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ST LOUIS OR MINNEAPOLIS OR INDIANAPOLIS

Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 02:24 PM
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ST LOUIS OR MINNEAPOLIS OR INDIANAPOLIS

for a weekend trip from chicago. which one of these cities and why? THANKS!
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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 03:10 PM
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Indianapolis really suprised me. The downtown is extremely vibrant and filled with activity, historic sights, shopping, etc. Beautiful parks and trails. Outstanding museums. Be sure to visit the Eiteljorg Museum of Western and Indian Art. There's a wonderful little zoo and farther north, the art museum. Excellen ethnic restaurants and upscale shopping. Great place for a weekend, or longer, trip. The city away from downtown is a bit curious though. Almost as soon as you leave downtown, it's practically rural. Attractive though, especially up north. Broad Ripple is one of the only urban type neighborhoods not downtown. The southeast part of the city is all cornfields, with a quaint little farm "town" in the middle of it, which is technically part of the city. That was an interesting discovery. I look forward to going back.

Minneapolis I haven't been too in years, but it's supposed to be quite beautiful. It's at least an eight hour drive though, so it's really not good for a weekend trip.

St. Louis, I don't like. I've been there twice and the downtown has tumbleweeds blowing through it. Also, the city and suburbs make up what has to be one the most unattractive metropolitain areas in the country. Plus, the crime rate is extremely high, especially since the St. Louis police don't actually record all of the reported crimes, which is a big scandal right now.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 03:18 PM
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St Louis in Spring to see your favorite Chicago team play baseball.

Indy in early Summer for the race.

Minneapolis anytime to visit Mall of America.

Enjoy Chicago!
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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 04:25 PM
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I've been to all three, and definitely rank them St. Louis, Minneapolis, and Indianapolis. St. Louis has great museums, interesting neighborhoods, and lots to do. Minneapolis also has nice museums, but I found it slightly less charming.

Indianapolis is nice enough, but not terribly distinctive given you live in Chicago. You could find it pretty dull and generic.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 06:59 PM
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I can't comment on Minneapolis as I've only flown through.

I live south of Indianapolis. I travel to see a friend in St Louis 2 or 3 times a year.

For a weekend I'd pick Indianapolis over St Louis.

MikeT is right. St Louis has lots of interesting neighborhoods and museums: Clayton, Central West End, Soulard, the Hill, Forest Park, SLAM, Science Center, Historical Society, City Museum, Arch and museum. Unfortunately you'll spend your weekend in your car trying to get to them. I've done many a light rail weekend in St Louis too, but I'm willing to walk more than a mile at the drop of a hat.

With downtown Indy you can park your car and walk to more than enough things to keep you busy for a weekend: Eiteljorg Museum of SW Art, NCAA Hall of Fame, Monument Circle with Eli Lilly Museum, Indiana Repertory Theater, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Indiana State Museum, Conseco Fieldhouse if the Pacers are playing, RCA Dome if the Colts are playing, Victory Field if the Indians (minor league baseball) are playing, Circle Center Mall, Indiana State Capitol, Canal District, zoo, lots of dining options.

Indy is closer too. Well except for the Skyway Tollway and 80/94 construction taking up time.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 07:00 PM
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I've spend a fair amount of time in all three and for me, it'd be a pretty easy call.

Minneapolis-St. Paul scores much higher than St. Louis on the charm and museum scene -- although neither comes close to Chicago's museums (or baseball stadiums).

The Mall is the least of reasons for Minny. The city lakes -- at least from late spring through fall -- are fabulous for strolling around. The Summitt-Grand Ave. area of St. Paul and on to the state capitol and St. Paul Cathedral on their respective hills is a charming stretch.

Stronger theatre than St. Louis (and certainly Indy). Warehouse District with First Avenue (from Purple Rain) are lively.

Indy is a definite third here. Doesn't come close to the other two.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 08:12 PM
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Being a St. Louis native, I can't claim to be unbiased. Besides, I'm not experienced enough with MSP to compare, and I think Indy is quite nice.

I just wanted to add one consideration if funds are a concern: almost all of the museums in St. Louis, the Science Center, and the Zoo are free.

Crime wise, I know of one person personally in 40 years who's been a victim of a violent crime. Those stats get quoted quite a bit, but the truth is that St. Louis city is a small part of the St. Louis metropolitan area. 339,000, while the total for St. Louis County (all urban/suburban) is well over a million. The city's had "landlocked" borders and has had suburbs since before Chicago existed. So St. Louis city has some easily identifiable neighborhoods where the vast majority of crimes occur, just like most cities. But the statistics for the "per capita", crimes per total population, only include the very small percentage of the population of the area, while including almost all the crime, even though the majority of the crime occurs in a couple of areas of about 20 sq blocks. If St. Louis was to annex the 90+ suburbs just in the same county, as other cities have done, the crime rate would be less than most of those large cities. (and St. Louis would be the 6th largest city in the US)

Not that it's a paradise or anything, but statistics don't work the same for every metropolitan area and it doesn't make sense to me to leave those sort of statements stand. I do agree that downtown stinks as an after hours destination, but there are some cool areas to go to after dark.

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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 08:19 PM
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Been to all 3. St. Louis is the clear winner. Lots of free museums, the ride up in the Arch, frozen custard, and friendly people. You can get a great hotel cheap on Priceline. Check www.biddingfortravel.com before bidding on Priceline.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2005, 12:27 PM
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I've been to all three, and really appreciate Clifton's explanations to a few things that did cause me to ponder.

I LOVE St. Louis, I liked Minneapolis-St. Paul and I liked Indianapolis also.

They all hold something of interest and I love the area near Indianapolis for the Covered Bridge Festival (Brown County, if I remember correctly) as a combo with the Indianapolis trip. They had the best pork chops I've ever tasted. I just wouldn't do it myself on Mem. Day/Race weekend. It's a madhouse and way too much of a mob scene for me.

But all told, St.Louis is number one of these three, with the other two about tied. I'm a baseball person and the St. Louis fans are awesome. No other words describe how hospitable those fans have been to us. Also there are several areas in the city that are enjoyable for a visitor, not just the downtown. And 6 Flags is not that far, if you have kids to keep busy.

I found the crime stats puzzling, because we walked everywhere and also drove into East St.Louis on a wrong turnaround loop and took the "scenic route" unintentionally. Coming from some of the areas I've seen first hand in Chicago, they were not all that bad as I'd heard. I guess many things are relative.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2005, 04:47 PM
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I must be missing something about St. Louis. When I go there I'm always struck by what might have been. Perhaps I remember it as a much bigger town. In 1950, the city population was nearly 900K and now it's under 350K.

And the downtown -- despite a few, occasional valient efforts -- feels the dying town it is. (Then's there's the old joke that SL is one arch short of a McDonalds).

Minneapolis has a much more impresive downtown that's vibrant with a more impressive core than either of the other options. Minneapolis Institute of Art is far superior to St. Louis' and also is free.

And the exodus from St. Louis is continuing at a rate of nearly 5 percent since 2000 -- yet the metro area is growing. That means two things -- the continuing death of downtown and the spreading of some of the worst sprawl in the Midwest.

Bottom line for me: When my business trips take me to Minneapolis, I build in extra time. When it's St. Louis, I'm in and out.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2005, 05:14 PM
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Well, downtown St. Louis is not where things are going on. For that matter, there isn't much to do in much of the core of Loop in Chicago during the weekend either, but that doesn't stop it from being a great city.

Withing minutes of "downtown" St. Louis the Art Museum, great contemporary art museums on Grand Ave., Forest Park, the zoo, the Central West End, and Soulard.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2005, 05:29 PM
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Hi, mikieguns, I don't know what you prefer so it is hard for me to say. It has been a long time since I have been to St. Louis. I have been to Indianapolis, and I guess I just don't see that it has anything over Minneapolis. I am a Chicago native, now living in Minneapolis for the last 20 years....wow! This place has changed a ton since I have been here. Let us know what interests you and we can reply. Minneapolis has much to offer in theatre, arts, food (still not at the level I would like, but great strides in the last 5 years!)and fun things to do. We have had a very mild winter for MN. When are you planning a visit? St. Paul has so much to offer as well as Minneapolis. Let us know!
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Old Feb 3rd, 2005, 07:26 PM
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Mikie, you don't say when you're thinking of visiting. If it's spring or early summer, Indianapolis is a great choice! If winter, not so good. I live in Indy and our skies are gray and wooly then. Not very exciting. How about coming in May for the race?
 
Old Feb 4th, 2005, 06:13 AM
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Thanks for the tips! Keep 'em coming! I am learning a lot! so far, it looks like Minneapolis is winning the polls! here's some more details - it is not the best time of year, but i was planning on doing this weekend trip sometime in the next few weeks. just need to get out of town! maybe presidents day weekend. as far as interests go - so far MINN seems like it offers the most: a vibrant downtown, restaurants, bars, safe to walk and get around, etc. we could shoot over to the mall of america too! (is that far?). st louis so far sounds ok. although not as exciting. i might wait for baseball season and go check out a game. And Indy? hmmm, not a whole heck of a lot of exciting feedback here thus far either. except for race week! and I am not a race fan. but i'll probably check out indy at some point. didn't realize how big it is! Indy's population is actually double that of st louis and about the same as Minn / St Paul combined. crazy! hard to believe it doesn't have a vibrant downtown.
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Old Feb 4th, 2005, 06:38 AM
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I think Indy's population size is that the city proper is 361 sq. miles, while Minny is 55 while St. Louis is 62.

In total metro population, M-SP is 2.9M, St. Louis is 2.6 and Indy is 1.6.
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Old Feb 4th, 2005, 07:35 AM
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Never been to Indianapolis, but definitely prefer Minneapolis over St. Louis. Agree St. Louis downtown is hodge-podge, and now there's big construction with the new Busch stadium going up. You'd need a car in St. Louis to get to the interesting neighborhoods, too.

I'll get flamed for this for sure, but I lived in St. Louis and still have relatives there-- and I find it to be very dated in its attitudes towards people of color and women, plus there are lots of smokers everywhere.

On the other hand, Minneapolis has such a vital cultural scene and strikes me it has a younger and classier mentality.
 
Old Feb 4th, 2005, 08:17 AM
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My only caveat on Minneapolis in February or March is that it's a pretty sloppy time of the year, full of puddles and snow piles, and the weather might be a bit nicer in one of your southern choices.

It's a much better in spring (late) or (early) fall -- hard to believe it's as different from Chicago climate-wise as it is, but the winter does seem to come earlier and last later.

The Mall is a pretty easy trip on the new light rail from downtown. I'm not a shopper, but I did have to try the walleye on a stick and deep-fried cheese curds in the food court.
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Old Feb 4th, 2005, 08:33 AM
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Yes it's true. Indy "cheats" to get its population figures up.

Due to UniGov from the late '60's all of Marion County is the city of Indianapolis with one mayor, one set of council members, etc. That's why the city looks "square" on a map. That's the shape of the county. Only 4 communities in the county opted out: Speedway, Lawrence, Beech Grove and Southport.
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Old Feb 4th, 2005, 02:44 PM
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Actually, if you go back to the first post, you'll see that I found Indianapolis to have a pretty thriving downtown, and I'm from Chicago.

It is true that most of the core downtown empties out after office hours, but State St. is still quite busy, and probably more so than any street in downtown St. Louis. Plus there are thriving, 24 hr. neighborhoods immediately adjacent to the Loop, so there is a lot of through traffic. Then there's the relatively new theatre and education districts on either side of the Loop, bringing lots of student residents and visitors. And a lot of the old office buildings are starting to be converted into condos and apartments. We pretty much have a vibrant, 24hr. downtown in Chicago, while I really don't think you can say that for St. Louis.
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Old Feb 5th, 2005, 02:17 PM
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Definitely Minneapolis. I lived in Indpls for a while, lots of nice stuff, but Minneapolis is much nicer of a city. Plus, you have the luxury of visiting Mnpls AND St. Paul. St. Paul is older and more historic, and Mnpls is more urban. I LOVE Minneapolis. St. Louis is OK, Indpls is OK, but Minneapolis is so much more new and urban if you're into that kind of thing. You've got the lakes district: Harriet, Calhoun, you've got the mall of America if you like that kind of thing, you've got the Warehouse Distr. downtown with all the funky shops, bars and restaurants, and people handle winter quite bravely there! (I don't even know what that means-----I like winter and MSP people seem to too I guess). Thumbs up on Mnpls.
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