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If the hustle and bustle of Minneapolis sounds like too much for you to handle, then the suburbs will be the choice for you. You can choose from the secluded to the more urban, and everywhere in between. Whether you’d rather spend your Saturdays shopping and dining or hiking and fishing, there’s a suburb that’s sure to fit your needs. Here, we’ve reviewed 10 of Minneapolis’s suburbs, so that your decision will be a little bit easier.
If the words “shop til’ you drop” get you in a tizzy, then you’ll love Bloomington. This suburb is home to the Mall of America, the largest indoor mall in the country. Things to do at the MOA other than shopping include an underwater aquarium, an amusement park, a water park, and over 400 different events each year, including performances and celebrity meet-and-greets. The community also includes plentiful residential areas and parks, including the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, which borders the Minnesota River. The area is home to a plethora of elementary schools, and houses range from larger in the Bush Lake area to smaller, single-family middle-class households in other areas.
Those looking to live close to the city while maintaining a small-town feel will enjoy the small suburb of Hopkins. Bordered by larger suburbs and only about 4 square miles wide, this town has its own quaint downtown, where one can find unique shops and restaurants. There’s plenty to do, with a second-run theater, events at Hopkins Center for the Arts, parks and trails that run both to the city and to lakes, Raspberry Festival and Mainstreet Days in the summer, and more. Houses are mainly single-family homes and condos, and the Hopkins School District serves the area.
Just 12 miles from the city and a short drive north from Hopkins lies Plymouth, a larger suburb with a population of approximately 70,600. Ranked number one in Money Magazine’s “America’s Best Places to Live 2008,” the city is a good mix of residences, industry, and parks. There are actually 53 developed parks in the city, with many trails connecting them. Boaters and fishers will love Medicine Lake, and families with children will find several options for schools in the area. Shopping and other entertainment is not difficult to find.
On the west bank of the Mississippi River, upstream from Minneapolis, you’ll find the city’s second largest suburb. This city is also home to a lot of parks and recreational areas, amongst both the residential and commercial parts of the city. The city is known for its Edinburgh USA golf course, and also Eidem Homestead, a historical farm. Visitors can tour the farm, which has been restored to the period of 1890 – 1910. There are also various activity buildings, pavilions, and ice arenas, and shopping and dining are fairly easy to be found. There are also several school districts in the area to choose from.
Thrill seekers, this city is for you. Located southwest of the city, this suburb is home to both Valleyfair amusement park, where adults and children alike can find rides, games, and other attractions. Canterbury Park, a horse racetrack, is in Shakopee as well. Besides horse races, there are also poker tournaments and other table games, as well as special events such as expos and fairs at the racetrack, for those in the area to enjoy. The city is on the Minnesota River, which creates plenty of green beauty on its shores. The Shakopee Historic District lies on the riverbank, and contains burial mounds built by prehistoric cultures. There are a lot of families with children under 18 residing in the city.
Home of the Minnesota Zoo, Apple Valley is located just south of the city. The zoo is a major attraction, as it is quite large and features many animals, including tropical and Russian ones. Besides the zoo, residents can take advantage of having the nearby IMAX Theatre, the Valleywood Golf Course, and several bike paths. There is also a good mix of restaurants in the area. There are several school choices in the city, all operated by an independent school district.
This northern suburb is quite large, covering 33 square miles and including 13 lakes. It is only a 30-minute drive out of the cities, but has a more secluded feel. In the middle of the city lies the Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Regional Park Reserve, which includes a nature center, golf course, campground, beach, trails, boat launch, and more. Also, in the winter, there is a cross-country ski trail. If you’re looking for a home with a view, there are plenty in this city. Although the city feels more rural, there is easy access to shopping centers and restaurants. There are 3 school districts that serve the city, and there is a good-sized population of families with children here.
A growing community, Blaine sits to the north of Minneapolis. The world’s largest amateur sports facility and the state’s most visited sports destination, the National Sports Center, offers just about any sport you’d like to play in Minnesota. There’s lacrosse, rugby, cycling, and even broomball! There is also a PGA Tour golf facility, TPC Twin Cities. If shopping is more what you’re into, there’s also a mall and some smaller shops around. Blaine is a popular city for raising children, and houses vary from small single-family homes to larger ones around the lakes.
Heading east toward Wisconsin will bring you to the city of Woodbury. Families and shoppers especially will like it here, as there is Woodbury Lakes, a newer outdoor mall. Also, Woodbury was named “Best Place to Raise Your Kids: Minnesota” in 2010 by Bloomberg Businessweek. The city is close enough to Minneapolis to be able to commute. There are 45 parks, and about 100 miles of trails running throughout the city. It’s also an educated city, with over half of the residents over the age of 25 having a bachelor’s degree. Summer festivals, sports centers, parks, shopping, and restaurants come together to make Woodbury a fun place to be.
Living in Stillwater, which sits on the St. Croix River on the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin, is almost like not being near a city at all. A popular day or weekend trip destination, the area is full of bed and breakfasts, historic inns, unique shops and restaurants, and historical sites. The city’s growth recently has been on the outskirts, as a lot of people commute to Minneapolis. Housing ranges from large mansions overlooking the river to single-family homes and condominiums. The city has its own public school system. A large percentage of the population is made up of married couples and families with children. The city’s summer festival, Lumberjack Days, always draws a large crowd.
Want to learn more about Minneapolis? Check out our Minneapolis Neighborhoods article.