Enjoy shopping, dining, gallery-hopping and viewing animals in one of the best zoos in the country in this friendly Midwestern city.
With its convenient setting within easy driving distance of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Apple Valley offers all the benefits of city life but at a relaxed pace. Explore its abundant restaurants and coffee shops, shop in well-known malls and visit a zoo that is frequently named among the best in the entire country.
Apple Valley’s origins can be traced back to the mid-19th century, when a small farming settlement known as Lebanon Township was established here. The town remained small for a century, with the 1960 population numbering just 585, until development increased sharply in the 1960s and 1970s. Visit the city today and you’ll find a much larger settlement of more than 50,000 comprising a commercial downtown area and more residential suburban neighborhoods.
Many visitors to Apple Valley come to see the well-regarded Minnesota Zoo. Explore the vast attraction, which holds more than 5,300 animals including some endangered species. Follow the zoo’s Minnesota Trail to view animals native to the region, including wolverines and black bears. Walk along the Tropics Trail to encounter animals such as Linné’s two-toed sloth, red pandas and Komodo dragons.
Wander around Downtown Apple Valley and appreciate the sights. This area has a high concentration of shops, cafés and restaurants. Take a short drive or bus ride from Downtown Apple Valley to visit huge shopping malls, including the enormous Mall of America.
For outdoor fun, spend a day in the sun at one of Apple Valley’s parks. Go kayaking or canoeing at Farquar Park or sunbathe poolside at the city’s Civic Center Park Aquatic Center.
Apple Valley is located in northwest Dakota County, about a 30-minute drive from Downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul. The city is about a 20-minute drive from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. While local buses and taxis serve the town, consider renting a car so you can explore the surrounding metro area at your leisure. Visit in summer to avoid harsh winter temperatures.