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.