The suburbs to the north and the west are flatter, but the cities themselves certainly aren't. I think you are seeing pics of the plains or something, which aren't really here. Once you get out to like Maple Grove, it starts to get pretty darn flat.
We lived in the Blaine/Spring Lake Park/Coon Rapids area and I did not like it. At all. It was traffic, strip malls, and no sidewalks as others mentioned. It was also a drive to get to a co-op or good farmers' market and the wonderful API playgroups. If I had to live out there again, I would at least pick Anoka which has a small co-op, nice library, parks, and a sweet downtown area.
We moved to St Paul's west side neighborhood and love it. We wanted: cultural diversity, closer to co-op, farmers' markets, museums, swimming, playgroups, libraries, parks, close to freeway access since dh has to commute, and overall more of a community feel. We are not too concerned about schools since we will be homeschooling. The west side is mainly atop sandstone bluffs with views of downtown St Paul in the river valley. I find traffic and the roadways to be very tolerable here since I'm from metro Detroit, renowned for some of the worst traffic in the country.
The other neighborhood I LOVE is NE Minneapolis. It is very hilly and has some cute parks tucked in it. The co-op is nice and I love all the artsy fartsy stuff, it reminds me of Ann Arbor. Great ethnic cuisine. I often saw cloth diapers hanging out on the line when I was out and about last summer.
Here's a great list of things to do in the TC:http://www.grandparents.com/gp/event...is.html?page=4