Minnesota’s Twin Cities (pop. 673,000; metro area: 3.3 million) have a thriving theater scene, one of the nation’s best contemporary art museums in the Walker Art Center, and 12 Fortune 500 companies. Plus, says Aaron Ankrum, a 31-year-old musician, “It’s all really accessible. You’re not going to be locked up in crazy New York traffic.”
There are also hundreds of miles of bike trails (“Diehards even bike-commute in winter,” says Ankrum), a new baseball stadium downtown, and 10,900 acres of parks, including Lake Calhoun—host to sailing in the summer and epic pond-hockey tournaments in the winter. And one of the great wildernesses in the country—the big, burly waters of Lake Superior—is just a few hours north.