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Renter’s Guide to Golden Valley, MN

Located in Hennepin County, Minnesota, Golden Valley is a suburb of Minneapolis. It’s a community that offers a typical suburban feel, being close enough to enjoy the big city, while retaining a small-town vibe. It’s extremely popular with young professionals, retirees, and young families alike, leading to great diversity. It ranks at the 18th best suburb to live in Minnesota, the 12th best for young professionals, and the 20th best place to retire to.

With a population of 21,208 and an area of 10.54 sq. miles, it’s a relatively small suburb, and while it shares a similar area to neighboring St. Louis Park, the latter has more than twice the population. As such, the population density in Golden Valley is fairly low compared to its neighbors. The city is about 20 times smaller in terms of population than Minneapolis proper.

Downtown Minneapolis is about 6 miles east of Golden Valley and can typically be reached within 15 minutes along Hwy 55, which travels east to west and splits the city more or less in half. The south of the city is bordered by Interstate 394, which also runs east to west, while highways 100 and 169 travel north to south, providing convenient transport links in any direction.

The climate in Golden Valley is characterized by warm, wet summers, and cold, snowy winters. July is typically the hottest month, with highs of around 84°F, while January lows average out at around 7°F. The city sees an average of 32 inches of rain per year and 53 inches of snow. Rain is heaviest between May and September, with each month seeing an average of 4 inches of rain. December can see up to 12 inches of snow, which is common between October and April.

Cost of Living in Golden Valley, MN

Public transit options in Golden Valley are provided by MetroTransit, which run several bus services to downtown Minneapolis and throughout the metropolitan area. A park and ride station is in the southwest of the city, with direct bus services running to downtown. Buses cost $2 per ride, with free transfers for 2 and a half hours. Fares increase to $2.50 during rush hours, however, regular rush-hour commuters are advised to pick up a monthly pass for $90. Alternatively, many companies offer a MetroPass for $83 per month, which gives unlimited access on all services for a month. Alternatively, if you drive a private vehicle, you can expect to pay $2.61 per gallon of gasoline.

When eating out, you can expect to pay around $15 for a meal in an inexpensive restaurant, $7 for a combo meal at a fast food joint, and $60 for a 3-course meal for 2 at a mid-range restaurant. When you need to wet the whistle, a pint of beer will generally cost $6, while a regular coffee averages out at around $4.20.

In terms of utilities, the basics will typically average out at around $153 per month. This includes water, electricity, heating, cooling, and garbage disposal. Add an extra $56 if you want to hook up an internet connection.

Living in Golden Valley, MN

Golden Valley is ideally located close to downtown Minneapolis, allowing residents to enjoy the relaxed, small-town vibe, while keeping close to the amenities of a larger city. The location works well for young professionals as well, who will find a wealth of job opportunities both within the city, and in the surrounding area. Low crime rates paired with good schooling options make the city appealing for families as well.

Housing is pretty close-knit in some neighborhoods, in that lot sizes are rather small and properties are packed close together. Additionally, there is little in the way of nightlife, and younger adults may find the options limited. However, proximity to downtown Minneapolis somewhat mitigates this issue.

Things to Do in Golden Valley, MN

Golden Valley is a fantastic place for those who enjoy outdoor activities. The city is home to more than 1,035 acres of parks and open spaces, with almost 50 miles of trails to explore. Within the city limits, there are also numerous nature preserves to enjoy, such as the 759-acre Theodore Wirth Regional Park which offers year round activities and a wealth of trails.

There are 2 main shopping centers within city limits. Spring Gate Shopping Center and Golden Valley Shopping Center and Commons offer a variety of stores and restaurants, ensuring you can find all the essentials. There are also several good restaurants dotted around the city, with Teresa’s Mexican restaurant at the Spring Gate Shopping Center being a standout choice. For superb fresh, local produce, head to the Market in the Valley, a farmer’s market running Sunday mornings from June through October.

You’ll have to head just out of town to catch a movie at the cinema. There are however alternatives. The National Theater for Children is a great place for kids to take part in a number of programs geared at teaching them about the theater, performing, and helping them gain more confidence.

Community events are organized throughout the year to bring residents together and celebrate anything from agriculture to music. The Golden Valley Arts and Music Festival is an annual celebration of local artists, musicians and performers, featuring numerous concerts, shows, and exhibitions. Food trucks and arts and crafts stands line the street, adding to the atmosphere.

Employment & Economy in Golden Valley, MN

Households in Golden Valley have a median annual income of $87,964, which is well above the national, state, and county averages. Employing 14.9% of the workforce, professional, scientific, and technical services is the most common industry. It’s also the industry the city specializes in, with 2.13 more people hired in the sector compared to other areas. Health care and social assistance, and manufacturing are the next most common industries, while the highest paying is utilities.

The most common job groups in the city are management occupations, business and financial operations occupations, and sales and related occupations. The highest paid residents work in law enforcement (including supervisors) roles. Many large employers are based in the city, attracting workers from outside the city, as well as those living within. General Mills is the city’s top employer, followed by Allianz life.

Education in Golden Valley, MN

Golden Valley is served by 2 school districts, Robbinsdale School District and Hopkins School District. Between them there are 2 elementary schools, 2 middle schools, and 3 high schools within the city, and many more close by. While not located within the city limits, Hopkins Senior High School is the top-rated high school served by the city. It ranks as the 20th best public high school in Minnesota, and continuously performs well above average. Hopkins Junior High is the top-rated middle school, coming in at #75 in the list of the best middle-schools in Minnesota.

The top-rated elementary school is the Xinxing Academy, rated as the 36th best public elementary school in Minnesota. Breck School is located within the city, a private school that accepts students from grades K through 12. It ranks as the best K-12 school in Minnesota, the number one Christian high school in the state, and the 146th best private K-12 school in America.

Tips for Renting in Golden Valley, MN

When deciding to move to Golden Valley from out of state, it’s worth considering the weather, especially if you’re moving from warmer climes. The city receives heavy snowfall throughout winter and beyond, which can cause travel delays and perilous driving conditions. If you’re not used to winter driving, it’s well worth taking a course to learn a few valuable techniques.

Golden Valley is largely a bedroom community, and it might not be the ideal place for those looking for the hustle and bustle of the big city. Younger adults in particular might find the lack of nightlife frustrating. However, the city provides a wealth of job opportunities, and travel to downtown Minneapolis is quick and affordable.

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