Living in Minneapolis · Neighborhood Tours · Uncategorized

Plymouth MN: one of Niche.com’s best suburbs in Minnesota

Plymouth is another big, popular suburb that lies directly west of the city of Minneapolis.

Who lives here? Download my neighborhood report and find out! It’s full of all kinds of information about the people and housing in Plymouth!

Why do people choose Plymouth MN when looking at Minneapolis suburbs? A lot of reasons! I have my usual suspects that I like to highlight when I do area snapshots and Plymouth scores highly on just about everything.

One thing I’ve started really taking note of lately is the differences between the east and west sides of the city. The western suburbs seem to me to be more established and solidly residential and with that comes a lot of the things that I think make neighborhoods nice to live in. Of course, this is not hard and fast, the eastern side of the city has established neighborhoods as well, but it also has a lot of new construction, which means homes that are built on former farm land, not many mature trees, and infrastructure still being built around it.

Parks

For quality of life, I think having a lot of green space and parks are important. Being packed into neighborhoods without having these spaces to enjoy the outdoors and time with family and friends makes an area less appealing to me.

Plymouth has some great options for green space. Because Plymouth is located out in what I think of as the “lakes area” of the metro – near Lake Minnetonka and the smaller lakes around it – the terrain is more rolling and seems to have more mature trees.

Plymouth has used that to their advantage with 1,855 acres of park land, including 174 miles of trails. Part of the trail system that goes through Plymouth is called the Luce Line Trail which is a 63 mile long converted railway to use for walking, bicycling, cross country skiing, and snow mobiling. Some sections have parallel trails for use by horseback riders as well. There are 12 parking lots along the trail for easy access. Check out the web site to see more info on this trail and get a map of entry points.

Another massive undertaking is the Northwest Greenway – they are currently on the 5th addition to this and per the Plymouth Parks and Rec web site have added something that sounds super fun and a great way to get kids outdoors, a Challenge Course!

“The Northwest Greenway Challenge Course, a new park amenity for ages 13 and older, offers unique activity challenges involving netting, climbing, balancing and agility on a variety of structures. The Challenge Course is located on the east side of Peony Lane, south of 54th Ave. N. — view on Google Maps.”

Plymouth also has three public beaches, three dog parks, seven ice rinks maintained by parks & rec. that are open from December to February, as well as the Ice Center which has 3 pro-sized ice sheets that are used for open skating, adult hockey leagues and home hockey games for Wayzata High School & Providence Academy.

Housing

Plymouth housing prices are above the Twin Cities median prices (most suburbs are). Plymouth does have a variety of housing, from townhomes & small single-level homes, to what I think of as a “typical” suburban neighborhoods and on up to very large single family homes. My video has content showing what each of these look like, but I’ll add the median home price graphs here for pricing over the past 3 years.

Median price over all
Townhomes in Plymouth vs the Twin Cities metro
Single Family Homes in Plymouth

Schools

If you are considering Plymouth it may be because of the great reputation of the schools there. One thing to know is that children attend school in one of three school districts (Wayzata, Osseo & Robbinsdale schools) depending on where they live in Plymouth. It’s important to do your own research and know which schools will meet the needs of your children. Some of the schools are considered to be among the best in the state and others don’t rank that high. Your agent can include or exclude homes based on the school districts that you prefer or want to eliminate.

Shopping

I like to cook, and most people like to eat. 😉 Everyone has a different budget and a different place that they feel great shopping in. I did a video on the most common grocery stores that you will see in the Twin Cities, so you can check that out if you want to get more of a feel for what is around here. I don’t think MN has the best reputation for having a wide variety of foods available (Nordic people seemed to like things relatively bland?) but things are changing. Most stores have more “obscure” seasonings and ingredients now, but there are also specialty groceries that are around and personally – I love to go into them and pick out somethings to try. You can see from the map below that Plymouth has no lack of options and you shouldn’t have to drive more than a couple of miles to get ingredients to get dinner on the table, I was geeked up when I saw Indian Bazaar, Kadai Foods and the Russian Market. Little treats like this make me really happy. My mouth likes spices and variety.

You’ll also notice Target on here- we have more Target stores per capita than any other state. I made that up. But it’s probably true since the HQ is here. There are several shopping centers with the usual big box stores and smaller shops and restaurants. If you’re looking for a mall, the closest one will be Ridgedale Center Mall – right off 394 just on the eastern side of 494. That’s also where you’ll likely find the closest Whole Foods, if that’s your thing.

Library

photo HCLIB.ORG

I love my public libraries! Plymouth library does not disappoint! It is fairly new, the current building was completed in 2010. It’s a bright, clean, open space with meeting rooms and a great children’s area. I’ve been up there for library sponsored talks and they do a great job bringing in content and programming that people may be interested in. The Plymouth Library is one branch of the 41 library Hennepin County library system. Because Hennepin County uses a main library / branch system everything you want is not necessarily at the branch closest to your home, but chances are that they have it and you can get it sent to your local branch fairly quickly.

Commute

OK – last bit. Many of us are working from home, but a lot of people still commute to their job. In Plymouth that means getting in your personal car and driving there. 75% of residents commute 30 minutes or less to their job, and if you look at the map up top you can see why – Plymouth has easy access to the major highways that crisscross the metro, so no matter where you need to be it’s likely about 30 minutes max to get there.

Living in Minneapolis · Uncategorized

Minneapolis Grocery Stores….

I’m covering the big ones today, but this is NOT comprehensive! There are so many little markets where you can find great foods that are culture specific – one of my favorites that fits this description is United Noodles but I could do an entire video and post on that place alone.

Today is more about soothing the furrowed brows of worried transplants. There are definitely your hometown local things that you may miss, but I can assure you that you’ll find other items that make your mouth happy here. Minnesota has been the beneficiary of several groups of refugees and with these people come their foods, so we now have more diverse options even at big box grocery stores.

I’m going to start out with my main squeeze – Costco. I love this store and even though there are only 3 people in my family, and no matter what you buy you get a LOT of it at Costco, I still shop there. They carry a little bit of everything – including the kitchen sink! You can get kitchen appliances, large and small, TV’s, books, and clothes, but I go there for their produce – we eat a lot of fresh fruit and the quality is amazing. I also love their meat and seafood selection, well priced and high quality, they are famous for their $5 rotisserie chickens… Other things that are a regular purchase for price and quality – milk, eggs, butter, cheese, anything for laundry and cleaning, TP, paper towels, coffee! There is a membership fee, but you get cash back on every purchase – up to 4% on another favorite feature- gasoline, which is priced lower as well.

My husband & I have bought insurance through Costco, we bought a car through their auto program, it’s just a great place to shop. If you care about company ethics – they pay a living wage to all their workers and if you love great customer service, they take ANYTHING back no questions asked no matter how far past the purchase date. That sense of security make me spend way more money in the store and on their web site too.

We also have national grocery store options that you’re probably very familiar with – Target is headquartered here in Minneapolis and I bet we have more Targets per capita than any other state, Walmart is here, and HyVee is starting to pop up in the suburbs. I am not as familiar with HyVee, but have been in one and it had a full “food-court” area of prepared foods, along with an enormous store that reminds me a bit of Cub Foods, which is a local option…

Cub Foods is a midwestern chain with stores in MN and IL, the store is enormous and the selections are great. They have everything you would expect in a large grocery store, but I do think of Cub as more of a budget store. You will bag your own groceries, there is no carry out service, I think it’s profit model is based on volume.

Another budget friendly option that is springing up all over is Aldi. Aldi has a decent selection of fresh fruits and vegetables, but the store is mainly focused on package goods. The packages will look familiar, but not exactly the same – Aldi has a LOT of store brand packaged items that are reminiscent of bigger brands. If you aren’t super stuck on an actual brand name, I’ve heard great things from people that love to shop at Aldi. One quirk that you should be ready for is having your quarter ready to release the cart – you get it back when you put the cart back. Oddly this isn’t the first time I’ve seen this.

The Twin Cities is also home to a couple of very local chains – Lund’s and Byerly’s and Kowalski’s. These are the two I shop at most for my everyday needs mainly because I’m under a mile from either one.

Kowalski’s market is cozy and they have higher end brands of food – free range chicken, lots of organic veg and boxed items, they have an extensive hot food area, you can order to go specifically to what you want to have or you can pick up salads, sandwiches or heat and eat food. One of my favorite things is the soup bar – it’s delicious and perfect when you’re out running around but don’t want to eat fast food. This is the store I would come to for my cheese fix. They focus a lot on local suppliers and you can find some really wonderful choices here from MN and WI.

Kowalski’s bakes all of their pastries and bread on site. They have a small gift area in every store that has some charming items that you would not suspect of being from a grocery if you need to grab a quick gift for someone. Kowalski’s does carry out to your car, and they deliver as well.

Lunds… Lund’s is what I think of as a middle ground – not huge like Cub or Costco. It feels friendly and the right size for everyday shopping. Lunds is a full service grocery – they bag and carry out for you. They have increased their focus on including organics, if that is a concern you will be OK shopping there. They also sell things like dog food, cleaning supplies etc, but in my opinion you can do far better for that type of thing elsewhere. I stick to food here. Withe the exception of a few locations, this is not really a place to go grab a sandwich or soup, this grocery sticks pretty closely to its original mission.

If you ARE committed to organics or sustainably sourced foods – the Twin Cities has a large number of food Co-Ops that you can shop at – you can buy a membership and pay slightly lower prices, or not. Anyone can shop there.

In addition to co-ops, we of course have Whole Foods Market – or “whole paycheck” as it’s known. It’s not inexpensive to shop there, but they have things you won’t find elsewhere and generally their produce section looks like a work of art, so if you need a pleasant shopping experience or are just used to the brands that Whole Foods has you can continue to enjoy that here. A couple of my favorite things are the really amazing hot food selection at lunch and I believe dinner hours too, as well as their bakery, where you can find really beautiful pastries that might be too pretty to eat.

Any other lifestyle questions? I’m always looking for content ideas that people want to dig into! Let me know.