Everyone in America has been looking at maps for the last week. People on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC have been zooming in and out of counties you’ve never heard of. They were more excited than kids on Christmas! Every four years, the spotlight is on them and it’s their time to shine.
They’ve been talking in numbers and hypotheticals about the presidential race, while Americans spent hours waiting for individual counties and complete states to change color.
I’m here to give you another map to look at. Well…it’s the same map, but only the area you care about. As the center of the “Upper Midwest”, Minnesota has some strong opinions about our neighbors. And we should! This is the official ranking of Minnesota’s neighbors, from starting with the worst:
I have nothing nice to say about Iowa and neither does anyone else. People across the country know Iowa as Idiots Out Walking Around. Their entire identity is centered around corn and Nebraska’s favorite college team cucked them out of that. Another fun fact, 40 OTHER STATES in the union also produce corn commercially! There’s no major professional sports teams, nothing of relevance has ever happened there, and it smells like cow shit and rotten dog food everywhere. You ain’t special Iowa, you nasty.
4A/4B: The Dakotas
The Dakotas are a decent spot to make a road trip through since speeding violations are relatively relaxed. The speed limit is already fairly high, but the problem comes getting people to want to stop. Josh Duhamel has done as good of a job as anyone trying to make it sound appealing, but that’s like asking someone to polish a turd or put lipstick on a pig. If you like Duck/Grouse Hunting, The Badlands, & Mount Rushmore…then you’ll like The Dakotas.
If you don’t, there’s probably not much there for you. The worst part about living there is how flat it is. Not only can you watch your dog run away for 3 days, but you have to do it with the stupid wind that’s ALWAYS there. In the winter, the wind is ripping at an absurdly aggressive rate making North Dakota one of the coldest places in America…although they still always get beat by Fairbanks for the title. Can’t even be #1 at something that’s awful…yikes.
I can hear all of you now, “Minnesota and Michigan don’t touch, they aren’t neighbors”. WRONG. They share a water border in Lake Superior you dunce, take a geography class or look at a map ONE TIME. Don’t want to count that? Well thanks to the Red River, we don’t touch North Dakota either. Brain in a pretzel yet, Einstein?
Overall, Michigan is neat despite a lot of negative press. Detroit’s got its issues, but a rebound is still being talked about by anyone who’s ever been there. Apparently the water in Flint is STILL an issue, but nobody’s really talking about that anymore either? I guess I don’t know a ton about Michigan. It’s like that quiet girl in high school you’d always see, but never had a single conversation with. What I DO know is that Da Yoopers are fun as hell to be around and the state churns out award-winning beers constantly. Can you really ask for anything else from a neighbor?
This may be interpreted as a hot take for a lot of you, but it shouldn’t be. Wisconsin and Minnesota have so much more in common than anyone cares to admit just because there’s a fabricated “border battle” between the two. Sure, they’ve got more bars and serial killers per-capita than any other state on this list, but they’re not ALL bad.
Wisco has given us the greatest gas station not called WaWa or Buc-ees, and if you’re not in Pennsylvania or Texas you won’t get those anyways. No free ads, but I’ll go out of my way to stop at a Kwik Trip over any of the other options. You want something from their hot-food section, but it’s not there? They’ll make it for you and bring it out with a genuine smile. It’s basically the Chick-fil-A of gas stations and everybody knows damn well that’s the gold standard.
Although stereotypical, the cheese is actually elite, you can’t leave the state without grabbing a sixer of New Glarus, and Culvers hits a little different than other burger chains. Milwaukee is absolutely underrated, especially along the riverfront and Green Bay is full of delusional nut-jobs, but at least they’re passionate about their team. They might be the most annoying neighbor of the bunch, but they’ve got redeeming qualities.
Now, I don’t want to leave the elephant in the room without addressing it so just remember to drop the following, when someone from Wisconsin says they’ve got more lakes than MN and we shouldn’t brag about having 10k;
The biggest bummer about making this list and having Canada as our favorite neighbor is knowing that the borders are all but completely closed still. COVID has taken many things from people all over the world, so I’m not going to be the guy to say that this is the worst, but let me put it as eloquently as I can: It sucks…it sucks a lot.
There’s not much I can say about Canada that you don’t already know. The people are genuinely nice. No, that’s not JUST a stereotype, it’s very real. A term that gets thrown around a whole lot is “Minnesota Nice”. Everyone around here knows that’s more like “Minnesota passive-aggressiveness” compared to our friends from the north.
Along with that “nice” reputation in public, we also share a reputation for our indisputable love of hockey. As a sport that’s already pretty niche, that mutual love makes it pretty easy to find be good friends.
Much like the house down the street you can always count on to stop at a lemonade stand or buy 10 boxes of girl-scout cookies from the kids, the blue-hairs from Canada come across the border to dump a ton of money into our economy buying clothes and food because of the huge tax breaks. How do we return the favor?
We send our degenerate youths up north so they can get in some teen drinking where it’s legal to do so. Also, before Illinois legalized marijuana recently, Canada was the closest spot to go to burn some of the devil’s lettuce.
As an added bonus, when you’re on your way back, you can get all the snacks exclusive to the Canucks. (PS, if any of you can get me the Intense Pickle Doritos, I’m willing to pay $10/bag. My DM’s are always open.)
As a state known for their love of the outdoors and outdoor sports, we have to acknowledge and give a tip of the cap to Canada for what they’re bringing to the table. Whether you’re looking to catch one monster fish or limit-out on other varieties, you can go to your buddy’s “secret spot” here or get it guaranteed in writing at a lodge across the border.
If you’re looking to finally cross a moose off of your hunting bucket list, there’s not a better spot to do it than in the Canadian wilderness…as long as you’re lucky enough to have your name drawn in the lottery. And finally, let’s get to The Boundary Waters. The one thing that is probably Minnesota’s biggest and best attraction is something we share with Canada, and that makes them special.
As a closing statement when reflecting on our neighbors to the north, lets touch on entertainment. When you think of Canada, its always associated with the likes of Drake, Justin Bieber, and the undeniably great Alanis Morissette. While I can appreciate everyone on this list, the most relatable names to come out of Canadian entertainment in my lifetime are Wayne, Katie, Daryl, and Squirrely Dan.
Have any thoughts on this official ranking? You can comment here or bring your argument to me on twitter @venividiveech and I’ll be happy to listen and let you know why you’re wrong.
I’ve been hit by cars three times, which is an indication of how long it takes me to learn a lesson.
I write about everything across the board, but focus on Hockey and the pain that is Minnesota sports.
Argue with me on Twitter: @venividiveech