown feels alive 24/7 the Warehouse District is often pretty dead outside of weekend evenings.
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Old 03-13-2009, 03:24 PM
 
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Hey Sabine_and_Will,

I grew up in Toronto, went to UBC for my PhD, and I'm working at the U for my postdoc. I can't add a lot to what MplsTodd said- I agree with all of it. Toronto is much bigger, with a much more developed downtown. You really can't compare downtown Toronto downtown Minneapolis. It's not that downtown Minneapolis is bad, it just doesn't have nearly the amenities and/or shopping that Toronto does. Part of that is probably because Minneapolis and Saint Paul both have downtown cores, so their downtowns are spread out geographically. There is nothing at all comparable to either Yonge Street, Queen Street, Bloor, University, College, Bathurst, Spadina, College, Dundas, etc. The Skyway system here is nice- and really pretty similar to the Path in Toronto, except above ground.

I live in Saint Paul, so I don't know Minneapolis that well, and we don't even know Saint Paul terribly well either.

I miss Toronto and Vancouver, but I could probably live in Saint Paul for an extended period quite happily.

I also agree that the transit system here isn't as good as Toronto's, but back in the late 90s, the TTC was considered to be one of the best operated transit system in North America. One thing I do like better here about the transit system is that the buses actually run on time. My experience with buses in Vancouver and Toronto was that unless you were near the originating terminal for a bus line, you couldn't really count on the bus schedule. They might claim you get a bus on the hour, and then every 10 minutes past- but in reality, you would typically get 3 buses clumped together, only separated by a few minutes, then a half hour break, and then a few more. My experience with the buses here so far is that there is less service on bus lines (one bus runs every 12 minutes during rush hour, 30 minutes off rush hour), and the other runs once every 30 minutes all day long, and it shuts down early- but they are running very much on schedule, which means it isn't really a problem. It was much more frustrating waiting for a bus in Vancouver where there was supposed to be a bus running every 2-5 minutes along the road I lived, but in reality you'd get several buses jammed together (2-4) every 15 minutes.

Which campus are you going to be at? Minneapolis or Saint Paul?

brad

p.s. you have to get tickets to a football game.
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Old 03-14-2009, 01:27 PM
 
207 posts, read 754,849 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhdavis1978 View Post
Hey Sabine_and_Will,

I grew up in Toronto, went to UBC for my PhD, and I'm working at the U for my postdoc. I can't add a lot to what MplsTodd said- I agree with all of it. Toronto is much bigger, with a much more developed downtown. You really can't compare downtown Toronto downtown Minneapolis. It's not that downtown Minneapolis is bad, it just doesn't have nearly the amenities and/or shopping that Toronto does. Part of that is probably because Minneapolis and Saint Paul both have downtown cores, so their downtowns are spread out geographically. There is nothing at all comparable to either Yonge Street, Queen Street, Bloor, University, College, Bathurst, Spadina, College, Dundas, etc. The Skyway system here is nice- and really pretty similar to the Path in Toronto, except above ground.

I live in Saint Paul, so I don't know Minneapolis that well, and we don't even know Saint Paul terribly well either.

I miss Toronto and Vancouver, but I could probably live in Saint Paul for an extended period quite happily.

I also agree that the transit system here isn't as good as Toronto's, but back in the late 90s, the TTC was considered to be one of the best operated transit system in North America. One thing I do like better here about the transit system is that the buses actually run on time. My experience with buses in Vancouver and Toronto was that unless you were near the originating terminal for a bus line, you couldn't really count on the bus schedule. They might claim you get a bus on the hour, and then every 10 minutes past- but in reality, you would typically get 3 buses clumped together, only separated by a few minutes, then a half hour break, and then a few more. My experience with the buses here so far is that there is less service on bus lines (one bus runs every 12 minutes during rush hour, 30 minutes off rush hour), and the other runs once every 30 minutes all day long, and it shuts down early- but they are running very much on schedule, which means it isn't really a problem. It was much more frustrating waiting for a bus in Vancouver where there was supposed to be a bus running every 2-5 minutes along the road I lived, but in reality you'd get several buses jammed together (2-4) every 15 minutes.

Which campus are you going to be at? Minneapolis or Saint Paul?

brad

p.s. you have to get tickets to a football game.
Thanks for your response! I'm glad that you've noted that there aren't any areas that are like the streets you mention in Toronto. It's not totally what I wanted to hear, but hey, better that I know the truth. I'll be at the Minneapolis campus and so I imagine I'll spend most of my time in Minneapolis. I won't have a car so I'll be relying a lot on transit.
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Old 03-14-2009, 10:36 PM
 
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Uptown is trendy. If you want to read more about it (grad students are all about the research, right?) then you can read about the neighborhood, its demographics, and tons of other information in this fairly recent Uptown Area Small Area Plan: Uptown Small Area Plan

And, for what it's worth, don't be worried about the age thing - my experience with the U and with graduate school elsewhere (although it will vary by department, I suppose) is that the grad students represent a wide age range - definitely not all 22 year olds hanging out at the campus bars.
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Old 03-15-2009, 05:44 PM
 
207 posts, read 754,849 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uptown_urbanist View Post
Uptown is trendy. If you want to read more about it (grad students are all about the research, right?) then you can read about the neighborhood, its demographics, and tons of other information in this fairly recent Uptown Area Small Area Plan: Uptown Small Area Plan

And, for what it's worth, don't be worried about the age thing - my experience with the U and with graduate school elsewhere (although it will vary by department, I suppose) is that the grad students represent a wide age range - definitely not all 22 year olds hanging out at the campus bars.
I'm reading the plan now. Thanks for link! Very interesting. I definitely see myself living in Uptown!
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