Pavilion at Purgatory Creek Park in Eden Prairie
The pavilion at Purgatory Creek Park is part of more than 1,000 acres of developed park land in Eden Prairie.
Located 15 miles west of downtown Minneapolis, Eden Prairie’s 1,000 acres of parkland, 120-plus miles of scenic hiking and biking trails, and extensive collection of restaurants and retail shops draw outdoor and shopping enthusiasts alike. The 62,258-resident city is consistently ranked among Money magazine’s best places to live, earning top honors nationwide in 2010. For the city’s careful balance of natural and developed areas, Eden Prairie mayor Nancy Tyra-Lukens credits “early leaders who envisioned Eden Prairie as a progressive, diverse, and vibrant community that honors its past and preserves its natural environment.”
History: Though its first residents were undoubtedly Native Americans, an 1851 treaty opened up land west of the Mississippi River to settlers who made their life and living in what is now Eden Prairie. The pastoral farming town held its first meeting in 1858 on the same day Minnesota became a state, and grew gradually, adding Flying Cloud Airport in 1946 and developing its parks and recreation system in the 1960s. The arrival of Interstate 494 and Eden Prairie Center mall in the 1970s drew a throng of new businesses and residents to the area, growing Eden Prairie’s population by nearly 3,000 percent between 1960 and 2000.
Housing Stock: About 27 percent of residents rent, but the majority are homeowners. There are options to own at nearly every price point, from luxury properties dotting the city’s golf courses to affordable starter homes. Though many homes are from the 1960s and 1970s when new neighborhoods formed during the city’s population boom, there are also opportunities to buy new construction.
Schools to Note
Eden Prairie High School: Sixteen Advanced Placement courses and 32 varsity sports landed Eden Prairie High School among the top 20 schools in Minnesota according to U.S. News & World Report. Ninety-five percent of graduates go on to college, too. edenpr.org/ephs
International School of Minnesota: Currently ranked second in Minnesota on The Washington Post’s list of America’s Most Challenging High Schools, the private college preparatory school serves students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12, and is part of a global network of schools established in 1886. internationalschoolmn.com
Eden Prairie Shopping Center
Eden Prairie Center houses more than 100 shops and restaurants.
Eden Prairie Center: An 18-screen movie theater and a bevy of restaurants round out 1.1 million square feet of shopping space, drawing more than 12 million visitors each year. edenprairiecenter.com
Elizabeth Fries Ellet Interpretive Trail: The public trail is named after Elizabeth Fries Ellet (1818–1877), an American writer whose 1852 travelogue describes Eden Prairie as the territory’s “garden spot.” Colorful trail signage guides visitors through the flora and fauna, developed by local nonprofit group Writers Rising Up.writersrisingup.org/elizabeth-fries-ellet-interpretive-trail
Staring Lake Observatory in Eden Prairie
The Staring Lake Observatory houses one of the state’s largest telescopes, and holds regular viewing sessions throughout the year.
Staring Lake Observatory: Eden Prairie is home to one of Minnesota’s biggest telescopes, a 9-foot-tall Cassegrain model that provides unbeatable views of the cosmos during nocturnal viewing sessions. Coming up August 12: the Perseid meteor shower. edenprairie.org/amenities/staring-lake-observatory