How the city stacks up

A look at where Minneapolis lands on national lists that compare cities in all types of categories

When media outlets swarm the cities in September, they will have plenty of prepackaged story ideas they can use to describe Minneapolis.

The city has collected a sizable number of national titles in recent years, some intuitive and some surprising: we’ve been named the second drunkest city, for example, as well as the smartest city. We were designated the “top tech city” in 2005, and the same year another survey called us the ninth most “unwired” city. We’re ranked in the top five for low stress, and the best place to get a good night sleep.

Literature circulated by the Republican National Convention notes that Men’s Fitness Magazine once rated Minneapolis the nation’s most athletic city. The Republicans are also alerted that Minnesota has more golfers per capita than anywhere else in the country.

Denver, likewise, is promoting its rankings in material related to the Democratic National Convention. Denver has the 10th largest Downtown, it’s home to the second largest performing arts complex, and it has the country’s only Downtown amusement park.

Here are a few of our recent designations, if you’re looking for a local ego boost.

Fifth-best city for young professionals

Says who: Forbes magazine, 2008

Why: Minneaplis has the highest concentration of the nation’s top companies, according to the magazine. We also have a low cost of living and lots of jobs that pay recent grads higher than the national average.

Who beat us: New York (4th), Boston (2nd), Seattle (1st)

The best city for sleep

Says who: Sperling’s Best Places

Why: Residents reported having nearly 23 nights of good sleep each month. Minneapolis also scores high on the overall happiness index, it has short commute times and low unemployment.

Who we beat: Anaheim (2nd), San Diego (3rd), Raleigh-Durham (4th)

The city that watches the least TV

Says who: Men’s Fitness, 2005

Why: According to Nielsen Media Research, the Minneapolis market spends 49 percent less time in front of the TV than the surveyed cities’ average.

Who we beat: Colorado Springs (graded a C+), Albuquerque (graded a C+), Denver (graded an A-)

Fourth best city to build personal net worth

Says who:, 2008

Why: Minneapolis has a diverse economic base in commerce, finance, health care, rail and trucking services. Taken into account were salaries, cost of living, unemployment, education levels, poverty levels and commute times.

Who beat us: Plano, Texas; Aurora, Colo.; and Omaha, Neb.

Seventh best city for the outdoors

Says who: Forbes magazine, Summer 2008

Why: Minneapolis devotes 15 percent of its land to more parks, and the city has a high investment per resident in parkland.

Who beat us: Phoenix and Tampa (tied for 5th), San Diego (2nd), San Francisco (1st)

No. 1 Most literate city

Says who: The president of Central Connecticut State University and the university’s Center for Public Policy and Social Research in 2007

Why: Rankings are based on newspaper circulation, number of bookstores, library resources, periodical publishing resources, educational attainment and Internet resources.

Who we beat: Seattle (2nd), St. Paul (3rd) and Denver (4th)

19th most livable city in the world (out of 50 analyzed)

Says who: Monocle magazine (a British magazine that covers current affairs and fashion) 2008

Why: A thriving arts scene, a rising culinary reputation, and lots of recycling and green roofs.

Who beat us: Copenhagen, Munich, Tokyo and Honolulu

One of the fittest mayors in America

Says who: Men’s Fitness, 2006

Why: Mayor R.T. Rybak exercises as often as five days per week, and he participates in more fitness-related events than most mayors.

One of the top five least-stressful cities

Says who: Sperling’s Best Places

Why: Low unemployment, low violent crime rate and a low suicide rate.

Who we beat: Tacoma, Miami, New Orleans, Las Vegas, New York (the top five most stressful cities)

Most fun city

Says who: Bert Sperling, working on a commission for the Cranium board game in 2003

Why: Lots of pro sports teams, accessible arts and the lakes.

Who we beat: Orange County (2nd), San Jose (3rd), Atlanta (4th)

Second drunkest city

Says who: Forbes magazine, 2006

Why: The city ranked No. 2 for the most adults who reported having a drink in the last month, No. 3 for binge drinkers and No. 12 for heavy drinkers.

Who beat us: Milwaukee

Second fittest city

Says who: Men’s Fitness, 2008

Why: Eighty-seven percent of adults are physically active to the point where they’re not putting their health at risk, a higher percent than any other city. Donuts are 80 percent less popular here than the average city.

Who beat us: Colorado Springs