Outstanding Quality of Life

Overall, 97 percent of residents who responded to the County’s residential survey rated the quality of life as excellent (44%) or good (53%). That’s the best rating among the 49 communities that ask residents that question — higher than Denver, Kansas City, San Francisco and Phoenix.


Dakota County Parks is building on more than 50 years of providing high-quality recreational and educational opportunities in harmony with natural resource preservation.

Our family of parks and greenways, with more than 5,000 acres and 128 miles of trails, offers diverse recreation opportunities that allow you to enjoy the outdoors and stay active year-round. Immerse yourself in nature, find a new passion, embrace the snow, test your endurance, make memories that will last a lifetime.

Ninety-seven percent of residents rate Dakota County Parks as good or excellent. City Pages named Whitetail Woods Regional Park the Best Hike in the Twin Cities in 2018. Schaar’s Bluff Trailhead in Spring Lake Park Reserve won the same award in 2019. Go to the Dakota County Parks website to find out more.


With nine locations and about 300,000 titles in the catalog, it’s easy to find what you’re looking for at the Dakota County Library.

Each year, there are more than 1.7 million visits and about 4.5 million checked out items at the Library. But there’s more than just books, movies and music. You can access the latest technology for 3D printing and scanning, video and audio production, creative design, photo and film digitization, sewing, and more at the Library’s iLABs. There are also hundreds for free programs for all ages and abilities.

Ninety-eight percent of residents rate the Dakota County Library as excellent or good. Go to the Dakota County Library website to find out why.

Arts & Entertainment

Dakota County has a robust arts and entertainment scene. Here are just a few of the venues:

  • Ames Center, Burnsville: A two-theatre complex that hosts cultural events, theater and music from local arts organizations and national touring artists.
  • Lakeville Area Arts Center, Lakeville: Hosts theater events and art programming.
  • TCO Performance Center, Eagan: The headquarters for the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings. The facility hosts the team’s summer training camp, high school games and other events.
  • Minnesota Zoo, Apple Valley: Offers a wide variety of fun and educational programming for all ages.

Public Safety

Safe communities makes businesses more productive and profitable. According to the Dakota County Residential Survey, 96 percent of residents feel “very safe” or “somewhat safe” in their neighborhoods — and there’s good reason for that. See our Public Safety State Performance Reporting for up-to-date details.

Quality Schools

Dakota County schools are at the head of the class. Five Dakota County high schools were listed in the top 35 of the Best High Schools in Minnesota by the U.S. News & World Report in 2019. Eastview (#3), Eagan (#10), Rosemount (#23), Lakeville South (#30) and Lakeville North (#32) all scored highly in college readiness, math and reading proficiency and performance, underserved student performance, college curriculum breadth and graduation rates.

The area also has an abundance of post-secondary education opportunities with 36 colleges and universities in the metro area, including two within the county — Inver Hills Community College and Dakota County Technical College.

Diverse Housing Choices

No matter your business, Dakota County has the type of housing available to attract top candidates. We have more than 97,000 single family homes at all price points, and many of our cities are expanding every year with new developments. There are also more than 27,000 townhouses and 35,000 apartment units.

The Dakota County Community Development Agency provides affordable senior and workforce housing as well.