Great Neighborhoods: Bloomington

This Minneapolis suburb is full of family-friendly fun.
Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America.

Don’t let the population of over 85,000 fool you. Coming in as the fifth largest city in Minnesota, Bloomington is a close community at heart, with a diverse population that draws first-time homebuyers, families and those looking for a place to retreat in their later years.

Bloomington is just 10 minutes south of Minneapolis and surrounded by fellow suburbs Edina and Burnsville—each worth a visit on its own. Not far from Bloomington’s many family dwellings, condos and apartments, residents take advantage of the great outdoors by hiking in the 14,000-acre Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and checking out educational classes at the Richardson Nature Center, located at Hyland Lake Park Reserve. For an easy, serene escape, the Japanese Garden, located on the campus of Normandale Community College, is the spot to be. And Hyland Hills Ski Area is your winter getaway. 

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge
Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

The family-friendly features continue across the nearly 97 acres of Mall of America (MOA). This is what many Minnesotans know Bloomington for: the largest mall in the country by number of stores, with more than 500—in addition to the Nickelodeon Universe amusement park, the Sea Life aquarium, a movie theater and many other attractions. (Not to mention, plans are in the works to build a $250-million indoor waterpark.) Residents also head to WhirlyBall for laser tag, an escape room and the namesake lacrosse-meets-bumper cars sport.

When hunger strikes, opt for one of many choices at MOA, such as FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar, Cantina Laredo, and Masu Sushi & Robata. Beyond the mall, independent restaurants span cuisines, as at Mandarin Kitchen, known for delicious dim sum on the weekends. And be sure to check out Wally’s Roast Beef, where the smoky roast beef has been a labor of love since 1969. 

FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar.

Courtesy Gerry O'Leary.

In addition to the reserved parklands and booming retail, Bloomington is home to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, consistently named the best in North America by Airports Council International. 

You’ll also find ample Metro Transit access to downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul, meaning you’re never far from heart-of-the-metro action. With its healthy balance of city life and suburban living, Bloomington is a community that will draw you close.