best cities for raising a family in Minnesota

8 Best Cities for Buying a House and Raising a Family in Minnesota

The Land of 10,000 Lakes has a loyal and growing fan base. Some are born and raised Minnesotan and choose to stay. Others leave, but make their way back when they miss their home state. And each year more people discover Minnesota while on vacation, searching for a job, or pursuing their education.

Once people have experienced Minnesota, they often stay or find their way back, choosing to raise families or retire here.

While everyone in Minnesota shares access to the great outdoors, four distinctly enjoyable seasons, and a friendly Midwestern vibe, each community has its own personality.

In this article, we’ll share our views of the top eight cities for family life in Minnesota. With a variety of personalities and attractions, there’s a place here for everyone. Where will you make your home?

1. Rochester, Minnesota

Rochester, Minnesota is best known for the world-class Mayo Clinic, and for good reason. Mayo serves over a million people per year, from all 50 states and from countries across the globe. It employs about 70,000 people, making it the pillar of Rochester’s economy.

Thanks to Destination Medical Center, a 20-year economic initiative that will infuse $5.6 billion into the local economy, the city expects to double in population and create many more jobs. That means buying a home in Rochester is likely to be a solid investment, and the unemployment rate seem to remain low in years to come.

This city of around 120,000 people has plenty to offer in terms of education, outdoor recreation, dining, and retail, as well as events like its summer Thursdays Downtown. And for those who want more, the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul (and their international hub airport) are just over an hour away.

8 Best Cities for Buying a House and Raising a Family in Minnesota

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2. Edina, Minnesota

The City of Edina is an affluent suburb located about a 20-minute drive southwest of Minneapolis. Compared to other suburbs, commuters here find traffic to be light to moderate during rush hour.

Edina features many of the metro area’s most impressive homes, which help raise the average house price above $400,000. The population is highly educated; the 2018 American Community Survey Data shows that around 98% of adults 25 and up have completed high school or earned GEDs, and 70 percent have a bachelor’s degree.

There are a lot of exciting activities in Edina for kids and adults alike. Adventure Peak is Minnesota’s largest indoor play park, with an indoor pool, amphiTheater and fitness area. Centennial Lakes Park offers outdoor activities such as mini-golfing or paddle boating. For more green scenery, residents can visit any of Edina’s 40 parks.

3. Wayzata, Minnesota

In Wayzata, a small community of under 5,000 just west of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, residential life is centered around Lake Minnetonka. The lake is a popular destination for scenery and recreation, and draws residents who enjoy fishing and boating.

With the beautiful waterfront properties come average price tags in the $500,00-600,000 range. Lakefront homes are highly prized and impressive. The community is highly educated, and spending on schools is high. Private schools complement the area’s public institutions. With its emphasis on education, Wayzata has above-average outcomes in terms of student test scores and averages. High quality medical care rounds out the lifestyle in this town.

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4. Saint Paul, Minnesota

Saint Paul is the smaller and less famous of Minnesota’s Twin Cities, and also the more affordable of the two. While an apartment in Minneapolis costs around $1,500 a month, rent in Saint Paul averages around $1,200, for annual savings of $3,600.

Saint Paul bills itself as “The Most Livable City in America.” Families find many opportunities for entertainment and excitement, from 26 recreation centers and four aquatic centers to over 200 parks and a wide assortment of kid-friendly restaurants. The school system is strong and includes highly rated magnet schools, such as Jie Ming Mandarin Immersion Academy, where 100 percent of the students recently tested as proficient in science.

5. Lakeville, Minnesota

Mankato City

Lakeville, located in the southeast corner of the Twin Cities metro area, has a population around 65,000 and is growing quickly. Many young families are drawn to the area for its low crime, good schools, quality health care, and jobs. There are a variety of housing options to suit different needs and budgets.

Lakeville has a low unemployment rate and a reputation as a pro-business city. The per capita income is higher than the national average, and residents find property tax rates to be more stable than in some surrounding communities. The historic downtown, Lakeville Area Arts Center, and other family activities combine with a reasonable commute to larger population centers make Lakeville an appealing choice for many.

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6. New Prague, Minnesota

New Prague is a small community of about in south central Minnesota with a reputation as a bridge between rural and metro areas. While it is within an hour’s drive to the state’s most populous cities, residents consider life in New Prague—population 7,800—to have an appealing and safe small-town feel.

Highlights here include an attractive downtown area and popular Cedar Lake. The population tends young, unemployment is low, schools are strong, and housing is more affordable than in the Twin Cities. Families here have the benefit of the Mayo health system and a wide variety of outdoor opportunities.

7. Eden Prairie, MN

Eden Prairie

A 30-minute ride southwest of Minneapolis takes you to the highly regarded city of Eden Prairie. The average household income here reaches six figures, and the median housing price is almost $400,000. The small-town feel and amenities here contribute to 95% of residents rating Eden Prairie as above average in quality of life.

Eden Prairie’s attractions include the Eden Prairie Art Center, Airmaxx Trampoline Park, Way Cool Cooking School and three public beaches.  MONEY magazine consistently ranks Eden Prairie in its “Best Places to Live.”

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8. Linden Hills, Minnesota

Linden hills

Linden Hills is a tight-knit neighborhood with a strong sense of community. Long-term residents who call Linden Hills home have a reputation for being welcoming to newcomers. Crime rates are low, adding to the sense of safety. It’s an affluent community where many residents here earn nearly twice the national average.

There are more than 40 public schools in the area. With only about one in five Linden Hills residents being of school age, there is a low student-to-teacher ratio. Many of the schools in Linden Hills exceed the standards and target results set by the government.


If you are looking for a place in Minnesota to make your next home, you have many great options. The cities here have job opportunities, good schools, and housing options to meet your needs. Each offers access to the natural beauty of the state and proximity to events and attractions. And each has its own unique character, so you can find the place that’s right for you.

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