Burnsville is the fifteenth largest metropolitan area in the United States, and the ninth largest suburb in Minnesota with approximately 62,000 people. It has humble roots as a rural Irish farming community, but it expanded and grew over time, and it's now a well-known suburb of both St. Paul and Minneapolis (technically, it's a suburb of St. Paul). The downtown of Burnsville is known as Heart of the City because it has a lot to do and it has plenty of condos.
There is a lot of nature to enjoy, including the Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve, the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, and Buck Hill--which is a vertical ski peak. If you are the outdoorsy type, you'll find many places that will delight you here, such as Wood Pond, Crystal Lake, and Terrace Oak East Park.
There are other amenities such as Burnsville Center (mall), Burnsville Ice Center, and the Ames Performing Arts Center, the last of which is in the Heart of the City. The community is a nice mix of many different demographics, and there is something to do for everyone. It's a bustling city with a thriving population that went from 2,716 people (Byrnesville Township) in 1960 to nearly 20,000 by 1970, and then climbed to nearly 60,000 by 2000.
The biggest employer in Burnsville is the school district, followed by Fairview Ridges Hospital. Manufacturing is also a big industry in Burnsville. There is also a lot of retail and shopping.
Then and Now
Burnsville started as a land for the Dakota, and after they were resettled elsewhere, an influx of Irish, Norwegian, and Scottish farmers streamed into the area in the early 1850s. One of these settlers was an Irish man named William Byrne for whom the city was presumed to be named after. He donated land to the township, which was named Byrnsville Township in 1858. There were also a few Burns (Scottish) in the township at the time, so it's not completely clear that the town was named for William Byrne. The name was discussed for a few years before 'Burnsville' was selected in 1860 for the incorporation of the city. The school district was established at the same time, and many of the parks and roads were named for the early settlers.
Because Burnsville was considered far from Minneapolis in the 1860s, the budding railroad included stops in Burnsville. There was also a robust ferry system that took advantage of the many waterways. The Bloomington Ferry Bridge was built in 1889, and the Lyndale Avenue Drawbridge opened in 1920. The latter only lasted forty and a bit years and after a few upgrades was replaced by the I-35W Minnesota River Bridge. The latter is now a main staple off the Twin Cities' highway system and was built in 1964.
Burnsville was still a small and unassuming township as late as 1950 with only 583 people. After the war and after 35W was constructed, the population exploded. In 1960, the population was 2,716 people, and it soared to 19,940 by 1970. Now, the population is roughly 62,000 people, and Burnsville is not a sleepy little township any longer.
Nowadays, Burnsville is a bustling metropolitan with many attractive amenities. There is abundant natural beauty along with plenty to do in your free time. Whether you're interested in arts, shopping, or food, there is something for everyone here.
Green / Environmental
Burnsville is very focused on improving sustainability and the long-term health of the environment. To that end, they have developed a Sustainability Guide Plan (SGP) that is aimed at finding alternative gases and cutting back on fossil fuels, going as green as possible, and protecting and preserving natural resources. The SGP contains 14 priorities they call Best Practice Areas (BPAs), which include: Energy Efficiency; Recycling and Waste Reduction; Environmentally Preferable Purchasing, and 11 more.
They have measurable metrics for each of the points as well as steps for accomplishing each one. They identify possible funding, and they have performance indicators as well. They have strategies, and the plan is comprehensive. They update the SGP annually, too.
Burnsville is also part of the Minnesota GreenStep Cities program that has a plan for long-term sustainability that is based upon 29 best practices, and each practice has a few actions that can be taken to achieve that practice at a 1-star, 2-star, or 3-star level. There are 5 Steps, and Burnsville is one of a handful of Minnesota cities that is recognized as a "Step Five" GreenStep City, and they are always looking for ways to make the environment greener.
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Market Trends in Burnsville MN
# Houses Sold 571 (single family)
Median Sales Price $289900 (single family)
Average Age 1976 (single family)
Square Feet 2467 $131.57/sqft (single family)
# TH / Condo Sold 436 (townhouse/condo)
Median Sales Price $179900 (townhouse/condo)
Average Age 1986 (townhouse/condo)
Square Feet 1513 $124.54/sqft (townhouse/condo)
Alimagnet Dog Park - (1200 Alimagnet Pkwy.,, 952-895-4500, website) Alimagnet Dog Park is a 7-acre haven for dogs to run free. It has plenty of shade to shelter the pups from the sun as they romp and play in the greenery. They can meet other dogs (and their humans), and there is a play area for smaller dogs as well. There are turtles and turkeys abound, and you can fish as well. The park is next to Lake Alimagnet, so there is plenty of beach to walk on, too. The park is run by the City of Burnsville and supported/maintained by members of PACK (People of Alimagnet Caring for K9s).
Cliff Fen Park - (120 Cliff Rd. E,, 925-895-4500, website) Cliff Fen Park is 40 acres of vibrant greenery, crisp blue waters, and as much nature as you can enjoy in a day. There is access to the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, a picnic area, a splash pad, and a playground for children. The playground is a large one with 87 pieces, and it can accommodate up to 265 kids. There are also fields/courts for soccer, football, and volleyball as well as a picnic area and a picnic shelter.
Nicollet Commons Park - (12550 Nicollet Ave.,, 925-895-4500, website) Nicollet Commons Park is what is known as a 'town square' type of park, and it's at the center of Burnsville's Heart of the City. Its crowning feature is the 250-seat amphitheater which hosts concerts and other events. There is also of plenty of open spaces (green and otherwise) in which to walk, talk, and just gather. There is a water area in which to splash, which is a perfect way to cool down on a hot summer afternoon.
Byblos Lebanese Grill - (14637 County Rd. 11,, 952-431-3663, website) Byblos Lebanese Grill opened in 2012 because Mike and Nancy Ayoub wanted to share the delicious Lebanese food Mike grew up on. Byblos is a city in Lebanon seven miles from where Mike grew up. The atmosphere is relaxed and casual, and the staff members are friendly. The food is make from scratch on a daily basis, and the recipes are traditional. The menu includes spinach pies, kabbis (pickled vegetables), and falafel. They have vegan options, vegetarian options, and gluten-free options as well.
Jensen's Cafe - (12750 Nicollet Ave. S,, 952-808-0500, website) Jensen's Cafe has a long, storied history that started in Fremont, Nebraska in 1947. Al Jensen ran a cafe that focused on homemade food that tasted good and was made from the best products. Nearly fifty years later, his grandson, Doron Jensen and another restauranteur, Brian Hehr, opened up Jensen's Cafe in 2005 partly in honor of Doron's grandfather. The cafe is bright and cheerful, and the service is friendly. The breakfast menu includes a stuffed French toast combo, lemon ricotta cakes, and several kinds of eggs Benedict. The dinner menu includes Cajun steak bites, pecan salmon, and a Philly cheese sandwich. They also have beer and wine, and an extensive gluten-free menu.
Nha Sang - (12621 Nicollet Ave.,, 925-895-0011, website) Nha Sang is an Asian restaurant that is family-owned and always welcoming. The decor is colorful yet understated, and the service is friendly. The dishes are a mixture of traditional and new, and each one is prepared to your satisfaction. There is a buffet, and while it doesn't have a ton of choices, everything is fresh and tasty. The menu includes Himalayan beef tenderloin, Tibetan momo, Vietnamese coconut curry, and an Indonesian seafood dish. This is just the tip of the iceberg, and you'll want to stop by several times to try everything.
Porter Creek Hardwood Grill - (14201 Burngarten Dr.,, 952-698-1888, website) Porter Creek Hardwood Grill is a restaurant that is inspired by Californian/Mediterranean cuisine--and wine. They are very into wine. They have over 80 bottles of wine, and they have other spirits as well. They have an outdoor patio so you can enjoy the warm weather with your wine in the summer. They are also committed to the community and donate to worthy causes. The menu includes have tenderloin of beef with a blue cheese or horseradish crust, salmon with roasted corn sauce, and bucatini with peppered bacon. They also have a gluten-free menu.
Roasted Pear - (14200 Nicollet Ave.,, 952-898-2800, website) Roasted Pear is a family-owned restaurant with contemporary decor and a warm atmosphere. The service is friendly and attentive. The menu consists of mostly items made from scratch, and the food is a combination of elegant and homey. The menu includes stackers, pizza such as the beef brisket pizza, sandwiches, and burgers like the Cajun turkey burger. Finish your meal with something sweet such as the roasted pear empanada. They also have Sunday brunch and delivery.
Thai Curry House - (1916 Hwy. 13 E,, 952-808-8159, website) Thai Curry House Restaurant is a Thai restaurant that serves traditional recipes that they keep very close to the vest. The restaurant is open and inviting, and they have both regular seating and traditional Thai seating. The atmosphere is relaxed and casual, and the service is very friendly. The menu is extensive, including catfish with a red curry sauce, stir-fried ginger dishes, drunken noodles, and much more. They have takeout so you can eat their delicious dishes at home as well.
Abdallah Candies and Gifts - (3501 County Rd 42 West, 952-890-4770, website) Abdallah Candies and Gifts was opened in 1909 by Albert Abdallah and his bride, Helen Trovall in what is now Uptown. Back then, Albert was making his candies in a kettle over an open flame. More than a hundred years and three generations later, the store is run by Karen and Steve Hegedus, fourth-generation owners. The shelves are crammed with all sorts of delectable temptations, including truffles, peanut butter cups, chocolate mints, and caramels. They also have assorted boxes if you can't choose just one. They also have sugar-free versions of many of their chocolates, and jelly beans for those who don't care as much for chocolate.
Burnsville Center - (1178 Burnsville Center,, 952-435-8182, website) Burnsville Center is one of the bigger enclosed shopping malls in Minnesota. It has roughly a hundred stores across three levels, and it opened in 1977. It has favorite clothing stores such as Old Navy, JCPenney, and Lane Bryant. It also has more niche shops such as Escapology, Print and Frame, and Pop-Up Shop. There are several food places as well, including Asian Too, Chicken All Daye, and Kobe Japanese Steak & Seafood. It's a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon, shopping and eating.
Ficus & Fig - (12750 Nicollet Ave., Ste. 100, 952-746-4456, website) Ficus & Fig was started by two stay-at-home moms, Kelly and Karen, when they wanted to provide a different shopping experience than what was previously available. They want to make sure that every customer gets exactly what they want, which means they focus on each individual customer. They have many items, such as jewelry, bath & body products, baby gifts, and greeting cards. They are constantly restocking their bestsellers and updating their inventory.
Turn Style Burnsville - (14150 Nicollet Ave. S,, 952-898-1042, website) Turn Style Burnsville is a consignment store that has a huge selection of brand clothing at very good prices. They carry brands such as Ann Taylor, Ralph Lauren, Nike, and J Jill. They also have accessories, and home furniture and decor. They will take all of the above from you on consignment as well, and it can be a positive cycle of buying and consignment. Whether you are looking for apparel, accessories, or furniture, you are sure to find something worth your while here.
Unique Burnsville - (14308 Burnhaven Dr.,, 952-898-0988, website) Unique Burnsville is a thrift store that has plenty to offer, including apparel, houseware, accessories, electronics, books, and much more. They also care about the community, and every Unique store has a cause they champion. Unique Burnsville has a Community Donation Center set up to help Big Brothers Big Sisters Twin Cities. In addition, they believe in helping our planet by recycling/repurposing items instead of simply throwing them out. They take items as well as sell them, too.
JL Beers - (1230 Cty. Rd. 42 W,, 952-456-6939, website) JL Beers is a warm and cozy bar with the tagline, "Seating for 1,000...47 at a time!" The service is friendly, and the atmosphere is relaxed. The menu includes the Rajun Cajun (burger), JLapeno Chicken (sandwich), and chicken fingers. For dessert, you can try one of their floats--root beer, cheerwine, or butterscotch beer. They have beer as well, of course, and they sponsor many beer-related events throughout the year.
Nutmeg Brewery - (1905 Cty. Rd. 42 W,, 952-892-1438, website) Nutmeg Brewhouse was started in 2015 by a group of friends who noticed a dearth of good pubs in the south metros. Their intent was to bring international tastes to Minnesota along with specialty beers, and they have been pairing the two ever since they opened. The decor is contemporary, and there are large screen TVs so you can watch your favorite game. The menu includes a charcuterie board, Scotch eggs, a kimchi Reuben, and Singapore ribs. They also have beer, wines, and Scotch flights on the potable sides (as well as non-alcoholic drinks).
Shooters Billiard Club - (1934 Hwy 13 E, 952-894-1100, website) Shooters Billiard Club opened in 1988 with 32 tables, and over 40 years later, it has twice the tables in a 22,000 square feet, a cafe, beer and wine, and a pro shop. You can eat as you play, and it doesn't matter what your skill level is--you'll have fun playing here. They have league play as well, and you can sign up your league or have them match you with a team. They also have an in-house instructor in case you need some tips and tricks to help you with your game. Their cafe, Massé Cafe, has a menu that includes pizza, burgers, and house specials such as the Minnesota Fats Triple Decker Club. You can order their food for takeout as well. This is a great place for an evening of food and fun with your family and/or friends.
Community Arts & Recreation
Ames Center - (12600 Nicollet Ave.,, 952-895-4685, website) The Ames Center opened in 2009 as the Burnsville Performing Arts Center. It has two theaters--the cozy Black Box Theater and the more expansive Masquerade Dance Theater. There is also a 2,000 square-foot art gallery, plus rooms that can be used for banquets and other special occasions. There is also a large rehearsal space and there are meeting rooms. There are performances here throughout the year by local performers and out-of-state performers as well.
Burnsville Visual Arts Society - (P.O. Box 3171,, , website) The Burnsville Visual Arts Society (BVAS) was created in 1981 in order to highlight the importance of art within the community. It has been advocating for art ever since as it firmly believes that art enhances life. The BVAS cultivates artistic experiences as well as promoting art events around the city. The events include rotating art exhibits and the Art Fete, which is an annual event.
Cyprus School of Music and the Arts - (13560 County Rd. 5,, 952-426-4483, website) The Cyprus School of Music and the Arts, formerly known as the River School of Music and the Arts, is intent of exposing everyone to the wonders of music. They have classes for people of all ages, including Kindermusik for the under-five crowd. They also have classes, ensembles, lessons, and summer camps that include band camp and drama camp.
JUL: International Festival of Burnsville - (12550 Nicollet Ave.,, 952-895-4400, website) The International Festival of Burnsville was dreamed up in 2006 to celebrate the diversity of the city. It takes place in the Nicollet Commons Park every summer, and it has dancing and music from different cultures worldwide. There are culture displays and art exhibits, and food as well. There is also a Kids Village that has fun activities for children. Artists are invited to submit their works for the art exhibits, and they are encouraged to center their work around family and community. The food is global, and there is a raffle, too. The festival kicks off with a parade of flags.
AUG: Art and all that Jazz Festival - (12550 Nicollet Ave.,, 952-895-4500, website) The Art and all that Jazz Festival first occurred in 2003, and it has grown into one of the most highly-anticipated events in Burnsville every summer. It draws over 15,000 people, and they are all eager to hear the top-notch jazz that is performed at the festival. In addition to the music, there is a variety of food, a 'petting zoo' of instruments by Groth Music, and plenty of arts and crafts being sold as well. It's a great way to meet your neighbors and listen to some groovy music at the same time.
SEP: Heart of the City Race - (100 Civic Center Pkwy.,, 952-646-1772, website) The Heart of the City Race started in 2012 and became A Run to Remember two years later after a tragic event for one of the founders, Trish Wehling. Participants are encouraged to celebrate the lives of lost loved ones, and all proceeds go to the Kids Feeding Kids program (Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities). The races are 5K, 10K, and 15K, and they wend their way through the Heart of the City streets. The HOTC Race is always the first Saturday after Labor Day.
SEP: Burnsville Fire Muster - (100 Civic Center Pkwy.,, , website) The Burnsville Fire Muster has been around officially since 1980, but the seeds of it were sown in the late 1970s by one man, Roger Jackson, who collected fire equipment, and his friends. They planned an annual summer event where they showed the fire equipment to the neighborhood children, and it was always a rousing success. In 1980, Jackson suggested a fire muster when the city was looking for a city-wide celebration. His suggestion was accepted, and it's been a staple of the summer ever since. Over the years, it's grown and expanded, and there is fire equipment from all over the Midwest. In addition, there is food, a parade, and an activity area for children. There is a fun time to be had by everyone in the community.
NOV: Winter Lighting Ceremony - (12600 Nicollet Ave.,, 952-953-7442, website) The Winter Lighting Ceremony takes place every year on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, a tradition for over 20 years, and it's about bringing some warmth to the community during the coldness of the winter. The ceremony takes place at Nicollet Commons Park, but the lighting happens all over the Heart of the City with over 200,000 mini-lights, 230 streetlight snowflakes, and a 30-foot-tall tree awash with lights. It is sponsored by the Burnsville Community Foundation, who have made it possible through donations from businesses and residents.
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