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pinkbrontosaurus, thank you for your insights. As a New Yorker, I've been wondering how a potential transition to Minneapolis would be.

Also, I heard the Twin-Cities are pretty LGBT Friendly. Is there anyone who has experience with the gay community out there?

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Also, I heard the Twin-Cities are pretty LGBT Friendly. Is there anyone who has experience with the gay community out there?

Only through gay friends, but from what I gather, their opinion is that it is one of the better cities as far as gay culture and feelings of safety and general well-being goes. Minnesota is a very, very liberal state. There are pockets of conservatism in the burbs and in the farm areas toward the Iowa border, but in the city and much of the northern part of the state (Duluth, Bemidji, even St. Cloud in the west), it's ultra-liberal.

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Thanks.

Also, when I visited UMN, they recommended that I live the "Uptown" Area. I literally spent 36 hours in the Twin Cities, so (to be frank), I don't know much. Approximately what does a studio or 1 bedroom go for in that area? I'm sure it can't be as bad as what they charge for a closet in my hometown of NYC.

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Thanks.

Also, when I visited UMN, they recommended that I live the "Uptown" Area. I literally spent 36 hours in the Twin Cities, so (to be frank), I don't know much. Approximately what does a studio or 1 bedroom go for in that area? I'm sure it can't be as bad as what they charge for a closet in my hometown of NYC.

I was looking around, and it seems like we can find a 1 bedroom for under $1000 in that area, and then an "efficiency" for $600-$700 or less. I think efficiency is Midwest speak for "studio." It's definitely cheaper than manhattan, but I don't know if that also translates into a lot less money.

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What is the grad community like at the University of Minnesota? I'm kind of disappointed that there's no grad housing since at the University where I did my undergrad it seemed like grad housing was a great way to meet grad students from other faculties and they organized a lot of social events. Are there inter-departmental activities organized for grad students? I'd hate to only get to know people in my faculty.

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thank you

any idea about the cost of living?.... I heart its expensive too! correct me if i am wrong

I live in a suburb of Minneapolis--yes, the cost of living is fairly high (compared to other cities in the state).

I live in a nice, 9 year old apt building, 1 bedroom w/tons of amenities (underground parking, pool, etc) and it's

$1025/month. I used to live in a 2br and that cost $1305 (went up to $1335).

No tax on clothes or food so that's a plus.

Public transportation is good--I don't use it but my in-law does and he's never had a problem; lots of spots in Minneapolis, maybe not as many in St. Paul.

Hmm...what else? It's a great area. If you want to live in a nice place downtown, it will cost you.

Let me know if you have other q's...I've lived here forever!

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It seems like everybody here is saying Uptown, but from what I can gather I don't think that would be the right area for me. I care a lot more about being close to campus than I do about being close to the city. I'd probably go to Mariucci for hockey games more often than I'd go downtown. Even though public transportation is good, I would have my own car, and it seems like parking would be kind of expensive in Uptown. Being near a bus line would be convenient, but I'd much rather be able to walk to campus instead of having to rely on the bus (born and raised in Michigan, don't give me crap about "but it's cold"). I know drunk undergrads are annoying, but in my experience it's only a problem on weekends and becomes less of a problem the further you get from campus (and I imagine said drunk undergrads have already signed leases for the places near campus for next year).

Given all of that...what can people tell me about studios/efficiencies in the areas surrounding campus? I'm not visiting for another two weeks, but it'd be nice to know which areas to focus on ahead of time.

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It looks like Minnesota is a definitely possibility for me now (still pending notifications from my other two schools).

I think my only concern with Minny is the COLD!! :lol: Anyway, I'm interested in cost of living info. I would ideally like to live within walking distance of campus, but I will have a car and am quite used to public transportation having lived and worked in DC for the past few years. I'm having a hard time figuring out what's a good deal for 1 bedrooms and studios since I've only ever really apt shopped in DC where it's impossible to find a decent studio for under $1000.

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I would also be interested to know about cost of living in Minneapolis. I've been nominated for a very nice fellowship for year 1 at Minnesota, but after that I will have to scrape by on a stipend of a little over $13k during the school year. Can you rent an apartment near campus for $500/mo. or less?

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kdilks - You got it!

So, who can tell us about Minneapolis? So far all I know of its advantages are:

1) there is an Ikea there

2) you can get nonstop flights to Europe from the airport

I want to hear about rents & neighborhoods!

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I suggest looking at rent.com and doing a search for apts/studios. You can get a good idea using this site.

The Mall of America is also here!

I shop at Target regularly and my avg spending on groceries is $200/mo. Gas is $1.87 right now...ours only hit $4 once or so.

As I mentioned before, no tax on clothes or food.

A bus pass is $90/mo.

There are some really going restaurants on "eat street" aka Nicollete Ave (fairly inexpensive $20-30/2 people)

Parking at a ramp down town is $200/mo depending on what kind of deal you get.

There are tons of apts by the University (which is it's own city--HUGE!!!) and sure you'll have UGs but I'm sure it's convenient and they run fairly cheap ($700-800).

PM me w/any specifics, I'd love to help!

-Sparkle

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Getting a student bus pass (they last the entire semester) is currently somewhere between $70 and $90, I can't remember. Northeast is close to campus, but without the undergrad atmosphere (and it's more expensive, I believe). Marcy-Holmes is just south and west of Dinkytown (lots of students), and Como is on the northern side of the university (I've never been up there). Seward is on the west bank of campus and has a lot of good restaurants, shops, a grocery co-op, etc. Another neighborhood that's accessible is Loring Park, which is between downtown and uptown. Steven's Square is just south of Loring Park and can be sketchy, though cheap, but it's one of those areas where even a block or two makes a big difference in how safe you feel. I wouldn't live in Phillips or the areas south of Franklin and east of Chicago, near Hiawatha -- I used to live in that neighborhood and would hear gunshots once in a while ...

It seems like everybody here is saying Uptown, but from what I can gather I don't think that would be the right area for me. I care a lot more about being close to campus than I do about being close to the city. I'd probably go to Mariucci for hockey games more often than I'd go downtown. Even though public transportation is good, I would have my own car, and it seems like parking would be kind of expensive in Uptown. Being near a bus line would be convenient, but I'd much rather be able to walk to campus instead of having to rely on the bus (born and raised in Michigan, don't give me crap about "but it's cold"). I know drunk undergrads are annoying, but in my experience it's only a problem on weekends and becomes less of a problem the further you get from campus (and I imagine said drunk undergrads have already signed leases for the places near campus for next year).

Given all of that...what can people tell me about studios/efficiencies in the areas surrounding campus? I'm not visiting for another two weeks, but it'd be nice to know which areas to focus on ahead of time.

As for parking in uptown, my apartment and many in the area have parking lots. You can park on the street and can apply for a special pass to be able to park on street parking reserved for neighborhood residents. An express bus (they run all day) takes literally 5 minutes to get to campus, so it's not as if you have to transfer a bunch of city buses to get there. But if you're not concerned about being near some of the coolest restaurants/coffeeshops/record stores/art museums, I don't know what the appeal would be for you. Apartments around campus are affordable, but the areas are less safe. Muggings on the west bank (Riverside is what the neighborhood is called) are pretty common and people seem to get their cars broken into on the east bank all the time.

I would also be interested to know about cost of living in Minneapolis. I've been nominated for a very nice fellowship for year 1 at Minnesota, but after that I will have to scrape by on a stipend of a little over $13k during the school year. Can you rent an apartment near campus for $500/mo. or less?

Yes, I think that would be very doable, even without a roommate. It won't be the snazziest apartment, but you will be fine. More likely you would be looking at a room in a house, but I know there are a lot of cheap apartment complexes. You might consider Marcy-Holmes (on the east bank, along the river -- Minneapolis' oldest neighborhood) or Seward (along Franklin Avenue on the west bank). I'm a German minor at the U and I know for a fact the program and its faculty are AMAZING!

A one bedroom most places in Minneapolis will probably be between 600-800 a month on average. Make sure heat is included in your rent, you don't want to pay for that. I pay $605 for a basement apartment (with big windows) in the wedge (between Lyndale and Hennepin in uptown, and an awesome area, in my opinion) and it's also got a dishwasher, air conditioning, and a garbage disposal -- a pretty good deal, I think. Air conditioning isn't an absolute necessity, but it's sooo worth it in the muggiest part of summer. PM me, too, I'll answer any questions I can!

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The Mall of America is teeming with commercialization and stinky Americans who feel compelled to indulge in cheesy rides and overstuffed crepes. It is not my favorite part of the Twin Cities.

St. Paul and Minneapolis are dramatically different. Downtown SP is quiet but beautiful, especially in the summer, when it plays host to a farmers market and several art and film festivals. Minneapolis is where the blackberry mojito-drinking hipsters live, and it's GIANT.

I live somewhere in the middle, right off of Summit Avenue, where the mansions are located and where JOSH HARNETT (o-m-g)'s family lives. Running parallel to Summit is Grand Ave, on which is situated a Whole Foods, Macalester College, a Breadsmith, and lots of local and independent businesses. It's a neat area. The average rent for a multi-person apartment is 400-500 in this area.

In the summer, it's fricking hot. In the winter, it's fricking cold. I always wish for the opposite season.

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I found my apartment on Craigslist, which is pretty active. Right now I'm renting from a management group called Hornig Companies that I can highly recommend -- they have a ton of apartment buildings in different price ranges and have always responded quickly to any problems. Many of their apartments are in Uptown's Wedge neighborhood, but that's a 5 minute bus ride to the U. Their site has a list of all their open ads on Craigslist: http://www.hornigcompanies.com/

DO NOT RENT from UPI (Uptown Classic Properties). I read one horrible article about them in the City Pages, and if you look up reviews of them online, they're just awful -- terrible management, building condition, bugs, etc. I just found a blog (http://upirenters.wordpress.com) that has more details.

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so I visited... and honestly, I don't think the city looks that bad. I'm from NY, which I refer to as "The City" because I always assumed there are no others, but Minneapolis looked so nice. Not bad at all. I've heard a lot about people turning it down because they refuse to live in MN, but it seemed pretty fun and funky for all intents and purposes. I was leaning towards uptown because I lack driving skills and a license, plus I am usually not a lake person but it looked really nice.

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Uptown is going to cost you a bit more than the neighboring areas, plus it's teeming with undergrads since it's a trendy place to be now. Admittedly, they're the upper-class undergrads and they tend to go elsewhere for parties, but it may be worth looking around more. An area I've always wanted to live is centered around University Ave and Hennepin Ave. There are quite a few apartments/condos, plus there's easy access to Uptown, Downtown, and campus all on the route 6 bus. There are some great restaurants, an enormous liquor/cheese shop, and nice grocery within a few blocks of this intersection.

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Uptown is going to cost you a bit more than the neighboring areas, plus it's teeming with undergrads since it's a trendy place to be now. Admittedly, they're the upper-class undergrads and they tend to go elsewhere for parties, but it may be worth looking around more. An area I've always wanted to live is centered around University Ave and Hennepin Ave. There are quite a few apartments/condos, plus there's easy access to Uptown, Downtown, and campus all on the route 6 bus. There are some great restaurants, an enormous liquor/cheese shop, and nice grocery within a few blocks of this intersection.

Do you happen to know of any good companies to rent from? I've been looking around and saw a few but I have no idea what kind of place they keep..

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I couldn't give you any first-hand information about the quality of the rentals/managers there, but I have seen many signs for aaapartments.com posted in front of some units along 4th street and back in the neighborhood north of there. If you're willing to look toward St. Paul, there is a good property management company called Well Maintained Apartments (wellmaintainedapts.com) that rents in the Highland Village area (nice collection of shops, good connection to downtown and campus by bus). I will ask around and see if I can get you some more information about rentals northwest of campus.

I've had good luck finding rates and smaller apartments at everyaptmapped.com, and it gives easy access to a walkscore for the surrounding area.

Of course, I'm not affiliated with any of the above companies/websites. Good luck, and I hope I can get some more information for you.

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St. Paul campus is actually in Falcon Heights (a small suburb north of the western edge of St. Paul). It's not walking distance, but there is an inter-campus bus (between the east bank, west bank, and St. Paul) that runs very frequently (every 5 minutes 7am to 6:30pm, every 15 6:30pm to 10:00pm, and every 30 from 10:00pm to midnight). You could easily live near St. Paul campus and commute to Minneapolis every day. The bus has its own private road most of the way, and can make the trip in ~10 minutes depending on traffic on the Minneapolis end.

The St. Paul area I was referring to was in the Highland Park neighborhood, which has a little more life than the area surrounding St. Paul campus. It's more or less due south of St. Paul campus. There is good express bus service there, so you can get to/from the East Bank in about 30 minutes during rush hours. It's also on several bus lines that take you to downtown or the light rail station so you have easy access to campus, downtown, St. Paul campus, the Mall of America, and the MSP Airport.

Some google maps:

Minneapolis Campus (East Bank): http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Coffman+Memorial+Union,+Minneapolis,+MN&sll=44.975296,-93.24971&sspn=0.028659,0.06609&ie=UTF8&ll=44.970992,-93.213758&spn=0.028661,0.06609&z=15&iwloc=A

St. Paul Campus: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Cleveland+Ave+and+Buford+Ave,+St.+Paul+MN&sll=44.917843,-93.186024&sspn=0.007172,0.016522&ie=UTF8&z=17&iwloc=A

Highland Park: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Cleveland+Ave+and+Ford+Parkway,+St.+Paul+MN&sll=42.395618,-72.531524&sspn=0.014959,0.033045&ie=UTF8&ll=44.917843,-93.186024&spn=0.007172,0.016522&z=17&iwloc=A

Another nice place to live in Minneapolis: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Hennepin+Ave+and+University+Ave,+Minneapolis,+MN&sll=44.984671,-93.187182&sspn=0.007164,0.016522&ie=UTF8&ll=44.986337,-93.25308&spn=0.006981,0.016522&z=17&iwloc=A

For the last link, look in the neighborhoods south and east of here - there's much less bus service to the north and west.

I should mention that I'm renting a place from Dinnaken Property Management (http://www.dinnaken.com). They have a couple of undergrad apartments, and then two senior/grad apartments. All four of these places are just East of campus, and their rates are pretty reasonable for the location. They've been really pleasant and helpful all year. The two grad places (Tairrie House and Fulton Townhomes) tend to fill up quickly, so you may want to get on the waiting list now if you're interested. Again I'm not affiliated, except that I'm renting here.

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does anyone know anything about either cable or internet providers? the only one I can find is comcast, and i certainly cannot afford that, especially for internet. The grad students i met, well, they apparently go TV-less and I'm just not ready for that kind of living.

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