The origin of the name comes from the Dakota word chanhasen meaning "sugar-maple tree" (chan, tree; haza, a tree with sap). The northern metro area Hassan Township carries the latter syllable of the word to avoid confusion. Chanhassen was ranked as the #2 best place to live in America in 2009 by Money Magazine, and ranked fourth in Best Places to Live (Small Towns) in 2013.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 22.88 square miles (59.26 km2), of which 20.44 square miles (52.94 km2) is land and 2.44 square miles (6.32 km2) is water. Although the bulk of Chanhassen is in Carver County, a small portion also extends into Hennepin County.