Welcome to Bloomington

Bloomington is the fifth largest city in Minnesota and just south of Dowwntown. As of 2016, it has a population of roughly 85,000 people, and it's known for its abundance of parks, including the Hyland Park Lake Reserve with its majestic vistas and the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

It has a strong economy and job market, thanks in a large part to being the home of the Mall of America, which is one of the largest malls in the world. It also has the only Ikea in Minnesota, and business has always been a mainstay of Bloomington.

Then and Now

Before Bloomington was Bloomington, it was the land of a Dakota tribe (in the late 1830s). Soon after, the Bloomington Ferry was opened, and travel across the Minnesota River was possible. In 1851, the area was opened to settlers, and some of the settlers were from Bloomington, Indiana, and decided to name the new area after their home city. In the early years of the city, the primary industries were flour milling, farming, and blacksmithing.

Bloomington slowly grew in the early 1900s. It experienced rapid growth in the mid-1900s, in part because of the post-World War II boom. It officially became a city on November 8th, 1960, and it has flourished ever since. In the sixties through the eighties, it was the home of the Twins and the Vikings, and the North Stars. It lost the Twins and the Vikings in the early 80s, and the North Stars moved to Dallas in 1993. The Mall of America, affectionately known as the MegaMall opened in 1992, and it put Bloomington on the map. The Mall of America is a major tourist attraction, and it's been a boon for Bloomington.

Bloomington is strong on education, which means it's an attractive city for families. It has plenty of culture, including theater and museums, sports, and nature. It's close to Downtown Minneapolis as well.

Boundaries

494 to the north, Minnesota River to the east and south, and 169 to the west.

Bordering Neighborhoods

Richfield, Burnsville, Eagan, Richfield, Edina, Eden Prairie.

Crime Stats

Here are some crime statistics for Bloomington.

Bloomington Crime Stats

Parks

Bloomington Off-leash Dog Park (Nesbitt Ave. S & W 110th St., 952-563-8877) is 25 acres of dog heaven. It's a great place to let your pooch run around to their heart's content and to meet some dog friends (and dog lovers as well, of course).

Hyland Lake Park Reserve (10145 Bush Lake Rd., 763-694-7687) is a vast expanse of nature in the city. It's a great place to escape from the hectic pace of daily life and truly feel as if you're in the wilderness. It's beautiful to behold and to experience. They have disc golf, skiing, and plenty of other outdoor activities to enjoy.

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife (3815 American Blvd. E (headquarters), 952-854-5900) was created in 1976 in order to house endangered species (including waterfowl and fish) across nearly 70 miles and 14,000 acres. It's a good way to get to know the various endangered species we have in Minnesota. Be sure to call before you visit either visitor center to make sure they are open.

Moir/Central Park (10320 Morgan Ave. S, 952-563-8877) is over 20 acres, and it has disc golf, softball fields, a volleyball court, grills, and a playground for the kids. It also has plenty of trails to traverse.  It's family-friendly, and the perfect place to go on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

Running Park (9501 12th Ave. S, 952-563-8877) is a great place to take the family whether you want to go for a run, play hockey, ice skate, or just have a picnic. It also has a playground and a softball field so it's perfect for outdoorsy fun.

Wet Bush Lake Park (9401 W. Bush Lake Rd., 952-563-8877) has a boat landing and canoeing, an area for picnicking, a playground, and a volleyball court.

Restaurants

5120 Restaurant & Oxygen Bar (Country Inn & Suites, 5120 American Blvd. W, 952-698-4864) is an elegant, modern American restaurant in a Country Inn & Suites hotel. It's quietly upscale atmosphere surrounds you as you dine on their updated versions of American classics such as pan-seared scallops and the nicoise salad. It's the perfect place for any special event, be it a family holiday or a wedding party dinner.

Ciao Bella (3501 Minnesota Dr., 952-841-1000) has been serving Italian fare to the city for over 20 years. They use local ingredients and make their dishes by hand. They believe in quality, and it shows in every dish. They will help you pair your meals with the perfect wine in this upscale restaurant. Try the seared ahi tuna or the walleye Milanese if you're partial to fish. Otherwise, there's brick roasted chicken, braised short ribs, or the New York strip if you prefer meat. They have gluten-free options as well.

David Fong's (9329 Lyndale Ave. S, 952-888-9294) is a Cantonese restaurant opened in 1958, and it's Minnesota-friendly. It's a roomy and warm restaurant that serves favorites such as chicken chow mein and New York Steak Chinatown.  Or, you can try something different like the Hoong Shu Chicken or Steak Kow. Their food is made from scratch. The service is friendly, and they have a bar as well.

El Loro Mexican Grill (8405 Lyndale Ave. S, 952-881-2151 & 9332 Ensign Ave. S, 952-452-9975) is a casual Mexican restaurant that is great to eat at with family and/or friends. It has many of the favorites, such as burritos, enchiladas, and they have plenty of vegetarian options as well.

Fat Lorenzo's (311 W 84th St., 952-888-3282) is an Italian restaurant in the Everett McClay VFW Post 1296. The atmosphere is comfortable and relaxed, and they are known for their award-winning pizzas, such as the New Haven (with clams). They also serve pasta like Baked Rigatoni, hoagies, and gelatos plus other desserts. They have both take-out and delivery as well.

Golden Wok (617 W 98th St., 952-888-0833) is a casual Chinese and Japanese restaurant that serves sushi and moo shu with equal aplomb. They have an extensive menu, so you can try several different things if you choose. Sushi rolls including hand rolls, sashimi, and udon noodles on the Japanese side. Chow mein, fried rice, and lo mein on the Chinese side. They have vegetarian options as well.

Gyropolis (2320 W 90th St., 952-746-2091) started in 20005 and has been serving gyros to the community ever since. It's colorful and casual restaurant with great service. As you can probably guess, they're best known for their gyros, but they have other dishes as well, such as falafel salad, spanakopita, and Greek oven potatoes.

Ike's Food & Cocktails (4400 W 78th St., 952-831-4537) is a low-key, casual restaurant where it's fun to hang out with your friends and sip on a mojito. Try one of their sandwiches such as the Frenchy or the walleye po'boy, or have a burger. They also serve small plates such as spicy fried calamari and the BBQ ribs sampler. They have happier hour every Monday through Saturday.

Mandarin Kitchen (8766 Lyndale Ave. S, 952-884-5356) is a Cantonese restaurant that is most famous for its dim sum. There is nothing like the feeling of busily eating little morsels of delicacies while servers are pushing carts of more tiny delicious bites nearby. Steamed buns filled with BBQ pork, shumai, spring rolls, scallion cakes, and hundreds more dishes to tempt your appetite. It's a beloved Twin Cities restaurant and with good reasons.

Tandoor Restaurant (8062 Morgan Cir. S, 952-885-9060) has been serving authentic Indian food to the community for over 20 years. Their curry is a family secret and made fresh, and the bread is baked in a clay oven. There are vibrant tapestries on the wall, and the staff is friendly. They have plenty of vegetarian dishes as well as traditional Tandoori-cooked meat and seafood, plus many more options.

Shopping

Attic to Basement MN (8909 Penn Ave. S, 952-288-1024) is a store that sells antiques, collectibles, and gently-used household items. They opened in 2006 and have been going strong ever since. They believe in finding the perfect fit for their customers, and they love to hear, "I had this as a child." Located in the mall.

Duluth Trading Company (9801 Lyndale Ave. S, 952-884-3561) was started by two brothers in Duluth before becoming massively popular for their durable and quality men's clothing and expanding all over the state. If you need clothing that will last through any kind of hard job you might put it through, DTC will have the answer for you. They recently added a women's line as well, and it's the same quality as the men's. The service is friendly and knowledgeable, too.

IKEA Twin Cities Home Furnishings (8000 Ikea Way, 888-888-4532) is a well-known and respected Swedish chain that provides ready-to-assemble furniture and housewares. It has other products as well, such as pet beds, rugs and other woven wares, and home electronics. One of the fun parts of shopping at IKEA is seeing all the (naturally) Swedish names for the products and trying to figure out what they mean. When you're tired after a full day of shopping, you can stop at the restaurant and try some of their tasty Swedish fare.

Mall of America (60 E Broadway, 952-883-8800) opened in 1992 to much fanfare. It has over 520 stores, 50 restaurants, a theme park, rides, movie theaters, an aquarium, and other attractions (such as The Lego Store). It has events like book signings, live music, and Toddler Tuesdays. No matter what your interest, you will certainly find something to slake it here. The Megamall, as it's affectionately known, is a popular tourist attraction as well as a local favorite.

Nightlife

GameWorks Mall of America (401 E Broadway, 952-500-8700) is a place to play games during the day (physical games including bowling and video games, current and classic) and to watch sports at night. They have plenty of treats to nosh on as you watch your favorite team, including tin can nachos, BBQ bacon cheddar burger, baked mac & cheese, and pomegranate parfait cheesecake. Located in the Mall of America.

Rick Bronson's House of Comedy (408 E Broadway, 952-858-8558) is all about making you laugh. It's a great place to have a bite to eat and a sip of wine as you listen to the likes of Michael Blackson and Heather McDonald. They are currently sponsoring a competition, Funniest Person with a Day Job, and you can sign up on their website. They are located in the Mall of America.

Lucky's 13 Pub (1800 American Blvd. W, 952-405-2213) is a brick-lined hangout spot with a wraparound bar and a patio for summertime dining. It's a great place to go with your friends and have a pint and a bite. They have all your pub favorites such as tater tots and Jucy Lucy (called the Juicy Lulu here). They also have other tasty dishes, like the cheese curd burger, Cajun hash, and Cincinnati spaghetti. They'll serve you a jumbo pretzel with a smile.

Shantytown Bar & Grill (8512 Pillsbury Ave. S, 952-881-7223) is a neighborhood watering haunt that has a casual and comfortable atmosphere. They are a local favorite, and their Cajun tater tots and burgers are the talk of the town. Have a pint while you're there or maybe even two.

Sports Page Bar & Grill (9014 Lyndale Ave. S, 952-887-0046) is a neighborhood watering hole where friends gather to root for their favorite team. They serve up all your favorite bar food including hamburgers, late-night pizzas, and wings. When it comes to game time, Sports Page has you covered. Located in the Great Bear Shopping Center.

Community Arts & Recreation

Artistry MN (1800 W Old Shakopee Rd., 952-563-8575) is committed to producing diverse, enriching, and progressive theater and visual arts. They are proud of their Bloomington roots, and they engage with their community in many meaningful ways. They support regional artists, encourage creativity, and embrace inclusiveness. They also offer classes, workshops, and exhibits.

Bloomington Center for the Arts (1800 W Old Shakopee Rd., 952-563-8889) is at the north end of the Bloomington Civic Plaza, and it offers a variety of performing and visual arts. It has two theaters, two galleries, a dance studio and rehearsal spaces, and classrooms for art. There are many events that happen at the center as well. The center is passionate about art, nurturing artists and art organizations, and being a place that supports the community through the arts.

Bloomington Chorale (Bloomington Center for the Arts, 1800 W Old Shakopee Rd., 952-563-8582) is a non-audition, mixed adult choir that allows all kinds of people in Bloomington and the nearby surrounding communities to enjoy the beauty of singing in a way that non-professionals rarely get to experience.

Bloomington Symphony Orchestra (Bloomington Center for the Arts, 1900 W Old Shakopee Rd., 952-563-8573) is comprised of volunteer adult musicians who are amateurs, semi-professionals, and professionals from the metro area. They perform six times a year.

Continental Ballet Company (Bloomington Center for the Arts, 1900 W Old Shakopee Rd., 952-563-8561) was established in 1988 and is committed to bring ballet to a wider audience. Not only do they adhere to the standards of traditional ballet themselves in their performances, they have classes to ensure that the tradition of ballet will be passed on to future generations. Whether you're a lover of ballet and want to see a performance or you're interested in learning ballet, the Continental Ballet Company is the perfect place to do so.

Eleve' Performing Arts Center (10820 Normandale Blvd., 952-300-0856) offers several variety of dance classes for kids of all ages. Tap, ballet, jazz, hip-hop, and acrobatics, just to name a few. They have competition classes and performance classes in addition to their regular classes. They also have classes for babies and caregivers, such as Baby Momma Yoga. They want to instill their students with a sense of excellence and teach them the beauty and fun of dance along  the way.

Great Wolf Lodge (1700 American Blvd. E, 844-563-9653) is more than just an indoor water park. In addition to the all the water activities they offer, there are other kid-friendly activities, shopping, restaurants, and other exciting adventures that the whole family will be sure to love. Climbing walls, bowling alleys, story time, and the Northwoods Friends Show are just a few of the options available. This is a great place for your next family vacation.

Hyland Greens Golf and Learning Center (10100 Normandale Blvd., 952-563-8868) has all the amenities you'd expect at a quality golf course. A driving range, bunker practice, and standard and family tees. They also have classes for kids to start them off young in learning to enjoy golf.

Events

Kite Day (Valley View Playfield, 9000 Portland Ave. S, 952-858-8500) is an annual celebration of kites. Kite lovers across the city are encouraged to come and let their kites fly high and proud. There's free entertainment and activities as well, so get out and enjoy the sun on your face as you merrily fly a kite.

Transportation

Bloomington has many options when it comes to transportation. If you wish to travel by buss, there is the Bloomington Transit and the Metro Transit. If you prefer the Light Rail, there is the METRO Blue Line and the METRO Green Line.

Schools

Preschools

Pond Family Center (9600 3rd Ave. S, 952-681-620) believes that all children can be high learners as long as they are given the right building blocks early on in life. They believe in engaging the parents of their students in order to ensure a quality education.

Southwest Early Learning Center (4901 W 112th St., 952-806-8900) has plenty of programs for children with developmental disabilities and/or low-income families as well as for children who don't struggle with these issues. They believe with strong support, any student can thrive.

Elementary Schools

Hillcrest Community School (9301 Thomas Rd., 952-681-5300) uses the Artful Learning instruction model (Leonard Bernstein's organization) to integrate art within every educational discipline. They believe that their students learn better through the arts. They pick their students from a lottery applicant pool, and they serve grades pre-K-5.

Indian Mounds (9801 11th Ave. S, 952-681-6000) is committed to ensuring that all students who leave their school is prepared to succeed in their further education and in life in general. They provide a safe and nurturing environment in which their students are allowed and encouraged to thrive. They help even the lowest-achieving students achieve their best. They serve grades pre-K-5.

Normandale Hills Elementary (9501 Toledo Ave. S, 952-806-7000) believes that engendering a sense of community within their students is the best way to develop committed citizens and students with a thirst for learning. They have gifted and talented instruction. They serve grades K-5.

Oak Grove Elementary School (1301 W 104th St., 952-681-6800) is committed to making sure all their students SOAR (Success, Optimism, Accountability, Respect) by fostering an environment in which this is possible. They believe that each student is unique and plans their curriculum accordingly, and they have gifted programs. They serve grades pre-K-5.

Olson Elementary School (4501 W 102nd St., 952-806-8800) creates an atmosphere that encourages  a lifetime of learning through excellence, diversity, and partnerships, and involvement in the community. They serve grades K-5.

Poplar Bridge Elementary School (8401 Palmer Ave. S, 952-681-5400) encourages exploration and curiosity in their students because they know that's the way to ensure a lifetime of learning in a world that is constantly changing. They have gifted & talented opportunities. They serve grades pre-K-5.

Ridgeview Elementary School (9400 Nesbitt Ave., 952-806-7100) is committed to bringing out the best in all their students in order to help them succeed in an ever-moving world. They partner with their students' parents to provide all the support their students need to grow and learn. They have special education programs and gifted & talented opportunities. They serve grades K-5.

Valley View Elementary School (351 E 88th St., 952-681-5700) believes in instilling ethical values into their students that enable them to learn and move in a rapidly-changing global community. They have special education programs. They serve grades pre-K-5.

Washburn Elementary School (8401 Xerxes Ave. S, 952-681-5500) believes that in the right environment, one that is culturally-sensitive and positive, any student can learn and thrive. They are committed to helping their students reach their highest potential. They have special education programs and gifted & talented opportunities. They serve grades pre-K-5.

Westwood Elementary School (3701 W 108th St., 952-806-7200) is committed to providing a safe environment for their students in which they can safely explore and satiate their curiosity. They value diversity and partnership in helping their students reach their educational goals. They serve grades pre-K-5.

Middle Schools

Oak Grove Middle School (1300 W 106th St., 952-681-6600) works with the family of each student to come up with individual learning plans best suited for said student. They have special education programs and gifted & talented classes. They serve grades 6-8.

Olson Middle School (4551 W 102nd St., 952-806-8600) provides a safe and respectful environment in which their students can explore and learn to their fullest abilities. They have special education programs and are dedicated to helping each student reach their full potential. They serve grades 6-8.

Valley View Middle School (8900 Portland Ave. S, 952-681-5800) has three principles concerning their staff and students: Learn, Inspire, and Connect. They have gifted & talented programs. They serve grades 6-8.

High Schools

Jefferson High School (4001 W 102nd St., 952-806-7600) is committed to giving their students an all-around education. Their students compete in drama, music, athletics, and academics. They are well-known for their athletic accomplishments. They have the Honors Diploma Program. They serve grades 9-12.

Kennedy High School (9701 Nicollet Ave. S, 952-681-5000) celebrates the diversity of their students as well as the creativity and innovation of staff and students. They believe learning is a lifetime commitment and have an honors humanity program (Nobel). They serve grades 9-12.

Private Schools

Bloomington Living Hope Lutheran School (10600 Bloomington Ferry Rd., 952-941-9047) is a private Lutheran school that believes in combining personal spiritual devotion with dedicated community outreach. They believe they are stewards of Christ and that education is an integration of the body, mind, body, and spirit. They serves grades pre-K-8.

Alternative Learning Centers

Beacon Alternative Learning Program (Bloomington Public School Educational Services Center, 1350 W 106th St., 952-681-6400) in an alternate way for students to earn high school credits. They provide smaller classrooms and more options for academic support. They help both Jefferson and Kennedy students and serve grades 9-12.

Metro South Adult Basic Education (Bloomington Community Education, 2575 W 88th St., 952-681-6100) offers daytime GED classes at Normandale College (9700 France Ave., S). They serve the South Minneapolis suburbs and offer a variety of classes in the different communities, including ESL.

Colleges & Universities

National American University Bloomington (7801 Metro Pkwy., Suite 200, 952-356-3600) is a small, private four-year university. They have flexibility that makes it easier for students with jobs to complete their degrees. They also have online classes as well. It's never too late to get your degree.

Normandale Community College (9700 France Ave. S, 952-8200) offers a variety of quality programs, whether you're interested in an 'employment-ready' degree or a four-year degree. They are affordable, and they have the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum, which easily allows the transfer of credits to the U of M, Minnesota State College and Universities, and several private Minnesota colleges. They have classes scheduled throughout the day and evening, and on the weekends as well. Flexibility is key here. They also offer several quality of life options, such as tai chi classes and stress management.

Northwestern Health Sciences University (2501 W 84th St., 952-888-4777) is a private non-profit university focused on health and wellness, including natural health care. They have a great teacher-student ratio, and they offer classes in a variety of disciplines including TCM, acupuncture, and massage.

 

© Copyright 2019 - Steven Hong - All Rights Reserved
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