U.S. Highway 52 connects north to the city of Saint Paul, while County Road 46 draws east–west to nearby suburban cities. The population was 161 at the 2010 census. It is named for Civil War Captain Henry C. Coates who served in the 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry.
Major employers are in trucking, moving and recycling services. The city is popular with Twin Citians for the House of Coates, a burger joint since 1962. St. Agatha's Catholic Church serves as city hall.
Originally a rural post office hub in the 1900s, the U.S. Postal Service now designates addresses as part of nearby larger Rosemount. The city of Coates incorporated in 1953 at the northwest corner of Vermillion Township, and was named for early settler G. A. Coates.