“Where should I live?”
Everyone asks this simple, yet important, question at some point. And the final decision impacts all areas of our life, potentially for the rest of our life! Thanks for joining us in this ongoing series as we explore many of the Minneapolis-St. Paul neighborhoods and communities to help provide some insight and guidance for your answer! Let’s look at the shores of Lake Minnetonka – Wayzata!
First off, the city’s name, Wayzata, is derived from the Dakota word meaning “north shore”. This came to be because the original tribe that inhabited Wayzata treasured Lake Minnetonka for its hunting, fishing and harvesting. In 1867, the Saint Paul and Pacific Railroads extended their tracks to Wayzata and it officially became the “gateway to Lake Minnetonka”. This began the “resort period” as tourism increased and large hotels were built around the lake to make for a desirable vacation spot. In 1879 James J. Hill made the decision that “the people of Wayzata could walk a mile to get to the train” and moved its location. This move resulted in then end of the resort period as tourism began to fade away and the start of the “cottage period”. Many families began to build cottages for a summer vacation home on the lake. While most of these cottages were modest, there were a few families that began to build the monumental homes you see on Lake Minnetonka today. These names include, the Bells, Boveys, Crosbys, Peaveys, Pillsburys and Washburns. (The most well-known of those would be the Pillsbury, in fact the mansion built during this time was still standing until about August of 2018 when it was knocked down.) During this period, Wayzata did not see a lot of growth. This changed in the 1920s when motorboats were the new rage and Wayzata became the center of this new trend, with two famous boat makers based there.
Wayzata continued to grow and by the 1990’s there was an uptick of demolition of the original cottage homes to be replaced by much larger homes. This trend continues today. During this time, there was also a lot of construction for townhomes and condos. However, it didn’t stop there. The city was seen as a desirable location for office spaces, so offices, high-end restaurants and shops began to emerge on the lake front of Wayzata, now known as downtown Wayzata. The city is continuing to improve and construct more attractions for visitors and residents alike.
The largest employer of Wayzata residents are the headquarters of Cargill and Carlson Towers. Although these are not technically located in Wayzata they are both within 1 mile of Wayzata located in Minnetonka. Wayzata is also the original home to TCF regional bank, and although it has moved to Detroit there is still a corporate presence in the heart of Wayzata. Other headquarters located in Wayzata include Ace Casual Furniture, and Northern Gas & Oil Inc.
Independent School District #284 serves within 8 west metro suburbs (Plymouth, Corcoran, Hamel, Maple Grove, Medicine Lake, Medina, Minnetonka & Orono). In fact, the only school that is within the borders of Wayzata is the Wayzata West middle school. The district encompasses 8 public elementary schools, 3 middle schools and 1 high school. Wayzata school districts are rated #2 in MN and in 2012, was rated within the top 1,000 school districts in the US!
The most notable in this category would be of course, Lake Minnetonka. The city of Wayzata attracts many boaters and lake lovers. With access to the lake you can boat around Lake Minnetonka and/or enjoy the many restaurants Wayzata has to offer that are right on the lake. Wayzata prides itself in having excellent local restaurants. To name a few: the COV Wayzata, 6Smith, Gianni’s Steakhouse, McCormick and Schmicks, and the brand new Grocer’s Table. Alongside these restaurants lies Wayzata Beach – another great attraction to Wayzata. It is open to the public, and has many opportunities to rent different equipment to enjoy Lake Minnetonka with. Lastly, and possibly my favorite to enjoy, is the Luce Line Trail. You can enjoy the beauty of the entire trail through Wayzata, Orono, Minnetonka Beach, Spring Park, Mound, Minnetrista, and Saint Bonafacious.
With only 3.16 square miles in its city borders, Wayzata is the 157th “largest” city in MN with a population of 4,668. It is mostly comprised of homes that are owned, townhomes/condos, and senior homes. Homes vary throughout the city, but the rule of thumb is the closer to the lake, the more expensive! In Wayzata you will find million dollar mansions on the lake, to small modest ramblers. In some areas, you will even find a few of the original cottage homes built in the early 1900s.
Home values continue to stay steady with an increase in price this year of about 3%. The median sales price in Wayzata is $690,800. While Wayzata is one of the best places to live, it is rated on niche.com as a B- in the real estate section as you will pay a premium to live in this neighborhood. With the urban feel, city renovations, and lake location this is expected to remain the same in the future.
Wayzata has incredible amenities for all to enjoy, top-rated school districts and is rated #5 best places to live in MN! There is a strong-community based focus on preserving the Lake and the opportunity for all to enjoy it. Although many people think of Wayzata as “too far west” it is a short drive on 394 to Minneapolis from most areas of Wayzata. The opportunity to spend so much time on one of MN’s most loved of the 10,000 lakes makes Wayzata a great city to call home!