|The Mississippi river, the river of literature, folklore, commerce, jazz, and music, flows through Minneapolis and St. Paul on its way to New Orleans. This great American river begins its journey as a stream bed among the towering red pines flowing out of Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota, winding past farms and small towns, until it reaches Minneapolis and St. Paul, as a major inland waterway. Ships travel the river from the Twin Cities carrying agricultural goods, raw materials and industrial products to the Gulf of Mexico. In the Twin Cities, the river winds its way past the University of Minnesota, parks and walkways, ethnic neighborhoods, thriving downtowns, theaters and museums, for this is one of the most lively, thriving metropolitan communities in the United States.
Over 136,000 acres have been set aside for parks in the metropolitan area. In the evenings and on the weekends, parks are the meeting places for whole neighborhoods. More than 500 lakes are in the metro area, mostly in the public park system. Lush green trees and grassy knolls border more than 100 miles of walking paths, jogging and biking trails.
These are friendly cities, both cosmopolitan and warm to newcomers. World renowned theater, distinguished music groups like the Minnesota Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and sophisticated art galleries set the pace for many experimental theaters, galleries and music groups.
Minneapolis was crowned "The Most Fun City in America" by makers of Cranium, Inc. The cities were ranked on their number of sports teams, restaurants, dance performances, toy stores, and the amount of city budget spent on recreations, among other factors. Minneapolis, the survey shows, has more theaters than Boston, more parks than Denver, more golfers per capita than any other city in America, and with 10,000 lakes in the state, Minnesota has more coastline than California, Florida, and Hawaii combined.
Citizens here have a strong sense of community. There are more than 600 ethnic organizations operating in the state, mainly in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Both cities have preserved their historic neighborhoods, downtowns and quality of life through rigorous community initiatives. Intent on preserving city life at its best, both Minneapolis and St. Paul are known for their personal warmth and dedication to their communities. Thus, Minnesotans have developed and preserved one of the most beautiful metropolitan areas in the country. The area is known for the creative partnership between business, public sectors, communities and citizens working to change and improve the quality of life.