Downtown is a fun place for grownups as it has excellent restaurants, theater and clubs but it's not great for small people as there's very little for them to do. If you're traveling with children, I'd recommend mapping out the location of the activities you plan to do as a family and staying close to where the majority of them are at. For instance, the Minnesota Zoo and Valley Fair are both in far southern suburbs so a hotel in that area would be better than one downtown.
St. Paul, on the other hand, has several excellent family-oriented attractions (Minnesota Children's and Science Museums) within an easy walk of downtown hotels, and Como Park Zoo and Como Town Amusement Park (ages 2-12) a short car, bus or cab ride away so you'd be fine there.
Be wary of carrying visible alcoholic beverages with you if you are taking a taxi from the Minneapolis-St Paul Airport. Over half of the cabbies servicing this airport are observant Muslims. In the past four years, there have been over 5,000 complaints of cabbies refusing to pick up passengers who were carrying alcoholic beverages.
After a couple ineffective plans were tried to mediate an acceptable compromise between passengers and cabbies, the airport's governing commission voted unanimously in early May of 2007 to impose sanctions against cabbies who refused passengers with alcoholic beverages. There is talk of civil rights law suits among the cabbies and the sanctions include drivers losing their license for refusing fares.
Hopefully, there will be a solution soon but for now at least there is sometimes very significant tension in the raks of the cab drivers.
There aren't any. Having lived in Minnesota all my life, and having relatives that have lived in Minneapolis and St. Paul for over 12 years. There aren't any. It's all common sence. Don't leave your car unlocked, don't travel alone late at night if you can avoid it. Public Transportation here is AWESOME. I have ridden it all my life, it's easy and safe.
For those that say walking by the Art Institute at night is not safe. Having done this many many many times. Yes it is, it's fine.
Watch out for groose crap, especially near wetlands or lakes. At times there is a lot of it and it is messy. Really this is not a huge problem. I have tips for other parts of the world warning of people conning you out of money or of bad health areas. Goose crap is a comparatively small problem.
If you are in Minneapolis in the winter, and like me are often running out the door with still wet hair you will experience frozen hair.
Its a rather interesting, but digusting feeling.. crunchy, hard, cold.. then it melts and its worse. I have really long hair, so I ran the risk of it freezing and breaking off.. it never happened, but I usually wore something over it just to be sure.. I´m paranoid about such things.
Wear a hat, avoid gel... I did see a kid once in elementary school break his overly gelled hair off at recess.