Daughter moving to Minneapolis - any advice?

On Tuesday, Mr. Legend and I are accompanying our elder daughter to Minneapolis. She’ll be working and going to school at the U of M and she’s decided to hold off on buying a car, so she wants to find an apartment reasonably near the university area that’s handy to public transit. We’re going to help her look at apartments and shop for furniture. She’s scouted some places and made appointments to look at a few. She really would like a one-bedroom place and her budget is between $600 and $700 a month. Her credit is good, and I think she’s being realistic about what she can afford given her income.

She’s going on a retreat with her department for the month of August, so she’ll want to move in on September 1; I’m hoping that she can sign a lease that starts on that date before she has to leave for the retreat. She’s packed up her things here, and we’re going to contact movers to take them up at the beginning of September. She doesn’t have a whole lot of furniture, so we’re going to shop for things like a bed, dresser, kitchen table and chairs, and living room furniture, and we hope to arrange to have them delivered when she moves in.

Does this sound reasonable to you fine people? Is there anything glaring that we’ve forgotten about? Does anyone who’s familiar with the area have recommendations for things like furniture stores or neighborhoods? Mr. Legend and I are tagging along because we’re theoretically more experienced than she is, but it strikes me that neither of us has looked for an apartment in over 25 years. We’d appreciate any pointers!

I was never a student at the U (too expensive for me) but I am familiar with “Dinky Town” and the general area. At the amount you are talking about, it would have to be a tiny studio in a shabbier building, or she needs to find some roommates.

Bus service to the U is widely available. She may want to consider an apartment that is a few miles away; she will find rentals that are much more reasonably priced.

Thanks, Tracijo. She’s dead-set against getting a roommate and will settle for a studio before sharing (four years of sharing a bedroom with a near-stranger will do that to a person). Although I had my heart set on Dinkytown based solely on the name (c’mon - Dinkytown!), she’s already ruled that out as too expensive and she’s prepared to live a reasonable distance away, as long as the bus/train service is good. She’ll also have her bike, and we’ve heard Minneapolis is a more bike-friendly city than most, so she’s ready to commute that way, at least until winter really sets in.

That’s a little on the low end for a one bedroom, although not impossible. A studio might be a better bet.

Avoid Philips neighborhood, Stevens Square and North. Good areas near the UofM would be Como, Seward, Longfellow, maybe Loring. I personally would recommend against Uptown because it’s overbuilt and there’s a lot of crime, but some people love it. I live in Nordeast, which is the best part of the city, but harder to get to the U by public transit.

Doing a little craigslist searching I found this apartment, which for the price seems almost too good to be true. This studio might be more realistic, and it’s near the 2 and 6 bus lines which go to the U. Or look for stuff on the light rail, the one they’re trying to call the blue line. This one looks great to me.

Extremely bike friendly. She should have no problems getting around on a bike. I’m sorry; I don’t know which parts of the city are “bad” and “good” neighborhoods. I lived in St. Cloud as a student, and then in suburbia upon graduation. Hubby and I go into Dinkytown area sometimes just to catch a meal at one of the many cheap, delicious hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurants.
Is she looking to purchase reasonably priced new furniture, or dirt-cheap gently used?

ETA: Bedbugs are a serious nuisance issue in and around Dinkytown, from what I’ve heard. Best to go with new. Tons of furniture outlets in suburbia.

Thank you for the links, Zjestika! That first one looks kind of familiar; it may be one of the ones she’s called. She called ten of the properties she found that looked interesting. Of those, we have appointments to look at three of them, she’s calling two of them back tomorrow, and five turned out to be rented already or they were (she thinks) bait-and-switch deals. I’ll give her the contact info for these and we’ll see what happens! I think she’ll be excited about the one near light rail.

Tracijo, she’s looking to buy reasonably-priced new furniture. It’s been a long time since I was a broke young adult, but I still have vivid memories of what exactly you get when you buy used upholstered furniture. She has a decent amount of money saved up for furniture, and her dad and I are almost certain to get all misty-eyed and insist on buying her things, too.

There is an Ikea in the metro (Bloomington, next to the Mall of America). Not sure if that falls under “reasonably priced” for her or not.

I used to live in Dinkytown and work near Augsburg and it was extremely easy to bike, or even walk to and from work. If she lives around Como Ave, even if she’s further away from the main campus and the Dinkytown area, she’ll be right on the 3 busline which I found to be extremely useful. It goes between STP and MPLS downtowns and pretty much any bus going another way will share a stop.
However, unlike Traci, I had terrible luck with chinese restaurants in Dinkytown and the only place there that I miss going to is Espresso Royale.

This is what I was thinking too. I was trying to think of another furniture store but other than Slumberland clearance stores (the one I’ve been to is in Little Canada, which is a bit north of St Paul I think, and has very good deals but isn’t what I would call cheap, $400 for a couch for example) nothing jumps out in my mind as particularly inexpensive or interesting.

There’s that Dock 86 place up on 694, close to 35E. Only been there once; they seemed to have OK stuff but nothing struck me as a particularly good deal. Cost Plus World Market used to have interesting, college-y pieces, but I’ve no idea where one even is anymore in Mpls. And I don’t know that their prices were all that great, either.

Well, it’s too late this year, but if you’d have shown up in June, you could have probably furnished an entire apartment complex just pulling furniture off the streets, left there by all the outgoing students. :stuck_out_tongue:

My sister is a housing inspection supervisor in St.Paul. If your daughter wanted to live in St. Paul, not far from the U, my sister could probably advise on the quality of buildings, landlords and neighborhoods. If anything on your list is in St. Paul, send it to me in a PM and I’ll run it by her.


One bedroom, under 20 minutes to the U by bicycle (according to Google; I live in greater MN and am not overly familiar with the surface streets in Minneapolis), $595/month.

You can go to Hornig’s main page and use the drop down under “Find an Apartment” to see more properties in the Mpls - U of M area.

I drove by this one this morning, and I’m biased towards the location in NE Minneapolis. It’s really close to great Mexican, Thai and Middle Eastern restaurants on Central a few blocks away, and there’s the co-op and Holy Land for groceries, as well as a liquor store. It would be a 2 bus commute I think but an ok bike ride. Unless she’s incredibly hard core she’ll have to bus in the winter, and winter can last through April sometimes.

April? Heck, it was snowing in mid-May this year. So bring lots of mittens.

The pay off is a high standard of living.

Was it May? Ugh, I’ve blocked it out.

It was snowing in April.

It was snowing in May.

Then for something entirely different it rained all the month of June.

Right now, though is the two weeks I live here for. Heh.

I’m currently a student at the U, and I’m a Welcome Week leader to boot, so I’m full of advice for new students. Feel free to ask any questions you might have, here or in a PM.

As far as housing goes, in addition to all the other advice given, it’s a good idea to check out certain parts of St. Paul, especially near University Avenue. A pair of bus lines runs University west of the university, so it’s easy to get to campus. They’re also finishing up another light rail line along that route which will be open by this time next year.

Thank you for that link, Silver Fire! We’ll check out that one and the ones Zjestika suggested (and some others we’d seen online) in the next couple of days. We’re staying downtown, and we plan to do some experimenting with how hard it is to get to where she’ll be working by bus/train from various neighborhoods.

We’ve apparently come on exactly the one week we should have! The weather is deceptively wonderful. My daughter lived in East Lansing for four years, so the winter shouldn’t come as too much of a shock to her.

We drove around today after getting in and looked at some of the areas she’s been looking at. There’s just nothing like actually going to a place to get a feel for the area. She realized that a couple of the cheaper close-to-school places she’d looked at online are in pretty sketchy neighborhoods. However, we all saw for ourselves just how bike-friendly the place is - it’s amazing! I also refrained from running over anyone on a bike or on foot. There’s nothing like non-motor traffic to make a driver from another city careful. I’m looking forward to getting out of the car a bit tomorrow. What a lovely place this is!

Speaking from personal experience, I would not hope to be able to commute by bike for at least four months out of the year. I damned near got killed trying to ride my bike to work in December.

If you’re into Chinese, The Village Wok on Washington Avenue is fantastic and only a 20 minute walk from Dinkytown.

The Green Mill is the place to go for pizza.

All in all, I would prefer to live Nordeast too. It’s not only a nicer area, it’s very “ethnic” (Poles, Ukrainians, Russians, etc.).