Living on the Water in Excelsior & Excelsior

Lake Minnetonka has long been a popular destination, first by resort-goers who spent summers by the water and now, long after hotels have left the area, by some of the Twin Cities’ more affluent residents. Locals love the northeastern tip of the 14,000-acre lake where the city of Wayzata is located, but other prime spots include the southwestern corner where Excelsior resides.

In Wayzata, charm can be found around nearly every corner here, from the ivy-covered Cov with its lake views and patio to the front porch outside of Starbucks. Boutiques dot East Lake Street, where you can pop inside shops such as Maha Boutique for ready-to-wear high fashion, Oh Baby for upscale children’s goods or Blanc de Blanc for home decor.

There’s plenty to eat along this waterfront stretch as well, from Gavin Kaysen’s phenomenal French-inspired Bellecour to steaks at Gianni’s, pub food at McCormick’s, and ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s. Grocery trips can be made at Lunds or the Lunds & Byerlys Kitchen, a first-of-its-kind part grocery store, part restaurant and bar.

The city is currently in the midst of a 10-year plan to revitalize its lakefront, so you can expect lots of activity in this area in the coming years. Most of the homes here are single-family detached, including waterfront estates and those in gated communities as well as more modest properties, townhomes and apartments.

Perched directly on the south wharf of the iridescent blues of Lake Minnetonka, Excelsior feels like a neighborhood pulled straight from the East Coast with a touch of Minnesota nice. Located west of Minneapolis, this small but substantial community offers delectable restaurants, historic Victorian homes and plenty of things to do year round. Walkability is a huge plus of Excelsior, and it is located only 20 minutes from downtown Minneapolis and is accessible by Metro Transit.

The Excelsior Commons and Port of Excelsior are true bonuses of living in Excelsior, creating a spacious green area for walking and biking trails, gorgeous views of the lake, playgrounds, swimming beaches, and boat docks. The park also offers annual events for families.

The Concerts in the Park series takes over Excelsior every summer, Apple Day is a perfect pick in September, and Christkindlsmarkt begins in winter, inspired by German Christmas festivals. Theater-goers will love the historic charm of the Old Log Theatre as well as the smart plays and musicals it has put on since 1940. In the summer, all things water are the obvious activities of choice among residents.

Antique shops and beautiful boutiques line the aptly named Water Street in Excelsior, and favorite dining spots like Maynard’s are perfect  for land lovers and drive up boaters alike. Both communities offer the perfect ambiance of small-town lakeside living without ever being too far from the action of the city.

The Numbers

Wayzata

Population: 4,166

Households: 2,059

Median housing value: $519,400

Median household income: $73,153

Persons per household: 2

Approximate Property Taxes: $3,500+

Excelsior

Population: 2,146

Households: 1,253

Median Household Income: $46,995

Persons per household: 2.9

Median housing value range: $405,300

Approximate Property Taxes: $3,000+

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