Minnetonka is a city located just 8 miles west of Minneapolis. Its northern border lies just north of interstate 394 with the city of Plymouth to the north. Its southern border lies along highway 62 with the city of Eden Prairie to the south. The western border is somewhat jagged and chopped up with its north western border abutting the city of Wayzata, along the shoreline if Grays Bay, through Woodland and Deephaven to the Lake Minnetonka Regional Trail where it jogs west. Continuing south across highway 7 and then along Vine Hill Rd to the meeting of Vinehill Rd, Townline Rd (Highway 62), and Highway 101. The eastern border generally follows the Highway 169 corridor from Shelard Parkway to Crosstown (Highway 62) with a western cutout where the city of Hopkins lies.
Much like other areas west of the Twin Cities, Minnetonka was originally home to Dakota Sioux and Ojibway Chippewa Native Americans. Also, much like other cities in the western suburbs it experienced rapid settlement and economic growth during the late 1800's. Its primary employers were a private saw mill and furniture factory located in the modern day Minnetonka Mills area. As infrastructure continued to develop which included rail service to Minneapolis so did the economy. This rail line allowed the streetcar boat service on Lake Minnetonka to thrive as the tourist industry took hold. Over the years several smaller communities within Minnetonka started to branch off and establish their own municipalities including Saint Louis Park, Woodland, Deephaven, Hopkins, & Wayzata. The city continued to thrive but was still generally rural with many farms until the 1960's when more freeways were introduced and the population grew tremendously. As the city grew so did its infrastructure and in 1974 Ridgedale Mall opened for business.
Modern day Minnetonka is a great place to live. It's home to many large corporations including the Carlson Companies, Cargil, United Health Group, Emerson, Starkey Laboratories, & SuperValu. Its proximity to Minneapolis and other surrounding suburbs paired with a fully developed interstate system allow for quick and easy transportation.
Shoping and Dining
Minnesota is the home to the shopping mall so naturally there is more than one shopping mall in Minnetonka. Ridgedale Center more often referred to as just Ridgedale was opened in 1974 and is located on the south side of Interstate 394 and east of Plymouth Rd. Its longstanding department store has changed names several times, since opening day to 2001 it operated under the name Dayton's and then to Marshall Field's in 2001 and most recently to Macy's in 2006. The other current department stores include Nordstrom, JCPenny, & Sears. Dining options include Redstone American Grill, Kona Grill, Bar Louie, Big Bowl, The Cheescake Factory, Chipotle and several other smaller food options.
Ridgedale has underwent several remodeling and updating projects throughout the years with the most recent one beginning in 2014. The entire mall underwent updates but the largest changes were the introduction and addition of Nordstrom, Macy's also remodeled and expanded. This project also introduced Redstone and Kona Grill.
Another shopping center located at the corner of 394 and Hopkins crossroad is anchored by Dicks Sporting goods, Trader Joes, Lands End, Staples, & Michaels. Dining includes BLVD Kitchen & Bar, Avenida Mexican Asian kitchen, Leann Chinn, & Caribou Coffee. If you listen to the radio and hear their commercial you will also know that Shane Co is located here.
There are many other shopping and dining options throughout Minnetonka including 7-HI Shopping Center and others along highway 7, Minnetonka Blvd, and Excelsior Blvd. Local favorites include Spasso and Gold Nugget Tavern & Grill.
Parks and Trails
Once a sprawling rural area Minnetonka offers a lot of parks and trails for recreation. Some of the great parks include Big Willow, Spring Hill, Lone Lake, McKenzie Park, Ford Park, Bennett Family Park, Linner Park, Oberlin Park, Meadow Park & Purgatory Park. Local beaches include Shady Oak Beach and Libbs Lake Beach.
Minnetonka is also home the Grays Bay Dam where Lake Minnetonka flows into the Minnehaha Creek. The creek has a vast history and flows from the Grays Bay Dam through Minnetonka, Hopkins, Saint Louis Park, Edina, & Minneapolis and into the Mississippi River. Once used for transportation between Lake Minnetonka and Minneapolis it's now great for Kayaking and canoeing. Before launching your kayak or canoe make sure to check the conditions as it can be dangerous when the water is high.
One of the more predominant bike trails in the area is the Lake Minnetonka Regional Trail which is rail to trail so it offers a nice, mostly level trail beginning in Hopkins, traveling through Minnetonka, Excelsior, and ending in Victoria. The eastern portion is paved so it's also great for inline skating while the western portion is horse grade gravel which is good for all bikes.