So you love football, or love somebody who loves football, or love seeming like somebody who loves football, so you got yourself a plane ticket and you’re finding your way through the metaphorical Wall (I just watched Game of Thrones for the first time, I will not apologize) of ice and snow to the city of Minneapolis, the unofficial capital of Minnesota, for the first time.
No, really, that’s great! We love visitors, especially ones from outside the Midwest. It gives us a chance to really turn on the Minnesota Nice™. You’re the only ones who will hear our tales of survival with a look of fascination and not roll your eyes. You probably have no idea what -33 degrees Fahrenheit feels like (nothing, it feels like nothing, like your skin and your entire self have ceased to exist and all that’s left is a bitter chill you’ll never quite get rid of) which gives us a chance to brag about our suffering. It’s great. Here’s what you need to know:
1. Can you drive? Cool. Don’t. The roads are mostly one-ways that definitely don’t provide access to the street you’re trying to reach, and I can guarantee if you haven’t driven in snow before, you won’t like it. Have you played Mario Kart? Remember Rainbow Road? Yeah, driving in Minneapolis in the winter is a lot like that, except if you drive off a sharp turn on I-94, there’s no adorable gremlin on a cloud to place you back on the asphalt. Your car belongs to the snowbank now. You can have it back in the spring. Just call an uber or take the train since Super Bowl ticketholders are the only ones allowed on it anyway…
2. Mock our accents and prepare to see the most passive aggressive way to say “fuck you” that you’ll ever experience without crossing into Canada.
3. Say anything about the stadium except good things. No decent person who lives in Minneapolis has anything good to say about our football stadium. It looks like a giant ship. It’s aggressively ugly. We miss the skyline without it and don’t want to hear anything good you have to say about it okay???
4. Minnesota Nice™ is a real thing only if you can tell the difference between being nice and being kind. Niceness involves smiling for appearances sake, feigning politeness, and saying sorry just so no one judges you for not actually being sorry.
Kindness involves genuine acts and feelings. People in Minnesota are not kind. We are distant, passive, and not very easy to mingle with due to our penchant for staying indoors 6 months out of the year. I had a mom push me in a Target once because I was blocking the Babybel cheeses. Approach Minnesotans with caution, as we bristle at aggressive personalities and straightforward attitudes. Beat around the bush a bit. Phrase all statements as a question. You’ll do fine?
5. Know that not all of us feel positively about Super Bowl. Minneapolis folks are a lot of things, but you can’t say we aren’t passionate. We fucking love this city. We know its strengths, and we fight against its weaknesses. And honestly, us hosting the Super Bowl is only bringing out a lot of our weaknesses. Our transit system doesn’t put its locals and employees first. The road closures are affecting medical and blue collar service workers without supplying them with fair alternatives for parking and travel. The homeless are being removed from shelters and motels to make room for you. And a bunch of other issues. It’s not necessarily your fault for wanting to enjoy yourself while you’re here, but know that your sports party is negatively affecting more people than it’s helping. You can love football and speak out about the ways it’s contributing negatively to different places/cultures/people. Don’t be surprised to see or hear about protests. We aren’t taking these issues lying down.
6. Ultimately, we live here. You’re a visitor. One that we’re truly happy to see, but wary of, under the circumstances. So make sure you do something that leaves our city looking and feeling better than when you got here. And for the love of god, buy a proper winter jacket before you come. There’ll be no rising from the dead as a blue-eyed zombie if you freeze to death here. You don’t have an excuse when there’s a Target every five blocks.
7. Be cool. Enjoy yourselves. No one does winter like The North.