Eden Prairie is an edge city, southwest of downtown Minneapolis in Hennepin County, and the 13th largest city in the U.S. state of Minnesota. The city lies on the north bank of the Minnesota River, upstream from its confluence with the Mississippi River. As the seventh largest suburb, Eden Prairie and nearby suburbs form the southwest portion of Minneapolis–Saint Paul, the fifteenth largest metropolitan area in the United States, with about 3.6 million residents. The U.S. Census Bureau recorded the city's population at 60,797 in 2010.
Comprising many large lakes and ponds, the city has more than of multi-use trails, of parks, and of open space. Previously a bedroom suburb in the 1960s, the city is now home to more than 2,200 businesses and the headquarters of Digital River, SuperValu, C.H. Robinson Worldwide, MTS Systems Corporation, and the Minnesota Vikings. Regionally known for Eden Prairie Center, it is also the hub for SouthWest Transit, serving public transportation to three adjacent suburbs. Fox Sports North, KMSP and WFTC are also based in Eden Prairie. Eden Prairie has been named one of Money Magazine's "Best Places to Live" in America since 2006; the city earned a first place ranking in the 2010 survey.
For most of its existence, Eden Prairie has been a slow-growing, pastoral village on the far southwest fringes of the Twin Cities area. Between 1880 and 1960, Eden Prairie’s population grew by only 1,300 people, from 739 to 2,000.
Native Americans were the first to live in the area. In 1851, a treaty opened land west of the Mississippi River to settlement allowing pioneers to settle in what is now Eden Prairie. The town board of Eden Prairie held its first meeting in a log school house on May 11, 1858, the same day Minnesota became a state. Eden Prairie's farming community grew slowly over the years. Flying Cloud Airport was the first sign of big development in 1946. The 1960s and 1970s were decades of growth for the city's parks and recreation system. In the mid-1970s, the community gained a higher profile with the addition of Interstate Highway 494 and the Eden Prairie Shopping Center. Eden Prairie became a village in 1962, and a statutory city in 1974. A popular lake in Eden Prairie is Staring Lake, which was named by Jonah Staring who built the first house by the lake.
The city's name is attributed to Eden Prairie, which was named by the founder, Robert Anderson. However, a small village named Eden appears on an 1849 map located on the Minnesota River, just south of Eden Prairie's current location.