New Ulm, MN: Best Minnesota City for an Affordable Lifestyle
Author: The HOMEiA Team & Gloria Russell
Leading in 7 Factors for Best MN Cities for an Affordable Lifestyle
This small city of 13,000 is an energetic tribute to its German settlers whose traditions still prevail today. It’s an affordable town and a safe place to call home. New Ulm is especially attractive to those who enjoy the simple pleasures in life—the beauty of nature, honest citizens, healthy living and a concerned community. It is located in southern Minnesota and boasts two rivers, valleys and scenic bluffs. With such a rich history, the area draws the attention of individuals, families and new businesses.
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Willkommen! The German heritage is visibly evident in this south-central Minnesota town. You can celebrate the legacy at one of the many festivals (maybe the Bavarian Blast in July), dance to your favorite polka, or try one of their famous German beers.
If you enjoy beer, sauerkraut and festivities, USA Today rated this community as having the 2nd Best Oktoberfest celebration. You’ll be amazed at the 45-foot high glockenspiel clock tower in Schonlau Park which chimes and displays dancing figurines at noon, 3pm and 5pm.
Located 90 miles southwest of the Twin Cities metro, New Ulm, Minnesota (population 13,000) highlights its German heritage with its unique downtown architecture, the August Schell Brewery, the Wanda Gag House interpretive center honoring the hometown author/artist, Hermann Monument, New Ulm Museum and German-inspired festivities. You can learn even more—and check out exhibits, programs, special events and the research library—with a visit to the Brown County Historical Society on Broadway.
You can make your dollar stretch a little further in this rural city. The small-town cost of living is lower than the state average. As such, New Ulm was listed as #16 on the 17 Best Places in Minnesota to Retire. The strikingly German shops downtown are not only architecturally interesting, but they offer a variety of retail and dining options and employment opportunities. The city welcomes new business and offers tax incentives, labor with a strong work ethic and reasonably priced land.
Unemployment is well below average, and the city was ranked #10 by 24/7 Wall St. in USA Today on their list of America’s Best 50 Cities. Main industries in the area are healthcare, education, manufacturing, services and hospitality, and major employers are 3M, Kraft Foods, Hy-Vee, Cash Wise, Walmart, New Ulm Medical Center and the school systems.
Rent is considerably below average as is the average cost of a single-family home. Home values are around 30% less than both MN and US averages, making housing more affordable than in many cities. There are many options for style, location and price of homes, and taking all this into consideration, it’s easy to understand why 75% of the population are homeowners. Great options are available at senior living and assisted living facilities, and there are a variety of apartments for rent for those who want to take advantage of the attractive rental prices.
The public-school system received a 9 out of 10 rating from Great Schools, and there are also excellent private schools and Martin Luther College which provides ministry training for future pastors, teachers and staff ministers. The public library is located on Broadway and serves as a great resource for residents, young and old.
Families and individuals can also improve their physical education and fitness by visiting the 25 city parks or dropping by Flandrau State Park for hiking, camping and outdoor fun. The city itself is a bicycle-friendly community with a 13-mile loop around the city.
6. Safety and Healthcare:
People feel safe with good reason: the crime rate in this fair city is considerably lower than averages in Minnesota. In fact, the city ranked #17 in a Backgroundchecks.org rating of 853 Minnesota cities. This rating places the city in the top 2% of MN cities for safety criteria.
The New Ulm Medical Center, part of the Allina system, carries a 5-star rating and serves residents with quality medical services. The New Ulm community works hard to promote a healthy lifestyle and strives to create opportunities for residents to eat healthy and exercise in all seasons.
Minnesota prides itself on distinctive seasons in a competitive spirit to decide which is more beautiful and inspirational. Winter is all shades of white and outdoor activities such as skiing, snowmobiling and skating. Winters are snowy, but residents get ice time at the Civic Center arena and exercise at the New Ulm Recreation Center which features an indoor pool, track, fitness classes, racquetball, wallyball, basketball, pickleball and more.
Spring and summer are great seasons for hiking, biking and making the most of the park system. And, in fall, the river valley and scenic bluffs are breathtakingly beautiful on your way to the pumpkin patch.
To sum up:
This historic city has a vibrant downtown with restaurants, shopping and entertainment and a delightful blend of old and new. Visitors will enjoy the choice of hotels and convention space, bed and breakfasts, parks and campgrounds.
Residents find housing that is affordable, neighbors that are helpful and friendly, and neighborhoods that are safe. If you’re looking for a place to relocate, the New Ulm environment is gorgeous with the Cottonwood River meeting the Minnesota River on its way to join the Mississippi River near Fort Snelling.