@aaab The first thing I will say about the Mankato area is it has quite a few large city amenities but a great community/small town feel. I grew up in the country (literally in the middle of no where) and have lived in an outer ring suburb of St. Paul, Mankato area is the "just right" for me. So if you feel like Houston was just right for you Mankato may feel to small or limited.
*It sounds like you would be working at the Hospital campus, which is the site with the most difficult parking situation but it is nowhere near as difficult as trying to find parking in Rochester. If you are a Physician or an advanced practice provider there is designated parking near the building. If you are an allied health staff the furthest you would have to park is 2 blocks away.
*The nature here is wonderful, we have several walking/ running/ biking/ hiking trails, mountain biking clubs, Minneopa falls/ State Park.
*The traffic flow in Mankato is pretty good, definitely no stop an go traffic jams you ever have to worry about.
*There are 2 large movie theaters and a smaller cheap theater in town, there are lots of places to eat and the healthy eating scene is growing in Mankato.
*We do have a small fitness facility that employees (family members are not able to use) can utilize at the Hospital in Mankato. It is a shared space with Cardiac Rehab, and employees can use the space when patient classes are not is session.
*There a quite a few choices for gym membership too- there are several smaller locally owned gyms/facilities, a YMCA , as well as a few of the national franchises you would find in a larger city.
*Rochester does have more to offer than Mankato but Mankato is certainly a great place to live.
You will definitely have to weight the pros and cons of a 3 hour commute, 4 days a week. Is there something you would rather fill those 12 hours of driving with each week? If you ever want some suggestions on what to do check out in Mankato, let me know!