7 Factors Rank Orono as one of the Best Cities in Minnesota
Author: The HOMEiA Team & Gloria Russell
Orono, Minnesota may not be as widely known or recognized as some of the first-tier suburbs, but once you’ve discovered this gem, you’ll likely agree that it is an amazingly beautiful place to live. Residents enjoy scenic parks and trails such as the Luce Line Trail, Noerenberg Memorial Park, Baker Park Reserve, Lake Minnetonka Regional Park and more. Life along Lake Minnetonka offers a wealth of outdoor adventures and the best of nature’s scenery in every season.
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Known as The Lakeshore City, Orono is situated west of the Twin Cities and displays a friendly, rural, lake community vibe. Much of its acreage is either water or wetlands, adding to the scenic splendor. The population of 8,000 relishes the idea of country living with easy access to the metro and all the opportunities there. There are definite benefits—like the improved air quality and safety factor.
Situated on the north shore of Lake Minnetonka, this city provides all the advantages of exquisite lakeside living. It’s rare to have a lake of this magnitude so close to a major metropolitan area, making it extremely popular.
This city is perfect for families as well as seniors with the understanding that the cost of living is considerably higher the national average. As the tenth largest lake in Minnesota—and the most actively used lake in the state, Minnetonka welcomes consistent activity all through the year, advancing the local economy.
For a small city, the prices of homes are dramatically higher than is typical in Minnesota, or the country for that matter. The vast majority of residents are homeowners, and rentals are difficult to find. The median price of around $600,000 would scare many home buyers away, but it is possible to find a home priced much lower than this figure—or more, if that’s what’s on your preference.
Homes appreciate nicely and are well maintained, adding to the appeal. The main idea here is that the city is safe and peaceful with a beautiful lake and services you can count on.
4. Safety and Healthcare:
Statistics show that Orono has a lower crime rate than in other Minnesota cities, making it an attractive home base for residents of all ages. Hospitals at a convenient distance include Park Nicollet, Children’s Hospital, North Memorial, Ridgeview, Mayo Clinic-New Prague, Centracare-Monticello, Abbott Northwestern and Maple Grove Hospital.
As expected, unemployment is low, and residents have good jobs or are happily retired. The average income is substantially higher than national averages, making it possible to sustain the higher cost of living.
With healthcare, sales, management, manufacturing, finance, professional services, education and retail as the largest employment segments, the workforce in Orono also finds employment in the metro and through home-based businesses and remote services.
Schools in Orono are highly rated and, since the system is not as large as some, students can get a lot of attention and mentoring. The graduation percentage is higher than most and statistics show that test scores are much higher than national averages.
When it’s time for higher education, the Minnesota School of Business Plymouth – is only five miles away, Hennepin Technical College- Brooklyn Park is only 13 miles from home, and Dunwoody College of Technology- Minneapolis is 15 miles away. There are dozens of highly regarded colleges and universities within 30 miles.
In warm weather, the Orono Public Golf Course is a popular gathering place. Parks and trails provide ample opportunity for a healthy outdoor experience. As one of the state’s best formal gardens, Crystal Bay’s Noerenberg Memorial Park is often the setting for weddings and memorable photos on Lake Minnetonka.
Other not-to-be-missed parks are nearby Baker Park and Lake Minnetonka Regional Park. Of course, Lake Minnetonka itself is the all-time favorite destination for residents and their guests for boating or fishing—and there’s always plenty going on at a Minnetonka hot spot like Lord Fletcher’s.
Winter presents a change of pace as people don their outdoor gear and engage in ice fishing, snowmobiling, skiing, snowboarding and skating. Or, you can get a bite to eat, socialize and take in some great music at Narrows Saloon.
To sum up:
If you’re looking for small city living with all the perks of the most popular lake in Minnesota, Orono is the city for you. It has beautiful homes, great schools and safe neighborhoods. The natural setting could not possibly be more beautiful, nor could the people be friendlier. You’ll feel right at home in Orono with lakeside, country living and easy access to all the metro has to offer, including the international airport.
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