10 Interesting Facts About the Twin Cities
Photo by Paul VanDerWerf
Oh, man, does this come in handy. Everyone knows Minnesota gets cold in the winter, it’s almost always the first talking point in a conversation between a resident and a non-resident when they exchange where they live. It’s almost as if it was born out of necessity rather than convenience (but it was probably a combination of both). Minneapolis is home to the largest contiguous skyway system in the world. The second level bridges between buildings connect 9.5 miles of pathways for a total of 80 city blocks.
These bad boys are crisper than Ryan Reynolds in a fresh suit at the Oscars, and we have the University of Minnesota to thank for that. That’s right, the best tasting apple to ever sprout from a tree (from a totally objective point of view, of course) was grown in our very own backyard.
Before the late music icon Prince became Prince, Alexander Nevermind, The Artist, The Artist Formerly Known as Prince, Camille, Christopher Tracy, Jamie Starr, Joey Coco and Tora Tora, he was born Prince Rogers Nelson in Minneapolis. And even though he may be gone, fans can still tour the superstar’s private estate and production complex, Paisley Park, in Chanhassen.
You’ve seen funny man Bill Murray in “Caddyshack,” “Ghostbusters” and the Saint Paul Saints ticket booth. Yep, you read that right, the Saint Paul Saints ticket booth. But why would he be there, you might be asking yourself. The answer to that is because the side-splitting comedian is actually part owner of the minor league baseball team. So keep your eyes peeled the next time you go to watch America’s favorite pastime; you might just see the legend himself.
Number of Fortune 500 Companies
18. It’s the number of years you need under your belt before you can sit in a smoke-filled casino pulling slot machine arms, go to prison or get called for jury duty. How magical. It’s also the number of fortune 500 companies with their headquarters in Minnesota. Big names such as UnitedHealth Group, Target and Best Buy all call the Twin Cities home.
From the Beaux Arts style of the Cathedral of Saint Paul to the quadriga adorning the top of the Minnesota State Capitol, there’s no doubt St. Paul has some stellar architecture. Adding to this list of marvels are the historic homes lining the streets of Summit Avenue. As the largest stretch of Victorian architecture in the United States, Summit Avenue shows its visitors the past retreats of iconic residents such as James J. Hill, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Frank B. Kellogg.
City Hall Clock Tower
Quick! What’s the largest, four-faced chiming clock in the world?! “Big Ben!” *buzzer sound* Wrong! But don’t be too hard on yourself. Even we didn’t know it was the largest, and we live here. The Minneapolis City Hall clock tower actually takes home the gold in this event. Who would’ve thought? While Big Ben’s clock face measures 23 feet in diameter and the tower tops out at 315 feet tall, the Minneapolis City Hall clock tower’s face stretches 24 feet and 4 inches across, and it dwarfs Big Ben with a height of 345 feet (400 if you measure to the tip of the flagstaff).
St. Anthony Falls
The Mississippi River: You know it, you love it, you’ve probably driven over it. But did you know that St. Anthony Falls in Minneapolis is the river’s only natural waterfall? Well, it was until it was replaced by a concrete overflow spillway. But don't let that stop you from enjoying its sights and sounds.
Mall of America
We all know the Mall of America is big. Just how big? 5.6 million square feet big. To help put that number in perspective, that’s as much as:
3 U.S. Bank Stadiums
9 Yankees Stadiums
10 great pyramids
24 Sidney Opera Houses
43 Boeing 747s
53 Eifel Towers
103 White Houses
174 Taj Mahals
347 Statues of Liberty
441 Big Bens
The Mall of America also houses Nickelodeon Universe, a 7-acre amusement park—which also happens to be the largest indoor theme park in the nation—featuring 28 rides and attractions, zip line, ropes course and more smack dab in the middle.
Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
The Twin Cities is a pretty artsy place, and all it takes is one look at the mammoth-sized collections at any of the museums or the beautifully crafted murals dressing up various buildings around the city to see why. One of the crown jewels of this arts scene is the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Located outside the Walker Art Center, this outdoor exhibit is the largest urban sculpture garden in the country at 11 acres big. Check out more than 40 artworks around the garden, including the iconic SpoonBridge and Cherry.