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Overview of Northfield

Known as the town of cows, colleges and contentment, Northfield is the historic home of two of Minnesota's most celebrated educational institutions: Carleton College and St. Olaf College. Surrounded by the sedate farmland of southern Minnesota, Northfield's charming downtown sits on the banks of the Cannon River, and is an iconic destination.

People looking for apartments for rent in Northfield will appreciate its walkable layout, its lively academic community and the faint sugary smell of cereal that often wafts through the air from the Malt-O-Meal cereal factory.

Living in Northfield, MN

Founded as a sawmill community in the 1850s by John Wesley North and George Loomis, Northfield rose to prominence in 1876 when the infamous Jesse James gang attempted a holdup of the First National Bank of Northfield, but was thwarted by the local citizens. Still marked by its agricultural surroundings, today the town of 20,000 is significantly more peaceful, other than the occasional outburst of Carleton-St. Olaf rivalry.

Residents of Northfield apartments can browse the shops, restaurants and cafes along Division Street or take advantage of natural resources provided by the local parks and scenic college campuses. An active music community and the cultural offerings at the two colleges provide Northfield with top tier entertainment.

Northfield Work and Study

Students at St. Olaf and Carleton Colleges come to Northfield from all over Minnesota and the world. Both institutions offer highly regarded undergraduate liberal arts degree programs. Carleton has one of the highest numbers of students who are in the National Merit Scholarship Program of all liberal arts colleges in the country, and is considered one of the best schools in the nation by many leading sources.

The colleges are a major base of the town's economy, and education is the largest field of local employment, but Northfield's economy is diverse. The town retains its mill heritage as the home to cereal manufacturer Malt-O-Meal, and other major local businesses include grocery distributor McClane, shipping company Taylor Truck Line and tech companies such as Multek Flexible Circuits. Agriculture still dominates the surrounding area.

Rentals in Northfield, MN and Cost of Living

While the student population can make finding an apartment downtown or near one of the campuses competitive, Northfield has an ample stock of affordable rental options.

U.S. Census Bureau data showed the median gross rent from 2008 to 2010 was $723. Additional research found one bedroom apartments renting for between $500 and $715 per month.

Northfield Attractions and Special Events

Northfield is at its most festive each September during Jesse James Days, when visitors from the area flock to downtown for a re-enactment of the famous robbery, live music, local food and a range of other entertainment. Downtown Northfield offers great shopping, antiques and dining year round, in addition to a number of other art and shopping events. The downtown bars and cafes support a healthy local music scene, while the two colleges bring in an exciting array of guest speakers, musicians, artists and performers.

With hundreds of acres of wilderness in both the Carleton College Cowling Arboretum and the St. Olaf Natural Lands, as well as more than 400 acres of city parkland, Northfield is a haven for outdoor activities such as hiking, cross-country skiing, fishing, ice skating and more. The flat land is particularly well suited to cycling, a popular activity. The area's natural appeal is also apparent in the great range of locally produced food products, often available at the town's popular farmers markets. For residents craving more entertainment, the nearby Twin Cities offer world class dining, shopping and entertainment.

To find your next rental apartment or house in Northfield, take a look at our listings on Rent.com®.