Since everyone gets funding and no one gets kicked out for failing the prelims, the environment is very cooperative. Some problem sets are very long, and tests can be very difficult, but I really haven't been that stressed out this year. I feel that I'm getting very good training here, and I don't think anyone in the first year class is unhappy with their choice.
If you're into theory, Minnesota is a very good place to be. If you want to do some kind of experimental stuff (or New Keynesian macro), you're probably better off someplace else.
As for living in Minneapolis, I like it. Cultural life here is quite rich for a city its size. The Guthrie Theater (15 minute walk from the department) is absolutely world class; I've seen 4 plays there so far, and they have all been phenomenal. The Minnesota Orchestra is great - I used to live in NYC, and I think it's better than the New York Philharmonic. If you're into jogging or biking, there are special lanes for it all around the city (jogging along the river is especially nice). Finally, some of my classmates biked to the department the whole winter, so it's really not as brutal as you would expect.
P.S. The cost of living here is very reasonable. I split this apartment with another first year for $550/month, but some people pay much less. The bus to school is 2 blocks away from my place, and a really good supermarket is 5 blocks away (though I admit I got lucky in this respect).