It’s been one year since I moved to the Twin Cities. Marking that anniversary got me thinking about why I want to continue to call this place home. There are so many reasons, but I boiled them down to three.
1) Lakes and parks
Minneapolis recently received the best ParkScore for the second consecutive year from The Trust for Public Land. The entire Twin Cities metro has great green space, and blue lakes, to enjoy.
I don’t live too far from Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis and adore the Quaking Bog there. Don’t wear your Sunday best on this stroll because mud shoots up out of the boardwalk, making a funny squashy sound.
The Lake of the Isles is my favorite jaunt in the Calhoun neighborhood. It’s not a place to walk if you’re looking for solitude because it’s a favorite of many, but that means the people-watching is fantastic. I like picking out which mansion I’d like to call home someday, too.
Medicine Lake is less chaotic and has beautiful beaches.
I find Lake Minnetonka too crowded, but there are some fabulous restaurants on the shore. My favorite is Maynards in Excelsior.
Come winter, I walk less, but Elm Creek Park keeps me outside even in the low temperatures. I’ve gone tubing and snowshoed for a reasonably-priced, fun day in Maple Grove. I’d like to try the disc golf course this summer.
When trying to persuade friends to move here, I downplay the weather and focus instead on the fact that the Twin Cities is the second most theatrical city in the country after New York, based on the number of live theater seats per capita.
There’s nothing quite like a night at the theater. My fiancé Matt and I agree on that point, thankfully.
Later this month, we have tickets to see “The Little Mermaid” at the Chanhassen Dinner Theatre.
It’s great to be able to catch Broadway shows on tour – Matt and I rushed “Wicked” at the Orpheum this fall – but it’s equally great to have so many talented professional theater companies, community theater groups and high school performers here at home.
One of my best friends designed the set for Anoka High School’s production of “Annie” this May, and he’s doing some work at Lyric Arts that Matt and I hope to catch later this year.
My year-long Minnesota Historical Society membership is almost expired.
I’m not a history nut, but I thought buying the pass would be a great way to learn a little bit more about my new home.
I checked out Fort Snelling, the James J. Hill House, the Mill City Museum and the Minnesota History Center with a guest in tow, free of charge.
I’m hoping to make it back to the History Center before my membership runs out to check out the new exhibit on toys from my parents’ generation.
I learned a lot about the state that made me proud. An exhibit about the Interstate 35 Mississippi River bridge collapse, coming up on its seven-year anniversary, moved me to tears when it described the kindness of strangers helping children off of a school bus crossing the bridge.
Other exhibits made me feel ashamed. At Fort Snelling, I was horrified when they pointed out the land where Native American captives used to be held, where many of them perished. I thought about them often as I drove over the area daily to get to Thomson Reuters, where I was working before I started at ABC Newspapers.
We live in a beautiful, exciting place, full of rich history, good and bad.
Everyday, I’m thankful to call myself a Minnesotan.
Olivia Koester can be reached at email@example.com