In the 1960s, a rural Minnesota community with fewer than 500 residents got a big treat: a 90,000-square-foot dinner theater its founders hoped would bring a “little bit of Broadway to the Midwest.”
Over fifty years later, Chanhassen Dinner Theaters still bring a unique musical theater experience to a town that 27,000 people now call home. (At the time of publishing, locals can catch a performance of Footloose while chowing down on the venue’s “Famous Chicken Chanhassen.”)
That’s not all music lovers have to look forward to in this Minneapolis suburb. Chanhassen is also home to Paisley Park, which was Prince’s home and recording studio for nearly 30 years, and is now an active museum.
While Chanhassen’s sheer volume of children-friendly activities and walkable downtown may make it seem like a shoo-in for our list, it's the high-quality schools and relatively affordable housing that make it one of Money’s best places to live (and why it snagged the top spot
on our ranking in 2021). While the median home price hovers around $573,000, households are earning a median income of around $127,000 in Chanhassen; well above the overall nation’s.
Chanhassen residents certainly benefit from being just 20 miles from the Twin Cities, but they also have quick access to nature. The University of Minnesota’s landscape arboretum, just a few miles outside Chanhassen, consists of 1,200 acres of gardens, plant collections, trails, a bee and pollinator discovery center and more. Kids will love renting paddle boards and boats at Lake Ann Park, the playground at Lake Susan Park and the five miles walking trails in Lake Minnewashta Regional Park.
After a day in the sunshine, residents can head over to Chanhassen Brewing Company, whose owners
moved to the area in 2013 “to raise their three young children in a vibrant, growing, and welcoming community.” — Mallika Mitra
Median Household Income
Median Home Price
Sources: Population and median household income provided by Synergos Technologies Inc.; unemployment rate (by county) provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics; and median home price provided by ATTOM Data Solutions.