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13 Things Minnesotans Always Have to Explain to Out-of-Towners

by Erin Graney Jul 21, 2015

1. ‘Minnesota Nice’ may not be entirely nice.

Expecting a fight over the last piece of pizza? Not in Minnesota. Here, it’s a fight to see who won’t take the last piece.

‘Minnesota Nice’ describes our seemingly polite, friendly, and low-key nature. Don’t be fooled though, if someone tells you “That’s interesting,” there is a real chance they mean “That is not interesting and I wish I was not in this conversation.”

That aside, Minnesota is an overwhelmingly friendly and accepting place. I know, because there’s a BDSM/coffee shop down the street from my apartment called Leather and Latte.

2. Prince is the only musician you need to care about.

Though Prince is an internationally beloved artist, no other place adores him quite like we do in Minnesota. Because he’s originally from Minneapolis, he’s a regular hometown hero. Rumors of him appearing at parties, concerts, bars, and in little red corvettes abound here.

Other notable beloved musical artists from Minnesota include: The Replacements, Bob Dylan, Hüsker Dü, and for all you oldies fans, The Andrews Sisters. Hell yeah.

3. There’s nothing more satisfying than a hot dish.

Pronounced correctly as “hawt deesh,” this food item is well named and appears just as it sounds. A hearty, usually creamy, usually featuring tater tots, casserole-like dish that warms the body on a cold Minnesotan winter night, or any night, or any day.

Much like bagel bites, you can eat a hot dish anytime. There might even be bagel bites on your hot dish. I don’t know why this hasn’t caught on nationwide. More people should dish about the hot dish.

4. You all need to stop knocking our walleye.

Sometimes mistaken to mean a foul glance and similar to the stink eye you got after you explained to your in-laws that we as a society need to put the Christ back in Shark Week, walleye is actually a freshwater fish — and you’ll see it on almost every menu you come across in one form or another.

Baked, fried, served in bites or fillets, it’s delicious. Here’s a fact: Minnesota eats more walleye than any other state. It is much more often consumed than the famous, gelatinous ‘lutefisk,’ which is gross.

5. The Mall of America is still just a mall.

Yes, it has a theme park. Yes, it has an aquarium. In my experience, people who live around the area just don’t really shop there. It’s more of a tourist attraction than anything else. I will say it has a pretty great Lego store, not that I buy Legos. It’s not like I have Lego Jabba’s Sky Barge on display in my living room or anything. Back to the mall — yes, it is huge.

6. Yeah we got lakes, you betcha.

Land of 10,000 lakes is not an exaggeration. Minnesota actually boasts over 11,000 lakes and they are all bustling with activity. And unlike a dumb ocean, lakes can be used all year round. In the winter, the frozen lakes are home to ice hockey, ice-fishing, ice sculptures, and ice-falling down on your butt.

7. ‘Uff-da!’ could mean anything.

Don’t mistake it for a sneeze. ‘Uff-da,’ an expression of Norwegian origin, can fill in for any four-letter word, or exclamation.

And our slang doesn’t stop there. If you’ve seen the movie Fargo, you get the picture. Although the movie takes place only partly in Minnesota, that accent is prevalent across our state. Stay here long enough and you’ll find yourself saying “You betcha yeah,” “Doncha noh” and others. Just try it. It’s fun. It’s adorable.

8. It actually does get pretty hot here.

“Minnesota? It’s so cold up there!” is the sentence we all hear far too many times. That doesn’t change the fact that it’s currently summer, and it’s 90 degrees, miserably humid, and blindingly sunny outside.

9. We say ‘kitty corner’ not ‘catty corner.’ Get over it.

In other parts of the country, you might hear ‘catty corner,’ or ‘caddy corner.’ In Meownesota, it’s kitty corner, so don’t be catty about it.

10. We’re not just all Vikings up here any more.

Minnesota is home to a wealth of people with diverse backgrounds. Large populations of Hmong, Somali, Russian, Swedish, Hispanic, and indigenous peoples make our state one of the most interesting and vibrant in the country. The Twin Cities feature the American Swedish Institute, Museum of Russian Art, Hmong Cultural Center, and Minneapolis American Indian Center, among others.

There are still a lot of blond people though, no joke.

11. The Twin Cities are not identical.

Minneapolis and Saint Paul have very distinctive attributes. Each city has its own culture, and every Minnesotan has a preference. Minneapolis is home to Minnehaha Park, Mill City Museum, and a beautiful sculpture garden. St. Paul is famous for the Cathedral of St. Paul, Como Park Zoo and Conservatory, and Science Museum of Minnesota. St. Paul is older, but Minneapolis is larger.

The good news is you don’t have to pick one as they are five minutes from one another.

12. And the Twins are not the only cities we have.

Ely, Minnesota is home to the International Wolf Center.

Brainerd, Minnesota is not actually home to the giant Paul Bunyan statue seen in the movie Fargo (sorry, that was a prop), but it is proud of the Brainerd International Raceway.

Duluth, a port city on Lake Superior, houses the Aerial Lift Bridge, which is raised vertically 135 feet to let ships pass underneath.

13. We really want you to know that we’re The Star of the North.

It’s our state motto and it’s true. Minnesota offers beautiful rustic woods and lakes, welcoming and modern cities, cheese-filled hamburger patties, and a population that will, at least, pretend to be nice to you.

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