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Minneapolis, MN (Population: 372,811)

Minneapolis is home to an estimated 372,811 people (2005) and is the largest city in Minnesota. The city and its neighbor, St. Paul, are known collectively as the Twin Cities. The name Minneapolis is attributed to the city's first schoolmaster who combined "minnehaha," the Dakota Indian word for falling water, and "polis," the Greek word for city. Minneapolis is nicknamed the City of Lakes and the Mill City. Once well-known as a hub for flour milling, timber harvests and transport, the city is now a primary business center between Chicago, IL and Seattle, WA. The politics of Minneapolis are largely liberal and the local government has placed considerable effort into improving the quality of life for all residents including the lower classes.

Today, the economy of the Minneapolis area is made up of commerce, finance, rail and trucking services, health care, and manufacturing in sectors such as electronic/medical/engineering equipment. Businesses that are headquartered in the greater Minneapolis area are the Target Corporation, PepsiAmericas, General Mills, Cargill, Ameriprise Financial, and Valspar Corporation. The Minneapolis Grain Exchange, founded in 1881, is still located near the riverfront and is the only exchange for hard red spring wheat futures and options. The availability of leading edge technology in communications, medicine, research and development, and energy conservation won the city distinction in a poll by Kiplinger's of Smart Places to Live and one of the Seven Cool Cities for Young Professionals.

In the 1950s and 1960s, downtown Minneapolis went through urban renewal with parts of the riverfront preserved within the St. Anthony Falls Historic District. Some historic buildings were lost in this effort but the revitalization continues throughout the city. Minneapolis is second only to New York City in live theater per capita and is the third-largest theater market in the United States. Venues and groups include the Theatre de la Jeune Lune, Illusion, Jungle, Mixed Blood, Penumbra, the Brave New Workshop, Theater Latté Da and the Children's Theatre Company. Residents and tourists can take advantage of 12 large art, cultural, science, and historical museums along with several smaller galleries and museums, four large ballet, dance, and folk dance companies, as well as filmmaker groups and numerous theater companies.

Higher education opportunities are provided by the University of Minnesota, Dunwoody College of Technology, Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Augsburg College, Minneapolis College of Art and Design and North Central University.

Best known by professional sports fans, the city is home to the Minnesota Viking football, Minnesota Twins baseball, and Minnesota Timberwolves basketball teams. The Metrodome is the only stadium in the country to have hosted a Major League Baseball All-Star Game, the Super Bowl, the World Series, and NCAA Basketball Men's Final Four. The Metrodome also provides runners, walkers, inline skaters, volleyball teams, trade shows, and community activities a worthy home.