Little Somalia

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Little Somalia is a popular nickname for Minneapolis, Minnesota's Cedar-Riverside neighborhood due to the area's large Somali community. The expression was first coined by architect Ralph Rapson specifically with regard to the Riverside Plaza towers, the area's most distinguishable tower complex,[1] although common usage has since expanded it to refer to the general neighborhood.

The Twin Cities area saw an influx of Somali immigrants beginning in the mid-90s, largely as a result of the Somali Civil War. The city holds the nation's highest number of Somali immigrants, around 14,000 in total, many of whom reside in the Cedar-Riverside area and in the surrounding neighborhoods on and around Lake Street in South Minneapolis.

The area generally begins just north to south from Washington Ave. to the neighborhoods south of I-94, its western boundary is I-35W and continues east as far west as Fairview Medical Center. It is an area known for its Somali restaurants and stores, many of which run along Cedar Avenue and in the southeastern neighborhoods of Lake Street.

The Cedar-Riverside neighborhood is historically known for its immigrant population, beginning in the late 1940s post-World War II with immigrants from eastern Europe.[2] With the arrival of many new Cambodian, Somali, and especially Latino immigrants, hospitals now also offer services in other languages to accommodate patients whose mother tongue is not English.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Q&A with Ralph Rapson | Features | Mpls.St.Paul Magazine +". Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  2. ^ [+ "Cedar Riverside - About the West Bank"]. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  3. ^ "Translating Health Care - Video Library - The New York Times". Retrieved 2009-04-22.