Sometimes veering off your travel plans’ beaten path can bring the most pleasant and unexpected surprises. Golden Valley is one of many small cities and suburbs surrounding Minneapolis-St. Paul. However, it’s one of the only communities of its kind in the area that offers local charm, unique cultural attractions and fun activities for the entire family. Check out these reasons why you’ll want to put Golden Valley on your Twin Cities itinerary.
Golden Valley is more than a typical suburb
Some accounts claim Golden Valley was named after the daffodils, goldenrod and sunflowers covering the region. Others attribute the name to the town’s surrounding wheat fields. Whatever the case, The Village of Golden Valley incorporated in 1886 as a small agricultural community. It grew and expanded after the Electric Luce Railroad arrived in 1912 and became a full-fledged city in 1972. In 2011, Golden Valley celebrated its 125th anniversary.
For those who live outside of the North Star State, Golden Valley may be synonymous with consumer food giant General Mills, whose world headquarters is located just north of Interstate 394. But there’s more to Golden Valley than you might imagine. Today, this bustling suburb boasts lots of small-town charm with its quaint boutiques, one-of-a-kind shopping destinations and cultural attractions. You’ll also find an abundance of hotels and a wide variety of restaurants.
Lush parks and nature areas
Whether you enjoy a quiet walk, love playing your favorite outdoor sport or would simply prefer to bask in nature’s beauty, Golden Valley has you covered with it’s great parks and recreational areas. Over 1,035 acres within the city limits are dedicated to green space. That’s almost 50 miles of trails, multiple ball fields, courts and other activity areas.
General Mills dedicated the stunning General Mills Nature Preserve (9201 Olson Memorial Hwy.) in 2007. The Preserve’s 27 acres give visitors opportunities to learn about more than 50 different native plants while exploring landscapes that include a shallow marsh, a wet meadow and a floodplain forest. The area also features a half-mile trail that connects to the larger Golden Valley Trail System.
Brookview Park (200 Brookview Pkwy. N.) is a 33-acre, family-friendly park featuring lighted walkways and trails, a basketball court, six tennis courts, a basketball court, two sand volleyball courts, playground equipment and pavilions for those looking for a scenic picnic spot.
Art and cultural offerings
Golden Valley’s array of cultural offerings include the annual Golden Valley Arts & Music Festival, held every September at City Hall (7800 Golden Valley Rd.). The programming for this highly anticipated annual event includes a parade, a juried fine arts show, musical entertainment, fun kids’ activities, food trucks, artisanal local products, microbrews and more. It’s like a State Fair in miniature!
Located in the heart of the city’s retail and restaurant district, Market in the Valley (7800 Golden Valley Rd.) is Golden Valley’s farmers’ market. Open on Sundays from June through October, the Market offers live music, crafts and delicacies from local vendors and community members alike.
Founded in 1985, the Perpich Center for Arts Education (6125 Olson Memorial Hwy.) is one of the few state-supported K-12 arts education agencies in the U.S. This innovative academy offers instruction in music, theater, dance, the visual arts, the literary arts and international studies. The Center also hosts frequent exhibitions and performances of student work, from film screenings to complete musical theater productions to poetry recitals.
Lots of sporty fun
The idea of a suburb shouldn’t be limited to family homes and sprawling lawns. Golden Valley serves up all kinds of fun for avid sports enthusiasts.
The Brookview Golf Course (316 Brookview Pkwy. S.) sports a driving range, 18-hole golf course and the Three One Six Bar and Grill. The facility also features lawn bowling and a year-round indoor playground for kids.
3rd Lair Skatepark (850 Florida Ave. S.) is a spacious indoor skatepark for skateboarders of all levels. They offer classes, lock-ins, birthday party entertainment packages and more.
Pubs and nightlife
If you’re looking for a night out and want to avoid big-city crowds, consider these hotspots local to Golden Valley.
In addition to a variety of all-natural, nitrate-free sausages, custom-made burgers, giant pretzels and more, the menu at the New Bohemia Wurst + BierHaus (8040 Olson Memorial Hwy) also lists three dozen (and counting) local and international craft beers. As the Germans say, “Prost!”
JJs Clubhouse (6400 Wayzata Blvd) is a neighborhood sports bar that offers a great selection of local beer on tap, big-screen TVs and a variety of favorite “bar food” appetizers and entrees.
There’s so much to discover
All sorts of adventures await you just west of the Twin Cities. Don’t miss a chance to experience a Golden Valley getaway. On your next vacation, spend some time discovering Golden Valley.