Before the Seahawks face the Vikings in a football-playoff battle to the death, we try to determine who reigns supreme in the civic pursuit of a life well lived.

Share story

Seattle and Minneapolis are, in their own right, continentally divided twin cities — civic soul mates once known for lutefisk and dark winters, transformed into progressive bastions of brews, bikes and books.

Come Sunday, we’ll be pitted against each other in a football-playoff battle to the death.

Who will emerge victorious, we can’t say. But we can decide right now who reigns supreme in the civic pursuit of a life well lived. When it comes to the ideal urban lifestyle, which city wins?

Let’s take a look at the data:


Edge: Minneapolis

Minnesotans are certainly a hearty bunch. Despite the bitter cold (the latest forecast for the big game calls for temperatures around 3 degrees), the Census Bureau in 2014 estimated 3.9 percent of Minneapolis residents commuted to work on their bikes. St. Paul lags behind at 1.4 percent.

With our temperate (albeit rainy) climate, only 3.7 percent of Seattleites commute to work by pedal.

Both Minneapolis and Seattle have about 130 miles of on-street bikeways. St. Paul adds about 90 miles of bikeable roadway to Minneapolis’ total.

Minneapolis gets remarkable reviews for its cycling infrastructure. It was the only U.S. city on a recently published international index of bike-friendly cities.

But Seattle voters recently approved a package that commits $250 million to biking and walking infrastructure.

Craft brews

Edge: Seattle

10,000 lakes, 10,000 beers? Not yet.

Although Minnesotans are enjoying a prolific brewery boom, Washington leads when it comes to access to small-batch beers.

More than 100 craft breweries are licensed in Minnesota, according to Department of Public Safety records. Compare that to more than 300 for Washington, according to the state’s Liquor and Cannabis Board.


Edge: Seattle

No surprise, the town that spawned expensive espresso and exported it to pretty almost every continent (Antarctica is the only, sad Starbucks-less land left) also has the most indie coffee shops per capita, according to an analysis of Foursquare data.

But Minneapolis is making a valiant effort for some coffeehouse-cred. Led by the likes of Spyhouse coffee, it makes the list at ninth.


Edge: Minneapolis

Seahawks vs. Vikings might be the second-fiercest contest this year, after the annual dogfight over which city is better read. Minneapolis and Seattle have been facing off to be named America’s Most Literary City for more than a decade, as designated annually by Connecticut State University.

In 2015, Minneapolis came out on top. Although it’s been in the top three every year, Seattle hasn’t won since 2009.

Dog parks

Edge: Seattle

Perhaps it’s no surprise that Amazon, one of Seattle’s biggest employers, allows dogs at work.

Our dogs ride the bus; we take them to bars; and offer our furballs 14 off-leash areas in public parks to prove it. Minneapolis and St. Paul have just 11 off-leash parks between them.