Observations on Minneapolis, one month in

  1. Everyone is indeed very nice. People are willing to engage in small talk for quite a while, and with enthusiasm. They smile at strangers and do little favors unprompted. At times during the past month I’ve felt like I’m walking around with a hard shell built up from years of trying to consciously project a vibe of NOT A TOURIST DON’T TALK TO ME DON’T LOOK AT ME DON’T SELL ME ANYTHING whenever I’m out in public, except here the shell is unnecessary and I have to figure out how to shed it.
  2. There is a tangible LGBT presence here. Pride flags all over the place. Visibly gay and trans people in almost every public space I’ve visited so far. It seems like the LGBT community here is diffused throughout the city, rather than concentrated in one specific neighborhood.
  3. Almost all transit times—whether biking, walking, taking the bus, or driving—end up being around 10-20 minutes, and remain consistent at different times of day, on weekdays as well as weekends. To an Angeleno, this is incredible: you mean I don’t have to choose between a 40-minute subway ride and a 15-minute Uber that could potentially stretch to 30 minutes if there’s Bowl traffic?
  4. One-way streets vex me. I don’t understand why there are so many of them here. Also, what am I supposed to do if I’m biking on a one-way? Just ride on the sidewalk and piss people off? Take a different route entirely? But why???
  5. This is embarrassing to admit, but storm windows also vex me. Mine are out right now because it’s summer, but I know once it gets cold I will inevitably end up doing some frantic Googling.
  6. Because I am a nerd about demographics and diasporas, the range of languages I see here on signs and municipal communications is fascinating. English, Spanish, Mandarin, and Vietnamese are all ones I’m used to seeing that appear pretty frequently here, but then there’s also Hmong, Karen, Oromo, Somali, Ojibwe, and Lakota. The last place I saw Indigenous languages used this regularly on official city signage was in Australia.
  7. Related to the above: Yesterday I was filling out a city transit survey, and in the section where it asked for my ethnicity, I had to select Other Asian” because Korean” wasn’t one of the options. That’s never happened to me before!
  8. THC drinks are on the menu here basically everywhere. Maybe I was going to the wrong bars and restaurants in LA, but I’ve never seen a drinks menu with a dedicated section for THC options before. I looked this up and apparently the Minnesota Senate legalized hemp-derived THC comestibles in 2022 as a way of regulating delta-8.
  9. This is not related to Minneapolis specifically, but you never realize how crucial an item of furniture a full-length mirror is until you don’t have one for a month.
  10. The avocados here kind of suck.
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