Choice communities include Rochester, St. Paul, Duluth
A strong economy, many parks and excellent water recreation are just a few of the reasons why Minnesota is a great place to live, with the following 10 cities ranking among the best.
Nicknamed “Med City,” Rochester is home to the Mayo Clinic, which plays a major role in the local economy by employing 34,000 people and attracting 2 million annual visitors. Rochester has a beautiful downtown district and many parks, while several college campuses and three U.S. highways also serve the community.
A seaport city along Lake Superior, Duluth provides ships with access to and from the Atlantic Ocean. The city is the major regional center for northeastern Minnesota as well as northwestern Wisconsin and western Upper Michigan, and residents have conveniences like Duluth International Airport and the University of Minnesota Duluth.
On the Cannon River in southern Minnesota, Northfield has a downtown with many buildings showcasing late 19th and early 20th century architecture. Students have top education options like Carleton and St. Olaf colleges, and the city enjoys a stable economy led by sectors like finance and technology. The community oversees 35 parks.
An affluent suburb southwest of Minneapolis, Edina has only one high school (Edina High School), with students achieving a 99 percent graduation rate and a 96 percent college enrollment rate. Companies headquartered in Edina include Dairy Queen, Orange Julius and Regis Corporation, and residents can frequent 44 parks.
The capital of Minnesota, St. Paul lies mostly on the Mississippi River and adjoins Minneapolis to form the “Twin Cities.” The community hosts an annual St. Paul Winter Carnival that attracts 350,000 visitors, and the NHL’s Minnesota Wild play home games at Xcel Energy Center. St. Paul has 160 public parks.
St. Louis Park
Nearly 3,000 businesses are enjoying success in St. Louis Park, led by Park Nicollet Health Services and its 4,500 employees. Livability amenities for residents include several private schools, 24 miles of hiking trails and a regional bike trail that links to downtown Minneapolis. Area shoppers can frequent Knollwood Mall.
Moorhead is on the western border of Minnesota and is often paired with the economy of Fargo, N.D., its immediate neighbor to the west. Moorhead spans the Red River and features flat, rich farmland that produces bountiful yields of agricultural commodities. Students can enroll in Concordia College and Minnesota State University Moorhead.
A city southwest of downtown Minneapolis, Shakopee is along the Minnesota River and features many parks and trails. A top-notch Globe University/Minnesota School of Business is available to residents, and attractions include Valleyfair amusement park, Canterbury Park card casino, and an annual Minnesota Renaissance Festival. Shakopee continues to grow with new subdivisions.
On the north bank of the Minnesota River is Eden Prairie, a city with 170 miles of multi-use trails. The community houses 2,200 businesses, and a highly regarded public school system is in place along with a popular Eden Prairie Shopping Center.
Home to the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Burnsville’s largest employer is its own school district: Independent School District 191. Quality of life assets include a regional Burnsville Center mall, Fairview Ridges Hospital and Ames Performing Arts Center. The community has 79 parks as well as Crystal Lake, which provides major recreation opportunities.