Woodbury, Minnesota

When the weather is warm, residents of this Twin Cities suburb can enjoy 3,000 acres of parks, walk 140 miles of trails that weave through residential neighborhoods or visit the St. Croix River to the east. During cold Minnesota winters, they can opt for the indoor 92,000 square-foot Central Park, which houses meeting rooms, a waterfall and the Lookout Ridge playground. In addition to slides and tunnels, the playground includes a tree house, a cave and cliffs designed to imitate the nearby river valley.

Meanwhile, employment opportunities in Woodbury befit a much larger city. Scotch tape and Post-it maker 3M is one of the city’s largest employers, with an IT center in Woodbury and its headquarters in neighboring Maplewood. Thanks to its access to three interstate highways, Woodbury is a popular location for distribution centers, including a big Target warehouse. Before the pandemic the unemployment rate in Woodbury was just 2.9%. It rose in April and May, but stayed below 10% and was 8% as of June. The median income in the city is $109,000.

Woodbury last appeared on our Best Places to Live list in 2018 at number 10. The city returns this year thanks to its strong economy. People are taking notice, as the population in Woodbury has grown by more than 1,000 people annually since 2000 to more than 73,000 today. It’s projected to reach 88,000 by 2040. — Samantha Sharf

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