About the Twin Cities

“Twin Cities” is the nickname for the areas two largest cities, Minneapolis and St. Paul, the former the larger and the latter the state capital. To remind everyone that there were actually two cities, people started using the phrase ‘Dual Cities’ around 1872, which eventually evolved into our modern day nickname. Despite the “Twin” moniker, the two cities are independent municipalities with defined borders and are quite distinct from each other. Minneapolis has more broad boulevards, easily navigable grid layout, and modern downtown architecture. Saint Paul has narrower streets laid out much more irregularly, clannish neighborhoods and a vast collection of well preserved late-Victorian architecture. The two cities directly border each other with their downtown districts about 9 miles apart and are generally speaking, separated by the Mississippi River. Generally speaking, Minneapolis is on the west side and St. Paul inhabits the east side. Today the term “Twin Cities” usually refers to both Minneapolis, St. Paul and the suburban areas surrounding the two.

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