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The Best Things about Being Minnesotan

Updated on December 26, 2014
Minnesota cabin on the lake
Minnesota cabin on the lake | Source

While I grew up next door in North Dakota, I have been a Minnesota resident for most of my adult life, starting with attending college in Minnesota after graduating high school. Since then, I have lived across the State teaching at summer camps up North and along the Wisconsin border, traveling to Minneapolis frequently as a vacation destination, exploring the Great Lakes, and now living and working in the Northwest part of the State.

Check out some of my favorite things about being Minnesotan below and find out why you should consider a visit or maybe even a move to the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

The Eats

Minneapple pie at the State Fair
Minneapple pie at the State Fair | Source

What places come to mind when you think of culinary goodness? Paris? Las Vegas? New York? Italy? Well put Minnesota on your list of places to try some of the most unique food the U.S. has to offer!

The Minnesota State Fair comes to town every summer and there is no better time to get your deep-fried feast on! If you can name it, they can deep fry it and put it on a stick.

Most popular Minnesota State Fair Foods On-A-Stick:

Cotton Candy
Corn dogs
Fried Fruit
Fried Tater Tot Hot Dish
Caramel apples
Fried Candy Bars
Lutefisk meal
Lutefisk meal | Source

If you don’t make it to the State Fair, you are sure to experience other culinary oddities as a Minnesotan during every day living.

Minnesota has a rich Scandinavian history which highly influences many traditional foods Minnesotans still enjoy today (although people may argue that point when it comes to the mushy, cod-like fish known as Lutefisk).

Go to any restaurant around the State and you’re sure to find items like hot dish, walleye, buffalo burgers, or fry bread.

Most traditional Minnesotan foods:

Glorified rice salads
Meat and potatoes
Jell-O salads
Wild Rice
Hot dishes
Bars (dessert)

While some of these foods are an acquired taste passed down from generations of ancestors, Minnesota is also becoming a culinary capitol through the introduction of food trucks and pop up cafes that you can find in almost any resort town. Not to mention Minneapolis offers a culinary scene that rivals most large cities across the U.S.

The Juxtaposition

Snowshoe in Minnesota
Snowshoe in Minnesota | Source

The great white winter is one of those facts of life you just have to brave head-on if you’re a Minnesotan. There is nothing fun about -40 below blizzards or freezing ice rain showers during the season that can last anywhere from October until April; but the beauty of living in the frozen tundra is that it eventually melts and you get to experience the beauty of all 4 seasons.

Got your car stuck in a snowbank? Slid off the road on your way to work? Had to miss work because kids were home for a snow day? As challenging as winter can be in Minnesota (after all the average annual precipitation can reach over 30 inches) the winters are a small price to pay for the other things you can only experience in the Gopher State during the winter months!

The best Minnesota winter activities:

  • Skiing

  • Ice Skating

  • Ice Fishing

  • Hockey

  • Snowshoeing

  • Cozying up around the fireplace

  • Enjoying a cup of hot cocoa

There is no better feeling that that first sign of spring when the kids break out the flip flops in March and welcome in the warmer months! The juxtaposition that the Minnesota weather offers is something you can’t find in most other States.

The Accent

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It won’t take long after meeting someone to find out if they live in Minnesota! Our accent “up North” is characterized by vocalizing a wide open “o” sound as in “Minne-SOH-tah.”

In fact, the Minnesota accent gained such a reputation for uniqueness that there was even a book published about it called How to Talk Minnesotan.

While the Coen Brother’s movie and recent TV “Fargo” highly exaggerated the accent of the upper Midwest, you can still encounter several of your neighbors who have a hint of that accent that will slip in and out of their vernacular.

Classic Minnesotan expressions:

  • “You Betcha” – used to express acknowledgement as in “absolutely” or “of course.”

  • “Don’tcha know” – used as an alternative for “can you believe it.”

  • “Uff Da” – used when you are overwhelmed by a situation as in “wow.”

  • “Ohh for cute/fun/precious” – used to express delight as an alternative to “how fun/cute/precious.”

  • “Up North” – an expression commonly used to describe anything north of the Twin Cities.

Don’t get me wrong, you won’t hear every Minnesotan using these expressions – they are mostly popular among older generations, but go to any church potluck or cultural gathering and you’re sure to hear them at least several times per hour.

How to do a Minnesota Accent

The Landmarks

If you’re a Minnesotan and getting a touch of cabin fever or can’t afford a Caribbean vacation, just step right outside your door and explore your own backyard! There is no shortage of quirky attractions to visit throughout the State. One of the most fun memories I have from the summer is taking a road trip through the lush trees and landscapes and visiting little tourist traps.

Some of my favorite quirky Minnesotan attractions:

Paul Bunyan and Babe, Bemidji
Paul Bunyan and Babe, Bemidji | Source
  • Paul and Babe, Bemidji

    - A larger than life statue of Paul Bunyan and Babe his blue ox.

  • Jolly Green Giant, Blue Earth

    - A huge green monument of the Jolly Green Giant.

  • Otter, Fergus Falls

    - A giant concrete statue of an otter to represent Ottertail County.

  • Paul Bunyan Statue and Birthplace, Akeley

    - The birthplace of Paul Bunyan where you can sit inside Paul’s hand on this gigantic fiberglass statue.

  • Sunfish, Detroit Lakes

    - A large sunfish statue perfect for capturing a photo of your trip to “the lakes.”

  • Hjemkomst Center, Moorhead

    - Museum and art gallery completely built around a replica Viking Ship.

  • World’s Largest Loon, Virginia

    - Landmark to commemorate the State bird.

And the list goes on and on. There are too many quirky statues and landmarks to list, but if quirky is not your cup of tea, Minnesota also offers some other landmarks and entertainment centers that you can make a long weekend of visiting.

Minnesota landmarks perfect for vacation:

Target Field, Minnesota Twins
Target Field, Minnesota Twins | Source
  • Mall of America

    - Shop til you drop in the largest Mall in the U.S.

  • Breweries

    - Breweries have been popping up around the entire State, but you can find a plethora of breweries to visit in the Twin Cities.

  • Valley Fair

    - Spend a day or a weekend at the State’s largest amusement park.

  • Lake Superior

    - Visit one of Minnesota’s great lakes and stroll through the beautiful city of Duluth.

  • Target Field

    - Catch a baseball game at the home of the Minnesota Twins.

  • Xcel Energy Center

    - Catch a live concert at this magnificent entertainment stadium.

The Festivals

Renaissance Festival
Renaissance Festival | Source

Something almost all Minnesotans have experienced at least once in their lifetime is one of the several annual festivals.

Whether you want to step back into the Middle Ages or strip down and jump into one of the frozen Minnesota lakes, there is something for everyone.

  • Renaissance Festival

    - Step back in time at the annual Renaissance festival complete with period costumes, events, and food.

  • Minnesota State Fair

    - Play games, sample foods, try award winning treats, and enjoy outdoor music at the annual State Fair.

  • Ice Fest at Breezy Point

    - Enjoy bon fires, sleigh rides, and dog sled runs during the heart of winter.

  • WeFest

    - An annual outdoor country music festival.

  • Polar Plunge

    - Jump into the frigid Minnesota waters in the middle of winter to raise money for a good cause.

The Lakes

Loons on a Minnesota lake
Loons on a Minnesota lake | Source

One of the privileges of living in Minnesota is taking advantage of the beauty that the land has to offer. After all, the State was not nicknamed “the Land of 10,000 Lakes” for nothing!

Most lakes are just a short drive from any small town or major city and whether you are an avid outdoorsman or a city slicker, lakes country has something to offer everyone.

Best ways to spend time at a Minnesota lake:

  • Soaking in some rays

  • Water skiing

  • Boating

  • Fishing

  • Swimming

  • Camping

  • Bike riding along lake trails

  • Having a picnic with friends and family

  • Building sand castles on the beaches

  • Hiking or strolling along the lake shore

  • Wildlife watching for loons and others aquatic birds and animals

The Colors

Fall colors in Minnesota
Fall colors in Minnesota | Source

While the winter may be harsh, the spring is typically fresh, the summer warm, and the fall gorgeous.

There is perhaps no prettier a place than Minnesota to take in the fall colors and breathe in the crisp autumn air.

You can see colors just about anywhere you look in the fall. My favorite places to view the colors are below.

Best places to see fall colors in Minnesota:

  • The North Shore, Duluth

  • Bemidji

  • St. Croix River

  • Landscape Arboretum, Chaska

  • Any of the State Parks

If you are looking for a great place to take a family photo shoot, capture a shot for your next Christmas card, or simply walk through the fallen leaves and take in the colors, the changing leaves truly makes Minnesota one of the most beautiful places to live in autumn.

The Minnesota Nice People

The food is great, the festivals are fun, and the outdoors are beautiful, but the number one best thing about being Minnesotan is the people and sense of community that you find in every sleepy town all the way to the Twin Cities.

While many may think “Minnesota Nice” is just an expression, after living here for several years it truly is a way of life.

Some examples of Minnesota Nice:

  • Shoveling out your neighbor’s driveway after a big snow fall.

  • Putting care into preparing a homemade goody for your church potluck.

  • Being polite in every situation, filling most all sentences with “thank you” or “excuse me.”

  • Conducting yourself with emotional restraint in stressful situations.

  • Going out of your way to offer a helping hand to a friend or neighbor.

Minnesota Nice
Minnesota Nice | Source

Above all, Minnesotans are some of the most friendly, generous, and kind people you will meet and truly make living here the bright spot of Minnesota life.

Have you ever lived in Minnesota? Are you a Minnesotan? What are some of your favorite things about living in the North Star State? Share in the comments!


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    • Michaela Osiecki profile image


      3 years ago from USA

      I was born and raised in Minnesota and yet I never felt quite right living here. I've been told I belong in the Pacific Northwest, and go figure, I fell in love with Seattle. But one thing I really do love about MN is all the craft beers and breweries cropping up, even in small towns!

    • WheelerWife profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Minnesota

      Hi tirelesstraveler - I love Bemidji! How cool you've been there. Maybe you'll get back there one day ;)

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 

      3 years ago from California

      I've been to Minnesota once and loved it. Always laugh when I hear about

      Bemidji. I have a friend who is from that area.

    • WheelerWife profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Minnesota

      Haha Paradise7 - I'm not a big fan of the cold either, but it really is a great place to live! Hopefully you make it here for a visit :)

      yohewriter - thanks for stopping by! Yes, New Ulm is one of those places that feels truly Minnesotan :) Thank you for your comment!

    • yohewriter profile image

      Timothy Yohe 

      3 years ago from St. Louis

      Fantastic hub! I have been to New Ulm which felt like the Minnesota sticks. I remember a house or farm for what seemed like every 40 miles. Nice place to visit and I love the regional dialect tutorial. You have certainly inspired me to pay a revisit!

    • Paradise7 profile image


      3 years ago from Upstate New York

      Lovely hub. I can't believe--you actually make me want to visit Minnesota, and I'm not a big fan of cold.


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