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Apple Valley (Minnesota)

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Apple Valley (Minnesota)

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File:Apple Valley skyline.JPG
A bird's eye view of Apple Valley's skyline from a small airplane.

Apple Valley, a city in Minnesota, is the home of picturesque rolling hills and pristine lake fronts. Located in northwest Dakota County, this suburb of 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.

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. 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 once more to the sky.


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 state—and all its inhabitants—is hard to overstate, as decisions made within its boundaries often have impacts and ramifications literally across the state.

Immigrants (and their descendants) from over six countries live here, making it one of the most cosmopolitan 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.

A state map of Minnesota and the location of Apple Valley (red dot).


At the center of Apple Valley sits the intersection of Cedar Avenue and County Road 42, a bustling, vibrant location 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, Crystal Lake and Valley Wood are sometimes referred to as “the outer boroughs.”


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 reasonable, 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 December 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. Although there may be a chill in the air in October, it rarely calls for more than a light coat.


The diverse population runs the gamut from some of the wealthiest socialites to homeless people. 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.

Get in

By Plane

  • Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, (IATA: MSP, ICAO: KMSP), [32]. 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.

By Bus

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.[33]

By Train

This is the twenty-first century, there are no trains in Apple Valley. Be serious.

By Car

There are two main highways through Apple Valley. Interstate 35E runs parallel to city lines and County Road 77 terminates in the city. Feel free to drive your gas guzzling SUV through the pristine hills of Apple Valley.

Get around

Getting around in Apple Valley is very easy and affordable. 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.


  • 4th of July Parade (Freedom Days and Fun Run), Pennock Avenue (downtown), [1]. The largest and most popular Independance Day parade in the midwest, second only to Chicago's. Relax on Pennock boulevard and enjoy the sights and sounds of over 100 floats, marching bands, antique cars and oversized mascots. If you're in town, stop by the Greening Drive 4th of July Whiffle Ball Tournament - free brats and burgers, BYOB, BYOC, and guaranteed barnburner finishes. Free.
  • Summit Pond Hockey Classic (address=""). Located on the scenic Hutton Pond, 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.
  • Dakota County Public Library (address=""). Located conveniently on Galaxie and 42. Enjoy the cool air conditioned, vagrant free environment while enjoying all the classics. Dakota County boasts the largest neo-futuristic slam poetry selection by Benjamin "Beets" Yarbrough. Free.
File:Monkeys at the Minnesota Zoo.jpg
Monkeys being cute at the Minnesota Zoo.


  • Minnesota Zoo, 13000 Zoo Boulevard Apple Valley, +1 952 432-9000, [2]. Although the face of Apple Valley, its zoo and its police department is the amur tiger, this is the home of the infamous komodo dragon. Although the dragons have been known to be a danger to humans because of their deceiving speed (up to 13 mph), these docile creatures have grown slightly overweight while in captivity and do not pose a threat to lost children. The mini-donuts outside the Northern Trail are a must.
  • Bogart's and Apple Place Bowl, 14917 Garret Ave S, 952-432-1515, [3]. 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 8:00 - 10:00 PM on Wednesdays for the ever so popular Guys Night Out - remember to bring your guy friends!
  • Apple Valley Community Center, 14603 Hayes Road (north of Cty Rd 42), 952) 953-2300, [4]. Open to 10:00 PM, 7:30 PM on weekends. 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 basketball courts, though they are dangerously slippery, so remember to bring an ice pack and crutches.
  • Valleywood Municipal Golf Course, 4851 - 125th Street West, (952) 953-2323, [5]. 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.
  • Lebanon Hills Regional Park, 651-437-3191, [6]. Campgrounds, white sand beaches, hiking and biking trails, fishing docks, canoe rental, picnic shelters, visitor's and learning center. Beware of wild pumas.
  • Alimagnet Lake and Park. Great for frisbee golf and purchasing small quantities of marijuana. The adult softball leagues here are popular with young alcoholics.
  • Lac Lavon Park, (southwest), [7]. 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.
  • Johnny Cake Park and Aquatic Center. Johnny Cake is one of the state's premier softball and soccer complexes. Across the street, the aquatic center provides hours of relief to parents who want to abandon their kids for a day.
  • Redwood Park and Pool, 311 County Road 42, [8]. Open June 12- August 29, from 12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Relive your childhood memories at the pool a la "The Sandlot."
  • Galaxie Library - Dakota County, 14955 Galaxie Av. (located in the Dakota County Western Services Center.), 651-437-3191, [9]. M-Th: 10:00 AM - 8:30 PM, F-Sat: 10:00 AM - 5:30 PM, Sun: 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM.
  • McDonalds Parking Lot, 7667 150th Street West, [10]. Despite several "No Soliciting" and "No Loitering" signs posted in and around the property, this is a fun area to solicit and loiter in. Pop the hood of your car open and let's hear that '99 Honda Civic roar. Vrrooomm! The Dollar Menu is a favorite and economically sensible choice for patrons here.


Several minor community colleges call Apple Valley home. Dakota County Technical College is undoubtedly the most prestigious among them. DCTC’s Gothic campus is minutes away by hooptie car and famously known as the "home to more Nobel Prizes per square kilometer than any other elementary school." To the north, the St. Mary’s University maintains a campus center just outside the downtown area.

In the central district is Apple Valley High School, which traces its roots back to the town’s founding, sometime after 1776. AVHS has a celebrated history of scholastic and athletic dominance. The school made national news for housing an illegal immigrant for several months. Stop on by to meet the local celebrities who failed to notice a homeless man living in their school.

A handful of schools in Apple Valley attract students in the creative arts. The School of Environmental Studies has an enviable location inside the Minnesota Zoo grounds, and its programs in art and hair-braiding are continually noted as some of the best in the nation, along with its programs in creative writing and tie-dying which are also are well-regarded. SES is generally regarded as one of the top three art and slack-off schools in the country and is one of the few that does not require its students to declare majors.

To the east of downtown, built over the remains of several pet cemeteries , is the brutalist campus of Eastview High School. It is the second-most popular high school in the city, of which there are two. Originally planned to alleviate overcrowding in nearby Apple Valley High School, Eastview became a boondoggle. A large outdoor cinema screen and several trophy cases (most of which have never been used) were installed at the taxpayers’ expense. It is common knowledge, and travelers should take note, that wearing the Eastview black and blue in public will often solicit cat calls and thrown garbage.

The Apple Valley Community Center also provides education opportunities at no cost. Programs range from Hot Dish 1-2-3 to Cooking Made Easy: Hot Dish. ID required for entry and flak jacket recommended for protection.


Apple Valley still loves its apples, but the city threw out its peeler and slices ages ago. In terms of industry, there's little that distinguishes Apple Valley from any other major city in America, save for size. The City of Apple Valley [34] and Wal-Mart are among the biggest employers, with stables of landscapers and stockpersons. Egg Roll King moved its headquarters to Apple Valley amid much fanfare a few years ago. The Big Five consulting firms have no offices in the city. And there's always construction work in Apple Valley, but with a strong union presence in the city, it's not easy for a newcomer to break into without an introduction.

For younger workers, the retail outlets and fast-food establishments in the area are always looking for low-paid, high-enthusiasm employees who have no direction in life, and the fireworks merchants that come once a year like carney folk also need seasonal help. And with so many schools and punks, the city could use more police.

In Apple Valley, business is politics, and there's one word in Apple Valley politics: clout. The principal measure of clout is how many jobs you can arrange for your friends. Hence, if you want to work in Apple Valley, start asking around; email someone from your country's embassy or consulate and see if they have any leads, or figure out if there is a cultural association that might be able to help you. It's no coincidence that the Mayor's Office [35] employs scores of migrant workers every summer. If you happen to contact somebody who met the right person at a fundraiser a few days ago, you might fall into a cushy job or a dream internship; it's worth a try.


  • Half Price Books, 7600 W. 150th St., +1 952 431-0749, [11]. Independent used bookstore. Great selection and unbeatable prices.


  • enjoy!, 15435 Founders Lane (Galaxie Commons), 952-891-6569, [12]. An elegant yet relaxed atmosphere. A stylish, metropolitan bar designed to make happy hours even more so. Steaks, pasta and seafood dishes. A delicious ambience - whether you dine indoors or outside on the patio, enjoying the beautiful vistas of the neighboring man-made lake. $15 - $30.
  • World Buffet, 15050 Cedar Ave (SE corner of Cedar and Galaxie), 952-997-9888. Lunch and dinner. Despite its name, World Buffet offers only Chinese cuisine and chicken wing. $5 - $10.
  • Song Long, 14871 Granada Drive (in the Times Square shopping mall), 952-891-2668, [13]. Lunch and dinner. Vietnamese. So good, your meal will be Sai-gone in seconds. Take out available. Lunch specials $5.99, 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM, Mon - Fri. $5 - $15.
  • Von Hanson's, 7533 148th Street (Co. Rd 42 and Cedar Ave), (952) 431-3330, [14]. 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 some fresh baked buns and beer brats and enjoy.
  • Egg Roll King, 15100 Cedar Ave. South, (952) 431-2233, [15]. Reasonable prices, 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 extra. $5 - $10.


  • Panino Bros., 7083 153rd Street West (corner of 153rd and Galaxie, near a useless roundabout), 952-236-9292, [16]. 11:00 AM - 2:00 AM, 7 days a week. Happy hour is from 2:00-6:00pm and 10:00pm-1:00am every day, $2 taps. If you are a strict Atkins dieter, avoid the breadsticks. Great locale for Vikings games and Buck Hunter tournaments. Come on over after you're done shopping at Wal-Mart. $5 - $10.
  • Wild Bill's Cowboy Sports Saloon, 15020 Glazier Ave (NW corner of Cedar and 150th), [17]. Monday-Friday 3 - 6:30pm. 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. Yee-haw! $5 - $15.
  • Major's Sports Cafe, 14889 Florence Trail (corner of Cedar and Galaxie, across from the county library and next to Barnes and Noble), (952)432-4787, [18]. Although known for its exotic assortment of appetizers, such as nacho chips and cheese sticks, Major's is a growing nightlife establishment. The sprawling dancefloor features local DJs and popular music. Cover charge: your dignity. $10 - $20.
  • Back Alley Tavern, 14917 Garret Ave S (inside Apple Place Bowl, next to Bogart's), [19]. Loud happy hours, cheap appetizers, and unlimited peanuts. Though, don't bring your hooker into the bathroom - it's not big enough - use the abandoned movie theater across the street, instead.


  • Grandstay Residential Suites, 83 153rd Street West (153rd and Galaxie), 952-953-6111, [20]. Feel at home in our one of our hotel suites offering pool and hot tub access, complimentary breakfast, free high speed internet and a fully equipped kitchen in every suite. Nightly, weekly and monthly extended stay rates available. Panino's is located on the ground floor. $100.00 - $150.00.
  • AmericInn Hotel and Suites, 15000 Glazier Avenue South (corner of Cedar and Cty Rd 42), 952-431-3800, [21]. Complimentary shuttle service to the Mall of America, MN Zoo, and the Mpls/St. Paul International Airport. Families like our Two-Room Suites, but we also feature Jacuzzi Suites, and a Grand Master Suite which has a jacuzzi and fireplace. $100.00 - $150.00.
  • Adam's Hostel for Weary Travelers, North Crystal Lake (west side), [22]. Reasonable lodging option for students or backpackers looking for a spot to stay the night. Complimentary breakfast served in the morning, around 5:00 AM. Hot showers and flush toilets available. Prior to going to bed, make sure to administer the black light test to your bunk. $25.00 - $50.00.


Apple Valley Visitor Information,


The first Internet cafe in the United States was opened in the Midwest, and that trend has continued in Apple Valley. Citizens of Apple Valley often fill in "internet savvy" on resumes that will likely be turned down by an automated filter system. 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 is unavailable, there is usually a hotel television guide that offers certain movies for purchase.

The good news is that the Galaxie Library of Dakota County 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.


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.

Stay safe

As in almost the entire United States, dial 911 to get emergency help. Dial 888-8888 for Pizza Hut delivery, it's really great if you are hungry.

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 Galaxie Library and Apple Valley High School. The majority of the city's violent crimes occur within a relatively small number of neighborhoods well off the beaten path in the outer neighborhoods, 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 a 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.

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. However, if they offer to clean your windshield, happily accept, as Apple Valley is a popular stopover for Canadian Geese and you know what that means.



  • The Minneapolis Star Tribune (The Star or the Trib or the Star Trib), [23]. The Tribune is Minnesota’s oldest daily.
  • The St. Paul Pioneer Press, [24]. The Pioneer Press is Minnesota’s other “major” newspaper. It has a long-standing reputation for aggressive,(some might say “sensationalist”) investigative journalism. It has also been teetering on the verge of oblivion for some time.
  • The Golden Aquila, [25]. The Golden Aquilla is the nationally ranked newspaper produced by Apple Valley High School. It is known for its groundbreaking “views from the hall” section which gives insight to the public perception of pressing issues. Older citizens can often be seen at the local library reading the Aquilla on a giant wooden stick, hoping to save a quarter.
  • Sun Current, [26]. 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, [27]. 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.
  • City Pages, [28]. The City Pages are a free weekly alternative arts and entertainment magazine. Event listings and local content are skimpy, but it is free. If you are dying to hang out with some locals with poor hygiene, check out an event listed in the City Pages.
  • The Sailor, [29]. Free, weekly LGBT newspaper.

Religious services

There are places of worship all over the city; the front desk of your hotel or host family will almost certainly be able to direct you to one nearby. If not, though, the following are centrally located.

For churches of specific denomination, check with your local shaman. There's a majestic Lutheran church in Lakeville, for example. Evangelical Christian ministries are mostly all over, with some historic churches in other parts of the country.

  • Grace Lutheran Church, (Pennock and Cty Rd 42), 952-432-7273, [30]. Modern Luthernism. In a remarkably beautiful building near downtown. Step inside and see the beautifal altar carvings and wood panels in the main hall. Worship services Su 9:30 PM, W 7:00 PM
  • Wicca Church Int'l: Apple Valley Branch, [31]. For further information, contact your Wiccan Church International delegate.

Foreign consulates

Here's a quick list of all foreign consulates in Apple Valley:


Get out

The Mall of America is ten minutes north on Cedar Avenue. From there the light rail can bring you to the airport and downtown Minneapolis.

Routes through Apple Valley
Saint PaulEagan  N noframe S  Burnsville → merges onto I-35.pngAlbert Lea

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