If you can avoid an apartment hunt during January and February in Mankato, you should certainly do so. The winter months tend to be cold in this part of the country, which means people are unlikely to try and move and create vacancies. Use the snow melting as a green light to get started on looking for an apartment.
Mankato landlords are fair, but don't think that you can just walk in and get any apartment you want. You need to prove through your interview and your application that you would be an extraordinary tenant. Having proof of good employment, a steady prior rental history, and excellent references are the best ways to achieve this.
The city of Mankato operates a public transportation system that utilizes modern, efficient busses. Bike racks on the front help encourage more cyclists in this already bike-friendly city. If you need to commute to cities outside the immediate vicinity of Mankato though, you would be well served by having a car in the town.
The largest congregation of shops in the Mankato area comes at the River Hills Mall, which is also home to a large local movie theatre. As with much of the state, outdoor recreation is vital in Mankato. The city is surrounded by bike routes, and the city's location on the rivers make it an ideal launching point for boating activities, including white water rafting.