Active Family Guide: Pop Quiz
It’s not the be-seen-in-a-bikini beaches or the 24–7 clubbing. No one would ever accuse the Twin Cities of being “The Cities That Never Sleep”—unless they were up with our rebellious toddlers.
Science Museum of Minnesota
We live here because our metro is a great place to raise healthy, happy, “above-average” (as grandpa Garrison Keillor likes to brag) children.
Go ahead and use your best kindergartner defiance: “Who says?!” Well: Parenting magazine, which named our metro one of the top 10 “Best Cities for Families” in 2011 and 2012. Money magazine, which ranked Eden Prairie third in “Best Places to Live” in 2012 and Chanhassen 10th in 2011. And Men’s Health, which ranked St. Paul and Minneapolis among the top 20 “Best Places to Raise a Family.”
As a state, we’re also tops for kids: The Foundation for Child Development ranks Minnesota as the sixth best state for overall child well-being. And our personal fave: U.S. News and World Report, which ranked Minnesota second only to Utah for “Best State to Live in 2032.”
That’s a pretty good place to live—where the good stuff we do now will make great stuff 20 years from now. At which point we will hand the children the keys to these cities and enjoy not having to drive them around. You’re welcome, kids!
Oh, it’s not like the kids aren’t pulling their weight—especially at school. As a state, we are the 10th best educated, according to national statistics. (Take that, Wisconsin, which is merely 28th!) And in 2012, our high school students had the best cumulative ACT score. (Ha ha, Wisconsin! Bested again—you’re third.) Money magazine crunched its numbers and ranked us as the eighth smartest state as well.
Says Mary Ross of the International School of Minnesota, “The state has an extraordinary school system; if [our school] could make it here, we could make it anywhere in the U.S.” She came from suburban New Jersey, her husband from Philadelphia. “[This is] a place to give our children the kind of upbringing we wanted for them.”
Forbes ranks us the No. 1 safest city in America. Farmers Insurance ranks us the 12th safest large metro in the United States. (We’d be higher without ice and tornados.) In Minneapolis, the rate of violent crime is the second lowest it’s been since 1983. (St. Paul remains just as low.) Minnesota Nice works, says Mike Stead, owner and operator of The Melting Pot in Minneapolis, who came from the East Coast: “The people of the Midwest are just more interested in getting to know each other. I want that for my children.”
Parenting ranked Minneapolis the eighth healthiest city for families in 2010, but that’s just the tip of the celery stalk. Bicycling says we’re the best biking city in America, and Backpacker named us one of the “Best Cities to Raise an Outdoor Kid.” Forbes just named us the healthiest city in America.
As a state, we’re the soup and the salad. We’re first in the nation for the overall quality of health care, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. We’re fifth in the nation for the health of our citizens, according to the American Public Health Association. And 90 percent of our state’s citizens have health insurance—even the kids whose parents can’t afford it.
Says Abe Jacob, pediatrician and internist at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, “Partly it’s the health of the population. Partly it’s access to some of the highest-rated health care in the U.S.”
And partly it’s our mix of urban attractions, outdoor activities, and general vigor—custom-built for an active family life. “I remember one summer fishing in a boat on the lake and then, 20 minutes later, being at the Target Center waiting for the U2 concert to start,” Jacob says. “I remember thinking, ‘You can’t do this in many other places.’ ”