The 10 Best Places to Live in Minnesota in 2024


If you’re planning on moving to Minnesota, add these cities to your list.

Often called the Land of 10,000 lakes (there are actually 14,380 lakes total), Minnesota is a vast, lush state full of prairies, forests, hills, and plenty of water. In fact, 6% of Minnesota is covered by water, more than any other state. 

Situated between Wisconsin and the Dakotas, Minnesota’s glacier-carved landscape provides wonders at every turn, from large rivers and waterfalls to lakeside bluffs. The geography is perfect for a wide variety of outdoor activities year-round. Hiking, cycling, skiing, snowmobiling, and fishing are especially popular among locals. The terrain is also great for agriculture – the state is among the top crop and livestock producers in the country. 

Due to its flat topography, Minnesota’s climate is highly variable, generally seeing warm, humid summers and cold, snowy winters. However, the closer you get to Lake Superior, the milder it generally gets. In the winter, though, Lake Superior can push temperatures down along its coasts. 

But which cities in The North Star State are right for you? In this Redfin article, we’ve uncovered the best places to live in Minnesota, ranking them on qualities such as affordability, navigability, and number of amenities. You can find more information about our methodology here or at the bottom of the article.

Minneapolis Mississippi River

1. Minneapolis, MN

Population:

425,096

Average Commute Time:

23.2 minutes

Per-Capita Income:

$40,368

Median Sale Price: 

$350,000

Median Rent Price: 

$1,444

Unemployment Rate:

3.9%

Minneapolis tops our list as the best place to live in Minnesota. Relatively affordable housing costs, easy access to natural recreation, and ample amenities helped the city earn top marks. People have taken advantage of this, too, with its population enjoying steady growth recently. However, the area’s cold winters and humid summers are important aspects to keep in mind. 

Situated along the Mississippi River, Minneapolis is often called the “Twin Cities” with neighboring Saint Paul. The area was historically home to the Dakota and Ojibwe peoples, and today is known for its natural beauty, industrial history, and culinary delights. 55 museums, dozens of large parks, and multiple colleges dot the landscape.

Minneapolis’ navigability may be its best quality. It’s the most bikeable city in the country, and has a robust public transportation network. Much of the city’s navigability can be attributed to its flat terrain and interconnected parks and trails. There are also 16 miles of protected bikeways and greenways, the most famous of which is along the Great River Road and over the historic Stone Arch Bridge. The iconic Skyway system even allows for walkability during the cold winter months. 

Parks and natural beauty are another huge boon. In fact, the city was designed with parks in mind. Today, this means no matter where you live in Minneapolis, you’re never six blocks from open green space. Most of the Mississippi River is flanked by connected greenways and parks, too. Saint Anthony Falls and Minnehaha Falls are among the most popular spots.

Minneapolis homes for sale | Minneapolis houses for rent | Minneapolis apartments for rent

GettyImages 185264072

2. Saint Paul, MN

Population:

303,176

Average Commute Time:

24.2 minutes

Per-Capita Income:

$32,779

Median Sale Price: 

$282,250

Median Rent Price: 

$1,274

Unemployment Rate:

3.5%

The capital of Minnesota, Saint Paul takes the second spot on our list. The slower-paced twin city is located just east of Minneapolis and has a colonial history dating back to 1858 – further if you count French settlements. This history is reflected in its streets, buildings, and parks, especially Summit Avenue, the Cathedral of Saint Paul, and Rice Park, which is older than Central Park. 

Along with a rich history, St. Paul also boasts a more affordable cost of living than Minneapolis. House prices are 20% lower, while rent prices are 12% lower. And you don’t have to give up access to amenities, downtown hotspots, or quiet, residential neighborhoods either. Como Park and Saint Anthony Park are two popular neighborhoods in northwest St. Paul with easy access to parks, transit, and trails.

Similar to Minneapolis, St. Paul is chock full of pedestrian paths, parks, and riverfront views. In fact, St. Paul has an even longer Mississippi Riverfront than its twin, coming in at 26 miles. Most of that is lined with greenways and parks, with Harriet Island, Crosby Farm, and Lilydale Regional Parks among the highlights. Historic Fort Snelling is just across the river, too.

Commuting into Minneapolis is easy via the Green Line, or by bike along one of dozens of trails. Driving may take a bit during rush hour, though. 

Saint Paul homes for sale | Saint Paul houses for rent | Saint Paul apartments for rent

duluth-mn

3. Duluth, MN

Population:

86,619

Average Commute Time:

16.7 minutes

Per-Capita Income:

$31,945

Median Sale Price: 

$270,000

Median Rent Price: 

$1,144

Unemployment Rate:

3.3%

Among the coldest and snowiest cities in the country, Duluth comes in as the third-best place to live in Minnesota. Known for its industry and natural beauty, there’s a lot to love about the city. A very affordable cost of living, thriving economy, and plethora of amenities helped give Duluth high marks. 

Duluth’s identity has long been intertwined with the region’s abundant natural resources. Logging, farming, and mining have all shaped the area’s landscape and economy, and Duluth’s shipping port on Lake Superior gave it access to both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. This abundance helped the city become among the richest in the world at the turn of the 20th century. Giant lake-bound cargo ships known as Lakers are still a regular sight in the city. Make sure to catch them passing under the Aerial Lift Bridge.

Some other highlights of the city include visiting the Duluth Farmers Market and the city’s historic downtown, grabbing a bite to eat in the Canal Park District, and shopping at Lincoln Park

Duluth has actually been seeing a renaissance lately, as people consider moving to the Great Lakes and Rust Belt regions to escape the worst of climate change. Duluth in particular is often called a climate haven due to clean air and cooling winds from Lake Superior, reducing the risk of wildfires and extreme heat. Minnesota is also generally water-secure and has little possibility of earthquakes. However, while these factors can help protect against factors like drought and infrastructure damage, nowhere is immune from climate risks.

Duluth homes for sale | Duluth houses for rent | Duluth apartments for rent

richfield-mn

4. Richfield, MN

Population:

36,710

Average Commute Time:

23.4 minutes

Per-Capita Income:

$38,202

Median Sale Price: 

$367,000

Median Rent Price: 

$1,208

Unemployment Rate:

3.6%

A suburb of Minneapolis just south of the city. Richfield has strong agricultural roots and grew quickly as Minneapolis expanded post-WWII. As such, many homes in the area were built in the 1950s. Today, Richfield is a quiet haven in the center of a metropolis known for its great location, small-town charm, and local amenities. The city’s cost of living is comparable to Minneapolis but more expensive than places like Saint Paul and Crystal. 

Richfield is conveniently located next to the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport and the Mall of America®, but there’s plenty more to see as well. For example, Southdale Center and Southtown are popular hotspots full of restaurants and shopping, while the Richfield Ice Arena is great for hockey practice. Tous Les Jours and Andale Taqueria are two great restaurants in the area. And if you’re on the job hunt, Best Buy’s global headquarters are in the center of town. 

Importantly, plane noises are pretty constant during the day throughout the city. Insulating your home and adding soundproofing may help reduce the annoyance. 

Unsurprisingly, parks are abundant, too. Some of the most beloved spots in the area include Fort Snelling State Park, Mound Springs Park, and Wood Lake, although there are many more. And you’re not far from the renowned Chain of Lakes Regional Park and its 16 miles of pedestrian and bike trails. As with all Twin Cities suburbs, cycling is a breeze both into downtown and all throughout the region. 

Richfield homes for sale | Richfield houses for rent | Richfield apartments for rent

moorhead-mn

5. Moorhead, MN

Population:

44,816

Average Commute Time:

17.6 minutes

Per-Capita Income:

$29,218

Median Sale Price: 

$245,500

Median Rent Price: 

$1,272

Unemployment Rate:

2.7%

Located on the border of North Dakota in northwest Minnesota, Moorhead comes in at number five on our list. A town rooted in agriculture, Moorhead is known for its small-town feel, suburban homes, and quiet residential streets. Moorhead can be great for those seeking an affordable place to live next to a larger city – it’s within the Fargo, ND metropolitan area. Minnesota State University also has a campus in the city, providing a youthful, college-town vibe. 

Amenities in Moorhead are fairly limited, but there are still plenty of spots to get together with friends. For example, numerous parks and greenways are situated along the winding river, including Gooseberry Mound Park, Lindenwood Park, and the many River Corridor trails. The Moorhead Antique Mall and the Easten Shopping Center are other local hot spots. And just across the river in Fargo are plenty of bars and restaurants, like Bismarck Tavern, Rick’s Bar, and Sidestreet Grille & Pub.

Importantly, Moorhead is situated along the Red River in the ancient Red River Valley, which is the flattest, driest region in Minnesota. As such, it’s also more prone to wildfires and flooding. It’s hard to beat the wide open prairie views and lush riverbanks, though. 

Due to the region’s flat terrain, weather conditions can change rapidly. Thunderstorms are common in the summer, while snow storms can occur in the winter. Freezing air from Canada can also make winters exceptionally cold. If you’re planning on moving to the area, be prepared for all four seasons, and get your snow tires ready. 

Moorhead homes for sale | Moorhead houses for rent | Moorhead apartments for rent

roseville-mn

6. Roseville, MN

Population:

35,627

Average Commute Time:

21.4 minutes

Per-Capita Income:

$42,440

Median Sale Price: 

$340,000

Median Rent Price: 

$1,198

Unemployment Rate:

2.6%

Just north of the Twin Cities, Roseville is a historic city full of greenery and community spirit. Similar to most other Twin Cities suburbs, Roseville grew quickly following WWII and today is known for its convenience, navigability, and large parks. Living in Roseville means you’re close to everything, but far enough away to enjoy your quiet neighborhood. Rosedale Center is the heart of the town and has everything you need.

However, options for nightlife, visiting locally-owned shops, or hanging with a friend at a coffee shop or bar are limited; most stores and restaurants are chains. There are still highlights, though. Source Comics & Games and Gamezenter provide fun tabletop gaming events for people of all ages, while Hoggsbreath and Lisbeth’s Cafe & Restaurant serve hearty and international cuisine. Most people still head into Minneapolis or St. Paul for a fun day out, though. 

With nearly 700 acres of parks and 37.6 miles of cycling and running trails, it’s fun to get around without a car in Roseville. However, public transportation into the Twin Cities is limited, and most residents own cars. Some of the most popular parks in the city include Central Park, the Harriet Alexander Nature Center, and Reservoir Woods Park. The Muriel Sahlin Arboretum across the street from the nature center is a great place to relax, too. 

Roseville homes for sale | Roseville houses for rent | Roseville apartments for rent 

saint-cloud-mn

7. Saint Cloud, MN

Population:

69,568

Average Commute Time:

19.1 minutes

Per-Capita Income:

$27,148

Median Sale Price: 

$238,000

Median Rent Price: 

$1,018

Unemployment Rate:

5.2%

The hub of central Minnesota, Saint Cloud is a small college town known for its granite quarries, historic downtown, and verdant parks. Natural beauty is one of the major selling points in the city. St. Cloud sits on the Mississippi and is surrounded by flat open plains, groves of trees, and wooded streams. Amazing affordability and a growing economy are other major pluses. St. Cloud University calls the city home as well.

For a small college city, there’s plenty to do in town. The many blocks that make up Downtown St. Cloud contain more than 45 restaurants, including the Olde Brick House and Jules’ Bistro, along with more than 60 shops, like Fitzharris and Books Revisited. And in the century-old Jones & Long Facades building, Granite City Comics and Games makes for a fun night out. Amenities may be limited compared to a larger city, but you’re just over an hour from the Twin Cities. 

Parks and green spaces are everywhere, too. The most famous ones are Munsinger Gardens and Heritage Park, which are great for picnics and leisurely strolls. However, winters can be quite cold, making it difficult to experience the outdoors for a few months a year. Luckily, the city takes advantage of these colder months by turning some public spades into ice skating rinks. Lake George is the most well known, but ten other parks do the same. Some even offer free ice skates.

Saint Cloud homes for sale | Saint Cloud houses for rent | Saint Cloud apartments for rent

saint-louis-park-mn

8. Saint Louis Park, MN

Population:

48,827

Average Commute Time:

21.7 minutes

Per-Capita Income:

$52,782

Median Sale Price: 

$345,000

Median Rent Price: 

$1,615

Unemployment Rate:

1.8%

Just west of Minneapolis, Saint Louis Park is the eighth city on our list of the best places to live in Minnesota. St. Louis Park is full of personality, public art, and quiet residential streets. It also manages to be more affordable than surrounding suburbs without sacrificing convenience or amenities. Highway 100 runs right through town to nearby suburbs, and Interstate 394 to the north goes straight to downtown Minneapolis. Wide trails and large open spaces crisscross the city, too, making for easy navigating

Remarkably, 11.5% of St. Louis Park is devoted to parks and trails, with 52 total parks in just the city proper. The Westwood Hills Nature Center and Meadowbrook Park are the largest parks, while Bass Lake has a short trail meandering through prairies and savannah. And longer trails like the Cedar Lake Regional Trail allow you to bike to nearby Hopkins or Downtown Minneapolis without too much trouble. Many events are held at city parks, too. 

St. Louis Park doesn’t have a proper downtown, but The Shops at West End have nearly everything you’ll need. Costco, Home Depot, business offices, and more are all there. Local restaurants in town include Brito’s Burritos and Ariana Kabob & Gyro

St. Louis Park homes for sale | St. Louis Park houses for rent | St. Louis Park apartments for rent

golden-valley-mn

9. Golden Valley, MN

Population:

21,545

Average Commute Time:

23 minutes

Per-Capita Income:

$56,309

Median Sale Price: 

$542,500

Median Rent Price: 

$1,899

Unemployment Rate:

1.5%

An upscale suburb just north of St. Louis Park, Golden Valley is ninth on our list. Huge parks, open streets, and pleasant, green forests adorn the city’s layout. Remarkable convenience is a selling point as well, with easy access to downtown Minneapolis and everything else you need. However, the cost of living is higher than most surrounding cities, which is why it’s lower on the list. 

Lat14 Asian Eatery and Nong’s Thai are beloved restaurants in the area, with many more a short drive away. Most restaurants are located in strip malls, but don’t let that take away from their delicious menus. 

Parks make up more than 15% of the city’s footprint, totaling over 1,000 acres for you to explore. Theodore Wirth Park, the Brookview Park and Community Center, and General Mills Nature Preserve are great places to explore. Of course, there are also dozens of lakes to marvel at anywhere you turn.

Like most other cities in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, long walking and biking trails are abundant. The Luce Line Trail is 63 miles long and stretches from Cosmos, MN through Golden Valley along a former railroad track. The Great Northern Greenway and Crystal Lake Regional Trail are other great (shorter) trails. Many paths allow horses, too. You can even ride a snowmobile on portions of trail further outside the metropolitan area.

Golden Valley homes for sale | Golden Valley houses for rent | Golden Valley apartments for rent

crystal-mn

10. Crystal, MN

Population:

22,265

Average Commute Time:

23.7 minutes

Per-Capita Income:

$35,461

Median Sale Price: 

$331,000

Median Rent Price: 

$1,262

Unemployment Rate:

2.8%

Crystal, MN, located just north of Golden Valley, rounds out our list of the best places to live in Minnesota. Adjacent to New Home and Robbinsdale, Crystal is known for its quiet suburban streets, convenient shops, and fairly affordable homes. Plenty of recreational amenities, like the Crystal Cove Aquatic Center and Crystal Community Center (CCC), also dot the gridded streets. The city doesn’t have a main throughway, but the redeveloped Crystal Shopping Center functions as the center of town. 

Commuting into the Twin Cities will likely take a while, unfortunately, as public transportation is limited and only one highway services the area. You will also likely need a car to get around town. 

On the plus side, parks are everywhere in Crystal, similar to most other cities in the region. Bassett Creek Park and Crystal Mac Wildlife Area are great spots to hang with friends. Further out, Eagle Lake, Clifton E. French, and Fish Lake Regional Parks are perfect for all your outdoor recreation needs, with options for fishing, boating, and much more. Elm Creek Park Preserve and literally hundreds more parks are within an hour of the city, too. Simply put, you’ll never run out of outdoor opportunities.

Restaurant selections are a bit limited in the area, and most are chains. However, Milton’s and Big Louie’s Bar and Grill are locally-owned hotspots with good, hearty food. 

Crystal homes for sale | Crystal houses for rent | Crystal apartments for rent

Methodology

Redfin’s Best Places to Live rankings are meant to help home searchers make an informed decision when choosing where to live. To attempt to measure the overall quality of a metro area, each ranking takes into account several key factors, including access to healthcare, open outdoor space, navigability, housing trends, employment statistics, income, and travel time to work. Only metros with a population of 20,000 or greater were considered for our Minnesota list. More information about our methodology can be found here.

Data valid May 2024. This article is for informational and educational purposes only.



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