Minneapolis – Saint Paul

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Minneapolis–Saint Paul is the most populous urban area in the state of Minnesota, United States, and is composed of 186 cities and townships.[8] Built around the Mississippi, Minnesota and St. Croix rivers, the area is also nicknamed the Twin Cities for its two largest cities, Minneapolis and Saint Paul, the former the larger and the latter the state capital. It is a classic example of twin cities in geography.

The area is part of a larger U.S. Census division named Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI, the country's 16th-largest metropolitan area composed of 11 counties in Minnesota and two counties in Wisconsin.[4] This larger area in turn is enveloped in the U.S. Census combined statistical area called Minneapolis-St. Paul-St. Cloud, MN-WI with an estimated population of 3.5 million people in 2006, ranked the 13th most populous in the U.S.[2]

To remind everyone there were actually two cities, people started using the phrase Dual Cities around 1872, which evolved into Twin Cities.[9] Despite the Twin moniker, the two cities are independent municipalities with defined borders and are quite distinct from each other. Minneapolis is somewhat newer, with modern skyscrapers and broad streets. Saint Paul has been likened to a European city with more quaint neighborhoods, and a vast collection of well preserved late-Victorian architecture.[10] Also of some note is the differing cultural backgrounds of the two cities: Minneapolis was influenced by its early (and still influential) Scandinavian/Lutheran heritage, while St. Paul was influenced by its early French, Irish and German Catholic roots.[11]

Often, the area is referred to as simply the Cities by those who live nearby the Twin Cities, both within Minnesota and in the greater Midwest. Today, the two cities directly border each other and their downtown districts are about 9 miles (14 km) apart. The Twin Cities are generally said to be in east central Minnesota. The cities draw commuters from as far away as Rochester, St. Cloud, Pine City, Albert Lea, Mankato and Eau Claire.

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