The Greater Mankato region includes Blue Earth and Nicollet counties (Mankato-North Mankato metropolitan statistical area), as well as the adjacent community of Le Sueur. It is located in the scenic Minnesota River valley approximately 80 miles southwest of Minneapolis-St. Paul. The combined population is more than 98,000.
Area businesses are well balanced between commercial, industrial and agricultural. Employment opportunities are offered in health care, education, high technology, manufacturing, printing, retail and service- related industries.
Mankato/North Mankato has one daily newspaper, two AM and six FM radio stations, and three television stations (a CBS affiliate, a FOX affilite, and a public access channel).
Greater Mankato is a regional medical center that offers the services of more than 100 physicians and the care of a large medical center, Mayo Clinic Health System.
The Verizon Wireless Center seats up to 5,000 people and hosts conventions, sporting events, trade shows, seminars and a variety of celebrations.
The exceptional educational opportunities in Greater Mankato extend from early-childhood learning to higher education. A record of academic excellence and commitment to life-long learning are evident in Greater Mankato’s colleges, universities, private schools and public school system (which ranks in the top 17% nationally).
Mankato Area Public Schools (Independent School District 77) rank in the top 17 percent nationally. The system includes 11 elementary schools, two junior highs and four high schools. Several private options exist at the K-12 level through the Loyola Catholic School, five private schools associated with Protestant congregations, and the Riverbend Academy Charter School.
Minnesota State University, Mankato is the largest post-secondary institution in southern Minnesota. There are five post-secondary institutions within a 12 mile radius of Mankato.
The communities of Mankato/North Mankato are a regional retail center for southern Minnesota and northern Iowa. There are specialty shops, a shopping mall with more than 100 stores, an array of restaurants from casual to fine dining, coffee houses, and places of accommodation ranging from a bed and breakfast, a full service hotel, to camping sites. The Farmer's Market offers shoppers the opportunity to buy fresh produce from June through October.
The 80-piece Mankato Symphony Orchestra offers five presentations each season featuring national and international guest artists.
The Minnesota State University, Mankato Theatre Arts Department offers a rich array of high quality theatrical productions.
Ylvislaker Auditorium at Bethany Lutheran College provides a selection of musical recitals.
The Mankato Ballet enrolls students of all ages and performs a variety of short and full productions.
There are more than 50 lakes within 15 miles of Mankato/North Mankato for fishing, boating, and swimming.
Greater Mankato has more than 60 parks and 50 miles of paved trails for walking, biking or skating.
The immediate Mankato/North Mankato area has four golf courses and there are another half dozen in the surrounding region.
Mount Kato offers midwestern skiing experiences on 19 trails in the winter and seven miles of mountain biking opportunities in the summer.
Mankato has been the home of the Minnesota Vikings' annual summer training camp for 50 years.
Professional sports teams, including the Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Timberwolves, Minnesota Wild and Minnesota Vikings, play in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.
There are several annual culturally diverse festivals or activities, including:
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration
- Mdewakanton Pow Wow, noted on the State Tourism Guide, that brings approximately 1,000 visitors to Mankato
- Community/Minnesota State Mankato Cinco de Mayo Celebration
- Mankato Area International Festival
- Women in Spirituality Conference
- Pan African Student Leadership Conference (African and African-American)
- The Mankato area is enriched with a variety of ethnic restaurants including German, Middle Eastern, Asian, and Hispanic traditional foods.
One of the reasons Greater Mankato has seen steady population growth is because of its reasonable cost of living, safe and charming neighborhoods and friendly atmosphere. Housing options range from single family homes, town homes, patio homes, condominiums, lakeside property, apartment rentals, senior communities and more.
Quality of Life
The residents of Mankato/North Mankato enjoy a personal level of safety due to a low crime rate.
The health of Minnesota residents is consistently rated among the top three states in the nation.
Awards and Accolades
• In 2014, Forbes ranked Greater Mankato No. 3 in the nation on its list of Best Small Places for Business & Careers. The area also ranked 20th in Education, 27th in Cost of Doing Business and 59th in Job Growth.
• Was ranked No. 5 on the 2015 list of Best Small Cities in America From Nerdwallet.com, based on economic health, affordability and quality of life.
• Greater Mankato was ranked third in the nation for Affordable Helathcare by Livability.com in 2014.
• The City of North Mankato was ranked as the second Best Place in Minnesota for Young Families in 2014 by nerdwallet.com.
• Mankato's Sibley Park ranks No. 9 on NewCastic's 2015 list of coolest playgrounds in Minnesota.
• The Vetter Stone Amphitheater in Riverfront Park was named as the No. 4 best outdoor venue in the state by the Star Tribune in 2014.
• Thrillist ranked City Center Mankato's CityArt as one of the 14 Coolest Urban Spaces in America on their 2015 list.
• In its 2014 list, FlipKey by Trip Advisor rated the Mankato Marathon the top marathon to travel to in Minnesota.
• The Star Tribune ranked Chankaska Creek Ranch and Winery in Saint Pete as the best Minnesota winery on its 2015 Best of Minnesota list.
• Greater Mankato has been awarded the Bronze ranking for bicycle friendliness by The League of American Bicyclists.