Lake Minnetonka and downtown Wayzata. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons/Wikipedia
Lake Minnetonka & downtown Wayzata. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons/Wikipedia

The suburbs of Minneapolis/St Paul are a great place to raise a family. Quality public schools, a plethora of charter and magnet schools to choose from and parks with playgrounds in pretty much every neighborhood.  But the suburbs aren’t restricted to just families with small children. In the Twin Cities suburbs many young professionals are buying their first home to begin to build equity.

Several major employers are based in the ‘burbs such as Cargill, the international agricultural commodities giant whose headquarters are in Wayzata, Minnesota. Or Toro, manufacturer of the red lawn mower, which is headquartered in Bloomington. Then there’s the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL who were headquartered in Eden Prairie and are moving to Eagan to take over the space once used by Northwest Airlines as its world headquarters before that company was acquired by Delta Airlines. These are just are a handful of the giants based in the suburbs of Saint Paul and Minneapolis and some of the companies that draw talented young professionals to the Cities.

They’re also the reason entertainment businesses thrive throughout the suburbs. We use the word “entertainment” broadly to encompass the breadth of fun things there are to do from outdoor recreation to nightlife. Just 35 miles southwest of downtown Minneapolis sits Waconia; home to four independent vineyards, a couple of craft breweries and even a gin/vodka distillery, all of which are open to the public and offer tasting rooms.

Waconia is also home to one of the most popular lakes; Lake Waconia. Even closer to Minneapolis and a little further north is Lake Minnetonka where residents and day guests alike enjoy boating, fishing, stand up paddle boarding and lake side dining or drinks at sunset.

If land is more your thing than water, get yourself a bike and hit the trails. Some of the state’s most traveled 4,000 miles of bike trails circle around Minneapolis and St. Paul. Elm Creek Park Reserve, Maple Grove has a 13 mile trail while Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Eagan (south of St. Paul) is an 11 mile mountain biking single-track. Or if golf is your thing, you’ll be in heaven in the Twin Cities. There are 584 golf courses in Minnesota and eight of the top 10 cities with the most courses are in the Twin Cities metro.

During the winter months Elk Creek Park Reserve becomes a cross-country skier’s haven. As does Hyland Lake Park Reserve in Bloomington, Baker Park Reserve in Maple Plain and Afton State Park in Hastings. If you prefer to remain indoors yet active in the winter the nod goes to rock wall climbing at Vertical Endeavors in Bloomington. They offer numerous top rope climbs, Auto Belays, three bouldering areas, hand-carved cracks and sport lead climbing.

You may be surprised to learn that the place to be right now sits in an obscure strip mall in Eagan. The Volstead House Whiskey Bar and Speakeasy. In 1920’s prohibition style, there is no signage for this trendy bar. You have to know where it is. Here’s a hint: find Burgers And Bottles on Lone Oak. You can enter Volstead’s through the red door in the back.