Minnesotans love their lakes, and those living in Wayzata and Excelsior enjoy the 14,000-acre Lake Minnetonka all year—with Wayzata on the northeast tip and Excelsior right across.
In Wayzata, expect charm on East Lake Street, from the Cov seafood restaurant, with a lakeside patio, to the Starbucks with a front porch. Boutiques include 44 North Boutique,Oh Baby! for upscale children’s goods, and Blanc de Blanc for home decor.
You have your pick of restaurants along the waterfront: There’s Gavin Kaysen’s French-inspired Bellecour, a patio and New American eats at 6Smith, steaks at Gianni’s, Irish pub fare at McCormick’s, and pasta at the new Dough Room. Also check out ninetwentyfive at Hotel Landing. Its nautical exterior is sure to stun. Make grocery trips at the Lunds & Byerlys Kitchen, a first-of-its-kind part-grocery store, part-restaurant and bar.
Wayzata has approved an extensive development project to revitalize its lakefront, so expect lots of activity in the coming years, including new parks and a boardwalk. Most homes here are single-family detached—lakefront estates and gated communities, along with more-modest properties and apartments.
Just 20 minutes from downtown Minneapolis, Excelsior’s lively community is made quaint by Victorian homes. Easy access to Metro Transit makes going to and from Minneapolis pain-free.
The Excelsior Commons and Port of Excelsior are huge perks, with a spacious green area for walking and biking, plus playgrounds, swimming beaches and boat docks. Park events include the Concerts in the Park summer series, Apple Day for a pie contest, crafts, antiques and a street dance in September, and festive shopping at Christkindlsmarkt in winter.
In the arts, Old Log Theatre has put on plays and musicals here since 1940. In summer, water activities are a no-brainer, and you can peruse antique shops lining Water Street. It’s a good example of how natural wonder here joins with city-living convenience.