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Suburbs of the TC :)

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

We're looking to move to Minneapolis/St. Paul next spring and rent for a while and then look for a house. I've been surfing around realtor.com and cottage grove looks really nice. I was wondering if any of you lovely ladies would know anything about the area? What might be fun for 2 rambunctious boys (3 & 6 at moving time)? Any other areas around the TC that might be good? My dh really likes varied terrain

post #2 of 8
what sort of environment do you want to be in? suburban or city or some mix thereof? cottage grove is VERY suburban. nothing wrong with that, but it is what it is. and a lot of use here on this board tend to be a bit more "crunchy" and i find that the farther you get out of the city, the harder it is to find like-minded people and activities.

i don't know a ton about it other than that. my aunt and her family have lived there for probably 20 years and they love it. they did a christian school, though, so i don't know anything about the public schools, but i would assume they're pretty good.

location-wise, where will your DH work? what will his commute look like? coming from that area into the city is the worst commute around by any means, but it can be a bit of a hike getting in.
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for responding We're not really sure what type of environment quite yet. The plans for moving are about a year out and I'm starting to look around to see where we might like to set up shop. My dh's in web dev so it's a pretty portable field, one reason we picked Minneapolis is that there's work there for him at a brick and mortar place if he can't find something telecommuting, which he does about half the time now.

We are looking for a house that would be in a mildly hilly area, I've seen enough not to expect a lot of variation but some hills would be quite nice (we're from NE and live in CFL so somewhere in between) My dh has to have cable internet access for his work and he would like climbable trees in the backyard where I'd like a little room to garden.

We've been looking at the SW area (apple valley, farmington) as that's closer to the zoo and some other things for the boys but we are planning on moving up there for the long haul so have broadened our search out from there a bit. Also cottage grove seemed to have a few more houses that were a little less expensive.

Where around the TC are the crunchier areas? Where are some of you located if you don't mind my curiousity? We are looking to come up to take a look around sometime in October and would love to meet up at a park or something

post #4 of 8
I'll just describe what I know best....

We live in south Minneapolis, right on the border with Richfield. If you're looking at a map, it's the neighborhood between Diamond Lake and Lake Nokomis. I'd call this a solidly middle-class neighborhood, with a whole range of housing options from apts. to double bungalows to small houses to huge ones (the ones lining the lakes and Minnehaha Creek). The majority of housing in the 'hood is like ours: 1-1/2 story brick, stucco, or wood-frame, 1940s vintage. Smallish yard, but big enough for a garden, playset, small deck, and a few trees. I'd call it mildly hilly. Our neighborhood is bounded by two lakes, one creek, and one swamp, so the terrain feels rolling to me.

Though our neighborhood looks very mainstream, I think it's pretty darn crunchy. I'm not the only homebirther on my block, for instance. I can get almost anything I need within a 1-mile walk. Speaking of walking, one thing we *love* about the city is the sidewalks on every side of every street. (Most suburban neighborhoods are sidewalk-less.) Even little kids can run around, ride their bikes back and forth between neighbors' houses, and so on without worrying about cars.

There are crunchier neighborhoods, like Uptown, but on the whole I think pretty much all of Minneapolis and St. Paul proper are crunchy. Organic foods and other alternative/healthy/AP/NFL items are available in many, many places in both cities. Both are very green: tons of parks and lakes and rivers and general breathing room.

Wherever you land in the metro area, there will be fun things for your kids to do. Even though the outer suburbs and exurbs are less crunchy, they are still very family-friendly.
post #5 of 8
I live in Apple Valley, we have a great co-op near by and farmers markets in summer. The neighborhood isn't very crunchy but has a great LLL group. I miss the huge diversity of living in Mpls but get there all the time (yeah Parenting Oasis). The reason we chose Apple Valley was the school system. Now that they are both school age I love that the schools are wonderful, I love the quiet neighborhoods, the parks and ponds.
post #6 of 8
The suburbs to the north and the west are flatter, but the cities themselves certainly aren't. I think you are seeing pics of the plains or something, which aren't really here. Once you get out to like Maple Grove, it starts to get pretty darn flat.
We lived in the Blaine/Spring Lake Park/Coon Rapids area and I did not like it. At all. It was traffic, strip malls, and no sidewalks as others mentioned. It was also a drive to get to a co-op or good farmers' market and the wonderful API playgroups. If I had to live out there again, I would at least pick Anoka which has a small co-op, nice library, parks, and a sweet downtown area.
We moved to St Paul's west side neighborhood and love it. We wanted: cultural diversity, closer to co-op, farmers' markets, museums, swimming, playgroups, libraries, parks, close to freeway access since dh has to commute, and overall more of a community feel. We are not too concerned about schools since we will be homeschooling. The west side is mainly atop sandstone bluffs with views of downtown St Paul in the river valley. I find traffic and the roadways to be very tolerable here since I'm from metro Detroit, renowned for some of the worst traffic in the country.
The other neighborhood I LOVE is NE Minneapolis. It is very hilly and has some cute parks tucked in it. The co-op is nice and I love all the artsy fartsy stuff, it reminds me of Ann Arbor. Great ethnic cuisine. I often saw cloth diapers hanging out on the line when I was out and about last summer.
Here's a great list of things to do in the TC:
post #7 of 8
i think you could like the farmington area. it is hillier there. and it's not really a suburb anymore, but more a rural area. a different kind of "crunchy."

Originally Posted by fljen View Post
Where around the TC are the crunchier areas? Where are some of you located if you don't mind my curiousity? We are looking to come up to take a look around sometime in October and would love to meet up at a park or something

i wouldn't classify any of the burbs as crunchy. for st. paul, i would say highland park near the colleges is crunchy, but that's it. for minneapolis, linden hills is definitely crunchiest, but it's expensive to buy there. there are lots of areas in south minneapolis that are more crunchy, have people with children, local businesses, they feel like neighborhoods, etc. the areas vary a lot, but generally, i'd say south minneapolis would be in between lake street (north border) down to highway 62 (south border) and from france ave (west border) to highway 55 (east border). most areas in there you'll feel safe and have a good neighborhood, and it's just price and location that would determine where you end up.

northeast is nice as well, and has some coops. there's more young people, people who don't want to pay for or don't want the somewhat more (relatively) upscale vibe of south mpls. i'd call northeast more "local" "young" "alternative" and not so much "crunchy" or "hip." uptown would be "hip."
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
thank you all for the recommendations! We're not looking for really, high crunch areas as we're kinda soggy ;-) Someplace where they won't look at us like we have three heads if we homeschool and drink raw milk, y/k? We'll definitely check out Farmington as hills would be very nice.

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