City Living Guide: What is it like to live in Bloomington, Minnesota?

City Living Guide: What is it like to live in Bloomington, Minnesota?

If you’d like to live in a city that values community engagement, education, recreation, the visual and performing arts and public safety, you’ll want to read on to learn more about Bloomington. And, if you’d like easy access to endless shopping opportunities, consider this: Bloomington is home to the world-famous Mall of America. Quite simply, Bloomington is a great place to live, work and play.

1. Easily accessible by highway with a major airport nearby

Easily accessible by highway with a major airport nearby

Bloomington is Minnesota’s fifth largest city. It covers 38.3 square miles (24,540 acres) in the southern part of the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area. The community is easily accessible from the north or south via Interstate Highway 35W and is bordered by Interstate Highway 494 on the north, and U.S. Highway 169 on the west. Your drive to pick up your out-of-state guests from the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport will take just a few minutes.

City Living Guide: What is it like to live in Bloomington, Minnesota?

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2. Diverse, family-friendly community that values arts and culture

Diverse, family-friendly community that values arts and culture

More than 85,000 people live in this family-friendly community that has earned a livability score of 77 on a 100-point scale. Approximately half of adult Bloomington residents are college educated and have children younger than 18. The city’s population is primarily Caucasian, but you will find significant ethnic diversity.

Bloomington residents value cultural experiences. The city boasts the Bloomington Center for the Arts which features two theaters, two galleries, art classrooms, a dance studio, and offices for the center’s nine resident arts organizations. The Center for the Arts draws audiences and participants from around the Twin Cities.

If you yearn for even more exposure to the arts, you’re a short drive or Uber ride from Minneapolis/St. Paul, where you can enjoy a play at the renowned Guthrie Theatre, take in a Broadway touring show, hear world-class musicians or stroll through numerous art galleries and museums. But don’t be surprised if you find so many concerts, plays, gallery exhibits and community sporting events in Bloomington that you are happy to stay right there.

3. Spring, summer, fall and winter display their unique beauty

Spring, summer, fall and winter display their unique beauty

If you already live in Midwest, you know all about the wonders of the four seasons. If you’re from a warm climate, you’ve likely heard horror stories about Minnesota winters. Don’t let what you’ve heard dissuade you from choosing to move to Bloomington. Sure, winters can be cold. And snowy. And icy. But they’re also breathtakingly beautiful and can be a whole lot of fun, whether you choose to watch the falling snow through your living room window or head outside to strap on a pair of skis or skates. Bloomington residents welcome spring as a true breath of fresh air. Summer is heavenly. And fall couldn’t possibly be more beautiful, with brightly colored leaves, sunny days and crisp evenings.

Bloomington’s average high temperatures range from 17 degrees Fahrenheit in January to 76 in July.

The four distinct seasons are one of the features that many Minnesota residents truly love about the state. Imagine sledding down a hillside or building a snowman. Picture yourself selecting plants and flowers at the local garden center. Feel the warmth of the sun on your back as you paddle a canoe across the lake. Think about the comfort of a favorite sweatshirt on a brisk autumn afternoon. With those images in mind, how could you resist making Bloomington, Minnesota, your next home?

City Living Guide: What is it like to live in Bloomington, Minnesota?

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4. High median income, quality city services

High median income, quality city services

Bloomington has earned high marks for amenities (A+), education (A-) and housing (B+).

The median household income of Bloomington residents is approximately $70,000, which is about 20% higher than the national average! The unemployment rate is considerably below the rest of the United States. The crime rate has declined 9% year over year and is far below the national average.

Some services in Bloomington cost less than the national average: Utility costs are lower than around the country; a trip to the optometrist costs 19% less than the national average, a visit to the dentist costs 9% less.

The overall cost of living in Bloomington is a bit higher than other Minnesota cities and the national average, but as you can see, there’s a lot to love about the community. The air quality index is 12% better than the national average. The National Arbor Day Foundation has recognized Bloomington with the Tree City U.S.A. designation for more than three decades for its dedication to its community forestry programs. Each year, Bloomington Park Maintenance conducts a public tree sale for the city’s residents, with up to five trees available per household.

In addition, the city has planted more than 1,000 trees over the past few years.

City officials and city employees take a great deal of pride in offering high-quality services. Consider this: In 2016, the city of Bloomington was named “Best of the Best” in the national Tap Water Taste Test sponsored by Avista Technologies, Inc. Who doesn’t want to have great-tasting tap water?

5. An array of healthcare services

An array of healthcare services

Bloomington is home to several primary and specialty care clinics, rehabilitation facilities and home care services. HealthPartners, an integrated health care network that is one of Bloomington’s major employers, partners with local and national organizations to improve the health and wellness of the community, noting that “health happens outside the doctor’s office.” An example of HealthPartners’ community efforts: partnering with schools to make it easier for children and families to eat fruits and vegetables and move more.

Major hospitals include the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Abbott Northwestern, Hennepin County Medical Center, Regions Hospital and Children’s Hospital. All are nearby in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Fairview Southdale Hospital is in Bloomington’s neighboring community of Edina. And the world-famous Mayo Clinic and its affiliated hospitals are just 87 miles away in Rochester. All these hospitals have earned national recognition for the quality of the care they provide.

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6. Schools earn excellent grades

Schools earn excellent grades

The public-school system in Bloomington is highly regarded. Nine of the schools are Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence and six others have earned Minnesota School of Excellence honors. In addition to early-childhood programs, elementary, middle and high schools, Bloomington offers alternative learning centers, adult enrichment classes and programs for adults with disabilities.

Bloomington’s private schools also earn high marks. Here’s one example: Bethany Academy is a Christian high school rated “A-” by With 240 students in grades K-12, Bethany has a student-teacher ratio of 11 to 1. A whopping 92% of Bethany graduates go on to attend a four-year college.

Looking for post-secondary education in the Bloomington area? There are 50 colleges or universities within 50 miles! That includes Normandale Community College and Northwestern Health Sciences University right in the city of Bloomington. Normandale is Minnesota’s largest community college, with nearly 15,000 enrollees. The college includes a Continuing Education and Customized Training division that is important to keeping Bloomington’s workforce competitive. At Northwestern, academic programs include chiropractic medicine, acupuncture and Chinese medicine, massage therapy, nutrition and more. Both Normandale and Northwestern are widely recognized and respected.

7. Wide array of employment opportunities

Wide array of employment opportunities

More than 90,000 people work in Bloomington. With one of the United States’ top tourist attractions, the Mall of America, operating in the city, it is not surprising that hospitality is Bloomington’s primary industry, with more than 20,000 workers. Retail jobs also are plentiful at the Mall of America with its 520 stores, and at countless shops, boutiques and larger venues such as Southtown shopping center, Ikea and REI.

Other significant industries in Bloomington include healthcare, manufacturing, science and technology. Among the major employers are HealthPartners (an integrated healthcare network), Toro (leading worldwide provider of lawn, landscape and construction equipment), Ceridian (provider of human resources software and services) and Seagate Technology (precision-engineered data solutions).

Teachers, professors, social workers, administrators, and support professionals will find outstanding employment opportunities in Bloomington’s public and private schools and area colleges. Many Bloomington residents are business managers or work in office support roles. An interesting employment note: More people who live in Bloomington work in computer- or mathematics-related jobs than residents of 95 percent of the places in the United States.

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8. Variety of activities for all ages and interests

Variety of activities for all ages and interests

You and your out-of-town visitors no doubt will spend considerable time at the Mall of America, which offers unparalleled shopping opportunities and so very much more, including:
·      Nickelodeon Universe, the nation’s largest indoor theme park
·      The Crayola Experience, with more than 20 hands-on activities
·      SEA LIFE Aquarium, which features sharks, jellyfish and seahorses to name just a few of the thousands of sea creatures there
·      FlyOver America, an exciting a flight simulation ride
·      Moose Mountain Adventure Golf, an 18-hole miniature golf course with a north-woods feel
·      Numerous full-service restaurants, ice cream and frozen yogurt shops, cookie counters, a traditional mall food court and bars

While the Mall of America could provide days or perhaps weeks of continuous entertainment, don’t overlook the myriad other leisure-time opportunities in Bloomington, including:
·      Bush Lake Beach, one of Minnesota’s most popular beaches with more than 100,000 visitors per year, featuring canoeing, trails, volleyball, picnicking, a playground and concessions
·      The Bloomington Family Aquatic Center, open daily from early June through early September, featuring a zero-depth entry pool, aqua climbing wall, water slides, diving boards and concessions
·      The Bloomington Ice Garden with three rinks, open skating, open adult hockey and skate school
·      Outdoor skating rinks and warming houses for cold-weather fun on the ice
·      Arts in the Parks free musical performances, moonlight movies and fireworks
·      Summertime youth programs in the parks
·      Outdoor farmers market on Saturdays during summer and fall and indoor farmers market on two Saturdays in November and December

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Be sure to visit the 14,000-acre Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, one of 14 Regional Priority Urban Wildlife Refuges in the United States. The refuge includes the Bloomington Education and Visitor Center and two trailheads near the Mall of America.

Great Wolf Lodge, also near the Mall of America, is home to the tallest indoor water slide in the country—nearly 10 stories high! The lodge features costumed characters and so many attractions and activities that you will feel as though you discovered Minnesota’s answer to Disney World.

Step back in time at Pond-Dakota Mission Park, named for brothers Gideon and Samuel Pond, who arrived in the Minnesota Territory as missionaries in 1834. In the early 1840s, they established the Oak Grove Mission in present-day Bloomington. The park features the Federal-style brick house of Gideon and Agnes Hopkins Pond which is on the National Register of Historic Places and is open year-round.

9. Survey says: Residents love their community

Survey says: Residents love their community

It’s impossible to find a perfect city, but you may think you’ve found it with Bloomington. Let’s be honest here: every community has drawbacks—some more than others. Bloomington’s profile has some blemishes, such as a cost of living that is higher than the national average. And there’s that winter thing that may take a bit of adjustment.

But look at all the climate positives: spectacular springs, summers and autumns, a chance to embrace your inner winter lover and so very many things to do year-round. You’ll find one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions, green spaces, water, trees, flowers, a farmers market, and outstanding city services, not the least of which is tap water that has been awarded for its great taste.

And consider the myriad things to do in the community: parks and trails and skating rinks, oh my! Boutiques and bargain shops and Ikea! A giant water slide! Golf courses! An arts center so remarkable that it draws people from miles around!

Little speaks louder than this about the pros of living in Bloomington, Minnesota: At least four out of five residents who responded to the National Citizen Survey gave “excellent” or “good” ratings to their Bloomington neighborhood, the city as a place to raise children, and the community’s overall appearance.

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10. Choose from 21 neighborhoods

Choose from 21 neighborhoods

No matter what type of neighborhood you’re looking for, you’ll find it in Bloomington. Here are just a few examples of the 21 neighborhoods listed by

·      The Old Shakopee Road/Elliot Avenue South neighborhood is an older, well-established section of the community bordering the Minnesota River. Most of the homes here were built between 1940 and 1969. The median home price is slightly over $308,000. The neighborhood is made up primarily of three- and four-bedroom single-family homes and apartment complexes, and it ranks better for retirement living than 88.4% of the neighborhoods in Minnesota.

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·      Nearly half of the adults living in the Normandale Boulevard/West 102nd Street area are employed in executive, management and professional occupations, making this an above-average-income neighborhood. Many homes here date to the 1940s through the 1990s, with a median price of $363,000+.
·      West 84th Street/France Avenue South is a well-established suburban neighborhood of small- to medium-sized homes as well as apartment complexes. As in most other parts of Bloomington, most homes were built between 1940 and 1969. Demand for real estate here is above the U.S. average. This neighborhood is LGBTQ-friendly, with a greater concentration of same-sex couples than more than 95% of U.S. neighborhoods. West 84th and France is also known for high-quality retirement living.

11. From starter homes to dream homes

From starter homes to dream homes

Seeking a high-rise apartment, a modest starter home or a move-up residence? You can find plenty to choose from in Bloomington. Dreaming of settling into a luxury home? You can make that dream come true in this gorgeous community, too. The median home value in Bloomington is $221,900 but there are some million-dollar gems as well. Median rent is $999.

If you buy a home in Bloomington, you likely will quickly generate considerable equity, given that the average five-year real estate appreciation rate is between 7% and 9%. Homes in this community are selling within an average of 74 days, for 100% of the asking price.

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If you’re in the market for senior living options outside of a single-family home—for yourself, your parents or grandparents—you will be pleased with the options available in Bloomington. Independent and assisted-living retirement communities provide maintenance-free living with an array of amenities from which to choose. Some facilities feature fine dining in addition to housekeeping, transportation and a full calendar of activities.

Bloomington real estate agents can help you understand the housing market, home values, property taxes and buying strategies. Be sure to meet with a few agents before selecting one to work with as you’ll want to ensure a good working relationship. Trust is essential.
Enjoy the journey of selecting, buying, moving and settling into your next home. We hope this article has been helpful. If so, please share it with your friends and colleagues. Best wishes!

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