It’s February, and the month is full of love, thanks to Valentine’s Day. But love isn’t just limited to affection for people – as any traveler knows, you can fall in love with places, too!
Sometimes, just like with people, it’s love at first sight, and other times it takes a while to notice what was in front of you all along.
To celebrate discovering new destinations that make your heart skip a beat, Wanderu has invited several travel bloggers to share love letters to the places that have captured their hearts.
Up first, find out why Emily fell head over heels for Minneapolis!
“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” Surely Elizabeth Barrett Browning was referring to you, my sweet Minneapolis, when she wrote these infamous words so many years ago. (Okay, so Browning may have written this particular sonnet five years before Minneapolis was initially founded, but you get my point.) I could make a list of adoration that never ended, as with each new day I discover a new thing to love about you! However, for the sake of sanity, I will painstakingly whittle down this list to a few particularly stand-out qualities of yours.
Minnesota nice is a real thing, and Minneapolites exude it through every pore on their Vitamin D deprived bodies. It’s not remotely unusual to receive a smile, head nod, “hello,” or all of the above when passing a total stranger on Hennepin Avenue. If Minneapolis was a high school, everyone would be simultaneously diving to help the poor soul who drops their stack of books all over the hallway. I once sat through an entire green light because nobody could bring themselves to honk at the oblivious car sitting at the front of the line. What’s the hurry, after all? “A Prairie Home Companion” is on the radio, and the tater tot hotdish won’t be done for another 20 minutes.
Minneapolis, your people are sweeter than a heavily sugared piece of lefse. They’re pretty funny, too. I mean, who doesn’t get a chuckle out of watching countless Minneapolites break out their shorts when the temperature hits 40 degrees one February day?
Who knew that a place where winter takes its time could have so much going on? Contrary to the rumors, your residents don’t actually go into hibernation for half the year. People stay rather busy, actually. This leads you to consistently top the charts when it comes to being one of America’s fittest cities. There are renowned restaurants dotting every neighborhood and green spaces galore. Moreover, Minneapolites run marathons, visit art museums, attend music festivals, drink fresh pressed juice, and take a dip in the lake – all within the city limits. You’ve got so much going on, Minneapolis! You are where a thriving theater scene meets multiple professional sports teams – all nestled along the banks of the mighty Mississippi River.
Not only are you home to more higher education establishments than I can count, but you are also a hub for burgeoning scholars of all sorts. Authors, scientists, entrepreneurs, and designers all coexist in your brainy environment. There are even specific spaces for all these smart people to get together and talk about how cool they all are. Perhaps my next article for Wanderu will be a play-by-play of my experiences trying to infiltrate these intellectual hubs.
All sorts of beautiful things have originated within your research-driven and inventive spaces, Minneapolis. My personal favorite invention to come from within your city walls is the Honeycrisp apple. My life significantly changed for the better the first time I bit into this perfect, juicy, sweet, angelic apple.
Minneapolis, I hope you now realize that you are my one and only Valentine. I am entirely obsessed with you, and can’t wait for even more people to discover the same reverence I have for you. I guess they’ll just have to see for themselves. In the meantime, I’m fine with having you all to myself (and about 400,000 other Minneapolites).
About the author: Emily Hest is a college student in the Twin Cities. She is a farm-turned-city girl who loves to read memoirs and drink way too much coffee. She loves learning about the world and occasionally indulging in trashy reality television. You can find her over on Instagram at @emilyhest!