I moved from New Jersey to Minneapolis, Minnesota, for college in 2019 and haven't looked back.
The city's art scene, outdoor activities, and international cuisine inspired me to stay postgrad.
Although New Jersey is famous for its beaches, I actually like Minnesota's lakes better.
I moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, from Ewing, New Jersey, in 2019 to attend the University of Minnesota. I planned to earn my degree, get a job on the East Coast, and fall right back into the comfort of my hometown — but that never happened.
So many things about the Midwestern city won me over, so I decided to continue living here postgrad. Here are some reasons I fell in love with Minneapolis.
I can get anywhere I need to go without a car
I've never had a car in Minneapolis. Street parking generally isn't free, I'd need a garage in the winter, and I simply don't want to pay for gas.
In my hometown, there's only one major train station nearby and limited bus stops that aren't within walking distance. Fortunately, public-transportation stops in Minneapolis are within walking distance, cheap, and easy to navigate. A light-rail day pass brings me all around the Twin Cities — Minneapolis and St. Paul — for $5, and the express bus is only $2.50.
I also walk a lot in Minneapolis. I love having the convenient proximity to a variety of stores without the East Coast's busyness.
Winter here is actually beautiful
I expected the Minnesota winters to be unbearable, as the state's known for its below-freezing weather and blizzards often resulting in feet of snow. Surprisingly, I actually love the snow, even if it's way more than what I'm used to in New Jersey.
After learning how to dress with layers and walk on ice properly, the winters in Minneapolis quickly became nothing to worry about.
I like having snow in the city because it coats buildings and trees in a beautiful way, creating enjoyable scenery on my walks.
Minneapolis feels like a slower, more affordable version of other cities I like
I've always wanted to live in New York City or Philadelphia, but they're overwhelmingly busy. New York City's population is over 8 million, and Philadelphia's is about 2 million — Minneapolis consists of only about 430,000 people.
It's usually only swamped here on the weekends and peaceful during the week because there aren't as many tourists roaming around in the city.
Minneapolis is more expensive than its surrounding suburbs, but the cost of living has never come close to rent prices I've looked at on the East Coast — which is one of the biggest reasons I've stayed. My apartment in Minnesota costs $700 a month, whereas rent in New York City is more than double that price for anything of or below the same quality.
My absolute favorite part about Minneapolis is its art scene
I expected there to be a bigger art scene in Minneapolis when comparing the city to my New Jersey suburb of 36,000 people, but it's even better than I imagined.
The city has backyard performances featuring local bands almost every weekend, frequent art and vintage festivals, and even its own MN Fashion Week — with events similar to bigger cities.
The international cuisine seems more authentic than back home
There are more family-run restaurants in Minneapolis than what I'm used to, so a lot of restaurant dishes here taste just like a home-cooked meal.
My father's from Egypt, so I always yearn for an Arabic-inspired meal. Fortunately, there are a number of authentic-tasting restaurants in Minneapolis, like Afro Deli and Wally's Falafel and Hummus.
There aren't ocean beaches, but there are beautiful lakes
One of the most surprising things I had to get used to when I moved to the Midwest was the fact that people refer to lakes (even those with mostly grass, trees, and rocks) as "beaches."
But I've grown to love these freshwater lakes way more than "real" ocean beaches. The privacy and calm environment make the experience way more enjoyable than what I'm used to on the Jersey Shore, which feels less clean and more hectic.
Outdoor activities are more accessible — when it's warm enough
Although I think it's too cold to enjoy most outdoor activities for about half the year in Minnesota, experiencing spring and summer here has expanded my love for nature.
In and just outside of Minneapolis — 15 minutes away at most — there's tons of open land and nearby national parks to explore. Outdoor ventures include camping, hammocking, and visiting farmer's markets.
These activities were also available on the East Coast, but my suburban hometown is too densely populated to offer them with this much ease. I'd have to drive at least two hours to the nearest farmer's market and even longer for a campsite.
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