Minnesota's 10 best cities: Movoto researcher explains why outstate towns get no love

According to Movoto's list, the southwest metro is home to Minnesota's four best cities.
According to Movoto's list, the southwest metro is home to Minnesota's four best cities.

If you believe Movoto, none of the 10 best places in Minnesota are outside the Twin Cities metro area.

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That, of course, strikes many Minnesotans as counterintuitive. Who wouldn't want to live in a beautiful lakeside home in Two Harbors, or settle down nestled up to the river bluffs near Winona, for instance?

But according to researcher Patrick Brown, as far as Movoto is concerned, scenic beauty and small-town charm can't compensate for jobs and educational opportunities.

"The variables that brought the metro cities up high mostly had to do with education and employment," Brown told us.

He cited the example of Chanhassen, which clocked in as the number one place in the entire Land of 10,000 Lakes.

"Chanhassen was one of the most expensive places to live, but it has a really low crime rate, the best schools in the state, and the best income," Brown said. "Rent was a little high but home values were great and there was a great employment rate."

"With Chanhassen, you find there is the negative where it's an expensive place to live, but there are great jobs where people can make a great income and be able to afford it," he continued.

In total, the variables included in Movoto's methodology were the unemployment rate, cost of living, crime rate, high school graduation rate, median household income, median home price, and median rent price in Minnesota's 100 most populous cities.

(Click to page two for the full top 10 list.)

Without further ado, here's the list:

9. (tied) Eden Prairie
9. (tied) Woodbury
8. St. Michael
6. (tied) Rogers
6. (tied) Ham Lake
5. Hugo
3. (tied) Maple Grove
3. (tied) Plymouth
2. Lakeville
1. Chanhassan

Brown characterized Movoto's study as "Saturday night science."

"We're trying to answer, how do you end the argument about what is the best place in each state?" Brown said. "But the idea is to put something together that's more light-hearted than scientific using the data we have."

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at

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