Areas to Avoid, Minneapolis
Minneapolis has very dangerous areas. Stay of of Portland, Chicago, and parts of Lake Street at Night.Also, the Art Institute is in a bad neighborhood. The worst are to be in is North Minneapolis. It's a huge neighborhood infamous for gang activities, drugs, and poverty.
minneapolis has it's share of homelessness and panhandlers, it's best not to stop and hear there stories, they can get rough, especially with us gals. at all costs avoid the minneapolis institute of art at night/dusk, though the neighborhood is slowly cleaning up it's still deceivingly rough. also avoid the mississippi river trails at night. girls, I've found my self in trouble there in the day time.
Just be sensible. I am 22 and I have lived here my whole life. Minneapolis and St Paul are like any other cities. There are spotty areas around downtown to avoid, but pretty much nowhere is a good idea to be in the middle of the night unless you are in the suburbs. Still even then nighttime can be dangerous. Specific areas to avoid might be the Payne-Phalen area east of downtown St Paul and Philips on the South Side of Minneapolis. Also, I have never had a bad experience riding on the light rail and I have done it quite a bit, so use the trains and buses as they are very helpful. For the most part the Twin Cities is a great place to walk around or hang out in.
For your own safety you will want to stay out of the poor black neighborhoods. These are extremely high crime areas. A lot of the people living there have moved from Chicago and Gary, Indiana to take advantage of the liberal welfare system in Minnesota. These people are the worst of the worst and should be avoided at all costs. Don't end up learning the hard way. This is probably the best advice you are going to get. Definitely stay out of North Minneapolis and the Philips neighborhood in south Minneapolis. Minneapolis ranks high in crime and rates 30th out of 450 metropolitan cities in the U.S.
I have lived in North Minneapolis, Harrison neighborhood for the past year. I live right where it is supposed to be "dangerous". As a 26 year old skinny white boy who goes to work in a suit everyday I would seem to be a clear target for a crime right? Well, not if you use common sense. Park in a garage, don't wander at night, be aware of your surroundings, don't act paranoid, don't talk to strangers and don't pull out your cell phone and you will be fine. My roommate is a extremely attractive small girl and she has been fine as well. When you live in a big city and near downtown of course there is a higher amount of crime, that is normal and should be understood. If you stay out of other peoples business you should be fine, and able to take advantage of cheap rent, affordable homes and great local parks. While this area isn't "fun" like uptown, it's cheap and for young professionals saving for a home, that is a great option.
Minneapolis and St. Paul are very clean and safe, I'd avoid North Minneapolis, Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn center, but these are not really areas you'd have any reason to venture into any way. St Paul, Stillwater, south Minneapolis Uptown and Edina are all very nice clean safe ares and the twin cities overall has very little crime. I've lived here my entire life and have never had a problem.