Think it’s too cold for outdoor recreation in Minneapolis? Might want to rethink that. Forbes ranked Minneapolis as the No. 1 healthiest city in America in 2016, in part because it prioritized bike trails, banned smoking early, and “set aside a high percent of the city as parkland, offering plenty of ball fields, tennis courts, playgrounds, dog parks, golf courses, and recreation centers.”
In fact, the area has some of the most active outdoor sports enthusiasts in the nation. Minnesota ranks first nationally in the sale of fishing licenses per capita, selling more than 1.3 million per year, and has one recreational boat per every six people, also more than any other state. Minneapolis also has more golfers per capita than any other city in the country.
On the pro side, Minneapolis/St. Paul is one of only five North American metro areas (joining Chicago, Dallas, New York, and Washington) to field teams in the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, WNBA, and MLS. In addition to the Vikings, Twins, Timberwolves, Wild, Lynx, and Minnesota United FC, respectively, Minneapolis is also a huge supporter of college athletics, most notably home to the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
The area is also the North American hub for bandy. For the unfamiliar, bandy is the second-most popular winter sport in the world after hockey. Picture a football field covered in ice, with 11 hockey players skating around playing what is closer to field hockey. That’s bandy, and most of the American Bandy Association games are played on the largest artificial outdoor skating surface on the continent in Roseville, just north of the Twin Cities.
Forbes says local residents have some of the lowest instances of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and asthma in the country. Snow be damned!
Did You Know?
Twin Cities edition
- The Minneapolis Millers baseball team was formed in 1884 and eventually played in the Western League, which would evolve into today’s American League. The Millers were left out of the promotion in favor of teams in larger cities in order to rival the National League. Thus, the Millers became a prosperous minor league team until the Twins showed up in 1961. Millers alumni include Ted Williams, Willie Mays, and Carl Yastrzemski. Millers first baseman Perry Werden set a professional single-season record with 45 home runs in 1895, a mark that stood until Babe Ruth hit 54 in 1920.
- Minneapolis is the northernmost city to ever host a World Series game.
- The first intercollegiate basketball game was held in St. Paul on Feb. 9, 1895. Minnesota State School of Agriculture defeated Hamline College, 9-3.
- Hockey has been designated the official state sport by the Minnesota Legislature. Minnesota has one of the largest and most popular high school hockey tournaments in the country.
- More than half of the players on the 1980 U.S. Olympic “Miracle on Ice” hockey team were from Minnesota.
- Amelia Earhart played basketball at St. Paul Central High School after moving from Kansas in 1913.
- Minneapolis’ Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome is the only stadium in the country that hosted a World Series, MLB All-Star Game, Super Bowl, and NCAA men’s basketball Final Four. The first hit in the Metrodome came from Pete Rose in a 1982 preseason game.
- In 1968, Minnesota North Stars forward Bill Masterton died after landing on his head following a violent collision. He is the only player in NHL history to die from injuries suffered during a game.