Perhaps one of the most exciting and perplexing things for international students in Minnesota to understand is the concept of the “Twin Cities.” The Twin Cities, which is a combination of both Minneapolis (the most populated city) and Saint Paul (Minnesota’s capital), is the largest metropolitan area in the state of Minnesota. Since they border each other and were sometimes confused as the same place, people started referring to them as the “Dual Cities” around 1872. The term “Dual Cities” eventually became “Twin Cities” and that is why we refer to them that way today.
Some international students studying in Minnesota may find it easy to distinguish the differences between the two cities; Minneapolis is a much younger city and full of skyscrapers while Saint Paul if full of quaint neighborhoods and late-Victorian style architecture. In the past, the cities’ differences led to an intense rivalry which strangely enough, ended up contributing to some of their current similarities. When St. Paul built its beautiful Cathedral in 1915, Minneapolis quickly constructed its equally stunning Basilica of St. Mary in 1926. Both cities have a University of Minnesota campus which is referred to as the Twin Cities campus.
Because of the extreme rivalry between each cities’ sports teams, the state’s professional sports teams are now named for both cities. So instead of the Minneapolis Millers or the St. Paul Saints, we now have the Minnesota Vikings (American Football) and the Minnesota Twins (baseball).
Hopefully this little tidbit about the Twin Cities has helped any international students in Minnesota who were previously confused about what exactly the Twin Cities were… now you understand they are two cities in Minnesota that border each other and despite their differences have become more similar over time. Perhaps the concept is a bit perplexing, but maybe it’s their unique similarities and differences that make the Twin Cities so great!