Why Minnesota Is Great!

Twin Cities

The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul make up Minnesota’s population and economic center. Native Americans called the area home long before European settlers arrived. Once they did, St. Paul grew out of the northernmost landing spot on the Mississippi River. Just a few miles upriver, Minneapolis grew up around the only waterfall on the entire run of the river. Early industrialists used the water of St. Anthony Falls to power the mills where they milled grain and sawed timber. From those early mills grew today’s multifaceted economic powerhouse. Thanks to our diverse energy portfolio, Minnesota industries benefit from electricity that’s cheaper than on the coasts.

Today, with the Twin Cities as the economic center and dynamic companies across the state, 17 Fortune 500 companies call Minnesota home: UnitedHealth Group, Target, Best Buy, CHS, 3M, US Bancorp, Supervalu, General Mills, Ecolab, C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Land O Lakes, Ameriprise Financial, Xcel Energy, Hormel Foods, Mosaic, Thrivent Financial, St Jude Medical – as does the largest privately held corporation in the United States, Cargill.

The state is known for our leadership in medical devices, health informatics, food production, sustainability, mining, 3D printing, agriculture and retailing, among other industries.

  • Per-capita GDP ranks #14 in the country.
  • Labor force participation rate: 68.9% compared with 62.9% nationally.
  • Compared with a nationwide unemployment rate of 4.7%, Minnesota’s is just 3.9% — and in the Twin Cities it’s just 3.6% (December 2016).

Paul Bunyan

The great outdoors in Minnesota is second to none. With plenty of parks and one of the healthiest populations in the country, it’s easy to see why the locals are always outside enjoying life. A balanced approach to generating electricity keeps our environment clean and maintains clean air with low particulates and low ozone.

  • low crime rate
  • clean air
  • healthy population
  • access to quality healthcare
  • Voyageurs National Park
  • Grand Portage National Monument
  • Mississippi National River & Recreation Area
  • North Country National Scenic Trail
  • Pipestone National Monument
  • Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway

Land of 10,000 Lakes

With close to 12,000 lakes and the largest freshwater lake in the world, Minnesota’s state parks and recreation areas provide a pristine backdrop for water sports, lounging on the sand, or just taking in the natural beauty. The lakes comprise more than 90,000 miles of shoreline – more than California and Hawaii combined. Minnesotans value clean water which is why Minnesota’s energy providers support stewardship as their No. 1 priority.

  • 11,842 lakes of 10 acres or more
  • Lake Superior – world’s largest freshwater lake by surface area – 31,700 square miles
  • 76 state parks and recreation areas
  • Minnesota has 90,000 miles of shoreline, more than California and Hawaii combined.

Energy Use and Production

    To power our great way of life, Minnesota has an all-of-the-above energy strategy: We use wind, natural gas, hydropower, coal, nuclear, biomass- and solar – each as appropriate – to keep the lights on, factories humming, and modern life moving.

  • Minnesota was a pioneer in wind energy, and today we rank No. 7 in the nation in amount of wind generation installed, much of it on the windy Buffalo Ridge in the southwest part of the state. In 2015, 17% of Minnesota’s electricity came from wind.
  • We take it for granted that electricity is relatively cheap compared with other essentials, but without lower-cost coal and natural gas, electricity would be much more expensive.
  • In 2015, 44% of Minnesota’s electricity came from coal-based electric power plants and 13% came from natural gas. On the hottest days of summer, more than 90% of the state’s electricity comes from coal, natural gas and nuclear power.
  • Two nuclear power plants, Monticello and Prairie Island, account for 21% of the state’s electricity generation. Nuclear power generates electricity with zero carbon emissions, and utilities can indefinitely store the waste safely in casks made of steel, lead and concrete.

Spoonbridge & Cherry

When we’re not enjoying Minnesota’s beautiful landscapes, we’re taking advantage of the state’s rich cultural and arts scene. Home to the largest urban sculpture garden in the country, Minnesota also hosts a multitude of theaters, art institutes, museums and annual festivals – something for everyone to appreciate. For the energy aficionado, visit the Bakken Museum in Minneapolis, which includes the Electropolis exhibit which teaches kids how electricity can light up a city.

  • The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is the largest urban sculpture garden in the country.
  • >Science Museum of Minnesota
  • Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Walker Art Center, the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, and the Museum of Russian Art (all located in Minneapolis)
  • Minnesota Orchestra and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
  • World-renowned Guthrie Theater – 3 stages overlooking the Mississippi River
  • In the U.S., the Twin Cities’ number of theater seats per capita ranks behind only New York City, with some 2.3 million theater tickets sold annually.
  • The MN Fringe Festival is an annual celebration of theatre, dance, improvisation, puppetry, kids’ shows, visual art and musicals. The summer festival consists of over 800 performances in over 11 days in Minneapolis. It’s the largest non-juried performing arts festival in the U.S.

Skyway System

Have you heard of Minneapolis’ unique and groundbreaking Skyway System? Connecting 69 full city blocks, it’s a marvel of modern infrastructure and keeps Minnesota’s citizens perfectly warm and comfortable during our beautiful but snowy winters.

  • Climate-controlled haven during winter
  • Connects 69 full city blocks
  • Eight miles of skyways
  • Possible to live, eat, work and shop without going outside.

Fitness & Health

Our beautiful countryside lends itself to plenty of outdoors activities leading to Minnesota’s consistent ranking as one of the fittest states in the nation. From waterskiing to canoeing, jogging to golfing, snowshoeing to skiing (both cross-country and downhill), it’s no wonder our citizens find it easy to stay healthy and happy. Many Minnesota energy companies incentivize their employees to live active and healthy lifestyles.

  • Consistently ranked one of the fittest states in the nation
  • Host to world famous marathons including Twin Cities Marathon and Grandma’s Marathon>
  • Minneapolis has more golfers per capita than any other city in the country
  • Home to the birthplace of Waterskiing – Lake City
  • 4,000 miles of world-class bike trails

Aerial Lift Bridge

The Aerial Lift Bridge in Duluth is a true example of American ingenuity. When viewing the remarkable and stunning landmark, it’s hard to believe it was completed more than 100 years ago and was added to the National Register of Historic Places more than 40 years ago. Another example of ingenuity: the complex electric grid, which ensures that whether energy is provided by coal, wind or sunlight, we have access to electricity 24 hours a day.

  • Major landmark in the port city of Duluth, MN
  • The mammoth steel and cable structure was completed in 1905, making it more than 100 years old
  • The only other one of its kind in the world is in Rouen, France
  • Added to National Register of Historic Places in 1973
  • A clearance of 180 feet is attained when the span is completely raised
  • The span length is 386 feet and weighs approximately 900 tons
  • It connects the “mainland” with Minnesota Point, a five mile long sandbar

Mall of America

If you don’t like the outdoors, no big deal. With more stores than any other mall in the country, the Mall of America offers plenty of excitement.

The mall has 5.6 million square feet of gross building area – enough to fit 347 Statues of Liberty lying down or 43 Boeing 747s. And it’s not just a great tourist attraction – it provides employment for more than 11,000 year-round workers.

Even in Minnesota’s winter, Mall of America does not use a central heating system; instead, the comfortable 70 degrees is maintained year-round with passive solar energy from 1.2 miles of skylights and heat generated from store fixtures and lighting and the body heat from more than 40 million visitors.

More than 30,000 live plants and 300 live trees act as natural air purifiers within the mall.

Prairie Life

The Dakota and Ojibwe (also known as the Chippewa or Anishinabe) Native Americans gave us the name for Minnesota – meaning “clear blue water” – and their carvings, called “petroglyphs,” can still be seen today in the state’s parks.

  • The Dakota and Ojibwe (also called Chippewa or Anishinabe) Native Americans lived in Minnesota when the first Europeans arrived.
  • Some of the first inhabitants of Minnesota carved pictures of humans, animals and weapons into rocks. These carvings, called “petroglyphs,” are thousands of years old and many are still visable today in Minnesota’s state parks
  • In the late 1600s, French explorers led an expedition into Minnesota and were soon followed by fur traders for French and then British companies, who came for beaver pelts to make hats in Europe.
  • In 1825, Fort Snelling became the first permanent European-American settlement.
  • The early settlers in the territory were mostly Americans from the East Coast. Minnesota was admitted as the 32nd state on May 11, 1858.
  • Its name comes from the Dakota word for “clear blue water.”
  • By the 1860s, large numbers of immigrants – especially Germans and Scandinavians – came to Minnesota.
  • Logging and farming were the backbones of Minnesota’s early economy.


Among the state’s beautiful lakes are Minnesota’s productive and abundant farmlands. Ranked fifth in the United States in the value of agricultural production and a major driver of economic activity and employment, Minnesota’s farms are also important when it comes to your Thanksgiving dinners – we produce the most turkeys, sweet corn and green peas in the country.

  • Largest producer in the country of turkeys – more than 40,000,000 each year.
  • Also the largest producer of Sweet Corn and Green Peas>
  • 5th – Minnesota’s U.S. ranking in value of agricultural production
  • 340,000 – the number of jobs created by Minnesota’s agriculture sector
  • $75 billion – the overall economic activity generated in Minnesota because of agriculture
  • More than 74,000 – the number of Minnesota farms
  • The agriculture and food industries sector is the second-largest employer in MN


It’s no secret we love hockey in Minnesota. We’ve produced more National Hockey League players than any other state and our team the Minnesota Wild consistently sells out games.

  • Produced more NHL players than any other state
  • The NHL’s Minnesota Wild play in St. Paul’s Xcel EnergyCenter and reached an NHL record streak of 409 consecutive sold-out home games in September 2010.
  • Previously, the Minnesota North Stars competed in NHL from 1967-1993. They played in the 1981 and 1991 Stanley Cup Finals
  • The Boys High School Hockey Tournament routinely draws crowds of over 20,000

We all know Minnesota is a great place to live. From the buzzing metropolis of the Twin Cities to the picturesque scenery of Lake Superior, Minnesota’s landscape is rich and diverse. The state encompasses urban and rural areas, more than 11,000 lakes, prairies and farmland, forests, and a unique and hard-working population that reflects the heart of America. Our state boasts some of the cleanest air, and one of the healthiest populations in the country. It’s easy to see why Minnesotans love living here.
Learn more about why Minnesota is great!

  • Twin Cities

  • Paul Bunyan

  • Land of 10,000 Lakes

  • Energy Use and Production

  • Spoonbridge & Cherry

  • Skyway System

  • Fitness & Health

  • Aerial Lift Bridge

  • Mall of America

  • Prairie Life

  • Turkeys

  • Hockey