Scenic view from Minneapolis

Is Minneapolis Safe? (Honest Advice From a Local)

With Minneapolis’s historical sites and lively nightlife, it’s no wonder that the city draws around 30 million visitors a year. However, every city poses safety concerns and Minneapolis is no different.

Between crime and the ongoing public health crisis, both tourists and prospective residents may be wondering how safe it is to visit or live in Minneapolis.

Well, I’m here to give you some tips about how to stay safe in Minneapolis, so you can enjoy your time in this lovely Midwest city!

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Is Minneapolis Safe?

Minneapolis is a fairly safe city to visit and live in. It has similar crime rates to other American cities, so you should take any safety precautions that you normally would. Travelers should also be aware of risks concerning the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Since Minneapolis is a large city, some crime is to be expected. But the tourist areas – where you’ll find most of the popular things to do in Minneapolis – are generally safe. Tourists should mostly be on the lookout for petty crime, like pickpocketing and bicycle theft. Also, some areas should be avoided, and it’s always safer to avoid walking alone at night.

Additionally, a big safety concern that isn’t related to crime is winter weather. Minneapolis gets very cold and windy, with snow and ice on the roads and sidewalks. This can make driving more dangerous than normal, so it might be best to avoid visiting the city in the winter unless you want to do winter activities like skiing.

Although there are some safety concerns, as long as you keep in mind the precautions I’ve outlined here and avoid dangerous areas, you can be confident about staying safe in Minneapolis.

Things to Know About Safety in Minneapolis

View of people walking and biking across the Stone Arch Bridge
(photo: CK Foto / Shutterstock)

Safe Neighborhoods and Areas in Minneapolis

Although most neighborhoods near the best things to do in Minneapolis are generally safe to stay in, the safest neighborhoods would be outside of the downtown area where it’s less densely populated. Some safe areas and suburbs include:

  • Southwest – as its name suggests, this is a neighborhood southwest of downtown Minneapolis. Its key features are its many parks and trails.
  • Bloomington – a suburb south of Minneapolis which is close to the airport and the best place to stay if the highlight of your trip would be visiting the Mall of America.
  • St. Louis Park – a suburb west of Minneapolis home to the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting where you can view vintage radio and television equipment.

The most dangerous neighborhoods tend to be in or near central Minneapolis and include:

  • Hawthorne – north of downtown Minneapolis, this neighborhood has a violent crime rate that’s 920% higher than the national average.
  • East Phillips – situated southeast of downtown Minneapolis, this neighborhood has a crime rate that’s almost 300% higher than the national average and a violent crime rate that’s over 800% higher than the national average.
  • Ventura Village – this neighborhood is near East Phillips and has similar crime rates.

Covid-19 Safety in Minneapolis

Similar to other cities in the U.S., Minneapolis continues to experience impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, so visiting the city can pose some risks. The Minnesota Department of Health recommends wearing a face mask, especially for those who are not vaccinated. Some businesses require masks indoors and will note that with a sign on their door. 

As of summer 2021, about 82% of Minneapolis residents 15 years and older are fully vaccinated. Additionally, the southwest area of Minneapolis has a higher vaccination rate with some neighborhoods as high as 90%, but areas near central Minneapolis and east of it have less than 50% vaccination rates.

Be sure to check the latest covid statistics for Minneapolis before your visit, as they can change quickly.

Crime in Minneapolis

According to CrimeGrade, the rate of crime in Minneapolis is about the same as the average city in the U.S. It is safer than 48% of other American cities and the average annual crime rate is 27.37 per 1,000 people. 

However, Minneapolis has a lower violent crime rate and is safer than 58% of other cities in the U.S., whereas the city’s property crime rate is slightly higher than other cities. Crime is generally higher in the central parts of Minneapolis and safer in the southwest areas.

Common Scams in Minneapolis

Like in other cities, travelers should take proper precautions to avoid becoming a victim of a scam. Staying aware of your surroundings and keeping your belongings secure will help you stay safe. However, for added peace of mind for your trip to Minneapolis, I recommend getting World Nomads travel insurance.

Knowing what kinds of scams and crimes are common can also help protect you. Some common ones in Minneapolis include:

  • 🏧 Stealing at ATMs – reconsider taking out money at an ATM where someone is standing too close to you because they could be trying to steal your information or your cash. Also, make sure you put your cash away immediately after an ATM transaction and that no one is following you when you leave.
  • 👜 Pickpocketing and purse snatching don’t leave your belongings unattended because someone might steal it. Be aware of people who are standing too close to you because they could be trying to pickpocket you.
  • 🚴Bicycle theft – this is unfortunately really common in the Twin Cities, even if you have a bike lock. Someone may cut the lock to steal it. If you plan on cycling in Minneapolis, try not to leave your bike unattended and if you need to leave it somewhere, make sure you have a really good bike lock.

Hazardous Weather and Natural Disasters

View of a street in Minneapolis during winter season

Minneapolis doesn’t experience many natural disasters like hurricanes or earthquakes, but the biggest concern is winter weather. From November to April, you can expect it to be chilly, especially from December to February. January is the coldest month and has an average low of 10°F, but there will be days that are in the negatives. 

The main thing to look out for in the winter weather forecast is the wind speed. Not only does it get very cold, but also very windy, and this will make some days feel even colder than the temperature indicates.

Additionally, if you plan on renting a car while visiting in the winter, the roads can be icy. Try to avoid driving while it’s snowing or right after fresh snowfall. Once the roads have been plowed and salted, driving will be safer. You may also want to look into getting winter tires, which will make it easier and safer to drive on snowy and icy roads.

Drinking Water Safety

According to the Minneapolis Health Department, the tap water in Minneapolis is safe to drink. Plus, it’s a more economical choice than buying bottled water which can save you some money. For travelers, I recommend packing a water bottle and filling it up with tap water when you arrive. And if you’ll be flying, make sure the bottle is empty before going through airport security!

5 Safety Tips for Minneapolis

Tip #1 – Consider Visiting in the Spring, Summer or Fall

The Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis during winter season

Unless you want to do specific winter activities like skiing, lake ice skating, etc, the best time to visit Minneapolis would be outside of the winter season. During the winter, Minneapolis has cold, windy weather, snow, and icy roads, so it can be hazardous for driving, especially for those who aren’t as familiar with driving in such conditions.

If you do visit in the winter, make sure you pack plenty of layers and a warm jacket. Also, try to avoid driving if you aren’t used to driving on winter roads, and if you must drive, make sure to go slow, especially if there’s fresh snowfall.

Tip #2 – Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

If you get lost in Minneapolis or you’re being bothered by someone, the best thing to do is reach out to someone nearby if possible. People in the city are generally friendly and would be willing to help you if you need it.

👉 Read Next: Best Minneapolis Day Trips

Tip #3 – Take Safety Precautions

View of people in a skyway in Minneapolis

Minneapolis is about as safe as the average U.S. city, so you should take any safety measures that you normally would anywhere else. Keep an eye on your belongings at all times, don’t show or count your cash out in the open, and stick to well-trafficked and well-lit areas if walking around at night.

Tip #4 – Keep Track of Your Drink at Bars

Minneapolis has great nightlife and plenty of bars to keep you entertained at night. But just like in other places, make sure you keep track of your drink at bars and don’t leave it unattended to avoid having something slipped in your drink. Also, don’t accept drinks from strangers and if someone wants to buy you a drink, have it freshly made by the bartender instead.

Tip #5 – Don’t Walk Alone at Night 

View of an empty and quiet Downtown Minneapolis
(photo: Sam Wagner / Shutterstock)

This is especially important for solo female travelers but goes for anyone. If you plan on being out in the city late at night, try to avoid alleys, dark areas, or places without many people. Also, avoid walking at night in general if you can. It would be better to call a taxi or rideshare service to take you where you need to go than to walk at night.

FAQs About Safety

How dangerous is Minneapolis?

Minneapolis is generally as safe as the average city in America. It has a crime rate that is a little higher than the national average. In addition, tourist attractions tend to be safer than other areas so you should be safe if you stick to those areas, but be wary of pickpockets.

Where should I avoid in Minneapolis?

Although the southwest area of Minneapolis is the safest, there aren’t as many tourist attractions there, so it may not be a convenient place to stay for travelers. Central Minneapolis is generally safe and convenient. Some nearby neighborhoods like Hawthorne, East Phillips, and Ventura Village have much higher crime rates than the other areas, so you may want to avoid these neighborhoods.

Is Minneapolis safe for solo female travelers?

Minneapolis is a safe city for solo female travelers, but they should still take precautions like they would anywhere else. Booking accommodation that’s in a busy area and avoiding walking alone at night can help keep you safe.

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That’s it for my guide on safety in Minneapolis!

Hopefully, it gave you a better idea of what you can expect when you visit Minneapolis and how to stay safe. And if you’re excited about visiting the city but not sure what you want to do yet, check out my guide on the 33 best things to do in Minneapolis.

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