Prior Lake Quick Facts
County: Scott
Population: 26840
Size: 19.09 sq.mi.
Median Home Price: $563500
Average Rent Price: $1353
Commute to Mpls: 30 min.
Commute to Stp: 35 min.
Electricity: Varies
Natural Gas: CenterPoint Energy
Garbage / Recycle: Varies
House Styles Website
Prior Lake Overview
Prior Lake is an exurb of Minneapolis and has roughly 28,000 people.  It is to the southwest of Minneapolis; it has a nice blend of big city as it has easy access to the Twin Cites and a small town feel of community. There are plenty of family-owned businesses and restaurants, which adds to to the closeness. The City prides itself on all the available outdoor activities, which ranges from golf to fishing and boating. There are thousands of acres in their parks, which offer trails for hiking, sports fields, and nature preserves. One of the most popular parks is Lakefront Park, and there is an annual Lakefront Park Days event to celebrate the city. Another popular lake is the titular Prior Lake, which is divided into Upper Prior Lake and Lower Prior Lake. There is a strong business community as well. The Prior Lake's Chamber of Commerce has over 400 members and many of them are actively involved in the community. They support many valuable causes including R.O.C.K. (Reaching Our Community's Kids), which is a nonprofit that gives backpacks of food to kids who come from homes with food insecurity. On the entertainment front, there are many places/events nearby to enjoy. Mystic Lake Casino, Canterbury Park in the neighboring Shakopee, and Valleyfair, also in Shakopee, for fun in the summer.
Prior Lake Boundaries
Prior Lake Then And Now
Prior Lake has a long history that starts with the Ice Age forming the lakes through the Native Americans living on the land to the Europeans settling on the land in the 1850s. Early migration for trading with the indigenous folks occurred in the 1830s, but settlement did not happen in earnest until twenty years later. Initially, it was a farming community. There was little there for the first two decades because there was easy way to move there. A line for the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad was completed in 1872, and that was the start of the establishment of Prior Lake. The Grainwood House (later Grainwood Hotel) opened in 1879 and had a grand ball for distinguished members of Minnesota society. It still had a small town feel to it, and by 1888, 62 people lived in town. The Village of Prior Lake was incorporated in 1891. The telephone came to Prior Lake in 1900, and that was when the city truly started to take shape. In the next four decades, the city got electricity, a volunteer fire fighting department, churches, schools, and a newspaper. Nowadays, Prior Lake is a desirable place to live in Minnesota. It has plenty of parks and lakes including the titular Prior Lake and the popular Sandpoint Beach Park. It's a very business-friendly community with businesses eager to give back to the community, and it has many mom & pop businesses, too. It has the benefit of being close to both Minneapolis and St. Paul while retaining the closeness of a smaller city.
Prior Lake Environmental / Green
Prior Lake does not have any stated environmental policy, though there are many groups and residents who are looking for ways to preserve the environment. The titular Prior Lake has been on the Minnesota's 303(d) list of impaired waters since 2002 due to excessive nutrients (phosphorous).
Prior Lake Resident's Top Ten Pics
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Prior Lake Parks
Cleary Lake Regional Park - ( 18106 Texas Ave.,, 763-694-7777, website)

Cleary Lake Regional Park is part of the Three Rivers Park District and is a very popular park in the south metro. It has over a thousand acres of varied environments, and it offers activities ranging from hiking to camping to boating. There is a campground, a playground, and a 28-acre off-leash dog area. The last is fenced off with a wetland pond, and it allows your canine companions to make friends with other dogs. The park also has skijoring & dog sledding, geocaching, and fishing. There are picnic areas when you need to take a break from all the activities.

Lakefront Park - ( 5000 Kop Pkwy. SE,, 922-447-9820, website)

Lakefront Park is a popular neighborhood park with lots to do for everyone. It was developed in 2001 and has 130 acres. It features an amphitheater, a floating boardwalk, and a skate park. It sits on the southern tip of Prior Lake and is home to Watzl's Point Beach, which has boating docks, a swimming beach, and a picnic area. It has two ice rinks and one skating rink, a large playground for the kids, a full-sized soccer field, and more courts and fields for the sporty types. The crowning jewel is the pavilion that can be rented for any occasion. It seats 60 inside and has an extended veranda that has an additional 80 seats.

Memorial Park - ( 5181 160th St.,, 952-447-9800, website)

Memorial Park was opened in 1948 and is one of the city's oldest parks. The annual Memorial Day program is held here as is some amateur baseball fun between the two local teams, the Jays and the Mudcats. There is a playground area that is enjoyable for the younger set, and there is a picnic shelter nearby (and another one in the park as well). There are grills available, too. For the sporty type, a basketball court and baseball field are available. There is a concession stand connected with the baseball field.

Sand Point Beach Park - ( 14349 Crest Ave. NE,, 952-447-9820, website)

Sand Point Beach Park is a great place for people to gather if they like the water and water-based activities. There is a fishing pier, boat slips and canoe racks, and an area for swimming, of course. The view is gorgeous from the pier, and the feel of the sand between the toes is invigorating. There is a playground nearby for the kids who aren't as interested in playing in water. There are also two picnic shelters if you need a break from the water activities and want to grab a bite to eat or just have a little sit down.

Spring Lake Regional Park - ( 15851 Howard Lake Rd. NW,, 763-694-7777, website)

Spring Lake Regional Park is part of the Three Rivers Park District. It has 374 acres of diverse environments, including a tamarack bog and open water wetlands. There are vast open green areas, one of which is an off-leash dog park. Big dogs, little dogs, and dogs in between can make new friends here and have plenty of room to romp around. There is a 10-acre fenced off area for the dogs, and it has a watering and rinsing section. One of those acres is further fenced off for small dogs to play without worrying about bigger dogs. There are also plenty of trails--biking, snowmobiling, hiking, and dog.

Prior Lake Restaurants
Charlie's on Prior - ( 3950 Green Heights Trail SW,, 952-226-5253, website)

Charlie's on Prior is a lakeside restaurant that serves American fair in a casual, relaxed atmosphere. The decor is on the woody side, and they have patio seating for when the weather's nice. The staff is friendly and welcoming. The menu includes Fried Avocado, Chicken Tinga, Razorback Burger, Shrimp Portofino, and Chuck's Deluxe (pizza). They cater as well. Their drink menu includes Mexican Honey Light, Castle Cream Ale, Mango Cart, and so much more. They have boat slips, too, as they are on the marina. You can order online.

Fong's Restaurant & Bar - ( 4770 Pleasant St. SE,, 952-447-3664, website)

Fong's Restaurant & Bar is a family-owned Chinese restaurant, owned by Leo and Cindy Le. The decor is a meditative green and maroon with an earthy feel, and the atmosphere is relaxed. The staff members are very friendly, and the menu is vast. The menu includes pork lomein, hot pepper shrimp, and kung pao chicken. They have takeout, and they also have banquet facilities and can cater your special event.

Mystic Steakhouse - ( 2400 Mystic Lake Blvd.,, 800-262-7799, website)

Mystic Steakhouse is located in the Mystic Lake Casino and is an upscale, award-winning steakhouse. The beef and the seafood are flown in on a daily basis, and they pride themselves on serving Linz Heritage Angus from family-owned Midwestern providers. They also use locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients whenever possible for quality freshness. The restaurant is classically decorated and has an airy feeling to it. The service is attentive, and the atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming. The menu includes Organic Truffle Deviled Eggs, Chicken Breast Grand-Mere, Atlantic Lobster Tail, and Filet Mignon.

Pizza-N-Pasta - ( 15875 Franklin Trail SE, #103,, 952-226-4200, website)

Pizza-N-Pasta is a casual pizza joint that opened its first shop in the Eden Prairie Shopping Center in 1979. Now, it's a staple in the southern metro and is a family favorite. It has a relaxed atmosphere with friendly staff members. The menu includes Baked Rigatoni, Hawaiian Pleaser (pizza), Chicken Alfredo (pizza), and Barbecue Chicken Hoagie. You can order online, and they have delivery. They also cater for special events.

PLate on Main - ( 16323 Main Ave. SE,, , website)

PLate on Main is an upscale American eatery with contemporary and minimalist decor. It was opened in 2018 by Lori and Bill Peterson with their son, Andrew. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and the atmosphere is relaxed and warm. The menu includes seven seas (pasta), prime rib sandwich, saffron paella, and seafood chowder. They have plant-based options such as green curry pasta, plant based ribz, and a plant-based patty can be substituted in their burger. You can order online and they have private dining, too.

Prior Lake Shopping
Eileen's Colossal Cookies - ( 6880 Boudin St., Suite 185,, 952-226-2253, website)

Eileen's Colossal Cookies is a national chain, but the only one in Minnesota.  It was opened in 2013 and is owned by Colleen and Sean O'Malley. The shop itself is vibrant in green and yellow, and the atmosphere is cheerful. The service is friendly, and they offer a diverse range of options as well. They have 3 Inch Dozens (plain, frosted, and sprinkles), 4 Inch Cookies, Frosting to Go, and more. They also do custom orders for special events such as birthdays, confirmations, and holidays.

gg Pretty Things - ( 16180 Hastings Ave. SE,, 952-440-4114, website)

gg Pretty Things is a women's clothing boutique that is cozy and homey. The staff members are friendly, and the atmosphere is welcoming. The clothing ranges from casual to more formal, and they have tops, bottoms, dresses, and outwear. They also have home goods such as Minnesota plates, glasses, and candles. You can order online, and there is free local delivery.

Lakeside Eats and Treats - ( 16220 Main Ave.,, , website)

Lakeside Eats and Treats is an ice cream shop with a casual atmosphere and friendly, helpful staff members. Their menu includes Scoop Ice Cream, which is a scoop (or two or three) of your favorite flavor(s) in a cone or a cup, Nutella Banana Waffle, and Funky Monkey. They also have the Smoothie Bowl, which is gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan. They also have other foods such as popcorn and chili. It's a great treat for everyone in the family.

Stems & Vines Floral Boutique - ( 4717 Pleasant St. SE,, 952-440-3200, website)

Stems & Vines Floral Boutique has been up and selling flowers for over 30 years. They have a firm belief in sustainability and supporting local businesses. In addition, they are taking steps to help the environment, such as using solar panels to power the store and collecting and using rain water. The store is cozy and filled with all kinds of different flowers, and the staff members are eager to find/create the perfect arrangement for each customer. They have roses and bouquets, baskets and other arrangements. They have arrangements for all occasions, such as birthdays, weddings, and graduations.

Twisted Loop Yarn Shop - ( 16210 Eagle Creek Ave. SE,, 952-240-8550, website)

Twisted Loop Yarn Shop was opened in 2011 at the Prior Lake Farmers  Market by Jenni and Bob Krosnowski where it was a 10 x 10 tent. Now, it's in the Prior Lake Library and is filled with all sorts of beautiful yarn. Jenni and her staff members are friendly and knowledgeable, and they are eager to find the perfect yarn for each customer. They also have knitting classes for people at all levels from beginner to pro. In addition, they offer something called the KAL, which stands for Knit Along, and is a social gathering for those who want to interact with others while knitting.

Prior Lake Nightlife
Extra Innings Saloon - ( 16299 Main Ave. SE,, 952-447-9900, website)

Extra Innings  Saloon is a neighborhood joint that is cash only. It doesn't offer many amenities, but the atmosphere is warm, the drinks are stiff, and the service is friendly. They have pull tabs and pool, and it's a great place to get together with some friends to grab a beer or two and have a low-key evening.

T.J. Hooligan's Pub & Grub - ( 16731 Hwy. 13 S,, 952-447-6668, website)

T.J. Hooligan's Pub & Grub opened in 1984 and are a casual American bar and grill. The decor is woodsy, and the service is friendly. It has a relaxed atmosphere in which you can gather with friends and/or family. They use their own recipes. The menu includes Black and Bleu Burger, Almond Crusted Alaskan Haddock, Cajun Chicken Penne, and Biscuits and Gravy. They have a full bar, and they have karaoke two nights a week. They have patio seating as well for when the weather is nice.

The Meadows Bar and Grille - ( 2400 Mystic Lake,, 800-262-7799, website)

The Meadows Bar and Grille is located in the Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, and the decor is woody. It has an open and airy feeling to it, and the atmosphere is relaxed. There is a fireplace in the middle which warms up the place, and there are plenty of TVs for watching sports. The service is excellent as well. The menu includes Truffle Mac and Cheese, Beer Braised Beef (flatbread), Bucatini Carbonara, and The Veggie Lover (burger). They have specials on different days such as Bar Bingo Special on Thursdays and Fresh Catch Fridays.

The Pointe Bar and Grill - ( 16691 Hwy. 13 S,, 952-855-9856, website)

The Pointe Bar and Grill is an American restaurant/bar with minimalist but warm decor and friendly service. The atmosphere is festive with live music and patio seating, weather permitting for the latter. They also have a Diner Club with special perks. Their menu includes Jalapeno Cheese Rolls, Brat Burger, Giant Clubhouse, Cajun Pasta, 5 Meat Pizza, and Chicken Bacon Quesadilla. For dessert, you can try tho Towering Carrot Cake.

The Wild Pub Restaurant & Bar - ( 3151 Wilds Ridge,, 952-445-3500, website)

The Wilds Pub is the restaurant connected to The Wilds Golf Club, and it serves a variety of American food. They are situated on the golf course with patio seating for when the weather permits, and the vista is gorgeous.  The decor is woody, and the service is friendly. The menu includes Seafood Pasta, Almond Crusted Walleye, Meat Loaf Dinner, and Salted Caramel Cheesecake. Drink-wise, they have a full bar.

Prior Lake Community Arts & Recreation
Christina Keith Studios - ( , 952-221-7499, website)

Christina Keith is an artist who works with mixed media and focuses on the natural landscapes surrounding her. She has been operating her studio since 2015. She does both paintings and ceramics, and she focuses on utility and beauty in the latter category. In the former, her lines are clean and leaning towards minimalist as she incorporates vintage maps into her paintings. She works closely with her clients to create the art they they desire, and she has produced several quality custom pieces. She prides herself on her unique works of art.

Mittelstadt Art Works - ( , 612-657-8278, website)

Mittelstadt Art Works was established by Richard Mittelstadt when he realized that his passion for art was equaled by his talent. He works in acrylic paints, and he enjoys blending representational and nonrepresentational art. He produces a lot of vibrant, colorful landscapes that are alternatively haunting and evocative. He has won several awards for his art. He does not have a brick store, but sells his art online.

Premiere Dance Academy - ( 4616 Colorado St. SE,, 952-447-5788, website)

Premiere Dance Academy was opened in 2007 by Dawn Schulberg, Cassie Norgren, and Callie Schulberg. They are a mother and daughter(s) team who have a wealth of experience in all aspects of dance, and they are passionate about sharing that love of dance to all their students. They have won several awards in their industry, and they are proud of their state-of-the-art dance studio that has 12,500 square feet of space, including 5 dance studios with sprung floors.  They offer recreational classes and classes geared for preschoolers. They have teams for competition for which there are auditions, and Hot Kix is their kickline (also competition and determined by audition). Their classes include ballet, hip hop, and lyrical. They welcome students of any and all skill levels.

Prior Lake Players Community Theatre - ( P.O. Box 359, , website)

Prior Lake Players Community Theatre was established in 1972 and is 100% volunteer. The purpose is to support and nurture local thespians and to put on productions both original and established. Additionally, they work with the Scott County school system and community to provide educational and charitable productions in order to bring the community closer together. Recent performances have included Seussical the Musical, Annie, and The Odd Couple (female version). They also welcome anyone to volunteer, audition, and/or become a member.

Prior Lake Events
FEB: Prior Lake Polar Plunge - ( 14346 Crest Ave. NE,, , website)

The Prior Lake Polar Plunge is part of the state-wide plunge which was started by law enforcement as a way to raise money for the Special Olympics Minnesota.  It is held in February, and the Prior Lake one takes place in at Sand Point Beach. Several thousand people jump in icy waters in the middle of winter, and it's all for a good cause. The Prior Lake Polar Plunge started in 2009, and it's being going strong ever since.

JUL: Lakefront Music Fest - ( 5000 Kop Pkwy. SE,, , website)

Lakefront Music Fest is an annual musical festival hosted by the Prior Lake Rotary Club. It is held in July in the Lakefront Park, and it was known as the Lakefront Jazz & Blues Festival until 2010. Two years later, the festival expanded to two nights--one for country and the other for classic rock. The festival is one of the most popular events in the city, and all the proceeds go to the Prior Lake Rotary Foundation. The Prior Lake Rotary Foundation gives funds to humanitarian, environmental, and educational causes.

AUG: Lakefront Days - ( 5000 Kop Pkwy. SE,, , website)

Lakefront Days is a summer celebration that takes place in Lakefront Park every August. It was established in 1984, and it's now a two-day fest that is jam-packed with activities for everyone to enjoy. These activities have in the past included wine tasting, a parade, a carnival, a silent auction, live music, a medallion hunt, and so much more. It's a fun way to get to know your neighbors while also having a good time.

OCT: Candy Crawl - ( 4646 Dakota St. SE,, 952-447-9800, website)

The Candy Crawl is a fun Halloween event that takes place, of course, in October. It starts at City Hall where a Candy Crawl map is handed out so that you can see all the businesses participating in the crawl. At the City Hall, there is trick-or-treating as well as voting on decorated pumpkins. The fun times continue at the Police Station and Prior Lake Library, and then to dozens of businesses after that. It is fun for kids of all ages, and it's free to kids in costumes who are accompanied by an adult.

DEC: DecemBRRR Dazzle - ( 5000 Kop Pkwy. SE,, , website)

DecemBRRR Dazzle is a celebration of the winter holidays hosted by the City in December, naturally. It is held at Lakefront Park, and there is a Santa (with a few of his reindeer) available for pictures with the kids. There is plenty to do and see including ice carving demonstrations, mini-golf, a bonfire with the fire department, and more.  There will be concessions sold as well as a collection of new youth winter clothing and new unwrapped toys for the CAP Agency and the Tree of Warmth. It's a great way to warm up on a chilly Minnesota Winter evening.

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