Fridley earned the nickname “Friendly Fridley” for a reason: its stable economy, amiable locals and safe, small-town environment make it a truly welcoming place to live.This neighborhood is part of the “first ring” of Minneapolis’ suburbs, with the city below its southern border.
While family-run businesses dot the area, several major employers, such as Unica Medical Center and Magnum Research, also call Fridley home. Medtronic Inc. bases its World Headquarters here, and both Minneapolis and St. Paul draw their water supplies from the Mississippi River running along the neighborhood’s western side.
Part of its inviting nature shines through the diversity of Fridley, where people of different cultures gather at community events, ethnic restaurants or one of the neighborhood’s 38 parks. New families, young graduates and couples working in the city will all find Fridley an attractive residential option.
Restaurants & Nightlife
Fridley’s main commercial area covers the blocks between the Mississippi River and State Highway 65. The typical chain fast food joints – Subway, Papa Murphy’s, Burger King – compete with a spattering of Chinese takeout kitchens. However, residents enjoy casual dining at the neighborhood’s ethnic venues and Americana-style grills.
The River Grill mixes Midwest and Mediterranean ingredients on a menu where gyros are king. A small dining space and moderate prices make this good for a quick lunch or takeout dinner. Be sure to try the Philly Cheese Steak.
At Chris and Rob’s Chicago’s Taste Authority, the Windy City comes to Minnesota with hot dogs, Chicago-style pizza and Bears decor. The place is a relaxed step above fast food, with meals that call to mind a sporting event. Chicago fans claim they serve some of the best Italian beef in the city.
Dumplings draw residents into King’s Restaurant. Beside Korean BBQ and sushi, King’s has a cheap lunch buffet with a build-your-own soup bar.
The nightlife in Fridley is equally laid back, with numerous sports bars and pubs. Places like Monte’s Sports Bar and Grill and Two Stooges Sports Bar and Grill play sporting events on TV, serve beer on tap and offer a basic burgers and bar snacks menu. Two Stooges stages billiards tournaments. If you’re looking for clubs and live music, head to downtown Minneapolis.
History & Culture
Fridley’s first settlement appeared in the 1840s, as a stop along the fur trail that ran through the area. In 1855, Abram Fridley was elected as the first territorial representative and later gave the area – incorporated into a village in 1949 – his last name.
This history decorates the walls of the Fridley Historical Society Museum. The building, a converted schoolhouse, opens two Saturdays a month and is staffed entirely by volunteers. Special exhibits highlight the neighborhood’s most memorable moments, from devastating tornadoes to World War II veterans.
The Banfill Locke Center For The Arts showcases beautiful artwork inside the building, and also allows visitors to explore the pretty natural landscape and paths outside the gallery.
Fridley’s largest event, 49er Days, celebrates the 1949 incorporation. Held in mid-June, the annual festival features a family carnival, pie baking competition, food stalls, parade and softball tournament.
The Northstar Commuter Rail runs between Big Lake and Target Field, with a stop at Fridley Station. This journey connects residents to Metro Transit’s Blue Line and Green Line light rail lines. From Target Field Station, the Blue Line carries passengers on to the Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport and Bloomington’s Mall of America; the Green Line takes passengers to downtown St Paul. Fridley Station also functions as a Park and Ride Station.
To reach Minneapolis by car takes 15 to 20 minutes southbound on Interstate 94 or State Highway 47. A weekend escape to rural Minnesota only takes 20 minutes on Interstate 694. Several major taxi services operate around the city, while Fridley’s Alpine Sober Cab runs a non-profit ride service to prevent drinking and driving in Minneapolis. Drivers are trustworthy individuals and rates are cheap. The ride sharing service Uber operates around greater Minneapolis, and the service’s convenient app allows you to access potential lifts around the city from your phone.
Fridley is very bike friendly, with over 17 different urban bike trails. Cyclists and pedestrians can explore the banks and parkland surrounding the Mississippi, and should feel comfortable walking and biking in most parts of Fridley.
The cost of living in Fridley is three percent lower than the average cost of living in Minneapolis. While goods and services cost roughly the same in Fridley as in other parts of the city, the cost of housing is cheaper in this neighborhood. The median rental rate in Fridley is eight percent lower than the median rental rate in Minneapolis.The median cost of a one-bedroom apartments rental ranges from $675 to $1,000.
If you drive, you’ll pay approximately one percent less in gas than the national average. Grab an after work pint at the local pub and expect to pay 5 to 7 dollars.
Fridley’s shopping venues fall into two distinct categories: national all-in-one chain outlets such as Target and huge genre warehouses like Home Depot, or family-run specialty stores that fill in the personalized niche market gaps left open by the larger brands.
Bakers and foodies find their dream supplies at Lynn’s Cake & Candy Supplies. With the same selection of general products as Michaels and JoAnn Fabrics, as well as a range of unique tools, baking decorations and cooking implements, Lynn's has lower prices than these big chains. Call ahead if you’re looking for a particular colored fondant or cake topper, and the helpful staff with order anything they don’t have on the shelves.
Ax Man Surplus Stores is a treasure trove of eclectic items, from hardware to Tupperware, toys and electronics. While a discerning eye helps sort the junk from the bargain goods, Ax’s cheap prices put everything within your price limit. Check out their website for webstore exclusive sales.
When it comes to buying groceries, Bob’s Produce Ranch has served the neighborhood for over 50 years. This third-generation family store includes a deli, bakery and produce section – much of it sourced from local farmers. Return shoppers suggest joining the loyalty card program, which offers exclusive discounts and accrues points with every purchase.
Several specialty groceries, such as Bosnian Supermarket and Seoul Oriental Foods, cater to Fridley’s ethnic populations. Mike’s Discount Foods sells items slightly damaged or past their sell-by date. A quick shelf turnover means you need to snap items up quickly.
Neighboring communities Linden Hills and Brooklyn Park both have farmers markets.
Nature lovers have no shortage of outdoor space to explore in Fridley. With 38 parks in the neighborhood, there’s something for everyone.
Harris Lake Park provides families with a kid-friendly space and playground next to scenic Harris Lake. Locke County Park is a prime choice for a quiet picnic; dogs are also allowed within the park’s enclosed canine area – though you'll need to bring doggy bags as trash cans are rare.
The Springbrook Nature Center park is one of Fridley’s largest parks, with 127 acres of natural preservation land. Its hiking trails, floating boardwalk and viewing areas showcase multiple Minnesota landscapes and native plants and animals to residents and out-of-state visitors. Besides nature camps and educational programs, Springbrook hosts some of the neighborhoods biggest events: a New Year’s Eve celebration, summer’s Saturday In The Park community gathering and the Spree dinner and live auction.
Other popular Fridley parks include Manomin County Park, Islands of Peace County Park and a portion of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area. Several of the area’s bike trails run through this recreation area.