Twin Cities Live host Elizabeth Ries recalls an idyllic childhood.
For the past 14 years, Elizabeth Ries has spent her afternoons in the homes of Minnesotans, chatting with local celebrities, demonstrating recipes, visiting unique restaurants and businesses and even sharing her personal stories. As the co-host of Twin Cities Live weekdays on KSTP-TV, viewers see Ries as friendly and approachable, and as a co-executive producer of the show, she’s responsible for its content and feel—two roles that she says make up her dream job.
And her career all started with a class at Apple Valley High School. “I was so supported at Apple Valley High School to just follow my dreams,” she says.
Ries’s family moved to Apple Valley when she was in first grade. Her father started Messiah Lutheran Church, which met at Cedar Park Elementary, where Ries also went to school. (Messiah Lutheran has since moved to Lakeville.)
Ries remembers an ideal childhood, building forts and tree houses, exploring the wooded areas around Lake Lac Lavon and biking to what was then George’s Market (now it’s a Flowerama) to buy Bubble Tape and Clearly Canadian. “I just remember having a lot of freedom,” Ries says. “I remember feeling really safe, and I remember having really good neighborhood friends. It was a really wonderful community to grow up in.”
In high school, Ries pursued journalism as the editor of the school newspaper, but it was the mentorship seminar that she credits as being pivotal to her success today. Through the class, Ries researched a field of interest (TV journalism in her case), and she was paired with a mentor, which is how 16-year-old Ries ended up being mentored by Amelia Santaniello at WCCO-TV. Ries drove to downtown Minneapolis three times a week for a trimester to learn from Santaniello and explore TV journalism.
“[The mentorship seminar] was absolutely Crucial to my Success. I had the opportunity to step into a tv station and to be like ‘oh, my gosh, this is what feels like home to me.’” —Elizabeth Ries
“It was absolutely crucial to my success,” she says. “I had the opportunity to step into a TV station and to be like, ‘Oh, my gosh, this is what feels like home to me.’”
Ries remembers loving the ability to tell stories and connect with viewers through TV.
After graduating from Apple Valley High School in 1999, Ries earned a bachelor of arts degree in journalism and political science from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She worked in “hard news” for about seven years before transitioning into lifestyle journalism and joining Twin Cities Live in June 2009.
“In June, I’ll have worked in television for 20 years. Isn’t that wild? To get to that point!” she muses with charming approachability. “I’m like a real grown up … They’re right when they say it’s so much better when you get older. All those people are right.”
When Ries started Twin Cities Live, she was single and in her late 20s, and she’s shared her life with viewers for the past 14 years, as she’s gotten married, had three children and hit 40.
She’s even opened her kitchen through her Home to Homestead blog, featuring her own recipes, and regular appearances on Minnesota Live, KSTP’s morning show. Each Wednesday, Ries does a live shot from her kitchen and shares a seasonal recipe or cooking technique.
“I get to connect with people and showcase what’s great about the community.” —Elizabeth Ries
She also co-hosts a podcast, Best to the Nest, with Margery Punnett about bringing your best self to your home and family. “[It’s about] how to make home your sanctuary and safe landing place,” Ries says. “We talk about it being a journey, not a destination, because we’re both still working on it.”
As one would imagine, Ries’ homelife is busy. She calls Minneapolis home and is thankful for her “no commute” lifestyle (work is only a seven-minute drive away). With three young children and a demanding schedule, Ries epitomizes the busy, working mom, dialing into meetings as she chauffeurs children through their morning school routine and organizing her day so that she’s always ready to be “on” from 3–4:30 p.m. for the program.
While she readily admits that there are hard days, Ries just loves her work.When longtime co-host Steve Patterson left Twin Cities Live in 2021, Ries says it did prompt her to reflect on the future of her career and if she’d ever consider leaving the show. “There was definitely some time there that I started to think, ‘Boy, do I want to keep doing this? Where am I at?’” she says. “But I really love it. And even when it’s hard, it’s great … I just don’t take for granted that I get to connect with people and showcase what’s great about the community that I was born and raised in. It’s a big deal.”