You are probably wondering what exactly are the Twin Cities and why is Minneapolis called the Twin Cities? If you ask any Minnesotan this question, you will likely receive a laugh in exchange. Most Minnesotans believe the Twin Cities to be Minneapolis and St. Paul, but are they really? Minneapolis history goes back in time and challenges this idea.
In this article, we will discover what exactly are the Twin Cities, explore the wonderful Minneapolis history, delve into some of the magical attractions of the city, and finish up with the best place you can truly feel what Minneapolis is about. Let’s get started.
History of Minneapolis
Minneapolis’s nickname origin of “The Twin Cities” may not have had anything to do with St. Paul at all, despite what is more widely known today.
In the Minneapolis 1800s, Minneapolis’s “Twin City” was actually different but still a “Saint.” It was St. Anthony, a city much closer to Minneapolis back then.
Somewhere around the 1840s, gamblers founded a town east of St. Anthony Falls, which is known today as Northeast Minneapolis. They decided to call the newly founded town St. Anthony.
When was Minneapolis founded? Within the next couple of years, some St. Anthony residents took a jump over the west side of the Mississippi River and decided to build a town they chose to call Minneapolis.
These two “Twin Cities” lived separately for over twenty years until they eventually decided to join together to become the city of Minneapolis in 1872.
The location of St. Anthony and Minneapolis make a lot more sense for them being the original Twin Cities. While St. Paul did exist in the 1840s and was actually founded before both St. Anthony and Minneapolis, it sat around 14 miles away from both of them. This was a heavy distance back in the 1800s.
We all know the Twin Cities as Minneapolis and St. Paul today. This joining occurred after Minneapolis absorbed St. Anthony, and the only nearby major city was St. Paul. The two cities grew independently for the next several decades, specializing in different things.
For example, Minneapolis became the flour milling capital of the world, hence the nickname “Mill City.” This brought a lot of wealth to the city and a lot of diverse companies to Minneapolis history.
St. Paul also continued to grow while remaining the state capitol. It received a lot of profits from transportation and wholesaling businesses and even became a favorite hangout spot for bootlegging and gangsters during the prohibition era.
In 1968, the “Twin Cities” were finally linked by an interstate, but the border lines between the two cities are extremely blurred today.
Differences between the two cities
The two cities, to this day, are very different. St. Paul holds a much more historic and older feel in comparison to Minneapolis. The architecture speaks for itself, with brick buildings from the late 1800s, as well as the State Capitol and the St. Paul Cathedral. If you step into the St. Paul area, you will feel it is a lot smaller and has a more friendly vibe.
Minneapolis on the other hand is known for its urban feel with trendy young neighborhoods, big city living, and newly developed skyscrapers.
Minneapolis history embraced the Prohibition-era vibe with larger selections of restaurants, a bigger Minneapolis bar scene, and the true “downtown” vibe.
There is a bit of a friendly rivalry between the two cities, going back to the early parts of the century when both cities would cheat on the census to appear larger and more important than the other.
Unique parts of Minneapolis history
Now that you know a little bit more about why Minneapolis is called the Twin Cities, let’s take a look at some of the unique parts of Minneapolis history that make it what it is today.
One of the most well known personas to come from Minneapolis, Fitzgerald was a Midwest kid before the bootlegged gin of the Jazz Age and before “The Great Gatsby.” He grew up in the Cathedral Hill neighborhood of St. Paul and occasionally mentioned the area in his stories and novels.
While Fitzgerald left St. Paul, if you are taking a walk through St. Paul, you can see the obvious connections that he had with the city.
We highly recommend that you take a day to explore the area where Fitzgerald was from and get a feel for St. Paul and the history that comes with the oldest city.
Not only did Fitzgerald put St. Paul in his great novels, but he also immortalized the Fitzgerald gin drink in the city. Fitzgerald was known for his gin, which is still evident in many bars across the city, especially within The Pourhouse, a Prohibition-inspired bar.
Much of the Minneapolis history was created during the jazz and prohibition eras, emphasizing bootlegging. Bars that celebrate this part of Minneapolis history can teleport you back in time and give you a one of a kind night to remember.
Minneapolis history can’t be complete without mentioning the music scene in Minneapolis. When you think of music in Minneapolis, what name pops up in your head?
The first person that should come to mind is the one and only Prince. Prince was born in Minneapolis, and after recording his hit “Paisley Park,” he made it a reality. He built a sixty five thousand square foot, ten million dollar recording complex and facility.
It held many famous patrons that recorded there, like Stevie Wonder and Madonna, but eventually, Prince began to live there and stopped accepting outside clients. Sadly, Prince died in 2016 when he collapsed in an elevator within Paisley Park.
Prince’s performances at First Avenue, a music venue within Minneapolis, brought great culture to the city and still remains strong today with many musicians coming in to perform. It truly is a sight to see, so we highly recommend visiting First Avenue, even if it’s just to see Prince’s purple star.
The food and bar scene in Minneapolis also can speak for itself. The number of new restaurants and clubs that have popped up over the years truly contribute to the culture of the city.
Each restaurant is known for something different, and they span a wide variety of cultures and types of food. Many don’t realize how extensive our restaurant list is in Minneapolis and don’t consider it to be a ‘foodie destination,’ but it is definitely worth checking out.
Our bar and Minneapolis club scene is also something you don’t want to miss. Many bars around the city have world-renowned bartenders and mixologists, and there are so many unique spots – you will never get bored. To find some of the best drinks in Minneapolis and a place that celebrates the history, check out The Pourhouse.
Known for its prohibition style vibe, The Pourhouse takes nightlife to the next level. It can cater to many with the speakeasy experience while also having incredible music, sports, and drinks.
Minneapolis history runs deep, and places like The Pourhouse continue to celebrate what the city was built on. It also gives you a feel for Minneapolis today as it is in the heart of downtown, surrounded by the eclectic and exhilarating nightlife that the city prides itself on.
Full of history
From being a part of the original Twin Cities to becoming the mill capital of the world to the unique city culture today, the city of Minneapolis is truly one of a kind. There is always something to do, something to eat, and something to drink. To truly experience the history of Minneapolis, you need to see it for yourself.
Take the time to explore the city and the many spots that make it what it is today. The historic music venues, the tasty restaurants, the prohibition-style bars, and the great personas that came from the city – Minneapolis history stands strong and has created a city that is powerful, diverse, and special.