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Minneapolis-St. Paul
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Minneapolis-St. Paul

The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul and the surrounding area is the most highly-populated area in Minnesota and the 15th-largest metropolitan area in the United States as of the 2000 census. Minneapolis is the largest city in the state, and nearby St. Paul is the capital of Minnesota. There are many other places around the world that are considered twin cities, but Minneapolis-St. Paul is the most well-known.

According to census data, the population of the Twin Cities area is nearly three million people (2,968,805). The Minneapolis-St.Paul Metropolitan Statistical Area comprises thirteen counties in both Minnesota and neighboring Wisconsin. However, many people refer to an older seven-county area entirely within Minnesota when talking about the Twin Cities region. Many government actions in the 7-county region are coordinated by the Metropolitan Council.
13 counties 7 counties
Minnesota Wisconsin
  • Anoka
  • Carver
  • Dakota
  • Hennepin
  • Ramsey
  • Scott
  • Washington

The first white settlement in the region was near Stillwater, Minnesota, although it is some distance from the core of the Twin Cities. It lies on the western bank of the St. Croix River, which forms the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin at that point. White settlements in the core area can largely be traced back to Fort Snelling, which was constructed from 1820 to 1825 at the confluence of the Minnesota River and the Mississippi River. A series of settlements that were precursors to the cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis formed a few miles away from the fort along the Mississippi. Minneapolis grew up next to the Saint Anthony Falls, which provided power for the grain mills that fueled much of the city's early development.

In 1855, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow published The Song of Hiawatha, an epic poem based on the Ojibway legends of Hiawatha. A number of natural area landmarks were included in the story, such as Lake Minnetonka and Minnehaha Falls. Tourists inspired by the story flocked to the area in the following decades. There are a number of lakes in the region, and cities in the area have some very extensive park systems for recreation.

For a time, the Minneapolis-St. Paul area was one of the few places where the Mississippi could crossed by railroads, as the river was too wide to cross by bridge at points farther south. A great amount of rail traffic once rumbled through the area.

In the 20th century, the Twin Cities area expanded outward significantly. Automobiles made it possible for suburbs to grow greatly. The area now has a number of freeways to transport people by car. The area incorporates traffic cameras and ramp meters to manage traffic congestion.

Interstate 94 comes into the area from the east and heads northwest from Minneapolis. Two spur routes form the I-494/I-694 loop, and I-394 continues west when I-94 turns north. Additionally, Interstate 35 splits in the southern part of the Twin Cities region, bringing I-35E into St. Paul and I-35W into Minneapolis. They join together again to the north and continue to the highway's terminus in Duluth.

Other major highways in the area include:

The main airport in the region is Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP). A number of other smaller airports are also in the area, owned and operated by the Metropolitan Airports Commission. Some people even commute by air to the Twin Cities from the northern part of the state.

A light rail line began regular operations in June, 2004. The area used to have a lot of passenger rail service, both interurban streetcar systems and fairly high speed interstate rail. Today, the Twin Cities is only served by Amtrak's Empire Builder service, running once daily in each direction. The Hiawatha Line light rail corridor is in many ways a return to what existed in the past. It is being used as a stepping-stone to other projects. Other light-rail service is being pondered in the Twin Cities, commuter rail options are being examined for travel in the area, and the Amtrak line to Chicago may eventually be upgraded for high-speed service.

The Twin Cities area is one of the four main cultural centers of Minnesota and Wisconsin (the other three are the Twin Ports (Duluth, Minnesota-Superior, Wisconsin), Madison, Wisconsin and Milwaukee, Wisconsin). The area is considered the theatrical capital of the Midwest, with high per-capita attendance of theatre and music events.

Four major-league professional sports teams make their home in Minneapolis-St. Paul: the Minnesota Twins (1961–present), Minnesota Vikings (1961–present), Minnesota Timberwolves (1989–present) and Minnesota Wild (2000–present). Some other sports teams gained their names from being in Minnesota. The Los Angeles Lakers get their name from once being based in Minneapolis, the &lqduo;City of Lakes” (Minnesota is also known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”). The Dallas Stars got their name from being a Minnesota team, the North Stars, as Minnesota is also known as “The North Star State.”

The Twin Cities have two major newspapers: the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the Saint Paul Pioneer Press. Additionally, the Minnesota Daily serves the University of Minnesota's Twin Cities campus and surrounding neighborhoods. A number of other weekly papers (most of which are fully supported by advertising) are also available. Major area television broadcasters include WCCO (CBS), KSTP (ABC), KMSP (Fox), KARE (NBC) and WFTC (UPN). Twin Cities Public Television is KTCA/KTCI (PBS).

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Regions of Minnesota
Minneapolis/Saint Paul metropolitan area | Northwest Angle | Iron Range/Arrowhead | Pipestone
Largest Cities
Apple Valley | Blaine | Bloomington | Brooklyn Park | Burnsville | Coon Rapids | Duluth | Eagan | Eden Prairie | Edina | Lakeville | Maple Grove | Maplewood | Minneapolis | Minnetonka | Plymouth | Richfield | Rochester | St. Cloud | St. Paul
Aitkin | Anoka | Becker | Beltrami | Benton | Big Stone | Blue Earth | Brown | Carlton | Carver | Cass | Chippewa | Chisago | Clay | Clearwater | Cook | Cottonwood | Crow Wing | Dakota | Dodge | Douglas | Faribault | Fillmore | Freeborn | Goodhue | Grant | Hennepin | Houston | Hubbard | Isanti | Itasca | Jackson | Kanabec | Kandiyohi | Kittson | Koochiching | Lac qui Parle | Lake | Lake of the Woods | Le Sueur | Lincoln | Lyon | McLeod | Mahnomen | Marshall | Martin | Meeker | Mille Lacs | Morrison | Mower | Murray | Nicollet | Nobles | Norman | Olmsted | Otter Tail | Pennington | Pine | Pipestone | Polk | Pope | Ramsey | Red Lake | Redwood | Renville | Rice | Rock | Roseau | St. Louis | Scott | Sherburne | Sibley | Stearns | Steele | Stevens | Swift | Todd | Traverse | Wabasha | Wadena | Waseca | Washington | Watonwan | Wilkin | Winona | Wright | Yellow Medicine