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Known for its natural beauty as the City of lakes, Minneapolis is a happy blending of the Native American word Minne meaning “of the waters” and polis, the Greek word for city. Minneapolis is Minnesota’s largest city, located in the southeastern section of the state by the Falls of St. Anthony and the Mississippi River, which winds across the city. It joins Saint Paul, the state’s capital city on the opposite side of the river, to form the Twin Cities metropolitan area with an estimated population of 2,538,776. Flowing east through the city en route to the Mississippi is Minnehaha (Laughing Water) Creek, which was the subject of Longfellow’s famous poem, “Song of Hiawatha.” True to its name, Minneapolis is blessed with 22 lakes and lagoons and more than 150 related parks.

The city’s diversified economy is based on commerce, finance, transportation, and industry. It is the heart of one of the richest agricultural areas in the U.S. and a major medical research center. Combined with Saint Paul, the Twin Cities dominate the upper Midwestern region’s economic and cultural life. The area is served by the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, five railroads, a modern highway system, and river transport. Educational facilities include the Twin Cities campus of the University of Minnesota, the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and Augsburg College, founded in 1869.

Notable points of interest are the Minnesota Institute of Arts and the Walker Art Center, the American Swedish Institute, the science museum and planetarium at the Minneapolis Public Library, the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra and the Guthrie Theater Company--in a city said to have more live theater than any North American city outside New York. Other attractions include and the Nicollet Mall, a 10-block downtown shopping center that features climate-controlled skyways and glass-enclosed bridges for pedestrians. For professional sports enthusiasts, there is the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, home to the Minnesota Twins major league baseball club and the Minnesota Vikings NFL team. The city also offers the NBA Timberwolves.

The Minneapolis site was occupied by the Sioux when a Franciscan missionary visited the area in 1680 and named the local falls St. Anthony. European settlers arrived in large number in about 1820 after the Fort Snelling military reservation was built at the junction of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers. Minneapolis was incorporated as a village in 1856. It became a city in 1867. The lumbering that stimulated the area's early growth was later supported by the agriculture of the state’s western prairies. Though lumber production disappeared in 1919, today’s Minneapolis remains a leading grain market. Historic walking tours introduce visitors to the St. Anthony Falls, the Stone Arch Bridge, and other reminders of the city's past.


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