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TCSers in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area!

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hi!

I'm going to be making a trip up there sometime in early February, tentatively for February 4-8, to visit the University of Minnesota's Genetic Counseling program, and see the city!

All the good genetic counseling schools except one are in the north/northeast, and I've never lived anywhere other than the great state of Texas, where it is currently nearly 50 degrees . So I wanted to make a trip up north and make sure I can survive the "frozen wastelands" .

Got any suggestions over where I should go, or what I should see? Any input on the university or living in the city?
post #2 of 20
You MUST visit the Mall of America!

I live 2 hours from the Twin Cities area, and if you like shopping, you will love it there
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Ha, I've actually been to the Mall of America - my family was in MN a few years ago, and that's actually the only part of the city that I remember! The other schools I'm applying to - Boston University, University of Wiconsin at Madison, and University of Texas Medical Center in Houston - I've been to recently. So another reason for my visit was to see the one city that I don't remember at all.

That's probably actually a place I'm going to avoid, since its the only place I remember! Thanks for the suggestion though! If I end up needing a warm place to spend my time, I might end up there after all!
post #4 of 20
If you've never been to Mall of America, you should at least make one trip there

If you can come a few days before that time, there is a CFA Cat Show in St. Paul at the conventiona center. Charlie and hubby and I will be attending to try and get his last 19 pts to Grand The show is Jan 31/Feb. 1.

I work downtown, but live in SW Minnesota.

One tip - DRESS IN LAYERS! We will still have plenty of snow up here in February.
post #5 of 20
Ooh I do! Sorta anyway, I grew up there and now I'm some 50 miles south. You do have to make the obligatory trip to MOA, although if you move that way you'll never want to actually go there lol. Definitly layer, IMO February is by far the worst month, or maybe it's just me being sick of the cold and not dealing as well.
post #6 of 20
Gack - MOA! I live in MN & have never been there that I can remember.

I personally like the zoo.
post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
I personally like the zoo.
OMG I loooove the zoo!!!! I love the aquarium especially, but I think one of my favorite animals are the moose, they are kinda friendly.
post #8 of 20
When I was there last - the monkeys had like, school lunch tray type things. One monkey was whacking any others that went past it with the tray. He started gathering them up & hoarding them - it was fun to watch!
post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
If you've never been to Mall of America, you should at least make one trip there

If you can come a few days before that time, there is a CFA Cat Show in St. Paul at the conventiona center. Charlie and hubby and I will be attending to try and get his last 19 pts to Grand The show is Jan 31/Feb. 1.

I work downtown, but live in SW Minnesota.

One tip - DRESS IN LAYERS! We will still have plenty of snow up here in February.
I'd like to move my trip up - in fact, that's the original weekend I had planned to go up, but a good friend of mine is getting married out of town the weekend before that, and it would be better for me to not miss that much time in a row from the lab. We have abstracts due a little afterwards, and a paper in the works. It never stops!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Celeste8540 View Post
Ooh I do! Sorta anyway, I grew up there and now I'm some 50 miles south. You do have to make the obligatory trip to MOA, although if you move that way you'll never want to actually go there lol. Definitly layer, IMO February is by far the worst month, or maybe it's just me being sick of the cold and not dealing as well.
Actually, one reason why I'm going up then is that a friend of mine who lives in MN says that late Jan/early Feb is probably the worse of the weather to go in. If I'm going up in the cold, I want it to be as bad as possible. That way I can make my decision of where to go with my eyes wide open!

I'm going to have to figure out how to layer properly - we just don't need to do that here!

Quote:
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
Gack - MOA! I live in MN & have never been there that I can remember.

I personally like the zoo.
I would love to go to the zoo! I'm just afraid it will be too cold for me to spend all day there! I guess we'll see how badly I take it when I'm there - I'm spending Friday morning at least at the university in a class, but I have Saturday open to see the city. That will have given me two and a half days to decide if I can stay all day in the cold or not.

The aquarium sounds like a great idea though!

Thanks guys, keep 'em coming!
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandtigress View Post
Got any suggestions over where I should go, or what I should see? Any input on the university or living in the city?
You should definitely check out the Science Museum and Minnesota Zoo.

As far as malls go, I always liked the Burnsville Mall better than the Mall of America anyway. I grew up in the Apple Valley/Rosemount area.

One of my friends went to the U of M Twin Cities campus for a year. She liked it. I had another friend who attended the Duluth campus and liked it pretty well.
post #11 of 20
Several of my friends and family members attended the U of M, and several live in Mpls, but I don't have any first-hand experience to share. (Grew up in the suburbs.)

I would second the recommendation of the Science Museum. If you like art museums there are several of those in the Twin Cities as well; the Weisman is right on the university campus. There is also the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Walker Art Center. I enjoy the MN Zoo, but I would not pay to go there in the middle of winter when you can't enjoy the outdoor trails - that may be just because I live 15 minutes away though and can go anytime I want. If you're ever here in the summer, Como Park in St Paul is fun too.
post #12 of 20
I live in Saint Paul and work in Minneapolis. I also graduated from Madison. I like to think of the twin cities as a bigger version of Madison - pretty diverse for the midwest, rather liberal in it's politics, with a good mix of hippies thrown in for good measure. Of course, Madison is in a camp of it's own for awesomeness, IMHO, but the Twin Cities aren't bad.

Yup, layers. I made the mistake of wearing a long skirt without long underwear this morning, because I was driving and park 3 blocks from work. Well, I've been at work for a half an hour, and I'm still shivering.

What kinds of things do you like to do? There's a ton of stuff in the cities:

Minnesota Zoo - yeah, the outdoor trails are closed, but you can still go on the Minnesota Trail, the Tropics Trail, and see the sharks.

Como Park Conservatory - if you want something cheap, this is great. Also, the humane society is right down the street, so you can stop in and snuggle some animals. That's where I got my Squeaky

CityPages - for events that are being held that weekend, check out citypages.

Prairie Home Companion - Friday night dress rehersals are cheaper than the Saturday show.

Tons and tons of museums.
post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 
Sounds good so far! I will probably check out the science museum - I love museums!

If I'm feeling brave, and not frozen, I'd love to check out the zoo. Of course, if I end up going to MN for school, I'll be there all the time!

I should have put things down that I like doing. That would help, wouldn't it?

Museums, zoos, sciency type stuff (yes, I'm a nerd!) Plus, I like unique little shops and local places to eat. When I can manage it, I stay away from chain places when I'm in a new city. I'd like to get a unique feel for a city, not go places I can go anywhere.

I suspect I'll be on my own for most of this trip (not going up with anyone, and have no plans with other people so far except for dinner some night) so things that a person can do solo would be good.

Also, peoples' general opinions of the city and the university are always appreciated!

Thanks guys!
post #14 of 20
Hey, if you're in the downtown Minneapolis area and want to go to lunch on a weekday with a complete stranger, I know lots of great restaurants My faaavorite is an indian buffet (they now have 2 restaurants, north and south indian), and there's a fabulous middle eastern buffet a quick bus ride from downtown.

For independent shops:

Grand Avenue - kind of like state street in Madison, but a little less cool (can you tell I prefer Madison to Minnesota? lol). There has been some encroachment of chain stores, but there are plenty of independent shops there as well. Also, quite a few really good restaurants
*Barbary Fig
*Cafe Latte - if you're in the neighborhood and like cheesecake, this is the place to be
*Everest on Grand - Nepalese food, mmmm. The spiciest level makes you cry with just a small touch of the food to your tongue

Uptown area

Eat Street - guess what they have there?

Dinkytown - one of the neighborhoods around the university area. There are a few used bookstores scattered around. I found my new favorite cookbook at one a few weekends ago.



Now, my thoughts:

As a midwestern girl born and raised, I really like the Twin Cities. It's a little more worldy then the small town I grew up in, but still not too big. The cold sucks big time, so it's good you're coming up here now. It's really a deal breaker - if you can handle the cold, great, if not, run far far away. I believe the U does have underground heated tunnels, so you don't have to walk outside all the time in the winter, but it still sucks.

It's a good place if you have a car. Sure, we have public transit, which is good for getting you to the major places (I commute between Saint Paul and Minneapolis for work), but if you need to go to some far flung suburb, it could take you 3 hours.

My husband immigrated here 3 years ago from egypt, and he thinks it's ok, but too cold (suprising, eh). He also is not a fan of the famous "Minnesota Nice." He says that people are nice to your face, and then they'll stab you in the back. He prefers people saying what they mean, even if it isn't too nice.
post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
Great suggestions, rahma, thanks!

As of right now, I think I only have Thursday lunch time free, maybe Friday, but I would bet that I end up eating lunch Friday with some current students at the program I'm interested in. As long as nothing pops up, I'd love to meet you for lunch!

I'll be checking out those sites you gave me and planning out some things to go check out!
post #16 of 20
Thread Starter 
My trip is in just a week and a half! Woo! Just bumping to see if anyone else has any suggestions as the date approaches!
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandtigress View Post
My trip is in just a week and a half! Woo! Just bumping to see if anyone else has any suggestions as the date approaches!
Only one suggestion - pack warm clothes Its COLD up here!
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by babyharley View Post
Only one suggestion - pack warm clothes Its COLD up here!
VERY warm clothes - highs of 0 & 2F!!
post #19 of 20
Ooh. I just saw this thread!

My suggestion, if you have time - take a tour of the new Guthrie Theatre. It's an architectural wonder, and beautiful.
post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by babyharley View Post
Only one suggestion - pack warm clothes Its COLD up here!
Quote:
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
VERY warm clothes - highs of 0 & 2F!!


Oh, I plan to! My boss lived in New York for a few years, and she's lending me her coat, though I hope I won't need it. Unfortunately though, Texas cold is an entirely different creature from Minnesota cold, so I'm bringing it just in case! I'm hopefully going clothes shopping again this weekend to get more things I can layer, and a hat!



I will have to see about looking at the theater, thanks for the suggestion!
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