Be Aware, Minneapolis
Each year several people die on the area lakes due to thin ice. Many times it's small children who are left unsupervised who fall victim to the icy waters of the local lakes. But every year you also hear of adults who should know better who venture out on thin ice on foot, on snowmobiles and even cars and trucks.
Even if the temperatures are cold, check for signs around the lakes that may indicate "thin ice" before venturing out. The lakes in the Metro are very good about posting signs when the ice is not safe.
Minneapolis's population as well as Minnesota's has undergone a change with religious groups facilitating World resettlement of needy, backward third-world country peoples in the state. Unfortunately, many of the resettled people have turned to crime here or have continued the ways that left their home countries in shambles. Be alert at night, especially in the downtown congested areas. Walking alone is not recommended. If you must go out as a pedestrian, there is more safety and less personal risk in numbers. Consider the use of taxicabs, instead of walking.
While our light rail system is terrific for accessing Uptown, Downtown and Mall of America from the airport, there have been a few fatalities involving people falling/driving/walking into the trains. They run at very high speeds and are very quiet - you can't easily hear them coming. Cross the tracks only at designated pedestrian crosswalks, look carefully in both directions and never try to beat the train. Walk - don't ride - skateboards and bikes across tracks, and stay behind the yellow safety line at platforms until the train stops. If driving, stop when warning lights are flashing.
The Mall of America is huge. Over five hundred shops, multiple levels, and so much to keep you interested.
Before you separate, as all shoppers tend to do, pick a point to meet at later, including a time. The mall is separated into quadrants, and broken down even further into NE, SE etc., etc. Obtain a map at the customer service counter, which will help you find the various stores, and their exact locations.
Don't think you'll run across one another, because you won't. Get a map, circle a meeting point of each parties map, and use them.
Or, carry a cell phone...but you'll still make use of a map.
We may joke that the state animal is a mosquito, but we wear enough bug spray to prove it! Most areas in Minneapolis/St. Paul spray for mosquitos, but when venturing out in the evening, around the lovely lake areas, or especially the sculpture gardens - prepare for some viscious insects. This is why Minnesotans like winter! (Note the standing water under the spoon sculpture - mosquito heaven.)
Wisconsin has cheese and famous serial killers (the two are probably linked), Iowa has cow tipping (yes, it does exist), but Minnesota has snowmobiles. In the winter, wich is 9/10s of the year, backwoods Minnesotans primaryily use snowmobiles to get around. Since drinking is the major winter passtime and there are no laws or regulations against drinking and snowmobile driving, Minnesotans create trails to all the local bars. Now, snowmobils can commonly go between 80-250 miles per hour, and manly men all have the biggest, baddest, fastest and best snowmobiles as if somehow the speed of their snowmobile is linked to the size of their balls. Well, all I can say, is that if you ever find yourself more than 20 minutes outside of Minneapolis - watch out for snowmobiles!!!
Rush hour, contrary to what the precious poster said, generally lasts from 6AM-9AM and 3PM-6PM, just like most cities. During rush hour, freeways can become parking lots, and police sometimes guide rush hour traffic because of gridlock issues. If you are on the south side of 494 (by Bloomington / Eden Prairie), you will be in stop and go traffic from 5AM-9:30AM and 2PM-7PM, and sometimes during some of the daytime on Saturday and Sunday. This road is very obselete and is handling all the traffic going to the mall of america and MSP Int'l Airport.
Roads in Downtown Minneapolis are very simple to comprehend, except for some Avenues.
Avenues run NE-SW (parallel to Mississippi River).
Streets run NW-SE.
Once you get out of downtown, the roads change to N-S & E-W.
Here's a guide of how fast people drive in different speed zones
30 - 30-38mph
40 - 40-45mph
45 - 45-55mph
50 - 50-60mph
55 - 55-67mph
60 - 60-70mph
65 - 65-80mph
70 - 65-85mph
Since the 35W bridge collapse, 94 has been increased to 4 ultra-tiny lanes to handle more traffic. With the added lanes, people tend to drive a lot slower and there are even shorter onramps. If you are coming from 94 to 35W north of 694, definitely find another route that doesn't go through downtown, even if it means taking city streets vs Interstates.
So I guess just take mass transit if you're staying in the immediate metro. It's everywhere, and well worth it since buses can drive on shoulders and get there a lot quicker than cars.
Beware of science edu-tainment. If you're in town for a family reunion or any other reason that you might need some distracting entertainment...give us a call.
Magic....rocket launches...cotton candy....explosions....we're there dude.
AVOID parking your car during and ESPECIALLY after, any college final game aournd the U of MN TC campus. Be it hockey, basketball, or football, Park in a garage if you're around the U.
Unfortunatly, just recently, there have been a few riots after these games.
It doesn't happen after every game, maybe it's only happend a couple of times. But it has happened. And if it does next time. I hope you moved your car indoors. You know...that better safe then blah blah thing.
In a (fairly) recent article in the Star Tribune (local newspaper), many people have gotten injured leaving a Downtown club or bar when it closes. Most clubs close around 2 am, so to avoid being mugged or stabbed, use common sense and leave before drunk people come out in droves. If you need to, call a cab.
However, that doesn't mean Downtown is unsafe. In every city in the world, it is dangerous to walk around at night, especially if you're drunk.
See below for the article.
The Twin Cities are probably one of the safest large metro areas in the US. During the day, it is possible to walk or bike just about anywhere in the city. It is still wise to keep one's guard up however, and take normal precautions with personal safety and that of property.