Category Archives: Neighborhood Features

Port of Excelsior

Excelsior, MN

Located on the shores of Lake Minnetonka, the 1 square mile neighborhood of Excelsior, MN is a historic and tightly knit community. The 2,397 residents of Excelsior can be seen visiting antique shops, boating on Lake Minnetonka, or going to see a movie at the old Dock Cinema. You’ll see more than residents though; people from all over the Twin Cities come to Excelsior for its many attractions.


Students living in Excelsior can attend Minnetonka Public Schools. The Excelsior neighborhood is home to Excelsior Elementary which is part of the Minnetonka School District. This is a fantastic elementary, offering the state’s premier Language Emersion Program with Chinese, English and Spanish options. From there, Minnetonka middle and high schools offer Immersion continuation in Spanish and Chinese so students can develop their language skills into adulthood. Additionally, there are multiple private schools and preschools to choose from. See a full list of schools at the end of this post!

The Excelsior neighborhood has a lot to offer families. In addition to great schools, the city has a large community center, a life-guarded beach, community gardens, a streetcar museum, and more!

The community center has daily events and workshops for youth, adults, and seniors. Activities include quilting, zumba, book clubs, and more!


Hungry? Head to Excelsior. Like music? Head to Excelsior. Want to stay fit? Head to Excelsior. Restaurants, bike races, farmers markets, concerts, this neighborhood truly has it all! Most notably, in the summer every Thursday from 5-9pm is Girl’s Night Out hosted by the Excelsior-Lake Minnetonka Chamber of Commerce.

Looking for something to do? Check out this full list of events in Excelsior.



This neighborhood is full of popular eateries, old and new. Most of the restaurants have outdoor seating for those lovely Minnesota summer days.

The Patisserie Margo is a bakery with two locations, one in Excelsior and one in Edina. Their bakery items really taste as wonderfully scrumptious as they look. Enjoy a muffin or danish on their outdoor patio. See their full menu here.


Lago Tacos has two locations that are both in Minnesota – one here in Excelsior, and one in Uptown. Keep in mind there is a whole lot more than just tacos on their menu. Check it out here.



The Suburban, owned by a mother and her two daughters, opened in 2014. You will find pizza, burgers, hot dogs and beer on their menu. Be sure to get there in time for happy hour!

For a complete list of local restaurants in Excelsior, check out the links at the end of this post!

Thinking about moving to Excelsior? The neighborhood is eye-catching and beautiful. There are many lakefront homes and apartments to choose from.


Quick Facts!


As you can see, more than half of the residents of Excelsior rent their home rather than own it. This could be due to the fact that the average house in Excelsior sells for $650k! The solution for people who are not able to afford those luxury homes, but still want to live in Excelsior, is to rent!

Excelsior is a great neighborhood with many walkable amenities. You will never run out of things to do, or places to be.

Share with us why you love the Excelsior neighborhood!

Neighborhood Resources

Excelsior Schools

Faith Communities

Excelsior Elementary

Excelsior United Methodist Church

St. John the Baptist School

Excelsior Covenant Church

Minnetonka Montessori

Congregational Church of Excelsior

Minnetonka West Middle School

Westwood Community Church

Minnewashta Elementary

Mount Calvary Lutheran Church

Excelsior KinderCare

Lake Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists

Clear Springs Elementary

Faith Lutheran Church

Minnetonka Preschool & ECFE

Mount Olivet Lutheran Church

Our Savior Lutheran Church & School

Trinity Episcopal Church

Minnewashta Church

Christ Community Church

Public Parks

Local Restaurants

Excelsior Commons

Jake O’Connor’s Public House

Badger Park

Joey Nova’s

Excelsior Parklands

Olive’s Fresh Excelsior

Freeman Park

B Grizzly’s Pizza

Cathcart Park

Happy Garden II

Herman Field Park

Hazellewood Grill & Tap Room

Pleasant Hill Park

Patisserie Margo

Caribbean Marina

Victor’s on Water

The Suburban

Coalition Restaurant

Bayside Grille

Yumi’s Sushi Bar


Macalester-Groveland, St. Paul

Macalester-Groveland, or Mac-Groveland as it has come to be called by many, lies on the western side of St. Paul with the Mississippi River serving as its western border. Home to the University of St. Thomas, Saint Catherine University and Macalester College, the Mac-Grove neighborhood has proven to be an ideal place for students or professors looking to stay within walking or biking distance of their campus.



A great local restaurant is also just a quick walk or bike ride away for residents. Groveland Tap – just one of the many hangouts on St. Clair Ave. where you’ll find locals relaxing after work – offers a fantastic selection of burgers and an extensive assortment of 34 beers on tap. Groveland Tap also offers a great happy hour for those wanting to go out without spending too much money.

The shops along Grand Avenue provide residents and visitors with some of the best shopping in Minnesota. With easy access to a variety of unique shops that offer everything from shoes to books to furniture to pianos, Grand Avenue is a hotspot for commerce in the community.


The Grandview Theater, built in 1933, can also be found on Grand Avenue.  Offering just two screens (one smaller screen upstairs and a larger screen on the main floor), the theater is a must for those looking for a unique movie-going experience that’s different from the mall multiplex.

Another favorite destination can be found here every year on the first Sunday of June, which brings the largest one-day festival in the Midwest to the Mac-Groveland neighborhood. The annual “Grand Old Day” festival provides fun and entertainment for the whole family, offering over 150 food vendors, several stages for live music and the “Grand Old Day Parade.” The event, now in its 42nd year, has grown into a keystone tradition in kicking off a Minnesota summer.


The Edgcumbe Recreation Center provides access to baseball and soccer fields, tennis courts and an ice rink. Inside, the center offers a play area for children, a game room, a gym, racquetball courts, a weight room and warming room for the winter months.

The homes in the Macalester-Groveland neighborhood provide a great look into the history of the town. Thanks to the expansion of the streetcar system, residential building saw a rapid increase in the first two decades of the 20th Century, filling the area with homes and apartment buildings that still stand today on the tree-lined streets. Single-family homes offer an arresting display of unique architectural designs fitting for anyone seeking out a home with a classic style.


Those looking to discover the scenic beauty that the neighborhood offers will find it by taking a trek along the riverside trail on South Mississippi River Boulevard where there is a row of stunning homes and mansions. While many of these homes were built in the late 1800s, it’s clear that the proud owners have been diligent about keeping them in pristine shape.

Macalester-Groveland is a great and historic Saint Paul neighborhood where you’ll find a blend of families, educators and students who enjoy living in a lively and vibrant neighborhood with a strong sense of pride. Check it out today!


Neighborhood Resources

Macalester-Groveland Schools

Faith Communities

 Cretin-Derham Hall High School  Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church
 Friends School of Minnesota  El Mision El Santo Nino Jesus
 Groveland Park Elementary School  Fairmount Avenue United Methodist Church
 Holy Spirit School  Holy Spirit Catholic Church
 IHM St. Luke’s School  Immaculate Heart of Mary
 Jean Lyle Children’s Center  Immanuel Lutheran Church
 Laura Jeffrey Academy  Kehilat Sar Shalom
 Lubavich Learning Center  Macalester-Plymouth United Church
 Macalester College  Mount Zion Temple
 Mounds Park Academy  Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church
 Nativity of Our Lord School  Pilgrim Lutheran Church
 Ramsey Junior High School  Randolph Heights Presbyterian Church
 Randolph Heights Elementary School  St. Paul’s Church-On-The-Hill
 St. Catherine’s University  St. Paul First Seventh Day Adventist
 St. Francis – St. James United School  Twin Cities Friends Meeting
 St. Thomas Academy
 Summit School
 Talmud-Torah of St. Paul
 University of Saint Thomas
 Visitation School

Public Parks

Local Restaurants

 Groveland Park  Acme Deli
 Mattocks Park  Carbone’s Pizzeria
 Carmelo’s Ristorante
 Coastal Seafoods
 Everest on Grand
 Grand Shanghai
 Grandview Grill
 Green Mill 
 Groveland Tap
 Khyber Pass Cafe
 La Patisserie
 Luci Ancora
 Mavericks Pizza
 Pad Thai
 Palumbo’s Pizzeria
 Plum’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill 
 Ristorante Luci
 Snuffy’s Malt Shop
 St. Clair Broiler
 Twisted Fork Grille
Plymouth Neighborhood

Plymouth, Minnesota

Plymouth, Minnesota is a beautiful city located about 15 miles west of Minneapolis. It is the fourth largest suburb in the Twin Cities metro area, with a population of more than 70,000. With a rich history, wonderful schools, popular restaurants, and many beautiful parks, Plymouth sure does have plenty to offer everyone!


This land was originally inhabited by the Dakota Indians, who called the area Medicine Lake (derived from the word “Mdewakanton,” meaning “Lake of the Spirit.” Once settlers began to arrive in the mid 1850’s, the city was reorganized and renamed Plymouth. Since then, the vibrant suburb has continued to grow and develop into the community we know and love today. In fact, a recent study showed that 97% of the current residents rated their quality of life as “Excellent” or “Good”. We’d say that’s pretty impressive!


One of the main reasons Plymouth has been able to enjoy continued growth and high levels of satisfaction is the exceptional public school system. The city is currently served by four highly regarded school districts: Wayzata School District 284, Osseo School District 279, Robbinsdale School District 281, and Hopkins School District 270. Education is certainly important when it comes to determining a community’s quality of life, and Plymouth makes sure to provide great learning opportunities for all of its residents – young and old! Make sure to keep an eye out for upcoming adult community education classes taught by our very own broker, Nene Matey-Keke.

Plymouth Transportation

Worried that living in a suburb might put you too far from the center of the big city? Not a problem! Plymouth is well-connected to Downtown Minneapolis, by the freeway system as well as Plymouth Metrolink (made up of 11 different bus routes!).


Plymouth’s convenient location and accessibility make this suburb a budding destination for business, and many companies, such as Smiths Medical and Polaris, have recently expanded here. Currently, the city provides over 50,000 jobs for residents and commuters. Some of the top employers include Abbott Northwestern Hospital, the Twin Cities’ largest non-profit hospital, and Christopher & Banks Corporation, a retailer of women’s specialty apparel.


One of the perks of living in a ‘burb like Plymouth? Residents have access to a ton of green space! Not only does Plymouth have 56 city parks and 145 miles of walking/biking trails, but it is also a part of the Greenway system, which provides space for recreation while also preserving natural resources and wildlife. Anyone who visits Plymouth must check out Medicine Lake and the adjacent French River Park. Other fun family destinations include Plymouth Creek Center and the Millennium Garden. Plymouth is also home to a water park, ice rink and dog park. With so many wonderful outdoor options, Plymouth is definitely the place for summer family fun!


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Plymouth is perfect for every stage of life. There are housing options for large families, small families, couples seeking starter homes, apartments, elderly living – whatever you’re looking for, Plymouth has it! Some areas of the city have more mature neighborhoods, while other areas are brand new and growing developments. But there is no denying that this suburb has something to fit everyone’s lifestyle needs.


1. Latuff’s Pizzeria
2. Creekside Cafe
3. Truffles and Tortes
4. Sakana Sushi and Asian Bistro
5. Sunshine Factory Bar & Grill
6. Ketsana’s Thai
7. Jake’s City Grille

Jake's City Grille - Plymouth, MN


1. Plymouth Playhouse
2. French Regional Park
3. Millennium Garden
4. Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park

Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park - Plymouth, MN

Do you live in Plymouth, MN? Let us know your favorite things about living in the sensational suburb in the comment section below!

North Loop, Minneapolis

What was once a city slum, has transformed into a beautiful, thriving, and fun section of Minneapolis. This neighborhood, called the North Loop, is located in the northern section of city.  The boundaries of this neighborhood are “West: Interstate 94, with the boundary continuing along 12th Street North to Third Avenue North, then to Washington Avenue, and Hennepin Avenue to the River” (Live MSP). This area now has many different options for housing, dining, entertainment, work, and bars. In addition, it has absolutely stunning architecture, landscaped walking paths, and green spaces. North Loop is has something for everyone, but if you don’t believe me, take Karen Rosar’s, member of the Neighborhood council, advice! Her comments about the neighborhood are included through the post!


The North Loop has not always been so wonderful. In fact, the North Loop, as stated by the City of Minneapolis,  used to be a warehouse district. During the 1900’s its location in Minneapolis and border on the Mississippi River, gave the perfect location for Wholesale market and shipping. Unfortunately, as railroad and shipping declined, the area was transformed into just junkyards and bars. It was a poor neighborhood, in desperate need of an overhaul. Fortunately, this transformation came in the form of new residential and business developers, as well as protection from federal level and many historical preservation societies. Karen Rosar commented that this “change ensued fast but left in certain aspects to retain its character and history”. This wave of development rejuvenated the are, making it “Minneapolis’s fastest growing neighborhood, with 1,500 residents in 2000 tripling to 4,300 in 2010” (North!



With its residential overhaul, the North Loop has become home to many expensive and luxury buildings. Luckily this style is justified, as it has the perfect location and good neighborhood amenities.  The location has created a rather young demographic, with the average population being “25-34 (37%), 35-44 (17%), 45-54 (13%) and 55-64 (9%)” (North However as Karen Rosar also mention, the “community is pushing hard for educational families, as they are planning to open a new school this year”.  The neighborhood council would like to diversify the area and make it more welcoming to all families and people.



The North Loop has many entertainment options.  Home to Acme Comedy Club, it is the perfect destination for those with a case of the giggles. Acme, has many top comedians and hilarious open mic nights.  They also have great deals for college kids! Additionally, the North loop is home to the Guthrie, a huge theater that plays many popular shows and artists. Moreover, this neighborhood, has sports! It is home the Minnesota Twins, a professional baseball. Finally the North Loop also has the Cedar Lake Regional Trail, which is the perfect outdoor option for a good stroll outside.



Restaurants/ Bars:
The North Loop has many top notch restaurants, most of which stretch from 3rd street to 5th Avenue. Some specific restaurants that are so good they must be mentioned would be, Be’witched Deli, Black Sheep Coal Fired Pizza, Smack Shack, (these restaurants are Karen’s favorite and she highly recommends them), Haute Dish, and Bar La Grassa. Check out this link for a full list of all of your dinning and drinking options.



Green Spaces/ Walking Space/ Parks:
Since the North Loop borders right on the Mississippi River, there are some green space options. There is a walking path right next to the Mississippi on West Mississippi  River Boulevard. It is so beautiful, safe, and peaceful! In addition, a brand to playground was built, giving  families and children a place to play in the city.



Since the North Loop is in the heart of downtown Minneapolis, driving becomes a bit more complicated.  The traffic is heavy and there are limited places to park.  However, this problem is easily solved, as having a car isn’t necessary. Walking is very easy, bike paths are abundant, bus systems are efficient, and there is a brand new light rail close by. All of these options make accessing the  surrounding Twin Cities very easy and logical. Karen also mentioned that the light rail is a big step for the neighborhood. She said that is important because “in order to have opportunity, you need to have access to things”!

The North Loop is a great afternoon destination, place to live, and place to go out! Take our word for it and go check it out!!

Roseville, MN

Nestled between the Mississippi and the Minnesota Rivers, Roseville was first home to the Dakota and Ojibway.  Because of its prime location between two rivers, the Dakota believed “it was immediately over the center of the earth and beneath the center of heaven.” Today, it still remains a central location as it is one of two Twin Cities suburbs that is adjacent to both Saint Paul and Minneapolis. With a ten-minute commute to either downtown area, it offers residents a mix of suburban and urban lifestyles.

Roseville002     Golf Carts at Midland Hills Country Club

Additionally, Roseville offers an abundance of recreational activities including shopping, skating and a variety of outdoor activities. For example, playing a round of Golf at Cedarholm Golf Course or Midland Hills Country Club is a popular activity for a sunny afternoon.

Rosedale Center Mall in Roseville, MN

Or, with the mega mall Rosedale Center as well as six other shopping centers it’s easy to shop ’til you drop! Fun Fact: the first Target was built in Roseville in 1962. How awesome is that?! But if shopping isn’t your thing, lucky for you the AMC Rosedale 14 is adjacent to the Rosedale Center. There, it’s easy to sit back and relax with an icy cold drink and hot buttery popcorn while you check out the latest Hollywood flicks.

On the other hand, bibliophiles – aka book lovers – will delight in the Ramsey County Library- Roseville. Impressively, it is the largest library in Ramsey County and busiest library in Minnesota. With more than 340,000 volumes in its collection, nearly three times that of any other branch in the county, it is no wonder why!

Roseville Skating Center and John Rose Oval

Another popular attraction is The Roseville Skating Center, which is sure to accommodate all your skating needs both on and off the ice. It features an indoor arena, banquet center as well as an outdoor skate park for skateboarding and inline skating. The Roseville Ice Arena is a year-round ice arena used for hockey, figure skating, skating lessons and general public skating. Included in the Roseville Skating Center is the John Rose Minnesota Oval. The Oval, an outdoor ice rink features a 400 meter speed skating track that surrounds an infield ice area used for hockey or bandy.


Roseville offers nature lovers the beautiful Harriet Alexander Nature Center, a beautiful place for your next reception or special event as well as 34 other spectacular parks.

Children playing soccer in Roseville, MN

With a staggering 19 K-12 public schools and 7 private schools there certainly no shortage of options for parents when it comes to finding a nearby school. While Roseville is divided between two school districts, Mounds View School District 621 and Roseville Area School District 623, they are both consistently ranked among the best in the state.

Interior of La Casita Mexican Restaurant in Roseville, MN.

In terms of restaurants, Roseville certainly isn’t lacking. Two of our favorites are La Casita and Grumpy’s Bar and Grill. La Casita serves authentic Mexican food made with only the freshest ingredients. Be sure to check out the Twin Cities’ best frozen margarita or the happy hour appetizer bar with free chili con Queso, bean dip and salsa (with a minimum $4.95 purchase).

Sign outside of Grumpys in Roseville Grumpy's Bar and Grill Patio

Grumpy’s Bar & Grill is another spot not to pass up. It features a dining room, patio and separate bar. Plus they offer everything from bingo to karaoke so it is sure to please your entire crew.

Roseville Home

Moving on, more than half the homes in Roseville are single family homes at moderate prices, making this an ideal spot for younger families. Additionally, Roseville boasts that their taxes are consistently among the lowest in the Twin Cities area.

Overall, Roseville provides a unique blend of suburban and urban lifestyles to its residents. It encompasses both vibrant residential and retail areas, making it an ideal place to raise a family or start a business. Additionally, the safe neighborhoods, spectacular parks, friendly business environment and prime location make this Ramsey County suburb hard not to love.


Neighborhood Schools

Faith Communities

Concordia Academy (Private HS) Advent Lutheran Church
King of Kings Lutheran School (K-8) Bethany Baptist Church
North Heights Christian Academy (K-8) Calvary Baptist Church
St. Rose of Lima Catholic School (pre-K-8) Christ Temple Apostolic Church
Mounds View School District 621 Centennial United Methodist Church
Roseville Area School District 623 Church of Christ Roseville
Corpus Christi Catholic Church

Public Parks

Acorn Park Galilee Lutheran Church
Central Park Dale East Grace Church of Roseville
Lexington Park King of Kings Lutheran Church
Reservoir Woods Off Leash Dog Park Lutheran Church of the Resurrection
Tamarack Park North Como Presbyterian Church
Villa Park North Heights Lutheran Church
Prince of Peace Lutheran Church

Local Restaurants

Rose Hill Alliance
The Good Earth Real Life Church
Grumpy’s Bar & Grill Roseville Baptist Church
Maverick’s Real Roast Beef Restaurant Roseville Covenant Church
Snuffy’s Malt Shop Roseville Lutheran Church
Aurelio’s Pizza St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church
Digby’s St. Michael’s Lutheran Church
J. Arthur’s Coffee Saint Rose of Lima
D’Amico and Sons Vietnamese Buddhist Association




Golden Valley, MN

Golden Valley, located in the western suburbs of Minneapolis, has a population of more than 20,000. The city is known for being home to multiple Fortune 500 Companies, including General Mills and Honeywell. It also happens to be home to Gigi’s Cupcakes, which serves some of the BEST cupcakes we’ve ever tried, as well as having some of the most active community centers we’ve ever visited. Read on for much more about this lovely city!

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Theodore Wirth Park is a 795-acre recreation area that offers year round activities for the entire family. Golf courses in the summer turn into slopes for cross-country skiing when the temperatures drop. At the same time, you’ll find several scenic hiking trails, which are popular during the winter. The park also serves as the starting point for the City of Lakes Loppet Ski Festival, a fun event held annually at the end of January. Theodore Wirth definitely has a lot to offer everyone throughout the year!


After skiing, if you feel like warming up next to a cozy fire or having a nice strong drink (we mean coffee, of course), you can do so at the Golden Valley Golf and Country Club, which just celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2014. With luxe amenities and a very welcoming staff, the club serves as a great place for members to take their family after a round of golf in the summer or to warm up after hiking during the winter. Located on a hill overlooking the city, the GVGCC stands out for it’s elegance and stately grace – that explains why it’s an award-winning venue for social events and weddings!

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Golden Valley doesn’t only take care of its human residents – they also make plenty of time to look after our furry, four-legged friends! The Animal Humane Society, located right next to Theodore Wirth Park, is a place with double “do-good” benefits. Not only is it a place where you can adopt your future pet (and save an animal that’s oftentimes injured or orphaned), but the Society also provides many great services to the surrounding community. For example, they have a well-known Outreach program that offers summer camps for young children and teens who love animals, as well as various community service projects. If you’re interested, feel free to read about more ways to help animals here.


Now back to Golden Valley’s human population. The city has many active community centers, such as the Davis Community Center and Brookview Community Center, which houses GV’s Park & Recreation department (no word on whether the staff gets into as many shenanigans as the Pawnee team from the beloved TV show). The center also offers activities for residents of all ages, including exercise classes, and it’s associated with the Brookview Golf Course located right outside of its doors.

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If your kids still have energy after spending time at the community center, feel free to head to the 3rd Lair Skatepark and Skateshop. Behind its well-decorated but unassuming front door, the Skatepark hides hours of safe family fun. You might ask yourself, “What? Skateboarding in the middle of winter?” If so, you’ll be glad to know it’s an indoor skatepark (which also welcomes BMX riders). So even though it might be cold outside, your kids can still skate/ride to their heart’s content without (your) fear of (them) getting frostbite.

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The fun at 3rd Lair doesn’t stop with the skateboard park; it also serves as a skateboard shop, a favorite hangout among locals. Both the park and shop are owned by Mark Rodriguez, a St. Paul native, who opened 3rd Lair twelve years ago. According to Mark, 3rd Lair is an integral part of the Golden Valley community, participating in youth programs and remaining active with local charities. Mark also happens to be the proud owner of the most photogenic cat we’ve ever seen, Big Al (check out his adorable cameos in the photos above!).


You’ve now seen much of what Golden Valley has to provide as far as family fun activities go. But of course we couldn’t leave out one of our most favorite things: food, food, food! A great spot to find casual eateries as well as upscale dining options is the Golden Valley Commons Shopping Center. If a tasty lunch is what you’re craving, you have a great variety of choices. From Noodles & Company to Subway, there’s something to suit every palate. Or if you’re hankering for some ethnic flavor, then Panchero’s Mexican Grill is the place for you. Planning a romantic date night (Valentine’s Day is on its way, after all)? Then check out Doolittle’s Woodfire Grill, known for its warm, relaxing atmosphere – perfect for cuddling up to your loved ones!


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Speaking of great Valentine’s treats, you should definitely visit Gigi’s Cupcakes, now a world-famous business! Based out of Nashville, Tennessee, Gigi’s serves as a great place to give in to your sweet tooth. During our visit, we were lucky enough to talk to one of the sweetest (yes, pun intended) people you’ll ever meet – resident cupcake artist, Amanda (aka Amanda “The Decorator”). She said they pride themselves on how their goods are baked fresh daily and they never sell day-old goods; instead owners Jamie and Aaron Clayborn take them to the local hospital for patients, nurses, and doctors to enjoy! We had a great time at Gigi’s and the cupcakes were sensational – we highly recommend them. We particularly enjoyed the chocolate chip cookie dough cupcake (phew, that was a tongue-twister, see the picture above). Take a trip to Gigi’s and Tweet us to let us know which treat is your favorite!


As a real estate brokerage, we of course couldn’t help noticing all the great looking houses and other living facilities during our time in Golden Valley. The community truly embraces all ages and backgrounds! The single-family homes are perfect for growing families, while the townhomes and apartments are better suited for young professionals. Take a look at a sampling of the living options that Golden Valley has to offer:

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We really loved this log cabin – how about you? Feel free to tell us in the comments.


For people who like to go jogging or take scenic walks through parks, now is your time to rejoice! GV has many parks, including Wesley Park and Brookview Park. While the parks vary in size, all are great for family strolls, or even for your morning run. Feel free to visit the Golden Valley Community website for a map of all the city’s parks.


Did you know that Golden Valley holds more jobs than people per capita? Well, no surprise. Golden Valley is home to the World Headquarters of General Mills, and companies such as Allianz Insurance, Tennant Company, Honeywell, Kare 11 TV Station, and Room & Board. These companies provide many employment opportunities in the area.

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Well dear reader, this is where we end our post. We highly encourage you to visit Golden Valley and keep it in mind if you’re searching for a new home. If you’re familiar with the area, tell us what is your favorite local spot? Have you visited any of the places we mentioned?

                Neighborhood Resources

Neighborhood Schools

Faith Communities

Good Shepherd Catholic School

Calvary Lutheran Church

King of Grace Lutheran School

Unity Christ Church

Breck School

Speak the Word Church International

Perpich Center of Arts Education

Valley Community Presbyterian Church  

Noble Elementary

Valley-Peace Lutheran Church

Education Service Center

King of Grace Lutheran Church

Meadowbrook Elementary

Oak Grove Church



Stockman Park  

Doolittle’s Woodfire and Grill
Gearty Park

Nong’s Thai Cuisine  

Glenview Terrace Park

Good Day Cafe
Mary Hills Nature Area

Rasa Sayang Restaurant

Rice Lake Nature Area

Teresa’s Mexican Restaurant
Briarwood Nature Area

Taste of India

Sandburg Ball Fields

Mort’s Delicatessen
Isaacson Park

Cooper Irish Pub

Wildwood Park

Red Lobster
Pennsylvania Woods Nature

St Petersburg Restaurant & Vodka Bar

Medley Park

JJ’s Clubhouse Sports Bar & Grill

Golden Ridge Nature Area

Leann Chin

Wesley Park

Sushi X

Lake Nokomis

Nokomis, Minneapolis

The Nokomis neighborhood in South Minneapolis has a population of more than 40,000 people, who no doubt find the area as interesting as we do. It’s surrounded by the Minneapolis-St.Paul International Airport, Veterans Memorial Park, and Interstate 35W. Many people know of the Nokomis area for its main attraction, which we’re sure you’ve heard about or visited at least once – Minnehaha Falls. Sound familiar? Well, there’s much more to this family-friendly neighborhood that you need to read about.

The first place you should visit is the neighborhood’s namesake, Lake Nokomis. During the winter, the lake is a haven for winter sports aficionados and it attracts hockey enthusiasts and ice fishers alike. Each year, for a weekend in mid-January, the lake is overtaken by the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships. Established in 2007, the annual tournament draws both local and international players and celebrates the very sport for which Minnesota is known. If you love hockey and don’t mind hanging out in sub-zero temps, then you definitely won’t want to miss out on this event!


If you’re like us and prefer to admire the lake’s beauty from a distance, be sure to bundle up and go for a walk around the frozen terrain. Take a moment to admire one of the many picturesque bridges. You might even catch a glimpse of some brave ice fishers like the guys seen above!

Right next to the lake, you’ll find the Nokomis Community Center. Because of its stunning view of the lake, it’s a favorite location for special events, including wedding receptions! The center offers a full range of recreational programs for every age group, including athletics, cultural and fine arts, music and dance, and community celebrations. Click on the link above if you’d like to see the center’s hours, times, and upcoming events!

Nearby, you’ll find the Aqualand Aquarium Center. Family owned since 1966, its prime location makes it a favorite neighborhood destination for families with young children. If you’re feeling nautical (and want to feel like you’re in a tropical getaway rather than a frozen tundra), make sure to visit the Aquarium. Aqualand is especially known for its selection of tropical fish!


Feeling artsy? Well then you should definitely check out the Museum of Russian Art. At first glance, it may look more like a church than a museum (the building was originally a chapel), but don’t be deceived by its appearance. In 2013, Star Tribune named it as one out of the city’s Best Museums To Take Out-of-Towners, but even if you’re a local who just wants to entertain yourself with a little Russian culture, there’s no better place to go.


Speaking of entertainment, Nokomis has a lot more to offer! For example, the retro-inspired Parkway Theater provides a large selection of movies from diverse backgrounds for you to choose from. Described as the “Neighborhood Cinema,” the Parkway celebrates the community’s independent filmmakers from all ages and backgrounds. You can read more about them here.

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If transportation is a big concern for you, don’t worry because Metro Transit has got you covered in this neighborhood. The centrally-located transit station, which is serviced by multiple bus lines and the Metro Blue Line, is located right next to Oaks Station Place, Oak’s Properties’ newest apartment community. Talk about convenience!

If hunger strikes then you’re surely in luck, because Nokomis is home to the world-famous restaurant, Matt’s Bar, known for its “Jucy Lucy” hamburger (and no, that’s not a typo – with all that cheese, there’s no room for an “i” in Matt’s burger!). Opening in 1954 as a neighborhood joint, Matt’s Bar has since grown to be one of biggest must-eat places for out-of-towners and serves as a regular hangout for locals. The “Jucy Lucy” itself has an exciting story; make sure to read more about it on Matt’s website.


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If you decide to take a walk to burn off some of those calories from Matt’s (which are so worth it, in our opinion) then be ready to stroll past some of the cutest houses around. Consisting of mainly traditional and cottage-style homes, you might feel like you’ve been transported to a quaint New England town, rather than being located just minutes from the hustle and bustle of a big city. Adding to the cozy, small-town feel is the fact that you’re likely to run into professional dog walkers, escorting 6 or 7 dogs like it’s no big deal. See this adorable picture for woof-proof!

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If shopping is your preferred form of cardio, then you’re going to love the small shops on Chicago Avenue. While in the neighborhood, we had the chance to talk to some local business owners like Jake Sanders, proprietor of the family business, Shop in the City. He told us about the shop’s humble beginning in 2002, and how it has grown into a community favorite. Jake and the rest of the team currently remain active in the Nokomis community by participating in fundraisers and giving charity donations. Many of the surrounding businesses have similar stories, either being family-owned or having been around for many decades.

Because of its wide array of activities and abundance of single-family homes, Nokomis is a great place to live. For families looking to settle down in a safe community, then this is the right place. Served by elementary schools such as Wenonah, Keewaydin, and Hale, Nokomis provides a great, safe environment for kids to grow up and thrive.


Last, but not least we have Minnehaha Falls, a magnificent 53-foot waterfall, located in Minnehaha Regional Park. The name originates from the Dakota language with “Mini’ meaning water and “haha” meaning waterfall; because of the second half of its name, it is sometimes referred to as the “Laughing Waters.” This park offers a great place to admire one of nature’s most powerful and awe-inspiring forces. During the summer, you’ll often find couples taking wedding pictures under the park’s gazebo. During the winter, it’s just as majestic when the water freezes and turns the falls into a frozen fantasy.

So, dear reader, this is where we end our post. Feel free to contact us with any questions about the neighborhood, or let us know if we missed one of your favorite local hangouts! Make sure to check out the rest of our neighborhood features to find the right match for you.

            Neighborhood Resources

Neighborhood Schools

Faith Communities

Wenonah Elementary School Lake Nokomis Lutheran Church
Keewaydin Elementary School Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church
Hale Elementary School Crosstown Covenant Church
Nokomis Montessori Magnet School Minnehaha United Methodist Church
Nokomis Regional High Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church
Laurel Nokomis School Nokomis Heights Lutheran Church
Island Village Montessori School St. Herman’s Orthodox Church



Lake Hiawatha Park Matt’s Bar
Nokomis Naturescape Gardens Al Vento
Lake Nokomis Fat Lorenzo’s
Lake Nokomis Main Beach Sea Salt
Minnehaha Park Las Teresitas
Bossen Field Park Corner Table
  Hot Plate
  5-8 Club
  First Course
  Colossal Cafe
  Dominguez Restaurant
  Bill’s Garden Chinese Gourmet
Luxury House

Bloomington, MN

Of course you already know that Bloomington, MN is home to the largest indoor shopping center in the country – ahem, Mall of America – but did you know that the city is also a true winter wonderland? With plenty of cold weather activities to keep you entertained through the loooong Minnesota winters, you might even begin wishing that spring would hold off just a little bit longer…then again, maybe not.

Winter Fete is an annual weeklong celebration held at the end of January, which features a bevy of everyone’s favorite frosty activities, including ice skating, sledding, and an International Ski Jumping Competition. Prefer to just wrap yourself in a warm blanket and relax? Then we recommend taking a horse-drawn sleigh ride at the Pond-Dakota Winter History Festival.

Hyland Park Ski & Snowboard

Hyland Park Ski and Snowboard Area is one of Minnesota’s premier winter sports destinations. The park includes both designated snowboarding slopes and Nordic ski jumps, the latter of which are maintained by the Minneapolis Ski Club. The Club has produced several U.S. Olympic ski jumpers and it even hosted the 2013 Junior National competition. The Hyland Lake Park Reserve grounds are also occupied by the Richardson Nature Center, and the Hyland Greens Golf and Learning Center is located just down the street.

Normandale Community College’s Japanese Garden is a beautiful oasis located in the heart of Bloomington, open to the public year-round. Although the garden reaches its peak of loveliness and full blooming glory in the spring and summer, it is still absolutely stunning during the winter. A Twin Cities favorite location for weddings and photo sessions, it’s a can’t-miss snow-covered haven!

Who knew gardens were the place to be during the winter? The Bloomington Ice Garden (known affectionately by locals as BIG) holds three skating/hockey rinks, one of which is Olympic-sized. This fact made it a clear choice to act as one of the hosts for the 2016 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. If you’re a fan of ice skating, this will be a must-see, once in a lifetime opportunity!

Mall of America

Speaking of “big,” Bloomington is probably most well-known for its largest travel destination – the Mall of America. If you’re not a fan of outdoor activities, then this is the place for you. You could spend a day (probably a week, in actuality) exploring all that the world-famous shopping center has to offer. With nearly 5 million square feet to cover, remember to bring your comfortable shoes to check out the hundreds of stores, vendors, and restaurants. If you visit anytime from Black Friday through New Year’s, make sure you take the time to listen to some carols and other festive jingles, during the Holiday Music Festival. It’s the perfect place to get in the holiday spirit and tick off all the items on your holiday shopping list!

Mall of America Sea Life Aquarium Mall of America Nickelodeon Universe

Before the MOA opened in 1992, the land was the site of Metropolitan Stadium, home to all of Minnesota’s major sports teams until the Metrodome and Target Field were built in the 1980s. Twenty-two years later, the Mall of America is now home to a different form of recreation: shopping ’til you drop. If whipping out your credit card in one of the 500+ stores sounds less than ideal, the mall is also home to the SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium, Nickelodeon Universe – at seven acres and with more than thirty rides it’s the country’s largest indoor amusement park – and the nearby Water Park of America, the ninth largest indoor water park in the country.

Civic Center

Still suffering from Black Friday shopping fatigue? (Happy Cyber Monday, by the way!) Skip the Mall and show out-of-town visitors the more cultured side of town by bringing them to the Bloomington Historical Museum, the Bloomington Theater and Art Center, Northwest Airlines History Centre, or The Works museum – a favorite for the kiddos.

Dog Park

Winter is not the only time that Bloomington really shines; there are tons of things to do for warm-weather lovers, throughout the spring and summer. The city offers more than eight thousand acres of parks and open space, including the Pond-Dakota Mission Park and Gideon Pond House. Located on the southeastern edge of the city, the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge caters to nature lovers, offering fishing, hunting, birdwatching and more recreational activities. This upcoming July, the city will host the 10th Annual Bloomington CVB Foundation Golf Tournament, which draws more than 150 yearly participants. Additionally, the Dwan Golf Club is one of the most popular courses in Minnesota and it’s home to the new FootGolf course as well. Also a summertime favorite among locals and visitors alike is the Bloomington Family Aquatic Center, open mid-June through Labor Day. Lastly, across town is Bush Lake Beach, one of the state’s most popular beaches, with more than 100,000 annual visitors.

Light Rail Blue Line

One of the largest suburbs in the Twin Cities metro area, Bloomington is fully accessible from both Minneapolis and St. Paul via large highways and public transportation. Light rail’s Blue Line brings passengers directly to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport and Mall of America stations, so you never even need to set foot outside during the most frigid months of the year.

Because of its proximity to both of the Twin Cities, many companies chose Bloomington to house their headquarters, including Ceridian, Donaldson Company, HealthPartners, Holiday Stationstores, Thermo King, and Toro. The Mall of America itself employees more than 11,000 locals, and 13,000 during the peak of holiday season. Residents of Bloomington also love giving back to their community, with one of the largest volunteer fire departments in the country. The city also holds multiple annual charity events, including the Thanksgiving Walk to End Hunger at the Mall of America and February’s upcoming Charity Wedding Gown Sale & Bridal Expo.

Single Family Home Townhomes

Boasting award-winning schools and lots of local amenities, Bloomington attracts families with small children and adolescents, while also providing enough recreational opportunities for young, active couples. With a variety of single-family homes, small apartment complexes, and gated communities, the city has a median home value of around $200,000 which is higher than Minnesota’s average. Bloomington truly has something to offer everyone!

Neighborhood Resources

Bloomington Schools Faith Communities
ABC International Montessori Academy Bloomington Covenant Church
Beacon Preparatory School Bread of Life Church
Bethany Academy Calvary United Pentecostal Church
Bloomington Lutheran School Cedar Valley Church
Bloomington Public Schools Crosspoint Church
Life Academy Divine Unity Church
Nativity of Mary School Emmaus Free Lutheran Church
Ramalynn Montessori Academy Evergreen Church
Seven Hills Classical Academy Eden Baptist Church
Public Parks Family Fest Ministries
Bloomington Family Aquatic Center Grace Lutheran Church
Bloomington Ice Garden Hillside Church
Bush Lake Beach Jesus is Lord Church
Dwan Golf Club Muslim Community Center
Hyland Greens Golf and Learning Center Normandale Baptist Church
Off-Leash Recreation Area for Dogs Normandale Hylands United Methodist Church
Pond-Dakota Mission Park and Gideon Pond House Oak Grove Presbyterian Church
Smith Park Oxboro Evangelical Free Church
Valley View Skate Park Redemption Lutheran Church
Local Restaurants Southcross Community Church
5210 Restaurant and Onyx Bar St. Bonaventure Church
Blue Point Restaurant Riverside Reformed Church
Bubba Gump St. Edwards Catholic Church
Ciao Bella The Gate Church
Chick-Fil-A Unity South Church
Crave Others
Dick’s Last Resort Hyland Ski & Snowboard Area
Johnny Rockets Ikea
Lucky’s 13 Pub Mall of America
Osaka REI
Parma 8200
Rainforest Cafe
RedRossa Italian Grille

Shakopee, MN

Located just 20 minutes southwest of the Metro area, Shakopee has a small town feel with the convenience of a big city. Founded in 1851 by Thomas A. Holmes, this city was named after a Dakota Chief, Chief Shakopee II, whose band was living in the area along the Minnesota River. Today it is home to over 39,000 and offers a variety of single-family homes as well as a variety of recreational and entertainment opportunities. While the city may be small, Shakopee is a great place to live, work and play.

Downtown Shakopee

While downtown Shakopee may be small, this historic downtown features a number of quaint boutiques and restaurants, an old fashioned bakery, Turtle’s 1890 Social Center and a bi-weekly classic car show in the summer.

ValleyFair Shakopee

In addition, Shakopee is known as a regional entertainment destination and is home to attractions such as Valleyfair Amusement Park and Canterbury Park Racetrack. It also features the Minnesota Renaissance Festival and The Trail of Terror.

Disc Golf in Shakopee

However if you are in search of something more leisurely, you should check out the expansive green spaces at the 18 hole frolf, or Frisbee golf course. Unlike many of the frolf courses in the area this one stands out because it allows patrons to play at no cost.


It would be hard to mention Shakopee without mentioning the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community. This group is behind Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, the Midwest’s largest casino as well as Little Six Casino. Combined, the two employ over 4,200 people making it the largest employer in Scott County. Besides gaming, the tribe is also very active in the community and giving back. For example, the Dakota tribe have a community center that is owned by the tribe but is also open to the residents living in the community. Here patrons can drop off the kiddos at the daycare, break a sweat in the gym or score a strike at the bowling alley.

Dangerfield in Shakopee

Hungry? Well, you will be sure to find a variety of sports bars, ethnic restaurants and tiny cafes here. Our personal favorites include El Toro, which boasts an outstanding salsa selection and Taco Loco, a hidden gem. On the other hand if you are seeking a more unique experience you may want to give Dangerfield’s a try. This upscale restaurant, open 364 days a year overlooks the Mississippi River and has a screened in porch for dining. Additionally, they boast a comedy club and a stellar Sunday brunch.

Shakopee Playground

Next, the schools in Shakopee are known to be both dynamic and diverse. The schools are also concerned and involved about the Shakopee community. For example, the Shakopee High School won the Regional Jefferson Award for outstanding community service and even traveled to Washington DC to receive this award. How awesome is that?!

House in Shakopee

For those looking to become a part of the community, the housing market in Shakopee offers a variety of options. From town homes and newer two-story homes to single family homes, this town suits a wide variety of styles and budgets.

Overall, Shakopee is a city that prides itself on being an affordable city with a wide assortment of fun entertainment options located just outside the Twin Cities. If you are looking for the best of both worlds, Shakopee is the place for you.


Neighborhood Resources

Neighborhood Schools

Faith Communities

Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 Assembly of God
Living Hope Lutheran School Christ Lutheran Church
Shakopee Public Schools District 720 Cross of Peace Lutheran Church
Shakopee Area Catholic School First Presbyterian Church
SouthWest Metro Educational Cooperative Friendship Church
Irshad Islamic Center

Public Parks

Living Hope Lutheran Church
Autumn Hill Park Living Waters Christian Center
Green Meadows Park Meadow Spring Community Church
Hiawatha-Wermerskirchen Park Parish of St. Joachim & Anne
Huber Park Renew Community Church
Lions Park River of Life Community Church
Memorial Park Shepherd of the Lake
Prairie Bend Park Slavic Baptist Church
Saddle Ridge Park St. John’s Church
Tahpah Park & Joe Schleper Stadium The Russian Evangelical Church
Westminster Park ValleyView Baptist Church

Local Restaurants

Arizona’s Bar and Grill
Dangerfield’s Restaurant
Dragon Cafe
El Toro Mexican Restaurant
Mr. Pig Stuff BBQ
Pho 83 Inc
Stonebrooke Bar and Restaurant
Taco Loco
Turtle’s Bar & Grill
Wampach’s Restaurant Incorporated
Zuppa Cucina



Eagan’s roots trace back to 1860 when the town was first settled by Irish immigrants. This agricultural community was comically dubbed “The Onion Capital of the United States” because 90% of the farmers there grew onions. While Eagan no longer carries that title, this Dakota County suburb has blossomed from a rich farming community to a Twin Cities suburb that is home to over 65,000. With over 1350 acres of parks, a wide assortment of housing and Minnesota’s largest outlet mall it is no wonder that this is an attractive place to live.

Thomson Reuters headquarters, Eagan MN.       Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota sign. outside of headquarters.

The city’s growth boomed in the 1950’s when Northwest Airlines and Thomson Reuters established their headquarters there. While Northwest Airlines is no longer there, it still is home to Thomson Reuters and Blue Cross Blue Shield .


Paragon Outlets Twin Cities at Eagan is the ultimate place for shoppers to get deals for a steal. This 400,000 square foot open air mall offers shoppers over 100 premium stores such as Coach, Michael Kors, Saks 5th Avenue, Nike, Swarvoski, Adidas and more!

Cascade Bay Waterpark in Eagan, MN.

Besides shopping, Eagan offers a variety of attractions such as The Blast, a space themed soft-play area for young children, and Cascade Bay, Minnesota’s largest outdoor municipal water park.

Jensen's Food and Cocktails Supper Club

If hunger strikes, the dining options in this area range far and wide. From family-friendly restaurants, Fitz’s Bar and Grill (adjacent to cedarview lanes), and ethnic choices. Or choose from the ample selection of upscale restaurants and supper clubs like Jensen’s Food and Cocktails or Doolittle’s Woodfire Grill.

Lebanon Hills Regional Park

The city has many inviting parks and nature preserves including Lebanon Hills Regional Park. There visitors can grill out with friends or hike along wooded trails (which were voted by City Pages “Best Hike 2013”). On the other hand, maybe finding a quite spot to unwind and enjoy the clear lake and sandy shores at Schulze Beach are more your speed. Outdoor amphitheater at Caponi Art Park.

Art lovers will appreciate the vibrant art scene Eagan has to offer. One major feature is Caponi Art Park, an outdoor sculpture garden that boasts one of the largest outdoor amphitheaters in the area. Throughout the year, visitors can enjoy performances and events in this natural setting.

Patrick Eagan Park sign

Nestled on the edge of the Patrick Eagan Park lies another blending of art and nature: the Eagan Art House. As part of Eagan’s Parks and Recreation, it is a great resource and learning facility for those who have any sort of interest in art. The center offers classes, workshops and special events for those of all ages and ability levels. The golfers at Lost Spurs Golf course in Eagan, MN.

Golfers will appreciate Eagan’s rolling hills as they are perfectly suited for the Lost Spur golf course. This 9 hole golf course presents golfers with an array of challenging shots while allowing them to marvel at the spectacular views the course offers.

Luxury house in Eagan

Construction in a new housing development in Eagan, MN.

Residents of Eagan can also take pride in the fact that Eagan has been featured five times on Money magazine’s Best Places to Live, edging out nearby Woodbury for the #11 spot this year. Townhomes, condos, residential and commercial properties are booming in development and it’s no surprise why. With Minneapolis just a quick 30-minute drive or bus ride away, the option of a trip to the big city is always there, but with a vast selection of retail, dining, it is no wonder that we are enamored with Eagan, and we bet you will be too.

 Neighborhood Resources

Neighborhood Schools

Faith Communities

Faithful Shepard Catholic School Advent United Methodist Church
Independent School District 191 All Saints Lutheran Church
Independent School District 196 Chapel Hill Baptist Church
Independent School District 197 Church of Christ at Eagan
Living Word Academy Living Word Lutheran Church
Trinity Lone Oak Lutheran School Oak Hills Church
Trinity at River Ridge South Oaks Community Church
St. John Neumann Church
St. Thomas Becket Church
Woodcrest Church



Blackhawk Park Andiamo
Cedar Pond Park Ansari’s Mediterranean Grill & Lounge
Central Park Bittersweet Gluten Free Bakery
Evergreen Park Casper’s Cherokee
Highview Park The Mason Jar
Lakeside Park Doolittle’s Woodfire Grill
Lebanon Hills Regional Park El Parian Mexican Restaurant
Moonshine Park Fitz’s Bar and Grill
Ridge Cliff Park Hoban Korean Restaurant
Schwanz Lake Park Jensen’s Supper Club
Slater Acres Park Junior’s Cafe & Grill
Kyoto Sushi and Hibachi
Ze’s Diner