Meet the Whitney Family

Aaron & Melissa Whitney recently moved to Downtown Minneapolis with their 1-year-old son, Kaiden. After seven years of living the (inner-ring) suburban life, the family decided it was time for a change. They sold their 5BR house and now rent a 2BR apartment less than half its size in the North Loop neighborhood.

Initially, they were drawn to live downtown by the mere fact that most of their leisure time was already spent there. That, coupled with the fact that both were shopping for lofts/condos when they met in 2006. Back then, neither pulled the trigger, and instead they decided to settle down in the suburbs. This time around, they chose to seize the opportunity.

They’re still very new to the whole “living downtown” thing…so perhaps it’s too soon to say whether they’ll choose to stay, but it’s worth noting that thus far, neither of them has missed their house, yard, or the associated responsibilities — so that’s saying something.

“The energy is amazing,” says Aaron. “The convenience is unbeatable. We walk and ride bikes much more than we used to, because it’s often not worth getting the car out of the garage.”

Down-sizing definitely has its challenges, and the couple agrees that…in an ideal world…more space would be nice. The three also share their 1,300 square foot apartment with their dog (Gunnar) and cat (Zoe).  Still, the peace of mind that comes with downtown living far outweighs the desire for more space.

Visiting the Mill City Farmer’s Market and taking walks along the riverfront are the family’s most common weekend activities.  They do their best to support the local community by frequenting local restaurants and shops. One particular favorite is The Freehouse, which is not only a short walk away, but also has great food Melissa loves, craft brews that appeal to the “beer nerd” in Aaron, and hosts that greet Kaiden by name. Also, it doesn’t hurt that Gunnar is welcome on the patio.

“So many people who hear our story ask us if we’re ‘doing it backwards,’ but then recognize the conveniences we now have…and wish they could do the same,” explains Melissa. To them we say ‘…so what are you waiting for?’ If it’s a lifestyle you really want, there’s no harm in trying.”