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View Poll Results: Which city is most appealing as a place to live outside the Twin Cities for Ph.D. students?
Mankato 9 69.23%
St. Cloud 4 30.77%
Voters: 13. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 02-26-2014, 08:41 PM
Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma
17 posts, read 44,226 times
Reputation: 31


I am considering a possible move back to Minnesota. Although I have lived in the Twin Cities during college, I never got the chance to visit Outstate Minnesota.

I do not want a second degree from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities so I am looking into both MN State-Mankato and St. Cloud State University. Even though I know MSU has a better program for me, I am interested in knowing more about Mankato and St. Cloud.

Which one is more scenic with better university/college town atmosphere and local amenities?
Which one is less conservative?
Which one has better economy with job opportunities?
What are the pros and cons of each city?
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Old 02-27-2014, 04:24 AM
20,793 posts, read 58,809,280 times
Reputation: 10671
Both towns are so similar it's really a toss up.

I would give the edge to St. Cloud for scenery. Mankato is nice too but St. Cloud is closer to lake country but there isn't much difference in the actual towns.

I would say that St. Cloud is probably less conservative but I don't know that you would notice a difference at all between the two.

Economy and jobs--depends on the field. Economy overall in both towns is the same for the most part. St. Cloud being bigger and the surrounding communities bigger, just more likelihood of finding jobs.

Mankato is more rural, smaller, going to be a little warmer by a couple degrees, slight edge on overall "safety" and crime, but neither town is bad.

St. Cloud just has more "stuff", shopping, etc. Mankato has everything you need, no question, St. Cloud will just have a little bit more.

Really, you can't go wrong with either town. Not sure what you are getting your degree in but I would let that be the deciding factor. On some mythical scale for what you want, St. Cloud might rate 4.5 out of 5 and Mankato 4.4.
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Old 02-27-2014, 11:47 AM
137 posts, read 208,045 times
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Mankato all the way. On paper, they're almost identical. They have similar sizes and are both on rivers. They both have large state university campuses in town plus a few private colleges nearby. They both have a Northwoods League baseball team. Yet, Mankato features several indescribable qualities that make it pleasant. While, St. Cloud is the opposite.

I grew up near St. Cloud and lived near recently for close to a decade. I'll try to sell you on Mankato. When school is in session, there are plenty of music, theater, art, and athletic events at MSU, Bethany, and Gustavus. For the arts especially, all of the colleges feature a good mix of student, faculty, and guest performances. I actually find that Mankato really shines in the summer when the students go home. The relatively new Riverfront Park hosts all sorts of summer concerts, celebrations, and festivals. It's a gorgeous venue along the river with a great view of the bluffs above the valley. Ribfest brings in nationally known acts, while smaller events like Solstice and the 4th of July feature some great local bands.

It's tough to comment on job opportunities. I imagine both are similar. Education, retail, health care, and service are the dominant employers in both but they each have a handful of other significant employers. For example, Taylor Corporation which prints such things as wedding invitations is headquartered in Mankato.

I found Mankato to have a generally progressive feel with a healthy respect for tradition.

That should pretty much cover your questions. On paper, they're pretty much the same. To me, the difference is like that guy or girl who meets all the right criteria. But either there is a spark or there isn't. Mankato has the spark. But if you want to live in a city with two Targets, then you'll have to go with St. Cloud.
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Old 02-27-2014, 08:19 PM
Location: Gladstone, MO
2,066 posts, read 4,780,179 times
Reputation: 880
Mankato>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> St Cloud
Especially scenery wise, Mankato is far better.
I lived in St Cloud for 5 years.
Look at this old thread I made 4+ years ago
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