Eden Prairie is an edge city 12 miles (19 km) southwest of downtown Minneapolis in Hennepin County, and the 12th-largest city in the State of Minnesota. It is on the north bank of the Minnesota River, upstream from its confluence with the Mississippi River. Eden Prairie and nearby suburbs form the southwest portion of Minneapolis–Saint Paul, the 15th-largest metropolitan area in the United States, with about 3.6 million residents. It is the Twin Cities' seventh-largest suburb, with a population of 60,797 at the 2010 census.
Comprising many large lakes and ponds, the city has more than 170 miles (270 km) of multi-use trails, 2,250 acres (9 km2) of parks, and 1,300 acres (5 km2) of open space. 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, providing 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 first place 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. Between 1880 and 1960, Eden Prairie’s population grew by only 1,300, 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. Eden Prairie's town board held its first meeting in a log schoolhouse 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, named for Jonah Staring, who built the first house by the lake.
The city's name is attributed to founder Robert Anderson, but an 1849 map shows a small village named Eden on the Minnesota River, just south of Eden Prairie's present location.