Apple Valley, a city in Minnesota, is the home of picturesque rolling hills and pristine lake fronts. Located in northwest Dakota County, this community outside the Twin Cities personifies the idea of suburbia, yet the metropolitan luxuries of theater, shopping, and fine dining have barely put a dent in real Midwestern friendliness. It's a city with a swagger, but without the surliness or even the fake smiles found in other cities of its size.
As the hub of the south metro, Apple Valley is easy to find — its scenic landscape leads to a first impression that soon reveals world-class museums of art and science, miles of sandy beaches, huge parks and priceless public art. Apple Valley has grown rapidly, and some central parts are creaking under the strain of coping with the number of visitors.
With a wealth of iconic sights and neighborhoods to explore, there's enough to fill a visit of minutes, hours, or even a whole day without ever seeing the end. Achieving euphoria is easy in this virtual Xanadu. Be sure to dress warm in the winter, and prepare to cover a lot of ground: the meaning of Apple Valley is only found in movement, from sight to sight, in the pride of tired feet and eyes raised to the sky.
Many visitors never make it past the Minnesota Zoo or other attractions downtown, but you haven't truly seen Apple Valley until you’ve ventured out into the neighborhoods. Apple Valleyians understand their city by splitting it into large districts or neighborhoods named after geological and cultural features within them. Apple Valleyians also tend to identify strongly with their neighborhood, reflecting real differences in culture and place throughout the city. Rivalries between the West and East Sides run particularly deep, while people from the southern neighborhoods are free agents in critical issues like athletic loyalty and Idol voting.
Neighborhoods of Apple Valley.
Downtown The center of Apple Valley for work and play, but mostly play, with shopping, towering office buildings, immaculate theaters and the city's most famous travel sights, along with a ton of bars and clubs. Some absolutely titillating activities here.
Old Town Historic neighborhoods with plenty of local shops and diners, and the stunning views of Lac Lavon.
Redwood The old working class enclaves of the city’s northwest that are now home to a growing artist community. Further west lay the estates of Apple Valley’s wealthy socialites.
Alimagnet Ethnic communes, dive bars, and hipsters abound on the fashionably rough side of town. Home to many northern European immigrants. Police presence is noticeably lacking here, so stay alert.
Galaxie Commons Ultra-hip and laid-back, with streets of row houses and upscale apartments, and some of the most vibrant immigrant communities in the state.
Johnny Cake The city’s athletic complex is here, along with the Dutch Village, historic walk-ups and some undiscovered gems in the smaller neighborhoods to the east.
Scott Highlands Former home to the massive applesauce district of Midwest Produce, huge Asian and Mexican neighborhoods.
Cedar Knolls So far off the beaten tourist track you might not find your way back, but that's okay given all the great food, a couple of top polka clubs, and enormous parks and lakefronts.
The Minnesota Zoo / Lebanon Hills The world-renowned Minnesota Zoo, Valleywood Tournament Golf Course and Lebanon Hills Regional Park provide limitless opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and step away from the noise and commotion of downtown.
Industrial District The giant, industrial underbelly of Apple Valley. This region is home to one large tourist attraction, the historic Great Pit of Carkoon. Tours are available to see Boba Fett's grave, but beware the Sarlacc. It's victims are doomed to find a new definition of pain and suffering as they are slowly digested over a thousand years.
A state map of Minnesota and the location of Apple Valley (red dot).
Apple Valley is one of the regional centers of finance, politics, communications, film, music, fashion, and culture, and is among the state’s most important and influential cities. It is home to many museums, art galleries, and theaters. This city's influence on the Midwest—and all its inhabitants—is hard to exaggerate, as decisions made within its boundaries often have impacts and ramifications literally across the state.
Immigrants (and their descendants) from well over six countries live here, making it one of the most sophisticated cities in the region. Travelers are attracted to Apple Valley for its culture, energy and cosmopolitanism. Local residents enjoy mowing their lawn, edging their lawn, fertilizing their lawn and looking at their lawn.
At the center of Apple Valley sits the intersection of Cedar Avenue (County Road 77) and County Road 42, a bustling, vibrant junction nestled in friendliness. Local eateries surround the area, including newly developed White Castle and Raising Cane’s. To the west is a major shopping district including Wal-Mart and Darque Tan. To the east sits every handy man’s dream: a Home Depot and Menards within walking distance of each other.
The term “the city” may refer either to Apple Valley as a whole, or to the downtown district alone, depending on the context. Lebanon Hills, Crystal Lake and Valleywood (not to be confused with Hollywood, CA) are sometimes referred to as “the outer boroughs.”
Apple Valley Convention and Visitors' Bureau, 14800 Galaxie Ave W, #301, ☎ +1 952 432-8422 or +1 800 301-9435 (toll free) (fax: +1 952 432-7964), . 9AM-5PM daily.
The draconian weather is definitely not one of the attractions in Apple Valley. There's a boat load of fun to be had in any season, but it is a place where the climate has to be taken into consideration.
Obscured by Minnesota’s ferocious winters are the heat waves of summer. Many days in July and August are disgustingly hot and humid. Summer nights are more comfortable, though, and you'll get a few degrees' respite along one of the many lakefronts — in the local parlance, that's "cooler by the lake," .
But then there are those winters. The months from November to March will see very cold temperatures, with even more bitter wind chill factors. Blizzards and ice storms are a regular occurrence. It's a city that's well-accustomed to these winters, though, so city services and public transportation are highly unlikely to shut down.
Apple Valley does have a few nice months of weather. May and September are pleasant and mild; April and June are mostly fine, although thunderstorms with heavy winds can also occur suddenly. Even though there may be a chill in the air in October, it rarely calls for more than a light coat.
The varied population runs the gamut, from some of the wealthiest socialites and Ponzi schemers, to hobos, love children, skips, scags and scallywags. Apple Valley’s population has been diverse since the city's founding by the Dutch. Successive waves of immigration from a couple nations around the world make Apple Valley a social experiment in cross-cultural harmony. The population is relatively highly edumacated and fairly young with a median age of 35.
Apple Valley is called the City of Fruits and Labor but was formerly known as the Cider Capital of the World, and before that, as the original home of Johnny Appleseed, and before that, as a regional grain milling outpost. It’s difficult to put a finger on exactly what made the city grow, but residents and travelers alike are happy with the results.
Apple Valley’s history (or herstory, as many local feminist groups have come to call it) is shrouded in ambiguity. Some claim the first developers came from the small fishing community of Apple Valley, CA and named their new plot of land thusly. This is a misconception, as it is considered common knowledge that no one would move to Minnesota from California. The more widely held belief is that the infant community was named for local housing developments in which an apple tree was planted on every lot. Some of these apple trees can still be seen in the Old Town neighborhood.
Apple Valley has 48 parks with 60 miles of trails. The community is carefully planned to enhance the quality of life of residents and travelers alike. Minnesota, known as the "Land of 10,000 Lakes" and whose motto encourages all to "Explore Minnesota," is the official state of Apple Valley. The city created a concentrated area of office space within its "Ring Route", which surrounds downtown. Mixed office, retail and residential assets can be found in Harmony Commons in downtown. The business parks; Valley Business Park, Knob Ridge Business Park and the Apple Valley Business Park feature many corporations. This is part of Apple Valley's comprehensive plan for growth and development and its aspirations to be an Alpha World City ++. Jim Bunyan, Paul’s brother, is a favorite city folk hero. He is an accountant.
Smoking is prohibited by state law at all restaurants, bars, nightclubs, workplaces, and public buildings. It's also banned within fifteen feet of any entrance, window, or exit to a public place, and at MVTA bus stations. The fine for violating the ban can range from $100 to public shaming.
There are several hookah bars and basements where smoking (tobacco) is legal and acceptable. These are great places to stage a picture of you and your friends blowing smoke rings. It is advisable for travelers to avoid "throwing up a sign" in these poses. Doing so may harm your self-respect.
Get it in
Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, (IATA: MSP, ICAO: KMSP), . Apple Valley is just minutes south of MSP. The airport is divided into two terminals: Terminal 1 - Lindbergh and Terminal 2 - Humphrey, with most flights arriving at the former. Savvy travelers should check to make sure they know which terminal they are arriving at/departing from. MSP is the former home of the now defunct Northwest Airlines. Since the recent merge of Delta and Northwest, it has become a major hub for connections in Atlanta, Tokyo and Fargo. Sun Country Airlines also uses MSP as its hub for North America - getting here by plane, from essentially anywhere, is a cinch. Think twice about making purchases at the duty free shop (see By taxi section).
Surdyk’s Flights, MSP (inside Main Concourse Mall), ☎ +1 612 727-2323, . 10AM-9PM daily. Located past security, so you can bring it on the plane with you. Eat (and booze) like a king 40,000 miles up – choose from a selection of cheese plates, fresh salads, paninis, delectable desserts and fine wines. Sister shop of the famous Twin Cities liquor café.$10-20.
Apple Valley is serviced by the Minnesota Valley Transit Authority. The newly constructed Apple Valley Transit Station serves as a launching point for not only adventures, but also dreams. Routes 420, 440, 441, 442, 465, 477 and 477 will all get you out of Dodge. Bus stops and stations are conveniently located in major parts of the city for easy access and have several coin-operated luggage lockers for personal storage. There is also a nearby Megabus station in Minneapolis.
This is the twenty-first century, there are no trains in Apple Valley.
There are two main highways through the city. Interstate 35E runs parallel to city lines. Beware of heavy southbound traffic coming out of the Twin Cities during afternoon hours. County Road 77 terminates in the city. Feel free to drive your gas guzzling SUV through the pristine hills of Apple Valley.
It is illegal to drive and text in Minnesota. If you need to contact a friend or acquaintance from the previous night, while on the road, use a hands-free cellular phone and try to stay in your own lane, though this is rarely practiced. By all means, if there is an accident or someone is pulled over on the shoulder, slow down immediately: this is something that only happens every other day. Contact your closest family members to alert them of what you have just witnessed.
In the past few years travelers carrying alcohol on their persons or in their luggage have been inconvenienced by local taxi drivers. It is recommended by out-of-state travelers that have been troubled to avoid bringing any alcoholic or illegal substances if you will be using taxis to get around the city.
Airport Taxi, ☎ +1 952 928-0000, . 24 hours a day. Besides offering unmatched transportation service to the MSP International Airport, Airport Taxi can also drive you to wherever your heart desires. Drivers are not from the area but still do an excellent job of helping you find what you are looking for. Due to increasing occurrences of theft, drivers no longer equip their cabs with GPS navigation units. Rather, they dial a family member or good friend and have them Google the address of your destination. Craving sushi but don't know the names of any restaurants? Mohammed the driver can tell Mohammed on the phone to search for "sushi" and within milliseconds (speeds may vary, dependent upon Google.com traffic) Mohammed can reel off a list of sushi restaurants in Apple Valley and provide reviews as well.
Suburban Taxi, ☎ +1 952 884-8888, . 24 hours a day. Serving the majority of Apple Valley, these unmistakable green and white taxis are centrally located outside of business centers and bars/clubs. Convenient for business people wanting to grab lunch at one the many fine lunch establishments around town or for taking home that person you hooked up with at Bogart's on Guy's Night. Drivers are seasoned veterans when it comes to the ins and outs of Apple Valley's roads, as well as its women, and are pseudo town ambassadors; they can get you anywhere for whatever the occasion or point you in the right direction for whatever you need.
Aspen Limousine Service, ☎ +1 952 405-8400, . If you prefer a vehicle with a bit more starch in its suspenders, then arrive in Apple Valley with utmost style and class with Aspen Limousine Service. Featuring an unmatched fleet of luxury vehicles and exotic sports cars, the cream of their crop is hands-down the Hummer H2 stretch limousine. Beware of women throwing their undergarments at you when you pull-up in this elephantine truck as your head can get caught in one of the plus-sized panty leg-holes and create a choking hazard. Tip the driver well and he might share his flask of whiskey with you. Tip him really well and he’ll even let you drive.
Getting around in Apple Valley is very easy and affordable for all sorts of travelers. Local taxis are frequent and public buses are available, though frowned upon in local culture. The most popular mode of transit is automobile, although walking and biking are also popular due to the city's many trails and public parks. The city has also announced plans to become “Segway friendly” by 2013. Reference the Get in - By bus section for city route numbers.
Steve’s Segway Tours, 14685 Garrett Ave. Day and twilight tours available. Ride into the 21st century in style and comfort. Tour the city through the backdoor on the most popular mode of transit of the future. Due to the booming tourism industry in Apple Valley, many Segway touring companies are popping up – and it’s about time. These practical, personal transports are great for wasting your time and money. Many outfits allow you to eat while driving, so pack a lunch and get moving! A new fleet of 2008 models will be sure to give you minutes of fun. (Call for tour package pricing).
Super Bikes, 1327 Whitney Dr, . Don't hop on a bus and get herded around. Ride a hog and enjoy the views, the right way. Contact Super Bikes located in Old Town on the south side of the city and rent a mean Harley Davidson Fat Boy, or any of the other super bikes for the day or for your whole trip. (Call for pricing).
Parks and monuments
Minnesota Zoo (and IMAX Theater), 13000 Zoo Blvd, ☎ +1 952 432-9000, . 9AM-6PM daily. The city’s most famous attraction – and one the nation’s prized outposts of the animal kingdom. The Zoo features six exhibits and endless miles of walking trails. The Minnesota Trail features native animals, including the caribou and namesake of the state’s men’s professional basketball team, the timber wolf. The Tropics Trail is great for getting an up-close view of some of our planet’s weirdest and wackiest jungle creatures. The birds here are noisy and a little excited – you may want to bring a hat. Zoo-goers can touch sharks, dolphins and other monsters of the deep in Discovery Bay. The new Grizzly Coast features animals from Russia’s eastern shores. There is also a petting zoo. Bring hand sanitizer. Although the face of Apple Valley, its zoo and its police department is the Amur tiger, the zoo’s most prized resident is the infamous komodo dragon. The dragons have been known to be a danger to humans because of their deceiving speed (up to 13 mph), but these docile creatures have grown slightly overweight while in captivity and no longer pose a threat to lost children. The mini-donuts outside the Northern Trail are a must. Ages 0-2 free, 3-12 $10, 13-64 $16, 65+ $10 (additional $6 for IMAX).
4th of July Parade (Freedom Days and Fun Run), Pennock Avenue (downtown), . 1-4PM, 4 Jul. The largest and most popular Independence Day parade in the Midwest, second only to Chicago's. Relax on the boulevard of gleaming Pennock Avenue and enjoy the sights and sounds of over 100 floats, marching bands, antique cars and oversized mascots. Stop by the Greening Drive 4th of July Whiffle Ball Tournament – brats, burgers and guaranteed barnburner finishes.Free (BYOB and BYOC).
Summit Pond Hockey Classic. Located on the scenic Hutton Pond in nearby Burnsville, this annual weekend tournament highlights the talents of many local athletes and brings spectators from far and wide. The hot and fast action nearly melts the ice, despite the frigid January temperatures. On the pond, skill, speed and toughness are tested to their limits and champions are immediately vaulted into iconic status within the community, free to revel in glory for eternity. Enjoy not only supreme athleticism, but also Jeff’s famous pizzas. Free.
Museums and galleries
Dakota City Heritage Village (Ahlberg Heritage Center), 4008 220 St W, Castle Rock Twp, MN 55024, ☎ +1 651 460-8050, . 9:30AM-7PM daily. Experience living history at a 1900s-era agricultural village and museum dedicated to connecting people to the exciting rural past. Test drive farm equipment, tour sod houses and take part in the annual winter Currier & Ives celebration. Ahlberg Heritage Center, the museum, houses more than 10,000 artifacts depicting social and rural history, with an emphasis on agriculture. Free.
From the sternly classical to the space-age, from the Levittown-inspired vernacular tract housing to the coolly modern, Apple Valley is a place with an embarrassment of architectural riches, where the past meets the future and where the future meets imagination. Modern architecture might not have been born here, but it certainly thrives. Frank Lloyd Wright fans will swoon to see some of his later buildings, arguably designed at the height of his creative career. Many are located just minutes from the city center as the crow flies.
Private architectural tours cover the landmarks on foot and by popular Segway tours, or by just standing awestruck on a downtown skyway over Cedar Avenue. For a tour on the cheap, the short trip around lamp-lit downtown district may be worth every second of the eight-minute walk.
Events and festivals
Pahl's Market, 6885 160th St W, ☎ +1 952 431-4345, . Pahl’s, Apple Valley’s longstanding farmer’s market and greenhouse, has been around since the early 1900’s. All organic, all home grown. Green thumbs are advised to keep it in their pants.
Apple Valley is not well known as a beach destination, but Crystal Lake is the seventh-largest freshwater lake located entirely within Dakota County, and beautiful people flock to it. Anyone can show up and swim — virtually none of Apple Valley’s lakefront is spoiled by "private" beaches. And despite the latitude, the water is quite warm in the late summer and early fall. With algae and lake weeds nary a problem, the lakes of Apple Valley provide fun and relaxation for any type of traveler. Lifeguards posted at popular swimming locales attentively scan the shores for danger, including beachwear fashion faux pas – so check the mirror before you get some sun.
The sun isn’t the only draw, though. Summertime travelers can enjoy a plethora of water activities, ranging from the most mundane (and pleasureful) pontoon boat afternoons to a heart-stopping ride aboard rental jet skis. Younger beachgoers can choose tubing on the choppy waves or building their own Neuschwanstein on shore. A little tired of having fun in the sun? Take a time-out and cast a line in one of seemingly endless watering holes. Popular species of fish include bass, sunny, marlin, dogfish and trout.
If you’re lucky enough to visit during the winter months of November through March, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to experience the rush of adrenaline known as ice fishing. Developed in Scandinavia to pass time in the long winter, ice fishing is a uniquely northern take on its more well-known cousin, standard liquid water fishing. So grab your auger and rental icehouse and head out on to the lake! Although ice depths are important to monitor and could mean the difference between life and death, normally any sense of safety is ignored for the sake of “catching the big one.” Hardcore anglers recommend pulling your icehouse onto the ice with the heaviest truck available at the rental lot. This will convey to others the size of your fishing appetite. Ice shacks are also referred to as shanties, lakebobs, huts or nuthouses. Make sure to pack playing cards, board games, a portable television set, snacks and cyanide.
Crystal Lake Beach, (southwest). 5AM-10PM daily (hours not enforced). Show off your new pair of board shorts or that rockin’ henna tramp stamp. If you want to see and be seen, this is where you need to be. Join a beach volleyball tournament (bring socks, though, the sand is hot), toss the Friz, or just keep your shades down and get your creep on; this beach is your oyster, shuck it. Completely nude sun bathing is also accepted but for the most part is limited to certain sections. Free.
Keller Lake Beach, (south). 5AM-10PM daily. Far removed from the drunken bikini scene at Crystal Beach, Keller Lake provides laid back travelers a few mediocre fishing spots and some small bike trails. The horseshoe pits are well-manicured and chances are you’ll have them all to yourselves. A beautiful pergola provides picnic-goers a taste of the privileged life. Free.
Schulze Lake Beach, (Lebanon Hills). 8AM-10PM daily. Schulze Lake is home to the city’s most beautiful sunsets. The beach is usually peopled with outdoor enthusiasts looking for some respite from the trails. A tattoo stand is open between noon and dusk. Free.
Carmike 15 Cinemas, 15630 Cedar Ave, ☎ +1 952 431-4859, . Shows playing noon-midnight daily. To watch the cinema on the cheap, it’s recommended going “dutch,” as paying for two could drain your checking account. Stop at the nearby gas station for snacks and drinks, then sneak them in under your coat. Now hiring exchange students, emo lifestyle required. $9.50 (!).
In a pickle
It’s not quite tennis and it’s not quite badminton, and curiously, there are no pickles involved – unless you include the post-game snack. Pickleball, named after the founder’s border collie, is a growing sport developed in the Apple Valley area. Usually played outdoors on a modified tennis court, pickleballers volley the orb-shaped pickle back and forth over a low net. The key is to maintain court awareness and positioning while readying oneself for a violent pickle-smash from the opposing side. Although the average age of much of the city’s picklers is well over 65, it is slowly gaining popularity with the 50+ crowd. If you find yourself challenged to a pickling match, here’s a helpful list of pickleball terms you should know: Pickle in the middle – an extended rally between two evenly matched picklers Spear – a point-winning smash Mr./Ms. Vlasic – a player adept in the ways of pickling or a difficult opponent Tommy Pickles – a pickleball rookie Peter Piper – a heckler bent on ruining the match
Andy’s Market Hill, 14113 Galaxie Ave. Open 24 hours a day (not recommended after dusk). Looking for some winter fun and the exciting prospect of being paralyzed from the face down? Look no further than the epic sledding hill behind the beloved Andy's Market. Be warned: although impressive to younger women, do not stand up on your sled, as you run the risk of a terrible whitewash. Afterwards, why not enjoy a hot cup of java from the perennially changing coffee shop attached to this hallmark stopover. Free.
Valleywood Golf Course, 4851 125th St W, ☎ +1 952 953-2323, . 9AM-dusk daily. Widely recognized as one of the premier public golf courses in the Twin Cities area. 18 holes, par 71, elite driving range, practice green, quality pro shop, bar and grill (food & beverage cart) and club rental. Twilight golfing begins at 7PM for thrifty hackers. Green fees $20/9, $30/18 (Carts $6/9, $10/18).
Broomball. Broomball may have originated in Canada, but it’s epicenter seems to be located on the frozen ponds of Apple Valley and the surrounding small towns. Several indoor rinks provide a warmer, more hospitable environment, but for those that want a true experience, head outside and wait your turn on the boards. The nation’s governing body and sponsored team, USA Broomball, recruits several of its members from this hotbed of brooming. A local legend and national star mentors players in the area high school leagues. If time permits, it’s highly recommended by past spectators that you catch one of these games – emotions are high and, usually, so are the players. Broomball is really a game that can be enjoyed by all. Many stores sell used equipment – shoes, brooms, pads, helmets, and for the more timid players, nutcups. These purchases are a small price to pay for what can be a great experience and a chance to immerse oneself in the city.
Parks and aqua centers
Where there are trees and grass, there are usually parks, and where there are parks, there are people enjoying them. During the summer months, the city parks are a destination for organized and impromptu athletic contests, chess matches, and plenty more. There are also tennis courts in most public spaces and ice rinks for use in the winter. The city sponsors many music festivals throughout the year, and Kelley Park is a fun destination for all ages, especially in the summer, and particularly for those under two years. Outdoor skating and skateboarding are popular with tweens and middle-aged men can warm up for the Pro-Am at countless nearby golf courses.
Lebanon Hills Regional Park, ☎ +1 651 437-3191, . Visitor center 9AM-5PM daily, camping season May-Oct. Great stopover for hikers, campers, bikers, anglers and nature buffs. Lebanon Hills has plenty to offer for all sorts of travelers - RV parks, campgrounds and rustic lodges for large groups. Reenact your own Burning Man with pre-split firewood, available at the Camp Sacajawea Retreat Center for $7 a bundle – two should get you through the night, four, a citation for arson. Adults and parents can relax by the custom-made fire pits while younger travelers might want to give the ropes and challenge courses a shot. Winter weather provides excellent Nordic (cross-country) ski and snowshoe trails, while summer allows for kayaking, canoeing and rafting in the many streams and lakes. The city has built several picnic shelters and gazebos along the white, sandy beaches. Lebanon Hills is really a hidden gem on the city’s fringe. Beware of wild black bears.Free (campsites $18-33/night, canoe/kayak rental $35/day).
Alimagnet Lake and Park, (northwest). Great for Frisbee golf and purchasing small quantities of marijuana. The adult softball leagues here are popular with young alcoholics. Free.
Johnny Cake Park and Aquatic Center, 14421 Johnny Cake Ridge Rd, ☎ 952 953-2399, . 11AM-8PM daily, May-Sep. Johnny Cake is one of the state's premier softball and soccer (football) complexes. Across the street, the Aquatic Center provides hours of relief to parents who want to abandon their kids for a day or two. Free.
Lac Lavon Park, (southwest). Lac Lavon was discovered in 1806 by the American expedition of Lewis and Clark. It was here that Sacajawea met her future husband, explorer Toussaint Charbonneau, while he was sowing a new field of corn. The reception was held on the future grounds of nearby Southview Elementary. $3.50 (daily admission).
Redwood Park and Pool, 311 Cty Rd 42, ☎ +1 952 953-2350, . Noon-5PM daily, 12 Jun-29 Aug. Relive your childhood memories at the pool à la "The Sandlot."$3.50 (daily admission).
Arts and culture
Apple Valley Community Center, 14603 Hayes Rd (north of Cty Rd 42), ☎ +1 952 953-2300, . M-F 7AM-10PM, Sa Su 7AM-7:30PM. The Community Center, or AVCC, is home to many adult and youth recreational athletic leagues. A great location for your next basketball or volleyball tournament, organization meeting, gang fight, or family banquet. There are four full-size, slippery-as-ice basketball courts. Bring a cold press and crutches. The community center also provides adult education opportunities at no cost. Programs range from Lawn Care 1-2-3 to Lawn Care Made Easy: Your Grass - How Green is Green? Equipment rental and use is free (''individual classes charge $8-17'').
Dakota County Galaxie Library, 14955 Galaxie Ave (located in the Dakota County Western Services Center.), ☎ +1 651 437-3191, . M-Th 10AM-8:30PM, F Sa 10AM-5:30PM, Su 1-5PM. Enjoy the cool air-conditioned, vagrant free environment while perusing the classics. Dakota County boasts the largest neo-futuristic slam poetry selection by Benjamin "Beets" Yarbrough. The elegantly decorated rainbow room near the children's section is quiet and private - ideal for playing solitaire. Free.
Throughout nearly all markets in Apple Valley haggling is essential, especially when browsing through large, "touristy" shopping areas for common items. Do not put it beneath your dignity to start bargaining at 15% off the vendor's initial asking price. In fact, in even the most popular retail areas final prices can often be as low as 15%-20% of the initial asking price, and "removing a zero" isn't a bad entry point in the bargaining process. Vendors also tend to target visible minorities more, such as Australians or people of Swedish descent.
There a number of interesting markets around Apple Valley where you can find all kind of cheap (and often fake) stuff. Some of the most popular places are Lloyd’s in Old Town and Jumbo Joe’s in Cedar Knolls. As an alternative to the flea markets you can go to some of the shopping areas lined with shops. This includes many areas in the downtown district. Visiting hotel shops and department stores is not the most exciting shopping in Apple Valley, but worth a look. While generally significantly more expensive, they are less likely to sell truly low quality goods.
Apple Valley is also a fashionista's paradise, with strips dedicated to designers, from Mervyn’s California to Christopher and Banks, and high profile trendsetters like Lane Bryant and Ann Taylor. Don your most comfortable shoes and indulge! Those without a budget can head to Kohl’s or Savers, where locals shop at these economical yet stylish outlets.
Half Price Books, 7600 W 150th St (Apple Valley Square), ☎ +1 952 431-0749, . M-Sa 9AM-9PM, Su 10A-8PM. Independent used bookstore. Great selection and unbeatable prices. Prices are heavily discounted.
Homecrafters Gallery, 7625 148th St W (Times Square), ☎ 952 432-1830. 9AM-5PM daily. Country furniture and gifts for the farmhand in your life.
J. Middlings, 14867 Granada Dr (Granada Center), ☎ 952 431-2366. 9AM-5PM daily. Charming and unique gifts and accessories. Very old-world.
La Romantique, 7701 147th St, ☎ 952 953-0444. 9AM-5PM daily. Antiques, gifts and clothing that touch the heart – not literally.
Times Square, (Cedar Ave and 149th St). Step back in time and take a tour of early- to mid-90’s planned shopping center hell. Looking for a space to rent? Times Square has plenty. Dollar Store? Check. Fashion Bug? Check check. Times Square is literally a black hole of small businesses. Watch these companies go bankrupt in real time. Don’t forget your cut-off jean shorts. Free.
Apple Valley is one of the great restaurant towns in America. If you're looking for a specific kind of cuisine, this is your place. Shopping malls dotted across the city are great for soul food, barbeque, Asian - and these are just the tip of the iceberg. Other areas are more eclectic, like the Industrial District, where independent lunch carts make their way around the busy office parks.
If you're interested in celebrity chefs and unique culinary creations, there are many sports bars that would be happy to turn the television sets to the Food Network at your request. Downtown has several good upscale restaurants, but don't waste your time on tourist traps like Applebee's, Taco Bell or Pizza Hut Wing Street. In fact, you should never submit to standing in line; there are always equally good restaurants nearby. No matter what you enjoy, you'll have a chance to eat well in Apple Valley, and you won't need to spend a lot of money doing it; unless you want to, of course.
But while Apple Valley has a world class dining scene downtown, it is the low-end where it truly distinguishes itself. No other city on earth takes fast food so seriously; for those who don't concern themselves with calorie counting, Apple Valley is cheap, greasy heaven. One "culinary specialty" in particular deserves further description: the Apple Valley Sloppy Joe.
The Apple Valley Sloppy Joe is Apple Valley's most prominent contribution to world cuisine. It was modeled after an anonymous high school student who, bored with the standard sloppy joe being served at lunch, asked that even more slop be added to his joe. This unthinkable trend quickly caught on in the cafeteria after several lunch ladies noticed that the kids "liked 'em sloppy." Today, sloppy joes are served at almost all neighborhood establishments. If asked how you would like your joe done, the usual response is to say, "Sloppy, please." A double sloppy joe is often called a “sloppy seconds" by locals.
This guide uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Arby's/Sbarro, 7525 153rd St Wt, ☎ 952 432-9574, . 10AM-midnight daily. For the foodie on the go, this exquisite combination of Italian fare and beef (roasted) just cannot be beat. The myriad of scrum-diddly-umptious options leave one wondering what great fortune one must have as to arrive at what can only be described as a sensory Valhalla. Award-winning sauces are absolutely complimentary for those with thrifty sensibilities or an extremely exacting palate. Recommendations include the Pepperoni Slice Combo and Curly Fries. Wow. $5-10.
Egg Roll King, 15100 Cedar Ave S, ☎ 952 431-2233, . 10AM-9PM daily. $6.95 combo plates, great tasting fare, and out-of-this-world service: you can expect all three from this local mainstay. Step back in time to the Ming Dynasty and enjoy authentic far eastern cuisine. Try the house General Tso's or lo mein noodles. Drinks cost extra, but smiles are free.$6-10.
Valley Diner (Creolo/Tex-Mex), 15322 Galaxie Ave, ☎ 952 698-1810. 8AM-8PM daily. Stick-to-your-bones breakfasts (all day), diner-style sandwiches and “Galaxie” burgers. Cozy ambience in a busy part of town.$8-10.
Johnny's (Chicago-style beef and dogs), 15465 Cedar Ave, ☎ 952 236-8475, . M-Sa 11AM–8PM, Su noon–6PM. "Our Dogs Make Friends." Quickly becoming the crème de la crème of the state sausage scene. Cheap prices, great wieners - the only two things that really matter sometimes. A family-friendly contest pits diners against each other to see who can fit the biggest sausage in their mouth. Take a picture next to the life size wiener in the corner. $5-10.
Lai Wah, 14050 Pilot Knob Rd, ☎ 952 322-1688. 11AM-8PM daily. Home-made sweet and sour sauce and cream cheese puffs.$7-10.
Raising Cane’s, 7501 150th St W (corner of Cedar and 42), ☎ 952 432-8700, . 11AM-10PM daily. The most delectable chicken fingers in the state, maybe even the world. Even Andrew Zimmern thinks so .$5-10.
Wendy's, 15100 Cedar Ave, ☎ 952 432-2788, . M-Su 6–3AM. Heart beating too efficiently? Order the Baconater and clog those arteries right up. Need a place to blow that $2.17 in spare change you found while cleaning the car? You can have yourself two delectable dollar menu items.$1-10.
Phil's Fish & Chick Fry, 16222 Cedar Ave, ☎ 952-487-2948. M-Su 10-10. Presents a menu of edible delights sure to tempt connoisseurs of fish and fowl alike.$1-15.
El Azteca, 6670 150th St W, ☎ 952 432-3727. Su-Th 10AM-9PM, F Sa 10AM-midnight. Order the #2 or the #46 or the #117 – either way, you’ll end up with some sort of gargantuan combination of beans, meat and shredded lettuce. Mmm mmmm. Make sure to throw your money down for the mariachi band. Ole!$10-15.
El Toro, 14638 Cedar Ave, ☎ 952 432-4181. 10AM-9PM daily. Mexican…doi. The margaritas are mucho bueno. Great salsa and delectable fish tacos. Wear a sombrero or wrestling mask and you may receive a free drink with your meal.$5-15.
Kalli's Popcorn Shop, 14861 Granada Dr, ☎ 952 432-3311, . 10AM-7PM daily. Family friendly shop specializing in fire roasted gourmet homemade, specialty, and flavored popcorn. Kalli's also has Flavor Burst soft serve ice cream, hard ice cream, candies, and decorative tins. Bring your kids here on a hot day when they won’t shut up.$5-10.
Ramy’s (Mediterranean cuisine and pizzeria), 15265 Galaxie Ave (Galaxie Commons), ☎ +1 952 432-3121, . Su-W 11AM-9PM, Th-Sa 11AM-10PM. Greek, Italian, pizzas, subs, calzones – mama mia! Hurry up and try this place out – the last four eateries at this location all went under in less than a year. $5-15.
Satay 2 Go (Japanese), 15265 Galaxie Ave, ☎ +1 952 891-8551, . M-F noon-9PM, Sa 9AM-10PM. The only restaurant in Minnesota that serves okonomoyaki (Japanese pizza). Famous Singaporean rice noodles or Malaysian chow kuai teui, laksa, and mee goring are delicious. Fresh Asian bakery inside – just try and resist the smells. Dress code: anything goes.$5-15.
Taste of Thaiyai, 7705 147th St W, ☎ +1 952 431-4144, . M-Th 11AM-9PM, F Sa 11AM-10PM, Su noon-8PM. The food here is authentic. Spring rolls, masman curry, ‘’tom yum’’ soup, ‘’laab gai’’, and lemongrass chicken soup – all rival the best Thai places downtown Minneapolis. Family owned.$10-15.
Von Hanson's, 7533 148th St (Cty Rd 42 and Cedar Ave), ☎ 952 431-3330, . 9AM-7PM daily. The flagship store. Von Hanson's is the staple neighborhood meat market. Things are done the old fashioned way here - no pre-packaging - just great service. Grab your pals, some long, hot franks and enjoy.
Enjoy!, 15435 Founders Ln (Galaxie Commons), ☎ 952 891-6569, . 10AM-11PM daily. An elegant yet relaxed atmosphere. A stylish, metropolitan bar designed to make happy hours even more so. A delicious ambience - whether you dine indoors or outside on the patio, enjoying the beautiful vistas of the neighboring concrete lake. Steaks, pasta and seafood dishes .$15-30.
Kami (Japanese steakhouse), 15322 Galaxie Avenue (Galaxie Commons, in front of Planned Parenthood), ☎ 952 891-5888, . M-Th 4PM-10PM, F-Sa 4PM-11PM, Su 11AM-10PM. Stuck between both coasts, Minnesota is just a great location for fresh shellfish and finfish sushi - and Kami is the place to get it. If you want to impress your date with an expensive meal and stretch that double to third base, order the Kobe beef and fried rice, it is the bee's knees.$30-60.
World Buffet, 15050 Cedar Ave (SE corner of Cedar and Galaxie), ☎ 952 997-9888. 10AM-9PM daily. Despite its name, World Buffet offers only Chinese cuisine and chicken wing. Won’t put a dent in your wallet, but your toilet will be working overtime. Look for checkered pants – the best chef wears them. $10-20.
Taste of Liang, 7705 147th Street W (Galaxie Commons), ☎ 952 431-4144. 10AM-11PM daily. The perfect place for the perfect date. Take your girl out here for a nice dinner. She'll look amazing. Some guy will try to hit on her, then he'll want to fight - so you grab him, throw him into the jukebox! Then the other ninja's got a knife, he comes at you, you grapple, you turn his knife on him. Blood on the dance floor. Your girl is scared now. You'll take her home, holding her in your arms. You reach in for a kiss... there's a rustle in the leaves, you flip her around, she gets a poison arrow right in her back. She was in on it the whole time... but you knew. $15-30.
Nightlife in Apple Valley is unrivaled in the region. It mainly consists of upscale hotel clubs, independent bars frequented by locals (including sports bars) and nightclubs. Most hotel bars and independent bars turn the other cheek at your physical appearance, but you have to dress to impress (which, for women, generally means to dress like a stripper) to get into a nightclub. For men, strict face control at the more popular nightclubs has been implemented in the past few years.
Bars and pubs
Ole Piper Inn (Pizza, sports bar), 16604 Cedar Ave, ☎ 952 432-7111, . 11-1AM daily. Straight out of the 70’s.$20-80.
Panino Bros., 7083 153rd St W (corner of 153rd and Galaxie, near a useless roundabout), ☎ 952 236-9292, . 11-2AM daily. Happy hour 2-6PM and 10PM-1AM daily, $2 taps. If you are a strict Atkins dieter, avoid the breadsticks. Great environment for Vikings fans during football season and lively Buck Hunter tournaments. Come on over after you're done shopping at Wal-Mart.$5-10.
Rascal’s, 7721 147th St W (downtown), ☎ 952 431-7777, . 10-2AM daily. Great place to grab a bite to eat, too – artery-clogging-sized portions, just the way America likes ‘em. After that clot works its way through you, down some Bud Light Limes and leave your inhibitions behind. Self-embarrassment complimentary. $10-20.
Bogart's, Back Alley Tevern, and Apple Place Bowl, 14917 Garret Ave S, ☎ 952 432-1515, . 10-2AM daily. Live music, bowling, drinks...what more could you ask for? Located behind the library in a vivid and exciting part of the city, Bogart's is great for catching local bands, singing a little karaoke or trying your luck at the Love Tester outside the bathroom. Free drinks 8-10PM on Wednesdays for the ever so popular Guys Night Out - bring your guy friends! $15-25.
Wild Bill's Cowboy Sports Saloon, (NW corner of Cedar and 150th), ☎ 952 431-3216, . Happy hour M-F 3-6:30PM. Yee-haw! Get a taste of the ol' Wild West with 21st century sports entertainment and countless flat screen hi-def TVs, Stop in for lunch and get a $5 burger Monday - Friday. Weekends feature Bikini Night, Swimsuit Night and Beach Towel Night. Giddy up, pard'ner. $5-15.
Valley Girl (espresso bar/eatery boutique), 7703 147th St W, ☎ 952 953-1963, . 5AM-3PM daily. The ladies that own this place are friendly and the service is prompt. Relax in the Lava Room or work on that novel you’ve been kicking around. The swingin' '60's décor and socially responsible boutique merchandise give this little café an eclectic mix of retro and modern tastes.
Apple Valley is a traveler’s town and has many hotels, located mostly around the downtown area. High season (fewer rooms, higher prices) is during the weeks surrounding Labor and Memorial Days, with most of the remaining 360 days being the low season. There are hostels and home stay opportunities throughout the city.
Do your homework when booking a hotel in Apple Valley. Nearly all of the hotels have a continental breakfast, at least a small one, out in front of the lobby. That appears to be what gets these hotel a venerable two-star rating. However in many cases, the hotel by itself is far from two-stars, maybe one-star, or worse yet, unrated. Read reviews from other travelers before booking or you might be very disappointed.
This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
AmericInn Hotel and Suites, 15000 Glazier Ave S (corner of Cedar and Cty Rd 42), ☎ +1 952 431-3800, . Free shuttle service to the Mall of America, zoo, and airport. Families would enjoy the two-room suites, but jacuzzi suites, and a grand master suite which has a Jacuzzi and fireplace are also available. Even though the rooms are referred to as “suites,” they are just like any other hotel room. Don’t be fooled. $100-150.
GrandStay Residential Suites, 83 153rd St W (153rd and Galaxie), ☎ +1 952 953-6111, . Feel at home in one of the suites offering pool and hot tub access, free-of-charge breakfast, free high speed internet and an oven, stove and refrigerator – assuming your normal home has all of those things. Nightly, weekly and monthly extended stay rates available. Panino's is located on the ground floor. $100-150.
As in almost the entire United States, dial 911 to get emergency help.
Despite a big decline in the crime rate from the 1990s and early 2000's, Apple Valley is still a mediocre-sized city with mediocre-sized city problems. There are run-down areas within a few blocks of some well-traveled places such as near the bowling alley and city high school. The majority of violent crimes occur within a relatively small number of neighborhoods well off the beaten path, but given the chance nature of crime, you should exercise the usual precautions wherever you go. Even in a neighborhood with a bad reputation, though, you might still have a perfectly good time, as long as it falls within your comfort level, assuming your comfort level is above lead pipes to the back.
Take caution in the downtown area at night; after working hours, the MVTA buses get quiet and dark in hurry, but you'll be fine near seedy convenience stores and run-down eateries. When disembarking a crowded MVTA bus, especially in the downtown area, be wary of purse snatchers.
County Road 46 on the southern-most part of town serves as the border between Apple Valley and neighboring town Lakeville. CR-46 is highly controversial: law enforcement from both cities rarely patrol the area, afraid of overstepping their bounds. Thus, the road becomes a hotspot after dark and hundreds of street racers flood the roadways conducting battles of velocity, showmanship and pride. Travelers should avoid navigating this area on foot as heavily modified Dodge Neons, Ford Focuses, Geo Metros, Chevy Aveos and Honda Civics whiz past at speeds approaching the posted speed limit.
Beggars are somewhat common, though they are very unlikely to pose any kind of problem. Some sell a local newspaper called Coffee Times to make a living. Do not encourage them. If you feel obligated to give them money, it is a good idea to accompany them to the liquor store to ensure it is spent on booze and not drugs.
Apple Valley City Hall, home of the defenders of democracy and miles and miles of red tape.
Fire Department (Non-emergency): +1 952 953-2600
Police Department (Non-emergency): +1 952 953-2700
Fairview Cedar Ridge Clinic, 15650 Cedar Ave, ☎ +1 952 997-4100, . 8AM-5PM daily. Shingles? Bird Flu? Mumps? You name it, they can cure it.
HealthPartners Apple Valley Clinic, 15290 Pennock Ln, ☎ +1 952 431-8500, . 8AM-5PM daily. Contract something at Bogart's Guys Night? This Clinic will have the remedy (for the disease, not your reputation)
United States Post Office, 7287 153rd St W, ☎ +1 997 3031-7287. M-F 8:30AM-5PM. Excellent, speedy service!
612 was the area code for all of Apple Valley for a long time and it remains the traditional area code to use when telling funny stories about how you drunk-texted a hot girl from the club last night. No one is quite sure when 952 came into effect, and honestly, no one really cares. Few people know anyone outside the area to warrant handing out area codes along with their basic seven digit phone number.
Many citizens of Apple Valley characterize themselves as internet savvy on hopeful resumes that will likely be turned down by potential employers. If you have a computer with you, free wireless internet access is now standard-issue at coffee shops and tanning salons throughout the city; only the big chains like Starbucks charge for it. Most hotels offer free wi-fi, too, though if it’s unavailable, there is usually a hotel television guide that offers certain movies for purchase.
The good news is that the Dakota County Galaxie Library system offers free internet access via public terminals and password-free, public wireless. If you do not have a Dakota County library card, but you have a photo ID that shows you do not live in the area, you can get a temporary permit from the library information desk. (If you are from Apple Valley and don't have a library card, though, all you'll receive is a purple-nurple and a brief lecture on how Apple Valleyians need to support the library system.) Galaxie Library is the largest branch in the Dakota County system and has the books to prove it.
Sun Current, . The Current is an Apple Valley specific, free, weekly newspaper. It appears to report form some parallel universe where topics like sandwiches and being tired at work are the top stories of the day.
This Week, . Like the Current, This Week is an Apple Valley specific, free, weekly newspaper. It is sick and tired of being the Tina to the Current’s Ike, being constantly beaten and belittled, and has recently reformatted in an attempt to gain ground in the ever so competitive Apple Valley periodical market.
If you are foolish enough to leave the glory that is Apple Valley, there are several nearby attractions that will get you out of the hustle and bustle of the big city. Go north to Minneapolis and St. Paul. There's a lot going on up in there. To the east lies Hastings (Minnesota) and Prescott (Wisconsin), situated on the beautiful confluence of the St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers.
Driving into the parking and terminal areas at MSP.
Ostrich racing at Canterbury Park. For real.
Mall of America, 60 E Broadway, Bloomington, MN 55423 (north, Cedar Ave and 494), ☎ +1 952 883-8800, . 9AM-10PM daily. Celebrate capitalism at the nation's largest shopping mall. With hundreds of stores you are sure to find all the meaningless, niche crap your heart desires. Or check out the higher end stores and waste hours looking at things you can't afford and will never be able to own.
Mystic Lake Casino, 2400 Mystic Lake Boulevard Northwest, Prior Lake, MN (west on Cty Rd 42), ☎ +1 952 445-9000, . Open 24 hours a day. Come join droves of other vagabonds and lose your mortgage payment while drinking all the free pop your bladder can handle. Enjoy the best-kept secret of Mystic by asking your waitress for a hot chocolate.
Canterbury Park, 1100 Canterbury Road, Shakopee, MN, ☎ +1 952 445-7223, . After you lose your mortgage payment at Mystic, drive down the street and lose your car (and your family) while playing cards at the Canterbury Card Club. If you don't have a 'poker face,' feel free to wager on the ponies. Be sure to check out the annual "exotic animal night" and witness tiny jockeys riding ostriches, zebras and camels... PETA be damned.
Little Six Casino, 2450 Sioux Trail Northwest Prior Lake, MN, ☎ +1 952 445-6000, . Open 24 hours a day. If Mystic and Canterbury aren't your steez, and you prefer a much smaller, darker, smellier and more depressing location to lose it all, check out Little Six. Located minutes up the road from Mystic Lake, Little Six is a great place to squander your daughter's college fund.
Elko Speedway, 26350 France Avenue, Elko, MN, ☎ 952 461-7223, . If you have a few hours (and brain cells) to kill, travel south to Elko (Minnesota) and drink some moonshine at the Elko Speedway. The Eve of Destruction [Derby] happens every Saturday night.
MN Pro Paintball, 22554 Texas Avenue, Lakeville, MN, ☎ +1 952 892-1540, . Noon-dusk daily. Take a long, winding, scenic drive into the country, and then take out your aggression by shooting a cocky 14 year old in the head with a rock hard ball of paint. Rental weaponry available.
Sever’s Corn Maze, 1100 Canterbury Rd, Shakopee, MN 55379, ☎ +1 952 974-5000, . 11AM-6PM daily. Since 1997, Sever (first name) has tilled his land and broken his back so city folk can spend an afternoon getting lost amid acres of America’s favorite crop. Wildlife shows, hay rides, pumpkin patches and animal rides are also available. Presidents, Senators and Congressmen get in for free.$11 (other attractions extra).
Feeling felonious? Northfield (Minnesota), just miles south, is home to the famed “Defeat of Jesse James.” The weekend of September 7th hosts Jesse James Days. Watch a live re-enactment of several gruesome murders and purchase kitschy trinkets by the sackful.