The city of Bloomington, which is Minnesota’s fourth or fifth largest (behind Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester and – depending on the year – Duluth), includes what’s often considered the Twin Cities’ third downtown. That’s because the Interstate 494 corridor that stretches along the city’s north side contains heavy commercial development, abundant restaurants and shopping opportunities. The anchor on the eastern end of that corridor is the Mall of America. Just across the road from the mall is the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. People often think about Bloomington as two cities: The east side (east of Interstate 35W), which includes large-scale single-family home developments, and the west side, a newer part of the city with larger homes and more spacious lots. Throughout Bloomington, however, the focus on green space is evident, as there are a large number of city parks. The Hyland Lake Park Reserve, which is part of the Three Rivers Park District, occupies a large chunk of West Bloomington, while the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge constitutes the city’s southeastern border.
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