Idyllic Medicine Lake
feels like a summer holiday village settled in gorgeous northern Minnesota, and yet this town is just minutes from downtown Minneapolis. Residents enjoy the benefits of small-town living and a natural outdoor setting while taking advantage of the thriving cosmopolitan environment that surrounds them.
The motto “Where water meets sky” is a literal description of Medicine Lake’s location on a peninsula jutting into a lake of the same name and aptly conveys the population’s appreciation for the great outdoors. The town may be small, but the closely knit community likes it that way – heading to the nearby city of Plymouth
for diverse dining and entertainment.
Medicine Lake appeals to folks looking for a peaceful, safe neighborhood without consumer distractions. Outdoor lovers will appreciate the enveloping wildlife, and outgoing individuals will enjoy the friendly, interactive locals.
Schools in Medicine Lake
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Restaurants & Nightlife
Medicine Lake's predominately residential space keeps restaurants and bars off the peninsula and in the nearby suburbs. Luckily Plymouth, the closest city, gives residents plenty of classic American and ethnic choices.
For classic Asian flair, Japanese restaurant Sakana Sushi & Asian Bistro wins local regard. Its simple decor and location in a strip mall may not imply fresh fish, but that's precisely what this gem is known for. Large portions and memorable service from the playful hibachi chefs enrich the dining experience. Visit during happy hour to try the discount poke and dragon rolls.
Solos Pizza Cafe takes the concept of thin-crust Neapolitan pizza to creative levels with the opportunity to make your own pizza. Choose from one of the set menu pizzas or design a new flavor from fresh, locally sourced toppings. With cheap prices and outdoor seating, plus complete culinary freedom, Solos makes casual dining fun and affordable. Sign up online to receive coupons for daily specials.
At Indian Palace, locals come for the assorted flavors of naan bread and stay for the tikka and generous portions of paneer. A cozy environment welcomes both solo eaters and rowdy families; the lunch buffet is especially popular. While some lament the mild Midwest spices, others argue that these flavors are the most authentic in the Twin Cities.
After dinner, head to Cowboy Jack's or Bar Louie in Plymouth for a raucous late-night atmosphere and themed mixed drinks. Lucky's 13 Pub has live music on Thursdays for those who want a more interactive vibe.
If you like a slower pace, the Willow Creek 12 Theatre in Plymouth shows late-night films, both old and new, for several dollars less than the price of a megaplex ticket.
History & Culture
The Medicine Lake community began as a collection of summer homes.
It wasn’t until 1944 that the neighborhood became a town of year-round residents. Prior to settlement of the area, it was inhabited by Dakota Native Americans. The lake and town take their name from the Dakota word Mdewakan, meaning “Lake of the Spirit.”
Medicine Lake shares its cultural scene with the neighboring suburb of Plymouth. At the Plymouth Playhouse, off-Broadway musicals entertain locals in a building that’s been staging shows for more than 40 years. Studio Art & Frame and Art Direct Inc. showcase regional and national artists in their galleries.
The Fire And Ice Festival, one of the biggest in Plymouth, features goofy activities such as recycling bin races and a silly hat competition. Celebrate the winter season with snow bowling, miniature golf on ice, hot chocolate and live music at this free event.
Metro Transit buses service Medicine Lake using Medicine Lake Road, which runs east of the lake. In nearby Minnetonka, you’ll find bus access to Minneapolis at the Plymouth Road Transit Center – also a Park and Ride Station – on the intersection of Interstate 394 and Plymouth Road. The trip from Plymouth Road Transit Center to Minneapolis’s Downtown East Station takes approximately 35 minutes.
The town of Medicine Lake sits just half a mile from Highway 55, which drops southeast into the Minneapolis and takes 20 minutes to access by car. If you prefer not to drive yourself, Allstate Taxi & Limo based in Plymouth provides city-wide taxi services to residents. The ride-sharing service Uber also operates around greater Minneapolis, and the service’s convenient app allows you to access potential lifts around the city from your phone.
Medicine Lake’s size and residential manner make it very pedestrian and bicycle friendly. Folks can feel safe strolling the sidewalks at any time of night or day. Plus, various regional trails wind around the lake and through neighboring suburbs. Cyclists should try the Medicine Lake Regional Trail, 15.64 miles of paved routes that connect Elm Creek Park Reserve in Maple Grove to the Luce Line Trail in Plymouth.
The cost of living in Medicine Lake is 53 percent higher than the cost of living in Minneapolis. While goods, services and groceries are roughly the same cost in both places, the cost of housing is nearly twice as much. Luckily for renters, the median rental rate is only 2 percent higher than the rental rate in other parts of Minneapolis.
unit rents for between $700 and $1,100. If you drive, you’ll pay approximately 1 percent less in gas than the national average. A trip to the city center on public transportation costs $3. Grab an after-work pint at the local pub and expect to pay 5-7 dollars.
South of Medicine Lake, along Wayzata Boulevard, the Ridgedale Center presents popular national chains like Target, Macys, and Gymboree to fill general clothing and fashion needs. Closer to the neighborhood, a scattering of local shops cater to the town’s specialty needs.
The Wabi Sabi Shop offers gently used furniture and home decorations, as well as interior design and remodeling services. Prices at this consignment haven vary depending on the item; do your research to determine the resale value before making a purchase. Frequently checking the shop’s website allows you first pick of the latest merchandise.
Family-owned and operated, the Foursome focuses on men’s clothing and shoes – especially big and tall sizes. Labels include both high-end and designer, and knowledgeable staff members will assist you in finding the best possible fit. The store also does tailoring and alterations.
My Music Store carries both new and used instruments, sheet music, and accessories. The merchandise is geared toward beginner and intermediate musicians, with moderately priced and mid-level quality guitars, drum sets and woodwinds. Passionate salespeople add to your positive shopping experience here. Need an instrument fixed? The store also has contracts for repairs and alterations.
When it comes to groceries, visit Plymouth for the heavily stocked Minnesota chains Cub Foods and Lunds Market. Arkady’s Market features Russian meats, cheeses, and newspapers.
Golden Valley, east of Medicine Lake, holds the nearest farmers market. Market in the Valley operates every Sunday. Here you’ll find fresh produce, hot food stalls, and live music.
Though the town of Medicine Lake may not have much space for public parks, the land surrounding the lake itself has woods, beaches, green grass and waters full of fish. The angler, cyclist and mother all find a bit of outdoor peace here.
Just west of the town, West Medicine Lake Park’s biggest draw is its public beach. Open from early June to late August, the beach has swimming, boating and fishing. Other park facilities include courts for basketball and volleyball, as well as picnic shelters.
On the opposite side of the peninsula, East Medicine Lake Park curves around the waterfront. Residents can work on their tan, swim and boat here as well.
Dogs are welcome but not allowed off-leash in unmarked areas; pet
owners are also asked to keep dogs from interfering with the native wetland wildlife. To let your canine run free, visit the Plymouth Dog Park on County Road 47.
Cyclists can pedal in any direction, with Plymouth’s well-maintained bike routes. Choose short
half-mile loops or long 5.5-mile loops. The Luce Line Trail passes just below Medicine Lake and takes riders from Plymouth to the town of Comos in Central Minnesota.