19 Reasons Why Minnesota is the Best State (Obviously)

Thinking of moving to Minnesota?

Or maybe you’re already here?

While Sean’s already provided an unbiased look at the pros and cons of living in Minneapolis, I’m ready to throw out the modesty and get serious…

Minnesota is the best state in the country. And everyone else is just fighting for second place.

Come at me, you other 49! 💪

Don’t believe me? Here’s 16 irrefutable reasons why. 😜

1. The experts agree

U.S. News & World Report recently ranked Minnesota the second best state in the country. Their study considered factors like health care, economy, infastructure, environment, and more. (We’re about to talk about my personal thoughts on all those, but just know up front that they all officially received top marks.)

And yes, I’ll give U.S. News a pass for not ranking us #1… I can only assume their analysts don’t actually live here, so they’re probably missing out on some of the insider scoop I’m about to let you in on!

2. We have the most lakes in the continental United States

best beaches in minneapolis and st. paul

Of course I’m gonna put this category front and center. We’re the land of 10,000 lakes!

Except, we actually have 11,842 lakes. (We just like to round down to make everyone else feel better.)

And sure, Alaska’s 3 million lakes might be a little bit more, but they’re cheating somehow. I’m sure of it.

3. Lots of Wildlife

If you’re into wildlife spotting, you should get plenty of it in our state!

Personally, I see bald eagles flying over the Twin Cities nearly every day during my morning commute, and it’s not uncommon to see neighborhood traffic held up by a gang of wild turkeys!

Head to the nearby state parks or more rural areas, and you’ll notice the land is packed with deer, beavers, porcupines, monarch butterflies, tons of different types of beautiful birds, and of course, the legendary loon! (Our state bird.) Minnesota is also one of the only states in the country with moose.

4. Delicious food

Do I really have to explain this one?

Half of this whole blog is about all the amazing food you’ll find here. And it really is amazing… this state has a foodie culture that we’d put up against anybody, and it’s highlighted in more award winning restaurants per capita than just about anywhere else.

I could bore you with the stats, but the truth lies in the taste. Take a bite of some of the best burgers you’ve ever had, Thai food that will transport you around the world, unreal ice cream, our famous cheese curds, award winning pizza, Korean or even Korean BBQ, amazing Banh Mis… it just goes on and on.

And if you want to fine dine like you’re in NYC, we’ve also got some of the best steakhouses and most expensive restaurants, too!

5. A thriving beer scene

pros of living in minneapolis - breweries

Minneapolis was a leader in the craft beer revolution, which is probably why there’s over 80+ incredible breweries in the Twin Cities alone.

6. Minnesota is The State of Hockey

Did you know that Minnesota has produced 60 more NHL players than the next closest state? And that 12 of the 20 players on the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” Olympic Hockey team (plus the head coach!) were from Minnesota?

Minnesota calls itself The State of Hockey, and for good reason.

In the world of professional sports, not much compares to the authentic electricity of a Minnesota Wild game. But more importantly, the passion for hockey here is a defining part of the culture. In the winter, you can expect to see pickup pond hockey games all over the state, not to mention some of the most passionate high school and college hockey games in the world.

7. We have the biggest (and best) state fair

minnesota state fair

The Great Minnesota Get-Together aka the Minnesota State Fair is the largest state fair in the United States. Texas tries to claim a higher overall attendance by about 19%, but their fair lasts 100% longer, so who’s laughing now?*

*The Texas State Fair has an average total attendance of about 2.2 million, whereas the Minnesota State Fair averages about 2.0 million visitors. But the Texas State Fair runs for 24 days, while the Minnesota State Fair lasts just 12. So, Minnesota’s State Fair consistently sets records for the highest average daily attendance, and it’s not even close!

And there’s another truth about our state fair that doesn’t show up in the stats: it’s the best. Seriously.

I’ve been to both. And I’ll put the delicious charm of our pronto pups, mini donuts, cheese curds, chocolate chip cookies, etc.,  etc… (this list is way too long to continue) against any other fair foods on the planet.

See also: The Best Foods at the Minnesota State Fair

8. World-Class Health Care

I mean, we’ve got the Mayo Clinic!

This world-class institution is located in Rochester, Minnesota, about an hour south of Minneapolis/St. Paul, and it’s consistently ranked the #1 hospital in the nation.

But Minnesota is home to tons of other leading medical institutions:

  • The Minneapolis Heart Institute, located right in Minneapolis, is world-renown.
  • University of Minnesota Health has pioneered too many medical breakthroughs to list.
  • Children’s Minnesota was one of the first hospitals in the nation to specialize in child care, and it remains one of the top pediatric facilities in the world.
  • Hazelden, in Center City, Minnesota, was a leader in the 12-step program and is now the largest addiction treatment center in the country. 

9. And we’re super healthy.

Despite all our world-class treatment centers, we might use them less than you think. Minneapolis St. Paul is consistently ranked the fittest metro area in America.

It might get cold here, but Minnesotans stay plenty active thanks to so many things to do in the Winter.

10. And educated, too!

tcf bank stadium

According to World Population Review, we’re one of the 10 most educated states in the country. Minnesota has the second highest percentage of high school diploma holders (93%) and at one point, the highest average ACT score in the country.

The University of Minnesota is consistently ranked one of the top colleges in the country, and we even have six of the nation’s best liberal arts schools.

Not surprisingly, all this contributes to Minnesotans having some of the highest educational attainment in the country, as measured by percentage of bachelor’s degrees or higher.

11. Thriving Businesses and Job Opportunities

Minnesota is home to tons of thriving businesses which contribute to the state’s strong economy.

In fact, despite being only the 22nd largest state by population, Minnesota is tied for the 10th most Fortune 500 Companies.

This probably explains the booming local economy. Minnesotans consistently report income well above the national average, plus a cost of living below the national average. This probably explains why US News ranked the state #3 in the country for economic opportunity.

12. Affordable Living

Despite all these amazing truths about Minnesota, the state’s cost of living is consistently measured below the national average.

Even more, in a world where housing prices continue to increase, Minnesota’s affordable cost of living allows for some of the highest home ownership rates in the entire country. At last measure, nearly 75% of the state owned their own home, an astounding stat that ranks #3 in the U.S.

13. Minnesota has a beautiful natural environment

The state of Minnesota holds a beautiful natural environment, and its citizens are passionate about protecting it.

As a state, we boast clean air, soil, and water, including some of the cleanest and clearest lakes you’ve ever seen.

Meanwhile, the population is environmentally conscious. We consistently rank in the top 10 for recycling and top 10 for environmental friendliness.

14. The North Shore

things to do - north shore, mn

Speaking of a beautiful environment, have you seen Minnesota’s North Shore?

The 150 mile stretch between the idyllic port town of Duluth, Minnesota and the Canadian border is a national scenic byway. Along the way, you’ll find a beautiful winding road with jaw-dropping views of the great Lake Superior, stunning cliff sides, endless state parks, and and yes, even mountains!

Check out our huge guide for the best things to do on Minnesota’s North Shore.

15. An amazing park system

Indian Mounds Park

Along the same lines, our state is home to some truly beautiful parks, all of which are managed by our excellent park program.

For state parks, don’t miss the towering waterfalls at Grand Portage State Park, geologic mysteries at Devil’s Kettle, and beautiful hiking at more parks than we have time to list.

But our cities get in on the action, too! The Trust for Public Land frequently awards Minneapolis and St. Paul with the best city park system in the country. And the truth is in the numbers – over 98% of Twin Cities residents live within a 10 minute walk to a park!

16. Beautiful summers

We’re not gonna talk about winter here, because once you get through it, you’re rewarded with some of the coolest and most comfortable summers in the country.

Plus, I always say the colder weather just makes Minnesotans appreciate the warmer times that much more. The joy in the air every summer is palpable; you’ll find people celebrating the great outdoors everywhere you look.

17. Fantastic Fall Colors

fall colors minnesota

As wonderful as our summers are, most Minnesota locals will admit their favorite season is actually fall.

Every year, the trees here light up with stunning fall colors, putting on a show that will have you whipping out our phone camera more than you’d like to admit.

It’s a tradition that seems to put the locals in the spirit of the season. Because every year, the whole state comes alive with endless fall activities.

18. We’re Minnesota Nice

Sure, the southern states might all the credit for hospitality, but people here are so friendly they’ve won their own stereotype: Minnesota Nice.

19. And most importantly, we have pride in our state! 

If this list proved anything, it’s that us Minnesotans are passionate about the state we call home.

There’s just something about living in a place with an identity. And Minnesotans, as proud as we are, bring that in spades.

When you call yourself a Minnesotan, you form an immediate bond with all the wonderful people that do the same. You work through the winters together, get rewarded with the great outdoors, and help build a culture that’s truly one of a kind.

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