Minnevangelist was founded by Ashlea Halpern and Andrew Parks, a pair of East Coast journalists who spent nearly two years exploring Asia and Australia before embarking on an exhaustive 16-month, 40-state, 229-city search for a new hometown. In February 2018, we relocated to the Twin Cities—and haven’t shut up about it since. (Even the Star Tribune noticed our unbridled enthusiasm, calling us the state’s “biggest evangelists.”)

We get this question a lot, even from native Minnesotans. No, we don’t have family here. And no, we didn’t move here for work. We chose Minneapolis and St. Paul because they checked all the right boxes: culturally rich, surprisingly diverse, civically engaged, entrepreneurial, brimming with friendly locals, and just a little bit quirky.

Also: The Twin Cities have a terrific airport and abundant greenery with beautiful parks, lakes, and forests at every turn. There are myriad bike paths, cross-country ski loops, and snowshoeing trails; ace cocktail bars, superlative craft breweries, and sterling restaurants; stylish boutiques and a thriving vintage scene; old-school bowling alleys and myriad independently owned bookstores; plus upstart galleries, art-house cinemas, and world-class museums. The coolest bands, funniest comedians, and most gifted authors stop here on tour—and many live here, too. Every day of every week is packed with wall-to-wall events and activities. If you’re bored in Minnesota, maybe you’re just boring?

An obsessive dossier of the places, people, and things that made us fall in love with Minnesota. Think of it as a kind of never-ending mash note—highlighting new spots, championing old favorites, picking the brains of inspiring locals, and urging you to take full advantage of this truly great state. If you dig Minnesota and its northerly neighbors (we’ll also be dipping a toe into North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Ontario, Manitoba, and—OK, fine—Wisconsin), give us a follow on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. We’ll explore together!

We’d love that. To get in touch, email Ashlea and Andrew at info@minnevangelist.com.

Andrew Parks is a 16-year veteran of the music and publishing industries. He has worked in the offices of Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, eMusic, and Time Inc.; produced and updated travel guides for Michelin and Fodor’s; and crafted marketing content for Marriott, Apple, Red Bull, Sony, Interscope, Christie’s, Visit California, Silversea Cruises, Guitar Hero, Bandcamp, Universal Music Group, and Ghostly International. He is the editor of self-titled, a leading underground music magazine; the founder of self | centered, a site about ambient music; and a contributor to Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, AFAR, NYMag, BuzzFeed, Punch, October, and Cara, the in-flight magazine of Aer Lingus. Andrew has been interviewed as a travel expert on 97 Rock in Buffalo, New York and 830-WCCO in Minneapolis. He was born and raised in Western New York and fancies himself Minnevangelist’s resident coffee and beer expert. Follow him on Instagram at @thereluctanttraveler.

Ashlea Halpern has been working in media since the early aughts, serving as the Special Projects Editor at Bon Appétit, Contributing Editor at Condé Nast Traveler, Strategist Editor at New York Magazine, and Senior Editor at Time Out New York. She is the Editor at Large for AFAR Media and founding editor of NYMag’s pop-up travel blog, The Urbanist. Her writing has appeared in AFAR, Condé Nast Traveler, TIME, New York, Airbnbmag, Wired, Glamour, Entrepreneur, Bloomberg Pursuits, The Wall Street Journal, and Hemispheres. She has been featured as a travel expert in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, New York Post, and Forbes and guested on more than a dozen TV shows, radio programs, and podcasts, including WNBC’s “Today in New York,” Fox 5’s “Good Day New York,” Bon Appétit’s “Foodcast,” and Away’s “Airplane Mode.” Ashlea has produced marketing content for Food Network, Ralph Lauren, Target, Etsy, Illy, Visit California, Royal Caribbean, Silversea Cruises, MM.LaFleur, and Dr. Mehmet Oz. She was a guest speaker at Stanford University and on tourism panels hosted by Explore Minnesota and the Star Tribune. Born in Maryland and schooled in the deep south, Ashlea has traveled to more than 60 countries and won’t stop until she’s dead. Follow her on Instagram at @ashleahalpern.