12 Best Places to Live in Minnesota for Quality of Life

by Jem
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Minnesota is more than just a state; it’s a lifestyle unto itself. From its pristine lakes to its vibrant cities and tranquil suburbs, the North Star State offers a diverse array of living experiences. But with its rich tapestry of landscapes and communities, choosing the perfect spot to call home in Minnesota can be a complex task. To help you navigate this decision, I’ve crafted this guide on what are the best places to live in Minnesota.

I’ve roamed Minnesota extensively, and I can vouch for its incredible diversity and beauty. From the rugged terrains of the North Shore to the serene lakes of the Brainerd Lakes Area, and from the bustling atmosphere of Minneapolis to the family-friendly vibes of Woodbury, Minnesota’s diversity is unparalleled. Whether you’re captivated by the outdoor adventures, the rich cultural scene, or the thriving pulse of cities like Minneapolis and St. Paul, there’s a corner of Minnesota that feels tailor-made for you.

So, where to live in Minnesota? The ideal location varies from person to person. Some may prioritize proximity to nature, others might look for excellent educational facilities, and for many, the cost of living is a significant factor.

Dive in as I dissect the places to move in Minnesota, based on what matters most to you. Having experienced the state’s multifaceted offerings, I’m here to guide you through where to live in MN. I’ve scoured research, analyzed statistics, and engaged with locals to compile a list that caters to every lifestyle and budget. Let’s get started!

The top places to live in Minnesota for all

The Best Places to Live in Minnesota    

Ready to explore all the most captivating places to live in Minnesota? Situated in the Midwest of the United States, Minnesota offers something for everyone.

Whether you’re searching for urban excitement or suburban tranquility, this guide will help you discover, where the best place to live in Minnesota.

  • Best for shopping and entertainment: Bloomington
  • Best for outdoor adventures: Duluth
  • Best for family living: Eden Prairie
  • Best for upscale living: Edina
  • Best for community engagement: Falcon Heights
  • Best for arts and culture: Minneapolis
  • Best for lakefront activities: Minnetonka
  • Best for suburban growth: Plymouth
  • Best for medical professionals: Rochester
  • Best for history and heritage: Saint Paul
  • Best for college town atmosphere: St. Cloud
  • Best for safety and schools: Woodbury

So, keep reading to uncover all the top spots in the state that you should definitely know about.

1. Bloomington

Step into a world where urban sophistication meets natural beauty. Bloomington offers a balanced lifestyle that’s hard to beat. With the Mall of America as its crown jewel, shopping and entertainment options are endless. Best places to live in Minnesota often list Bloomington for its economic stability and quality of life.

The city is a hub for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether it’s biking along the Minnesota River or bird-watching at the National Wildlife Refuge, there’s no shortage of activities. Best city to live in Minnesota? Many would point to Bloomington for its blend of nature and city life.

Education is a strong suit here. The public schools are top-notch, and the community places a high value on academic achievement. It’s a city that offers something for everyone, from young professionals to retirees.

It's difficult to top Bloomington's balanced way of living.
It’s difficult to top Bloomington’s balanced way of living.

2. Duluth

Ah, Duluth! A city where the air is crisp and the vistas are breathtaking. Perched on the edge of Lake Superior, Duluth is a paradise for nature lovers. The city’s Canal Park is a bustling waterfront district filled with cabin rentals, shops, eateries, and endless opportunities for outdoor fun. Coolest places to live in Minnesota? Duluth is often at the top of the list, and it’s easy to see why.

The city is also a cultural hub, boasting an array of museums, art galleries, and theaters. The Duluth Playhouse and the Tweed Museum of Art offer a touch of sophistication in this northern retreat. Minnesota’s best cities to live often include Duluth for its rich cultural scene and natural beauty. From the historic Glensheen Mansion to the scenic North Shore, Duluth is a city that captivates at every turn.

Economically, Duluth is a powerhouse. With a strong job market centered around healthcare, education, and aviation, it’s a city that promises stability and growth. The educational system is robust, offering a variety of options for families and making it a great place to live in Minnesota. The city also hosts several annual events like the Duluth Airshow and the Bayfront Blues Festival, adding a layer of excitement to life here.

The views are magnificent and the air is crisp in Duluth.
The views are magnificent and the air is crisp in Duluth.

3. Eden Prairie

Picture this: A city where lush green parks coexist with bustling corporate offices. Welcome to Eden Prairie, a city that has mastered the art of balance. Located just 12 miles southwest of downtown Minneapolis, Eden Prairie offers a harmonious blend of natural beauty and modern convenience. It’s no wonder it consistently ranks as one of the best places in Minnesota to live.

Eden Prairie is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. With more than 170 miles of scenic trails and 2,250 acres of parks, the city offers endless opportunities for hiking, biking, and bird-watching. The Eden Prairie Art Center and the Staring Lake Observatory add a cultural flair to this suburban paradise.

When it comes to education and employment, Eden Prairie scores high. Home to several Fortune 500 companies, the city promises a thriving job market. The public schools are part of the top-rated Eden Prairie School District, making it a nice city to live in Minnesota for families who prioritize education.

Eden Prairie provides a tasteful fusion of contemporary conveniences with the beauty of nature.
Eden Prairie provides a tasteful fusion of contemporary conveniences with the beauty of nature.

4. Edina

In the realm of suburban sophistication, Edina reigns supreme. This city is a tapestry of upscale shopping districts, gourmet dining, and luxurious homes. Southdale Center, the nation’s first enclosed shopping mall, calls Edina home. It’s a city that has long set the standard for what it means to be the best place to live in Minnesota.

But Edina is not just about high-end living; it’s a city that values community and education. The Edina Public Schools district is one of the best in the state, offering a plethora of Advanced Placement courses and extracurricular activities. The city’s commitment to education makes it a top choice for families, solidifying its status as the best Minnesota cities to live in.

Outdoor activities? Edina has you covered. With numerous parks, golf courses, and even indoor ice rinks, the city offers a wide range of recreational options. Centennial Lakes Park is a particular highlight, featuring paddle boating in the summer and ice skating in the winter.

Edina is unmatched in the world of suburban refinement, one of the best places to live in Minnesota.
Edina is unmatched in the world of suburban refinement, one of the best places to live in Minnesota.

5. Falcon Heights

Where academia and community spirit converge, you’ll find Falcon Heights. Situated between Minneapolis and St. Paul, this small city is perhaps best known for hosting the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul Campus. With a strong focus on education and research, Falcon Heights is a good place to live in Minnesota for those who value intellectual engagement.

The city is also a green haven. The Minnesota State Fairgrounds, home to the renowned Minnesota State Fair, offer a sprawling space for various events and activities. From farmers’ markets to cultural festivals, Falcon Heights is a city that celebrates diversity and community involvement.

Economically, Falcon Heights holds its own. Despite its small size, the city has a robust economy fueled by the university and various small businesses. Excellent public schools and low crime rates make it a best Minnesota town to live in, especially for families looking for a safe and nurturing environment.

Minnesota's Falcon Heights is a nice neighborhood for people who seek intellectual stimulation.
Minnesota’s Falcon Heights is a nice neighborhood for people who seek intellectual stimulation.

6. Minneapolis

Ah, the allure of city life! Minneapolis, with its vibrant arts scene and bustling downtown, is the epitome of urban living. The city is a mecca for foodies, offering a plethora of dining options that range from food trucks to Michelin-starred restaurants. If you’re seeking the best areas to live in Minnesota, Minneapolis should be on your radar.

But it’s not all skyscrapers and city lights. The City of Lakes, as it’s often called, offers a surprising amount of green space. The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and the Chain of Lakes provide a much-needed respite from the urban hustle, making it a best town to live in Minnesota for those who want the best of both worlds.

When it comes to employment opportunities, Minneapolis is a powerhouse. The city is home to several Fortune 500 companies and offers a diverse job market. Whether you’re in healthcare, tech, or the arts, Minneapolis has something for everyone. The city’s public transportation system is also top-notch, making daily commuting a breeze.

Minneapolis is the perfect example of an urban lifestyle, with its thriving downtown and arts sector.
Minneapolis is the perfect example of an urban lifestyle, with its thriving downtown and arts sector.

7. Minnetonka

Imagine waking up to the serene views of a sparkling lake every morning. In Minnetonka, this dream is a reality for many. Known for its beautiful Lake Minnetonka, this city offers a tranquil escape without sacrificing urban amenities. It’s a top city in Minnesota to live, especially for those who appreciate the finer things in life.

Minnetonka is not just a pretty face; it’s a city with substance. The Minnetonka Public Schools are highly rated, offering a range of programs that cater to different learning styles. The city’s commitment to education is one of the many reasons it’s considered as one of the best Minnesota cities to call home.

The city also boasts a thriving economy. With a business-friendly environment and a focus on sustainable development, Minnetonka is a magnet for entrepreneurs and established companies alike. The Ridgedale Center offers a shopping experience that rivals any big city, featuring a mix of local boutiques and international brands.

Picture taking in the tranquil sights of a glistening lake as you awaken each morning.
Picture taking in the tranquil sights of a glistening lake as you awaken each morning.

8. Plymouth

Welcome to Plymouth, a city that effortlessly combines a strong sense of community with modern living. Located just 15 miles northwest of downtown Minneapolis, Plymouth offers a high quality of life that makes it one of the best cities to live in Minnesota. From its top-rated schools to its expansive park system, Plymouth is a city that puts its residents first.

Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty to love here. The city is home to more than half a dozen sizable lakes and numerous parks, offering a wide range of recreational activities. Whether it’s kayaking on Medicine Lake or hiking through the French Regional Park, Plymouth offers a natural sanctuary within city limits.

Economically, Plymouth is a hub of innovation and enterprise. The city is home to several corporate headquarters and offers a diverse range of job opportunities. Its strategic location near major highways makes it an ideal choice for professionals who commute to Minneapolis or St. Paul. All these factors contribute to Plymouth’s status as one of the most livable cities in Minnesota.

Plymouth is a city where modern living and a strong sense of community coexist together.
Plymouth is a city where modern living and a strong sense of community coexist together.

9. Rochester

When it comes to healthcare innovation, few cities can rival Rochester. Home to the world-renowned Mayo Clinic, this city is a global leader in medical research and treatment. It’s no surprise that Rochester consistently ranks as one of Minnesota’s best places to live for healthcare professionals and patients alike.

But Rochester is more than just a medical hub. The city offers a rich tapestry of cultural experiences, from its vibrant arts scene to its diverse culinary offerings. The Rochester Art Center and the annual Rochesterfest are just a few examples of how the city celebrates its cultural diversity.

Outdoor activities? Rochester has plenty. With over 100 parks and several golf courses, the city offers a variety of recreational options for residents and visitors. Silver Lake Park is particularly popular for its walking paths and paddleboat rentals.

When it comes to education, Rochester doesn’t disappoint. The city’s public schools are highly rated, and there are several colleges and universities in the area for higher education. All these factors make Rochester a what are the best places to live in Minnesota.

One of the greatest places to live in Minnesota is regularly Rochester.
One of the greatest places to live in Minnesota is regularly Rochester.

10. Saint Paul

Step into Saint Paul, and you’ll quickly realize you’re in a city steeped in history and culture. As the state capital, Saint Paul is the political heartbeat of Minnesota. But it’s also a city that celebrates its rich past, from the grandeur of the Cathedral of Saint Paul to the historic charm of the Summit Avenue mansions. It’s among the recommended places to move in Minnesota that offers a blend of the old and the new.

Saint Paul is a city of neighborhoods, each with its own unique character. From the artsy vibe of Lowertown to the family-friendly atmosphere of Macalester-Groveland, there’s a place for everyone. The city’s diverse culinary scene is a food lover’s dream, offering everything from Hmong cuisine to classic American fare.

When it comes to outdoor activities, Saint Paul doesn’t disappoint. The city is home to an extensive park system, including the stunning Como Park Zoo & Conservatory. Whether you’re into hiking, biking, or simply enjoying a picnic by the lake, Saint Paul has got you covered.

Economically, the city is a powerhouse. With a strong job market and a focus on sustainable development, Saint Paul is a city on the rise. Its commitment to community development and social equity makes it a where to live in MN for those who value a balanced lifestyle.

You can tell you're in a historically and culturally rich city as soon as you set foot in Saint Paul.
You can tell you’re in a historically and culturally rich city as soon as you set foot in Saint Paul.

11. St. Cloud

Venture a bit north of the Twin Cities, and you’ll find St. Cloud, a city that’s as sturdy as the granite it’s famous for. Known as the Granite City, St. Cloud offers a mix of small-town charm and big-city amenities. It’s one of those best towns to live in Minnesota where community spirit is as solid as the bedrock beneath it.

St. Cloud is a city that values education. Home to St. Cloud State University, the city has a youthful energy that’s hard to ignore. The university brings a range of cultural and sporting events to the city, making it a lively place to call home.

But don’t let the small-town vibe fool you. St. Cloud has a thriving economy, driven by healthcare, education, and manufacturing. Companies like CentraCare Health and New Flyer Industries provide stable employment opportunities, making St. Cloud a nice part of Minnesota to settle down in.

Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the city’s numerous parks and the Mississippi River, which offers a range of water activities. From fishing to kayaking, there’s no shortage of ways to enjoy the great outdoors in St. Cloud.

St. Cloud is one of the best places to live in Minnesota.
St. Cloud is one of the best places to live in Minnesota.

12. Woodbury

If you’re looking for a place that offers the tranquility of the suburbs with the amenities of a big city, Woodbury is your answer. Located just east of St. Paul, this city is a blend of residential charm and commercial convenience. With its top-notch schools and family-friendly atmosphere, Woodbury is a top city in Minnesota to live for families and young professionals alike.

Woodbury is a city that takes recreation seriously. With over 45 parks and a plethora of trails, the city offers a multitude of options for outdoor activities. The Bielenberg Sports Center is a particular highlight, featuring ice rinks, athletic fields, and even a splash pad for the little ones.

When it comes to shopping and dining, Woodbury excels. The city is home to the Tamarack Village shopping center, which offers a range of retail and dining options. From boutique stores to big-box retailers, Woodbury has something for every shopper.

Economically, Woodbury is strong and stable. The city has a diverse job market that includes healthcare, retail, and technology sectors. Its proximity to St. Paul and Minneapolis provide additional employment opportunities, making it the best Minnesota city to live in for career growth.

Woodbury is the ideal location if you want the conveniences of a large city combined with the peace of the suburbs.
Woodbury is the ideal location if you want the conveniences of a large city combined with the peace of the suburbs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the Best Places to Live in Minnesota                 

Eager to find out about the best residential areas in Minnesota? Here are some questions that people often ask me about where to live in the state.

Where is the best place to live in Minnesota?

Determining the best place to live in Minnesota depends on various factors such as your career goals, lifestyle preferences, and family needs. Cities like Minneapolis and St. Paul offer a bustling urban environment with a plethora of job opportunities, especially in healthcare, technology, and finance. Suburban areas like Eden Prairie and Woodbury provide a more tranquil setting, ideal for families, with top-rated schools and plenty of recreational activities. For those who prefer a blend of both, cities like Duluth and Rochester offer a mix of natural beauty and modern amenities. Each city and town in Minnesota has its unique charm and advantages, making the state a diverse and appealing place to live.

What is the safest city to live in Minnesota?

Safety is a top priority for many when choosing a place to live. In Minnesota, cities like Eden Prairie, Woodbury, and Minnetonka consistently rank high for safety based on low crime rates and strong community policing efforts. These cities offer not only a secure environment but also excellent public services, including top-rated schools and healthcare facilities. It’s worth noting that Minnesota, in general, has a lower crime rate compared to the national average, making it a great place to live in Minnesota for those concerned about safety.

What is the best part of Minnesota?

The “best part” of Minnesota can vary depending on what you’re looking for. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, the northern regions offer stunning natural landscapes, including the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Lake Superior. For those interested in arts and culture, the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul are the places to be, with numerous museums, theaters, and cultural festivals. Suburban areas like Edina and Plymouth offer a family-friendly environment with excellent schools and community services. In essence, the best parts of Minnesota cater to a wide range of lifestyles and preferences, making it a state that truly has something for everyone.

A great destination to call home, Minnesota has quite a something of every thing to offer.
A great destination to call home, Minnesota has quite a something of every thing to offer.

Is Minnesota good for living?

Absolutely, Minnesota has a lot to offer when it comes to quality of life. The state is known for its excellent education system, robust job market, and diverse recreational activities. Cities like Minneapolis and St. Paul offer a vibrant urban lifestyle, while smaller towns and suburbs provide a quieter, family-friendly environment. The state also ranks high in healthcare, with world-class facilities like the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the state’s numerous parks, lakes, and hiking trails. Overall, Minnesota is a nice city to live in, whether you’re a young professional, a growing family, or looking to retire.

Is Minnesota expensive to live?

The cost of living in Minnesota can vary significantly depending on the area. Cities like Minneapolis and St. Paul tend to be more expensive, particularly when it comes to housing and entertainment. However, the state offers a range of options for different budgets. Suburban and rural areas are generally more affordable and offer good value for money, especially for families. While Minnesota is not the cheapest state to live in, it offers a high quality of life, which many find to be a fair trade-off. Overall, it’s essential to consider your lifestyle and needs when determining if Minnesota is an expensive place to live.

What is a good salary to live in Minnesota?

A “good salary” in Minnesota can vary widely depending on several factors, including the city you live in, your lifestyle, and your financial obligations. In the Twin Cities, for example, a salary of around $60,000 to $80,000 is generally considered comfortable for a single person. For families, a combined income of $100,000 or more is often recommended to cover expenses comfortably. In smaller towns and rural areas, the cost of living is generally lower, so a smaller salary may suffice. It’s worth noting that Minnesota has a strong job market in various sectors, including healthcare, technology, and finance, offering competitive salaries and benefits. Therefore, it’s a good place to live in Minnesota if you’re looking for career growth and a balanced lifestyle.

Final Thoughts on the Best Places to Live in Minnesota

Minnesota is a state that offers a little bit of everything, making it a fantastic place to call home. Whether you’re drawn to the bustling urban centers of Minneapolis and St. Paul or the tranquil suburbs like Eden Prairie and Woodbury, you’ll find a community that suits your lifestyle. The state’s commitment to education, healthcare, and community development is evident, making it one of the best areas to live in Minnesota for families, young professionals, and retirees alike.

The state’s diverse landscape also adds to its allure. From the serene lakes of Minnetonka to the rugged beauty of Duluth, Minnesota offers an array of natural wonders that are sure to captivate any outdoor enthusiast. It’s a state where you can experience all four seasons, each bringing its unique charm and activities.

Economically, Minnesota is robust and diverse. With thriving sectors like healthcare, technology, and manufacturing, the state offers a range of job opportunities that cater to various skills and interests. Its strong economy makes it among the best Minnesota towns to live for those looking to advance their careers.

In summary, Minnesota is more than just a place to live; it’s a community to be a part of. Its blend of natural beauty, modern amenities, and strong community values make it a state that’s hard to beat. If you’re considering making a move, Minnesota should undoubtedly be on your list of places to explore.

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