Savage MN – a bit of a secret on the south side…

Check out my video if you want an “in-person” look…

The city of Savage wasn’t named for anything terrifying – it’s actually named after Marion Willis Savage. Marion Savage owned the champion race horse  “Dan Patch” in the early 1900’s and if you live in or move to MN you will likely hear that name from time to time.  If you know the origins you’ll be ahead of nearly 90% of the people that live there! You’re welcome!

There is a street on the State Fair grounds named after the horse and Prior Lake HS (which serves kids from Savage) named their football stadium after the horse as well. 


Savage is what I would consider a bedroom community (if you haven’t heard that term before it simply means a place that people live but don’t work there).

I stopped into the library to check it out and while I was in there I spoke with the librarian to see if I was missing something – a central downtown that I had somehow overlooked?? The librarian agreed with me that Savage is really a community that just grew up in the farm fields as the area near Minneapolis developed rather than growing up around a central downtown.

“City center”

Location and commute times.

So Savage is by definition, NOT a walkable community, cars will be a major part of your life in Savage. 

Instead of a downtown area, there is one central point that I would consider the “civic center” of Savage. You’ll find the Savage library (which is large, modern and pretty – it seems like an enjoyable place to spend some time), the town hall, the post office,& the police and fire stations all in this one area.

A bonus that I noticed when looking at their web site, the city offers free notary services to residents. That could be your tipping point when weighing your options! 


Before I ventured out to Savage I looked at the homes listed in the MLS to get a sense of the range and what types were available for sale right now – there are some really beautiful townhomes that are in the low to mid $200’s, and prices go up to the mid $700’s for homes. The most expensive listing right now in Savage is for the remnants of a farm and will likely be sold for land development at close to $1M. 

Single family home prices in Savage Sept 2021
Median price for townhomes in Savage September 2021
I added this because I think there is good value in moderately sized homes.


Shopping in Savage is limited to a few smaller shopping centers as compared to nearby Burnsville which has an abundance of stores, shopping centers, chain restaurants and a mall.  If you live in Savage you’re likely to get your groceries at the Super Target, the HyVee or Cub Foods. If you like Costco like I like Costco, rest assured that there is one Savage adjacent in Burnsville. 

Savage is mainly residential but there is a LOT of shopping in Burnsville!


Savage is served by 3 different school districts, so again, this is a case where if you have a preference for a particular school district you should verify the school boundaries and that your home lies within the district that you want to have.  The three districts that serve Savage are:

  • Prior Lake – Savage district 719
  • Burnsville-Eagan-Savage district 191
  • Shakopee District 720. 

There are 6 elementary schools, 2 middle schools, and 1 high school serving Savage.  In addition, Savage has a Spanish immersion school, an alternative school, and 2 early learner schools. 


black and brown miniature schnauzer lying on green grass field
Photo by Sebastian Coman Travel on Pexels.com

Savage does have a few parks, and I think that there are often play lots for kids in the subdivisions, but they may lean heavily on the regional park that borders the south side of the city – Murphy-Hanrehan Park.

It’s a very large park and it made me think a bit of my other favorite regional Park – Lebanon Hills in Eagan. The Park offers a LOT of activities – Boating, Camping, Single Track Mountain Biking, Fishing, Hiking, Snowshoeing, Snow Mobiling, x-ctry Ski Trails, and 2 off leash dog parks – you can buy a day or an annual pass for the dog parks.  One of the dog parks at Cleary Lake allows the pups to go for a swim. Savage does have one other dog park (I believe this one is part of the Savage Park district rather than the regional park, but it is Free. 

Unlike other suburbs, Savage doesn’t have an aquatic center or anything like that, but they have a partnership with LifeTime Fitness for use of their indoor and outdoor pools. 

Property Taxes

For this one I will defer to the Scott County MN web site because property taxes in Savage vary by which school district the home is in and the value of the home. So you can get an estimated rate quite easily on their site if you are curious as to how they vary. 

Fences, Chickens and BEES

And to answer my always asked questions: YES you CAN have a fence! The city regulates the type, workmanship and height depending on where it will be on your property, so you’ll have to check that out.  Also – YES – you can have YARD BIRDS.  Chickens and BEEKEEPING are allowed. 

Savage is a great place to consider if you want a quieter lifestyle & don’t particularly care if the city provides a bunch of amenities which you may be able to easily access in nearby communities.  If you want a relatively easy commute to either Minneapolis or St. Paul, or need to be able to get to the airport without a lot of hassle, this is a good option. Home prices in Savage are more affordable in pockets than they are in other parts of the metro and may be a good place to look if you are a first time buyer or if you just don’t have thee budget to live in other more expensive areas of the city. 

Neighborhood Tours · Uncategorized

Woodbury – One of Money.com’s “Best Places to Live” 2020

How will you decide where to live if you want to live in a suburb of Minneapolis/St. Paul? When we moved here a friend who grew up here said that most people choose which side of “the river” to live on based on which side they work on. “The river” is the Mississippi which is the dividing line for much of the way through Minneapolis and St. Paul. I suppose that rule holds true for the suburbs as well, although with the fact that so many more people are working from home now, options may be more open.

If you’re partial to St. Paul, or need to be in Wisconsin for any reason, but still want to be in the twin cities ‘burbs, then you might consider Woodbury.

Money.com thinks Woodbury is one of the best places to live in 2020… here are a few reasons why (with creative license to add my own reasons too!):

Schools. Woodbury’s schools are consistently ranked on top 10 lists for best schools in MN. The schools are part of South Washington County School District and public schools consist of six elementary schools, two junior high and two senior high schools. Woodbury also has two charter schools and two parochial schools if you are looking for other options.

Employment / unemployment. Even now when the entire country is experiencing high unemployment rates, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Minnesota’s unemployment rate (7.4%) is lower than the national average (8.4%), which is typical for Minnesota, and Woodbury’s unemployment rate (6.2%) is even lower than that.

Where do people work? Big employers in or near Woodbury are 3M (the post-it note people among other things), the Target distribution center, HealthPartners Insurance, and Self-Esteem Brands – aka Anytime Fitness/ BaseCamp etc. Of course just about everything in the Twin Cities is no more than about a 30 minute drive, so if the commute isn’t a big thing, living here and working on the other side of the city would not be uncommon.

Shopping. Woodbury has everything you could want in the way of shopping! I did a video on grocery stores a couple of weeks ago and Woodbury has pretty much every one of them – Costco (brand new!), Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Cub, Lund’s, Kowalski’s. They have 3 main shopping areas – Tamarack Village is enormous and has several large anchor stores like Home Depot, Old Navy, JoAnn’s etc. Woodbury Village is a little smaller with Kohls, Target, Total Wine and many smaller shops. The last shopping center, Woodbury Lakes, is the most charming – it’s set up to give you the feel of a walkable shopping area rather than a particular store that you would park directly in front of, they even have a “walking club” that meets there once a week.

Even though they have these shopping areas Woodbury isn’t what I would consider a walkable city. You definitely need a car to get around.

The most exciting thing about Woodbury (to me!!) is that they are the home to one of a very few locations of the amazing Chicago restaurant – Portillos. 🙂 You may know that Chicago is famous for their hotdogs and all the “weird” stuff they put on them – mustard, NEVER EVER ketchup!!, hot peppers, a tomato, pickle, celery salt. YUM. Portillo’s says they are about hotdogs, but what they are REALLY about is the Italian Beef sandwich, chocolate cake, and milk shakes. You can trust me when I tell you to give these a try. I like my Italian beef with some “sauce”, hot & sweet peppers. It’s super messy and delicious. Having Portillo’s here in the Twin Cities makes me ever so slightly less homesick for Chicago. Do not eat here if calories give you fits.

Parks. Within Woodbury itself are 3000 acres of park land and 140 miles of trails! Carver Lake Park has a public beach for summer fun and if you want to get in touch with nature a little more, head to Tamarack Nature Preserve. We all know winter can be tough if you’re trapped inside especially with little kids, but Woodbury has created what they call “Central Park” which is an INDOOR park and playground to give the kids a place to run off their energy, and parents a place to stay warm while they do it. Another benefit of Central Park is that the park connects to the Washington County Library and the YMCA – so you could make an entire afternoon of it and still be indoors.

Even if you don’t live in Woodbury there may be a good chance that you’ll use their premiere sports complex called HealthEast Sports Center – it is a MASSIVE sports complex with indoor and outdoor sports fields and if you are going there to watch games in the summer and have little kids to keep entertained, they have a splash pad right on site.


Woodbury has a wide variety of housing, from townhouses to “quad homes” which are pretty interesting, a lot of typical subdivisions and several areas with custom homes. In addition to these rather typical suburban home choices, Woodbury is not completely built out yet and there are open farm fields in between the neighborhoods as well as some homes that sit on very large private lots, with no HOA. Not everyone loves a planned community and you can live in Woodbury without that if you like.

Home prices in Woodbury range from about $200K for a townhouse, all the way up to just under $1M for a custom built home. The median home price in Woodbury today is $430K.


Cobblestone Lake Apple Valley

When you think of the suburbs what adjectives come to mind? Generic? Homogenous? Cookie cutter? Boring?!?! I admit that sometimes I think the same thing.

it’s NOT like this….

I like having access to parks, bike trails, restaurants etc either right outside my door or very close, I like sidewalks, and old trees, established neighborhoods and the character of older homes appeals to me. Those things don’t really make me think of suburbia. But in this case, maybe they should…. because Cobblestone Lake is something special.

Take a look around.


I’ve seen a lot of NICE neighborhoods in suburban Minneapolis, but this one really stood out! It’s a planned community and it has all types of housing. There are senior apartments, townhouses, small single level homes, and large custom homes. Most are very distinct from each other and that really appeals to me. Modern amenities on the inside with the attention to detail and character of old homes on the exterior.


The lake has a charming gazebo and a fishing pier and there are canoe/kayak storage bays if you like to paddle often and don’t want to have to load up your boat every time you want to go. I can imagine some pretty idyllic paddles in the early morning or evening on the lake.

The neighborhood surrounds Cobblestone Lake and the lake is a major feature for the whole neighborhood. It has a bike path as well as a walking path around the lake. A resident I spoke with said that the path around the lake is about a mile and a half long. The bike trail also dips under busy 160th street and into the neighborhood across the way where you can continue riding / blading / walking around a pretty extensive trail system surrounding East Lake.

They also have a community pool! I don’t see a LOT of this here, and it would definitely be a selling point for me and anyone that likes to make the most our summers here.

Housing prices

Sale prices in the past year range from $247,000 for a 1664 sf townhouse with 2 beds and 2 baths and 2 car garage to $660,000 a year ago for a 3300 SF 3 bed 3 bath home, that had a lot of custom touches. In addition to the variety of single family homes, if you have a senior member of your family and want to have them live nearby while still maintaining their independence, or even if they need assisted living or memory care, there is a senior building on the edge of the development that would make it easy to keep a close eye and yet have everyone maintain their independent spaces.

Not a lot comes on the market in this neighborhood, so if you want to live there, have your agent put you on an MLS alert for the minute a listing comes up and be ready to pounce.

Convenient to shopping

Most of the homes in Cobblestone Lake are a very easy walk / bike/ or drive to shops. Target is just outside the neighborhood, along with several smaller restaurants, coffee shops (all three of the big ones in the Twin Cities – Caribou, Dunn Brothers and Starbucks… pick your fancy!), exercise studios and larger venues like Crooked Pint. The newest grocery store to come to the Twin Cities, HyVee, has a large store just outside the neighborhood as well.

Easy commuting

If you need to commute to downtown, the Mall of America or the MSP airport the MVTA Red Line commuter bus runs straight down 77 / Cedar into Apple Valley and there is a large “ramp”, or parking garage if you’re not a native Minnesotan, next to the station where you can leave your car.

Community Feel

I visited the neighborhood on a weekday morning, and neighbors were out walking and talking to each other, riding bikes, and enjoying the neighborhood. Sometimes subdivisions can feel like places where neighbors drive into their garages and that’s the last that you see of them – that was definitely not the impression I got while I was there – it looks like a place that will give you a sense of community and where it would be easy to make friends.


Apple Valley

Calm down, professor! I’m about to tell you!

A lot of these blog posts are actually motivated by me trying to answer the question “why?” about a particular suburb or area of town. I live in Minneapolis and while I spend time in the suburbs looking at homes for clients or visiting a venue or store, I try to take a bit of a closer look when I do these so I can really understand the character of the different communities around the metro areas.

It’s a Bedroom community – Apple Valley is residential with the exception of the shopping centers serving it along 150th & Cedar & parts of Galaxie. If you want to live near your company’s HQ, this is probably not the place. There isn’t really any nightlife or a a wide selection of non-family style entertainment options. But that’s great if what you are looking for is a quiet community that serves your everyday needs and you don’t mind taking a short drive when the urge strikes to do something else.

It’s only about 25 minutes into Minneapolis and less than 20 to the airport.

How do residents keep themselves occupied?

The Minnesota Zoo is located in Apple Valley. The zoo is great because they actually do more than educate & entertain children, the zoo holds a concert series that has some pretty big headliners and attracts people out of the city down to Apple Valley for some fun as well.

Apple Valley has easy access to Lebanon Hills Regional Park which is the largest park in the Dakota County system. They have really well marked trails that are various distances to get out and get a hike. We’ve been there and had a great time spotting different animals and types of caterpillars. If you’re an equestrian and want a place to ride – there are a lot of trails for you here as well!

The park also has a campground if you want to get a taste of roughing it without driving very far and a beach at Schulze lake.

Galaxie Library is really a gem – big and beautiful and looks to have been newly renovated.

Apple Valley goes for that small time community vibe by having celebrations a couple of times a year to bring everyone together – Freedom Days in summer with the pre-requisite parade and fireworks, but the one that sounds more interesting (and needed) happens in February when everyone in Minnesota has about had it with being cold or in the house – they have what they call “Midwinter Fest”. It’s sad that February is MID-Winter, but who am I to argue? Midwinter Fest has horse drawn wagons, ice skating and ice hockey, bonfires and smores, and indoor activities like pickleball and volleyball tournaments.

About 52,000 people call Apple Valley “home”, and 79% of them are home owners. The median income in Apple Valley is $87,164, and the median single family home price is above the twin cities median at $331,000. However, I thought it was really noteworthy how many townhouses, twinhouses, and condos were in Apple Valley – really great housing diversity. Condos have a median price of $122,000 and Townhomes are at $218,500. Another thing that struck me was that there were a lot of homes that looked to be single-level living and that isn’t the easiest thing to find in the Twin Cities area, so if that is a requirement for a comfortable lifestyle for you, you may want to consider Apple Valley.

And last, but not least, if you have kids and you’re evaluating schools, Apple Valley is ranked an A+ on niche.com. The high schools are really large, but there is a lot of diversity in educational choices for elementary – they have 4 schools that really stood out for specialized programs. They have a School of Environmental Studies, Cedar Park Elementary STEM School, Diamond Path Elementary School of International Studies and Echo Park School of Leadership, Engineering and Technology.

This week I spent some time in Apple Valley and found a couple of neighborhoods that need to be highlighted! Stay tuned for those.

Neighborhood Tours

Neighborhood tour – Eagan MN

Go for a walk – in Eagan!

I’ve been talking to several people interested in the suburbs of Minneapolis so this week I decided to poke around Eagan MN. I live in Minneapolis, so of course I’ve been to Eagan before, but what is fun about these tours is that it makes me dig a little deeper and look a little closer at the details of a community and really think about living there and what would be a plus or a minus.

Deciding on suburbs of Minneapolis?

Housing in Eagan

Eagan has very diverse housing options. Lots of apartments (rents around $1800/mo), condos, townhouses/twin homes, typical suburban homes from the late ’80’s and through the ’90’s, and even a couple of incredible mansions.

On the low end of the price points in Eagan are condos that run about $100k for 2 bedrooms. They are midrise, shared laundry, well maintained and a great option if you live alone, don’t want maintenance, want an apartment near the city as a second home etc.

Townhouses similar to those in the video are in the high $200 – mid $300K range, and some of the larger and newer town homes in Eagan are $450-500K.

Single family homes run the gamut from 1970’s ramblers to an outright castle, but homes in the subdivisions of Eagan tend to be set on .3 – about 1 acre lots and are larger, lots of them with 3 car garages and minimum of 4 beds, 3,000 SF. Prices sit in the mid $500’s as a median.

Things you may like about living in Eagan


Eagan is ideally situated. It is close to the airport & an easy commute to both downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul via 35 E or W.


Eagan also has easy access to a large park system. On the north side is Fort Snelling which is part of the National Parks. There are also two off leash dog parks in that area – one close to the airport and another a little further north at Minnehaha Falls.

To the south is Lebanon Hills Park – this place is amazing. The visitor’s center is quite new and clean, the park itself is very well maintained. There are many many hiking trails to take and it is a great place to go with kids. I took my daughter there last fall and we selected a 3 mile hike and were given a map that told us which trail markers to follow. The trails are really well marked! I love that! We saw so many animals and birds on our walk and while we weren’t completely alone the park is large enough that even when there are a lot of people visiting you are still able to achieve that feeling of having spent time in the quiet of nature. If you have horses, there are trails marked for that as well.

Eagan has 27 soccer fields and 56 parks – 14 of which have outdoor skating rinks in winter.


“The Mall” as people here call it. The Mall of America is not actually located IN Eagan but it is right next door. I confess to having not been there until last weekend and I was surprised at how much I actually liked it! It’s not mobbed with people. The variety of stores is really nice and there are things there that are harder to come by in other places. The amusement park and roller coasters were larger than I expected and look like a lot of fun – we did Flyover America and loved it!

There is a brand new Costco on the north side of the city, and unlike the one in St. Louis Park, the parking lot doesn’t make you want to tear your hair out (or that other person that can’t park’s hair out… it’s occurred to me and I am a peaceful person… ). It’s a joy to shop there. A zen experience compared to SLP.

If you like Walmart – there is a shopping center with Walmart on the north side of the city and for the True Minnesotans™ who want to shop their hometown retailer, there is a large shopping area with Target in the triangle between 77 and 35E.

Finally – Eagan is home to Twin Cities Premium Outlet Mall on the NE side of the city.

Family fun

In summer, Eagan has an outdoor pool and water park called Cascade Bay. Summer in MN we just soak up as much outside time as we can, and this place looks like a lot of fun if you have kids.

Eagan Civic Arena has 2 indoor ice skating rinks that are open year round – if you live in MN, this might be one of your concerns! Hockey. It’s a thing here.

Schools and libraries

Speaking of kids – the schools in Eagan are rated fairly highly by Great Schools, so if you are looking for quality public education, this may be a good place to look. There are also quite a few private schools in the area.

Last, but for me not least, they have a large library (Westcott) that is open 7 days a week. The library is something that my family has made great use of over the years – children’s programming in the early years and now just feeding the voracious readers in my house without spending ALL the money.

Top employers in Eagan

Eagan is home to Thomson Reuters, Blue Cross Blue Shield of MN, UPS, Ecolab, and while maybe not a “top employer”, it is also home to the Minnesota Vikings training facility – and that place is hard to miss as you drive down 494. 😉


Eagan is home to 67,509 people.

More than half of the population has a bachelors degree or higher.

The median income in Eagan is $82,265.

If you don’t like driving to downtown you can commute on the MVTA busses. They are clean! I always mention this after living in Chicago and spending a lot of time on busses and trains that had suspicious odors and stains. I loved the transit system there, but not everyone behaves well, so I appreciate it here.

I hope this helps if you’re considering Eagan as your next place to live!

Questions? leave a comment or tap one of the links below.

  1. you live there? 🙂 thanks for reading. Love the comment – glad I didn’t miss anything. lol!