Twenty miles south of Minneapolis, Apple Valley offers widely priced condos, apartments and single-family units—plus city-life perks. The area’s largest events include Fourth of July Freedom Days, with a car show and fishing tournament, and Mid-Winter Fest, with outdoor ice skating and horse-drawn wagon rides. The Beastly Bash summer gala and the magnificent Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular both take place at Apple Valley’s most prominent feature, the Minnesota Zoo. As the largest zoo in the Upper Midwest, it houses over 2,000 animals and more than 400 species.
Golden Valley attracts many for its trove of notable companies: General Mills, KARE, Honeywell, Pentair and now the headquarters for the Minnesota United FC soccer team. Housing spans traditional homes and high-rise condos, and the western suburb has a lot for recreation. Spend a night out at Under Pressure Brewing or the Game Show Battle Rooms, featuring simulations of popular game shows. Nearby, Theodore Wirth Regional Park offers archery, golfing, tubing and trails.
Between Bde Maka Ska and Lake Harriet, Linden Hills appeals for its historic and modern-day charm. Here, the Bakken Museum walks visitors through scientific discoveries, and the Minnesota Streetcar Museum operates heritage streetcar lines. In the summer, catch live music or a movie at the Lake Harriet Band Shell. In the winter, return for the Lake Harriet Winter Kite Festival to launch a kite over the ice. May through December, the Linden Hills Farmers Market has fresh produce, and year-round, the Wild Rumpus Bookstore offers unique book-buying experiences for young readers, with various free-roaming animals (like Caldecott the chinchilla). Fitting with the overall charm, homes here are little architectural marvels.
St. Anthony Main
The oldest portion of Minneapolis is a cozy neighborhood marked by cobblestone streets, artist lofts and high-end apartments. Date nights and sightseeing flourish here, with the Minneapolis skyline as a stunning backdrop to the Mississippi River and St. Anthony Falls. Neighboring restaurants go al fresco, and the Stone Arch Bridge is a perfect spot to watch fireworks over the Mississippi on the Fourth of July, and Oktoberfest is our can’t-miss fall festival. Take a Segway tour, a horse-drawn carriage ride or a long walk along the footpaths that lace the area.
Wayzata sits on the banks of Lake Minnetonka, where residents and visitors boat, fish and sail, and where condos, resorts and impressive homes dot the shoreline. Here, James Beard Award-winning chef Gavin Kaysen’s French bistro Bellecour and the New American restaurant 6Smith are Twin Cities stars with beautiful lake views. For shopping, the scene is family-friendly: Sun & Slope Clothing Outfitters has outdoor gear, Evereve curates clothes with Mom in mind, Merilou Boutique has stylish finds and Oh Baby! does upscale children’s goods.
Hockey, history and food—West Seventh always has something going on. The Minnesota Wild play at the Xcel Energy Center, the Science Museum of Minnesota gets adults and kids deep into experiments, and the Alexander Ramsey House gives guests a glimpse into century-old lifestyles. Breweries include Bad Weather Brewing Co. and one of the state’s largest brewers, Summit Brewing Co. Don’t forget to check out the culinary wonderland that is Keg and Case Market, a food hall in the historic Schmidt Brewery. A burgeoning crop of apartment complexes makes this one of the fastest growing ’hoods in the metro.