20 Minneapolis

PopulationMetro: 3,600,618
Minnesota’s biggest city is a mash-up of Prairie hospitality and forging one’s own path in the northern heart of America.

A low unemployment rate, wealth of cultural offerings and lower cost of living make Minneapolis a talent magnet, that holds onto its younger generation. The economy may be buzzing, but locals are just as proud of their numerous parks, scenic bike trails and picturesque sunsets in this city that has always taken full advantage of its prime location along the mighty Mississippi.

With 18 Fortune 500 companies—the most per capita of any American metro area, earning the city a #6 ranking—Minneapolis scores an impressive #7 for Prosperity. The highly-educated workforce (it ranks #7 for Educational Attainment) earns a comfortable living (#15 for Median Household Income) and enjoys easy access to the rest of the world via Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (a solid #13 for Connectivity).

Place 38
Product 32
Programming 10
People 70
Prosperity 52
Promotion 8

Locals are eager to show off the Walker Art Center, which features contemporary works like the giant spoon sculpture, which has become a city trademark, and the Minneapolis Institute of Art, known affectionately as “Mia.” With a decent #20 ranking for Culture (determined by concerts, shows and events), the city’s heart still belongs to beloved hometown recording artist Prince, whose suburban home and studio, Paisley Park, opened as a museum in 2016.

In a city where a park (there are 197 within city limits) is never more than six blocks away, Minneapolitans spend warm weekends paddling kayaks through the city’s Chain of Lakes and down the Mississippi, or soaking up the sun along the waterfront. In chillier weather, they turn to the city’s wealth of breweries and restaurants, many tucked away in the city’s trendy yet affordable neighborhoods.