Want that small town, walkable feel without a major commute? Think about Hopkins!
If you like a small town feel, with easy access to all of the things that the city has to offer – as well as access to the joys of the more rural areas outside of the immediate metro, Hopkins may be for you!
Hopkins MN seems to fly under the radar – it has a tendency to be overlooked, it’s a bit of a small town tucked into a 4 square mile pocket surrounded by the larger, more well known suburbs of Minnetonka, St. Louis Park and Edina. Hopkins sits just west of Minneapolis, it’s a small suburb with only about 18,000 people and it’s part of in Hennepin County MN.
A little bit of Hopkins history – By the 1920s, growing raspberries had become a big business for Hopkins area farmers. It is estimated that at one time the Hopkins area had over 800 acres planted in raspberries! Most were used for fresh market consumption. It became known as the “Raspberry Capital of the World.” Hopkins still celebrates this although now it’s is far from being a farming community – the street signs have a raspberry logo on them and they still hold a festival every year.
I have done a LOT of videos highlighting different suburbs in the twin cities metro – some of them are circled here, but you should check out my neighborhoods and suburbs playlist on YouTube for more.
Commute times are easy by car – it is only 3 miles to the border of Minneapolis as it is, but driving to downtown takes approximately 20 minutes via 394, or about 24 minutes to MSP airport via 494.
One of the main things I love about Hopkins is the adorable downtown area. It still has a historic feel, it’s a walkable city with sidewalks in the city center as well as throughout the neighborhoods which have a lot of pretty, older homes in neighborhoods branching out from the main street area. Main street is lined with shops and restaurants, the local library, post office and city hall are in the town center, as well as the Hopkins Center for the Arts.
Hopkins has a nice mix of housing – including single family homes, and newer condos that are close to downtown and transportation. Speaking of transportation – Hopkins Station is right on what will be the newly expanded light rail line. Lots of construction around that and the southern portion of the Cedar Lake Trail which runs along side it right now, but once this is completed it should be a real asset to people that live in Hopkins and want to get downtown to to the airport without driving.
All this charm and convenience and it comes at an affordable price compared to many suburbs in the Twin cities metro area as a whole. Currently (july 2021) Hopkins Median price for a single family home is $353,100 which is just slightly higher than that of the twin cities as a whole. Property tax in Hopkins is a little higher than in some of the other ‘burbs that I have profiled. The effective tax rate is 1.41%
While there is a market in the city of Hopkins it isn’t a giant SUPER market – so if you want to do a bigger shop or have a preference for one of the larger chain super markets like Lunds and Byerlys or Cub, or if you want to get to a whole foods, you’ll have to do it outside of the city of Hopkins – but the surrounding suburbs are very close and you probably won’t be inconvenienced much at all to drive to a neighboring town for groceries.
It’s not just groceries that require a trip to a neighboring town – Because of it’s small size and easy proximity to it’s neighbors, Hopkins residents share a lot of the amenities offered by the nearby suburbs.
For example, residents of Hopkins use and get resident discounts at Shady Oak Beach and park in Minnetonka. I stopped over there and I was so impressed – it looks like a great place to spend the day playing in the water (they have an inflatable obstacle course that looks like SO much fun!) and if you have little kids there is a playground and areas geared that way as well. In addition to the beach and lake there is a really nice outdoor dining area so you can come and have fun and pack a picnic or order food at the concession stand and stay all day, You can pay by the day or buy a season pass.
Other nearby parks include Lone Lake Park which has tennis & pickle ball courts, a playground, sports fields, picnic area, basketball courts and trails. It is also a part of Minnetonka.
Hopkins has several regional trails running through it, so if you enjoy biking, roller blading or walking you’re in luck. There are 4 rail trail connections in Hopkins including the 2 branches of the Cedar Lake Trail, the Lake Minnetonka regional trail (just did an out an back bike ride on this one a couple of weeks ago – 30 relatively flat miles past some gorgeous lake views and through some of the most affluent areas of the Twin Cities Metro) and lastly the Minnesota Bluffs Trail an approximately 10 mile section of aggregate trail that runs south of Lake Minnetonka out to Chanhassen and Chaska.
If you live in Bloomington or just want to bike the south section of the metro you can get on the 9 mile creek regional trail which is both segregated bike trail and some lanes on streets, but it connects from Bloomington (and possibly further east) through Richfield, Edina, Minnetonka and up to Hopkins. I have ridden this one before as well and there are points that I found less than well marked so it’s good to have your phone with you for GPS. The official tally on this one is about 14.6 miles each way, but if you get lost and wander you can really up your mileage. Good times when you’re tired … not.
Hopkins schools are ranked highly on Niche.com with an A+ rating, but as I always mention, make sure you do your own homework and meet with the administrators and make sure that the schools are right for YOUR child. Everyone is different.
Even though Hopkins is smaller, the district boundaries kind of weave their their way through several of the neighboring suburbs and there are some kids that live in pockets of Plymouth, Edina, Eden Prairie, St. Louis Park, and Minnetonka that may attend Hopkins schools. I also did a video on open enrollment in schools in MN, it’s kind of a nice thing to have if you want to send your kid out of district to another school. Not guaranteed, but an option!
This post would not be complete if I didn’t let you know where you can get your eye candy – aka books!
Hopkins has a great library and it is right downtown where you can easily bike or walk to it. It is a part of the Hennepin County Library system, and is one of the 41 branches. If you want a book, they can get it for you! Hennepin county library has a really impressive budget for books – Ive been looking for the actual number but I can’t find it today! I just remember my jaw hitting the floor followed by green with envy feelings and then realizing that I can read any of those books! The HCL system has recently done completely away with fines too! YAY!!
Alright – chickens. I always need to end with chickens and fences.
Chickens are recently permitted in Hopkins – as of August 2020. And fences are allowed – heights vary by where the fence is placed – typically 4′ in front, 6 in back.
Final recommendation: the Hopkins web site is a very nice source of information for just about any question you can think of regarding the day to day details of living in Hopkins.
If Hopkins is in the running for you I strongly recommend check it out!