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Old 01-24-2010, 11:40 AM
QAF QAF started this thread
Location: Denver
14 posts, read 53,308 times
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I will be relocating to attend grad. school at U of MN Twin Cities campus for the Fall term and I am curious about the neighborhoods surrounding that area.

I'd like to be somewhat close to campus to avoid having to drive and worry about parking. Would anyone have an area that they would recommend that isn't in the heart of undergrad party and noise central? Any areas that people would advise one to avoid at all costs? I have lived in some rough areas of Kansas City and Denver so I am used to what goes on in urban neighborhoods. Do apartments in this area feature much off street parking?

I haven't lived in MN since 1979 and got used to the less humid but cold winters of Denver and now the snowless winter of Austin TX (40 degrees is parka, gloves, and touque weather here)...what are winters like in Minneapolis these days?

How tolerant is Minneapolis to race, nationality, and gays? I've read good and bad things about the city but would prefer to hear it from people that live in Minneapolis. Currently I live in Austin TX and despite the glowing reviews people have of this city there is a great deal of racial tension here on all sides. It is a nice city but it is far from perfect.

Any suggestions would be most appreciated.
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Old 01-24-2010, 12:26 PM
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Minneapolis actually has quite a long-established reputation as a very tolerant place. It's not perfect either, of course, but remember that the US's first Muslim congressman comes from the Twin Cities, that the city elected a black female mayor (currently a white guy, but obviously residents aren't voting along strictly race lines), and that it has one of the highest percentage of gay/lesbian residents in the country (of all ages, including kids; Minneapolis also had what I think was the country's first open transgendered public school teacher/librarian). It has also long had a reputation for being tolerant of interracial relationships; maybe not such a big deal these days, but a lot of my friends have parents who got married back in the '60s when it was illegal in plenty of other places. There are some areas of the Twin Cities (or some people) that are more close-minded, but in general Minneapolis is a pretty tolerant place.

There are a couple of easy options for non-party neighborhoods still near campus; one is to live over by the St. Paul campus (very quiet over there); the free campus connectors run between the two campuses very frequently (so does the city bus) over a special dedicated transit way. There are some cheap student co-ops over there, too, if you're interested in that sort of option. Prospect Park, closer to the Minneapolis part of campus, is also known for being a quieter neighborhood that's popular with grad students and faculty. Parts of Marcy-Holmes (NOT the Dinkytown part: that is party central, as is Stadium Village) are popular with grad students. I've never lived in Seward, but it's by the West Bank and seems generally quieter. I know some professors who live there and love it.

Uptown seems to be a favorite with U grad students (including my brother); it's not adjacent to the U, but there are frequent express buses that run up Lyndale and Hennepin and make it a quick commute. I think it actually takes me less time to get from Uptown to the U than it did when I was a student living in Marcy-Holmes, thanks to those express buses.
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Old 01-24-2010, 12:59 PM
QAF QAF started this thread
Location: Denver
14 posts, read 53,308 times
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Thanks for the detailed info...that was quite helpful.
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Old 01-28-2010, 04:44 PM
Location: Minneapolis
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I was a graduate student at the U of M and had similar concerns about living close to campus without living in the midst of typically noisy undergrads. For my first two years of school I lived on the far western end of Uptown, which in my opinion was too far from campus. My program required me to spend a lot of time on campus, so once I was able to, moved closer.

I found a decent place in Marcy-Holmes, west of 35W in a 3 story building with free offstreet parking. I was able to walk, bike or take the bus easily to my college located on the East Bank. In addition, I was close to Dinkytown, Northeast/St. Anthony, and downtown. There are a lot of great restaurants and businesses in and around this area. So even outside of your studies, many activities will be easily accessible (eating out on the cheap, laundry, coffeeshop, haircuts, recreation, bank, groceries, crawling home from the bar, etc.).

Keep in mind that there were still young people living in this area, and from time to time I was unable to sleep because of noise within the building. There is also a small amount of crime in the area, depending on the block. When I was there I remember hearing about some muggings and corner store robberies. So be aware of your surroundings. Your analysis should be based on what you are comfortable with.

My experience with tolerance in Minneapolis is mixed. It is generally regarded as being tolerant, probably due to the large gay community and diversity within the city. That said, gaybashing, racism, and ethnic intolerance (is there a better term for that?) are serious problems. There have been serious cases of violence and harassment toward gays and lesbians that are generally not reported by the media or even the police. Most of these occur downtown, but could occur anywhere. Be aware of the intolerance that exists. There are many people in Minneapolis that are tolerant and do things to improve the situation. But similar to what you wrote about Austin, it is far from perfect!
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