Despite a normal year's temperatures ranging from -25F to +95F, Minnesotans love the outdoors, and have one of the most extensive park and recreation systems in the country.

The community offers a wide range of employment opportunities, both in the private sector and in state government. A number of major corporations in the electronics, computer, health, food processing and milling, retailing, transportation, and forestry industries are headquartered in the Twin Cities, making Minnesota #2 in Fortune 500 companies per capita.

Arts

The world-renowned acting company at the Guthrie Theater, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Minnesota Orchestra are three examples of the high level of artistic talent in the Twin Cities. The area is also home to several other professional performing groups including Children's Theater, Penumbra, the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, Theatere in the Round and the Minnesota Opera. Most theaters and performance halls offer substantial discounts to students, making the performing arts affordable on a student budget. Traveling Broadway musicals also play in the Twin Cities on a regular basis. A wide variety of local bands play at bars, clubs, and coffee shops throughout the city.

There are also several noteworthy fine arts collections in the Twin Cities, including the Minneapolis Institute of Arts with an extensive collection of art from several periods, the Walker Art Center featuring 20th Century Art, and the University's Weisman Art Museum.

Sports and Recreation

The University of Minnesota also has extensive sports and recreation facilities. The newly-remodeled St. Paul facility includes a full size gym, indoor and outdoor track, activity room, indoor pool, fitness center, weight room, outdoor tennis, squash and racquetball courts, and a climbing wall. The East Bank Rec & Well Center includes an aquatic center, fitness center, racquetball and squash courts, indoor and outdoor tennis, gymnasium, indoor and outdoor tracks, and many more amenities.

Minnesota is home to several major professional sports teams, including the Minnesota Twins, Wild, Vikings,Timberwolves, and Lynx. The University of Minnesota competes in the Big Ten Conference, and students can purchase tickets at reduced prices.

Most metropolitan parks have separate walking/jogging and biking/roller blading paths, allowing full enjoyment of all four sports in a beautiful setting. Minneapolis and St. Paul both designate and mark safe bike routes to get around the metropolitan area. Minneapolis is one of the country's - and world's - most bike-friendly cities. Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, located 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from the St. Paul campus contains a lake, golf course/cross country ski trail, biking/roller blade and walking/jogging paths, outdoor pool, a conservatory, and small zoo. All facilities except the golf course, pool, boat rental, and cross country ski trail are free.

The Minnesota Zoo, located just south of the Twin Cities, has indoor and outdoor exhibits featuring animals in "nearly natural" habitats. The Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul features the Omnitheater, Egyptian artifacts, life-sized dinosaur models, and several participatory exhibits. In addition, there are several State Parks and National Parks/wilderness areas within an easy drive of the Twin Cities. Two areas of note are Itasca State Park, the headwaters of the Mississippi River, and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness/Voyageurs National Park, a pristine wilderness area located in Northern Minnesota, bordering Canada.

Housing

Many students find housing close to the St. Paul campus. Rents range from $250/month for a very small efficiency to $650/month for a large one- or two-bedroom apartment. Married students and single parents can apply for University housing on the St. Paul Campus, and a new University apartment building is located near the Minneapolis campus. Students can also rent a dorm room on a short term basis during the summer, providing a place to stay while looking for an apartment.

Transportation

The campuses are connected by a free intercampus bus service. Travel time by bus between the St. Paul and East Bank campuses is approximately 15 minutes, and slightly longer for St. Paul - West Bank travel.