Before you dismiss being steered toward the frozen tundra of Minnesota, consider this: Minnesotans are some of the friendliest people you'll find anywhere, and the cities they call home offer a surprisingly eclectic mix of date-friendly ways to spend time.
The Minnesota Orchestra is regularly mentioned among the best symphonies in the world. The Guthrie Theater's blue building on the riverfront heads up a list of theater companies and art museums so impressive that Minneapolis was recently included in a "where to go next" list by Travel and Leisure, right next to Rome and Montenegro.
OK, so there's another side: Minneapolis-St. Paul at one point led the nation in per capita consumption of Cool Whip. But a high share of metro residents have a college degree, and the Twin Cities have finished first or second in a ranking of America's Most Literate Cities several times. The University of Minnesota (enrollment 52,557) dominates higher education in the region, but the area has three-dozen degree-granting institutions and an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.
If you're looking for companionship over something other than Cool Whip, St. Paul has a burgeoning restaurant scene, anchored by a handful of excellent ethnic eateries.
One reason for the general good vibes in and around MSP is the accessible parkland, including lakes, rivers, trails and some of the most pristine wilderness in the United States.
Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge, 50 miles northwest of the Minneapolis, has hiking and Nordic ski trails from which you can watch dozens of bird species and other wildlife. Numerous lakes within a two-hour drive offer fishing, trails, small beaches and boat ramps. And not much farther afield is the vast wilderness of Superior National Forest and the Boundary Waters canoe area.
In town, Minneapolis has more parkland per 1,000 residents than any other large city in the country — 180 parks in all — along with a connected chain of lakes and the Grand Rounds, a 50-mile loop of trails, paths and roadways around the city.
If you like to mingle over a good cause, more than four in 10 residents here do volunteer work.
The Twin Cities have one of the country's lowest rates of death from heart disease. A large percentage of residents exercise regularly, and similarly high numbers don't smoke. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality recently ranked Minnesota first in the United States for the overall quality of its health care.
So: Happy, healthy, active residents in a vibrant city. Easy to meet like-minded singles in that setting!