Minneapolis is the largest and most populous city in Minnesota, located along the Mississippi River in Hennepin County. With its twin city of Saint Paul, it forms a major metropolitan area known as the Twin Cities.
History of Minneapolis
Minneapolis has its origins as a milling and industrial center focused around Saint Anthony Falls on the Mississippi River. The first settlement was established at the falls in 1819. Minneapolis itself was founded as a town in 1856 and incorporated as a city in 1867.
Thanks to the power generated by Saint Anthony Falls, Minneapolis quickly became a major hub for lumber and flour milling in the 1860s and 1870s. Pillsbury, General Mills, and other mills fueled the city’s growth. With the arrival of railroads and its location near key transportation routes, Minneapolis became the main commercial hub in the Upper Midwest region.
Over the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Minneapolis went through rapid development and expansion. New technologies like electrical power generation enabled large-scale industry and manufacturing. The city also developed a strong banking and finance sector. In the post-WWII era, Minneapolis transitioned to a more diversified economy based around banking, healthcare, transportation, food processing, technology, and retail.
For more historical information, visit the History of Minneapolis page on Wikipedia.
According to 2019 estimates, Minneapolis has a population of around 429,954 residents. It ranks as the 46th most populous city in the United States. The broader Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area has about 3.6 million residents.
Minneapolis is considered one of the most livable major cities in the U.S., with a high standard of living, education levels, and low unemployment. Around 76% of adults hold a high school degree or higher, and nearly 43% have a bachelor’s degree.
Government and Politics
Minneapolis has a mayor-council form of municipal government. The mayor serves as chief executive while city council members are elected from different wards. Minneapolis uses a ranked-choice voting system for local elections. The current mayor is Jacob Frey, first elected in 2017.
In Congress, Minneapolis lies within Minnesota’s 5th district, represented by Democrat Ilhan Omar. Different parts of the city are divided among multiple state legislative districts.
More information about Minneapolis city government services and departments can be found on their official website: https://www2.minneapolismn.gov/
Major Companies and Economy
As a major metropolitan hub, Minneapolis has a diverse and thriving economy across many sectors. Major companies headquartered in the city include:
- Target Corporation – 1000 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55403; (800) 440-0680
- U.S. Bancorp – 800 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55402; (651) 466-3000
- Xcel Energy – 414 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55401; (800) 895-4999
- Ameriprise Financial – 222 Ameriprise Financial Center, Minneapolis, MN 55474; (800) 862-7919
- Thrivent Financial – 625 Fourth Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55415; (800) 847-4836
Beyond large corporations, the city supports thousands of small and mid-sized businesses in healthcare, tech, retail, food service, manufacturing, arts, and more. Minneapolis has one of the country’s highest concentrations of Fortune 500 headquarters.
Colleges and Universities
Major colleges and universities in Minneapolis include:
- University of Minnesota Twin Cities – Flagship public research university. Website: https://twin-cities.umn.edu/
- Augsburg University – Private liberal arts college founded in 1869. Website: https://www.augsburg.edu/
- Dunwoody College of Technology – Private technical school focused on trades. Website: https://dunwoody.edu/
The Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area contains a high concentration of colleges and universities, giving it one of the largest student populations per capita in the country.
Key transportation infrastructure and services in Minneapolis include:
- Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport – Large airport serving domestic and international flights. Website: https://www.mspairport.com/
- Metro Transit – Extensive network of buses, light rail, and commuter trains. Website: https://www.metrotransit.org/
- Interstates 94, 35W, and 394 – Major highways and interstates.
- Amtrak – Passenger rail service at Saint Paul Union Depot.
Minneapolis also has one of the country’s most extensive bike lane, trail, and path systems. Nice Ride Minnesota operates a seasonal public bicycle sharing program.
Home to many professional and college sports teams, Minneapolis is considered one of America’s top sports towns. Major teams include:
- Minnesota Vikings – NFL football team. Website: https://www.vikings.com/
- Minnesota Twins – MLB baseball team. Website: https://www.mlb.com/twins
- Minnesota Timberwolves – NBA basketball team. Website: https://www.nba.com/timberwolves/
- Minnesota Lynx – WNBA women’s basketball team. Website: https://lynx.wnba.com/
These teams attract millions of spectators each year to events at venues like U.S. Bank Stadium, Target Field, and Target Center.
Arts and Culture
Some top arts and cultural institutions in Minneapolis include:
- Walker Art Center – Contemporary art museum. Website: https://walkerart.org/
- Minneapolis Institute of Art – Largest art museum in the state. Website: https://new.artsmia.org/
- Guthrie Theater – Leading regional theater company. Website: https://www.guthrietheater.org/
- First Avenue – Legendary live music venue and nightclub. Website: https://first-avenue.com/
The city is also home to a vibrant stand-up comedy scene centered around clubs like Acme Comedy Company.
Parks and Outdoors
Known as the “City of Lakes”, Minneapolis has numerous green spaces and lakes ideal for outdoor recreation:
- Chain of Lakes – Series of connected lakes with parks and trails.
- Minnehaha Regional Park – Popular park with 53-foot waterfall.
- Mississippi National River and Recreation Area – Federal protected area along the Mississippi River.
- Midtown Greenway – 5.5 mile rail trail through south Minneapolis.
The Grand Rounds Scenic Byway connects many of the city’s best parks and trails.
Famous Minneapolis Landmarks
- Stone Arch Bridge – Historic arched bridge over the Mississippi River. Address: 100 SE Main St, Minneapolis, MN 55414
- Foshay Tower – Art deco skyscraper modeled after the Washington Monument. Address: 821 Marquette Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55402
- Spoonbridge and Cherry – Sculpture in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Address: 725 Vineland Pl, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Where to Stay
Some top-rated Minneapolis hotels include:
- W Minneapolis – Upscale modern hotel in the Foshay Tower. Website: https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/mspwm-w-minneapolis/
- Hewing Hotel – Boutique North Loop area hotel with rooftop bar. Website: https://www.hewinghotel.com/
- Le Meridien Chambers Minneapolis – Historic art deco hotel. Website: https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/mspld-le-meridien-chambers-minneapolis/
Many budget hotels and chains like Best Western, Holiday Inn Express, and La Quinta Inn also have convenient locations around the city.
Minneapolis Public Schools
Public education in Minneapolis is handled by Minneapolis Public Schools, a special school district independent from the city government. The district operates over 35 elementary schools, 8 middle schools, and 7 high schools. There are also dozens of public charter schools within city limits.
More information about Minneapolis Public Schools can be found on their website: https://www.mpls.k12.mn.us/
Additional Local Resources
- Official Minneapolis Tourism Website: https://www.minneapolis.org/
- Minneapolis Public Library: https://www.hclib.org/
- City of Minneapolis Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/cityofminneapolis/
- Hennepin County: 300 South 6th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55487; (612) 348-3000; Website: https://www.hennepin.us/
Minneapolis offers endless opportunities for tourism, business, education, and life as a major Midwest metropolis.