20 Best Things to Do in Alexandria, MN

lake view Alexandria, MN

Alexandria is an ideal vacation destination that is well-known for its numerous picturesque lakes and astounding natural beauty.

Whether you’re looking for adventure or a relaxing vacation, this city has something for everyone.

This four-season holiday destination offers countless opportunities for numerous outdoor recreational activities, such as swimming, hiking, biking, camping, wildlife viewing, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, picnicking, skiing, sledding, and more.

You can also explore its remarkable museums, wineries, restaurants, and theatres.

Plan your next holiday here to experience nature and rejuvenate.

Here’s an all-in-one list of the best things to do while vacationing here:

Go-Karting at Casey's Amusement Park

This popular amusement park features multiple go-kart tracks, bumper boat rides, miniature golf courses, batting cages, and picnic areas.

Race with your friends, enjoy a game of mini-golf, test your skills in the batting cages, and try out mouth-watering food at the snack bars.

It is an amazing place to visit with your family to enjoy a fun-filled and exciting day.

Try out the thrilling activities and end your day with a nice picnic.

The park is open daily from May to September from 10 am to 11 pm.

Explore Regional History at Runestone Museum Foundation

Runestone Museum Foundation
James Kirkikis / Shutterstock.com

Located in Downtown Alexandria and established in 1958, this renowned museum highlights the history of Nordic explorers and American Indians through its multiple exhibits featuring over 20,000 intriguing artifacts.

It also focuses on the natural history of the region.

The various displays include a recreation of the Civil War-era Fort Alexandria, a replica Viking ship, pictures, ancient clothing, the Climax fire-steel, native animal displays, lanterns, cutlery, furniture, and more.

Fort Alexandria features nine historic buildings constructed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including a schoolhouse, church, blacksmith shop, and a smokehouse.

Artifact in Runestone Museum Foundation
Mauricio Valle, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The main attraction of the museum is the controversial Kensington Runestone which was discovered by Olof Öhman in the late 19th century.

The museum is open from Tuesdays through Fridays from 9 am to 5 pm and from 10 am to 4pm on weekends.

The admission fee ranges from USD 5 to USD 8, depending on your age.

USD 20 is applicable per family.

Visit this museum to explore the regional history and learn about the native wildlife of Minnesota.

Try Copper Trail Brewing Co.'s Artisan Beers

Exploring a new place is an excellent opportunity to sample all the local brews that are available.

Copper Trail Brewing Co. is a fantastic brewery right here in Alexandria, Minnesota.

It is one of the most well-known breweries in the region.

Locals and tourists alike love stopping by for a refreshing cold brew.

After the passage of Surly legislation, allowing beer to be brewed and drunk on the same premises, they finally reopened in 2011.

This brewery's proprietors take great care in offering their customers the freshest beer possible.

After all, the brewery where you'll be sipping the beer is just roughly 20 feet away.

Even though the list of beers changes regularly, you can always count on finding favorites like Brambleberry and Copper Sunrise and new favorites like Lucky Red and Black Betty.

In addition, they provide a variety of delectable cuisine in addition to beer.

Pizza and conventional bar snacks, for example, are available, as are take-out options from nearby eateries.

You may spend hours having fun with your family at Copper Trail Brewing Company, a brewery that welcomes everyone.

Here you'll find everything from cards and board games to beer and cuisine, all under one roof.

Visit the Big Ole - Big Viking Statue

Big Ole
James Kirkikis / Shutterstock.com

This is a famous 28-feet tall Viking statue that dates back to 1965.

It is located right opposite to the Runestone Museum.

The statue was originally built for New York World’s Fair and later brought to Alexandria.

It forms a significant part of the local culture here as the locals believe that Scandinavian explorers came to this region during the 14th century.

Even though this story was declared a hoax in 1910, many residents still believe in it.  

The shield held by Big Ole has the words “Alexandria, Birthplace of America” inscribed on it.

Over the years, this statue has been attacked multiple times, and it was once knocked over by winds.

The city repaired and restored it to its original form every time.

Picnicking at Alexandria City Park

Alexandria City Park
Cheri Alguire / Shutterstock.com

This paradisical park features a swimming beach, picnic areas, a playground, barbeque grills, fishing piers, a baseball field, nature trails, tennis courts, a manicured garden with brilliantly colored flowers, and a bandstand.

The park is host to numerous events, including art exhibitions, health and yoga events,  musical performances, tennis tournaments, and more.

Explore the cool and tranquil waters by swimming, enjoy an invigorating hike on the Central Lakes trail, try your hand at fishing, make some burgers on the grills, relish a delicious lakeside picnic, and feast your eyes on the gorgeous views of the kaleidoscopic sunset.

The park is open daily from 8.30 am to 9.30 pm.

Check Out the Extensive Historical Collection of Douglas County Historical Society

Senator Knute Nelson's former mansion houses the Douglas County Historical Society in Alexandria.

Despite undergoing renovation, it still has many of the mansion's original features.

The Douglas County Historical Society is the repository for a wide range of historical and genealogical materials.

Its research library has a wealth of information, including township/village histories, church histories, cemetery histories, school histories, obituary histories, marriage write-ups, plat maps, birth, death, and marriage indexes from the county's courthouse records, census records, and 125 years of local newspapers.

It also features materials to identify notable structures and sites in Douglas County, particularly its vast picture collection, oral history interviews, and different publications on the county's history in the library's extensive photo collection.

Guided tours of the house and exhibitions are available to the public.

Travel Back in Time at Legacy of The Lakes Museum

Outside view of Legacy of The Lakes Museum
Myotus, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located in downtown Alexandria, this museum emphasizes the history of the city’s lakes and its lake traditions.

Its permanent exhibits highlight the history of the hotels and resorts around the lakes, the development of the region’s fishing technology, and the history of the 19th century Minnesouri Club.

The museum also showcases its collection of classic boats belonging to the previous centuries.

An annual boat show and parade called ‘Legacy of the Lakes Boat Show’ that features antique watercraft is organized by this museum at Lake Darling in July.

Tour the scenic manicured gardens of the museum and check out the gorgeous flowers and charming water features.

A multitude of events is hosted in these gardens, including musical concerts, weddings, reunions, and more.

It is open on weekdays from 10 am to 5 pm, on Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm, and on Sundays from 12 pm to 4 pm.

The admission fee ranges from USD 5 to USD 10, depending on your age.

Children below the age of 6 can enter for free.

Visit the Century-Old Spruce Hill Lutheran Church

Spruce Hill Lutheran Church started in 1881 as a timber structure.

The pulpit was an upright log, and the benches consisted of wooden planks resting on stumps.

Due to the increasing congregational size, the church constructed the current structure in 1902.

The facility also hosts a large horse barn established in 1913 to house the congregation's horses.

Faith Lutheran in neighboring Miltona, Minnesota, saw its membership decline over the years until it united with First Lutheran in 1967.

The Spruce Hill Church tower was donated to the Douglas County Historical Society in 1994 and is currently under the organization's management responsible for its maintenance.

It holds an annual hymn festival in the middle of July and traditional services during Easter and Christmas.

Try Water Adventures at Lake Miltona

Lake Miltona
Cheri Alguire / Shutterstock.com

Known for its crystalline waters and scenic beauty, this enchanting lake is famous for fishing and recreational water adventures.

It is home to diverse fishes, including bluegill, bass, crappie, walleye, northern pike, yellow bullhead, green sunfish, and plenty more.

In winters, the lake is frequented for ice fishing.

Enjoy the captivating views of water lilies, cattails, and verdant bulrushes.

Explore the tranquil waters by boating or water skiing.

The lake features three boat ramps providing access to the waters.  

The site offers plenty of opportunities for camping and exploring the wilderness.

Watch the Sunset at Lake Brophy County Park

This park features a scenic overlook of Lake Brophy, hiking trails, picnic areas, beach access, a sledding hill, and dense foliage.

Enjoy the panoramic views of the region’s astounding natural beauty and spend your day relaxing at this park.

Explore the site by hiking on the verdant trails and end your day with a delicious picnic with your loved ones.

The park is a perfect spot to watch the sunrise and sunset.

Take a refreshing stroll along the beach, breathe in the fresh air, and watch the setting sun paint the skies in hues of crimson, yellow, and purple.

In the winter months, myriads of people flock here for cross-country skiing and sledding.

The park offers charismatic views in all four seasons.

Try a Wine Tour at Carlos Creek Winery

Carlos Creek Winery is renowned for its award-winning wines.

They also serve delicious beer and mouth-watering pizzas.

You must try Hot Dish Red, and You Betcha Blush from their menu.

This place offers free tours of their 160 acres scenic vineyard, and you can taste six varieties of exquisite wines for a price of USD 10.

Visit this place on Saturdays to enjoy the live musical performances while sipping on your drink.

The winery hosts various vibrant events throughout the year, such as Oktoberfest, live musical performances, weddings, Grape Stomp, Applefest, health runs, and more.

The annual Grape Stomp festival in September attracts thousands of wine aficionados.

Carlos Creek Winery is open daily throughout the year.

Paint at Art Bar 39

Art Bar 39 is an amazing place to bring your friends and have a great time.

It provides you with the unique and fun experience of creating art while sipping on your favorite drink.

Enjoy your drink and paint on a canvas along with your loved ones.

It is a popular spot for bachelorette parties, date nights, bridal showers, and corporate team-building events.

They accommodate patrons of all skill levels and provide you with all the materials required, including canvas and paint.

Additionally, this place also offers children’s art classes and glass painting sessions.

Grab your friends and have a wonderful time at this art studio.

Watch a Show at Andria Theatre

This is a popular performing arts theatre in Alexandria.

It presents 5 shows annually that feature regional artists and talent. It also hosts musical concerts and other events.

Additionally, the Quad Squad Improv comedy team performs six shows on this stage each year.

It is a perfect place for a wonderful evening’s entertainment.

Art in the Park is a fundraiser organized by this theatre annually.

It is an art festival that takes place for two days in July and attracts 20,000-30,000 art aficionados every year.

Watch an entertaining show at the theatre and browse outstanding artistic works at the festival.

Camping at Lake Carlos State Park

Lake Carlos State Park
Tony Webster from Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This serene lake is the largest and deepest out of all the lakes in Alexandria.

It is popular for camping, swimming, kayaking, fishing, water sports, hiking, and birding.

The park features grand vistas of the lake and beautiful rolling hills.

Bring along a picnic to relish by the lakeside and admire the gorgeous views.

View of Hidden Lake Group Center
McGhiever, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Beat the heat by swimming in the cool waters or going boating in the lake.

Landlubbers can hike on the nature trails that traverse the picturesque hills surrounding Lake Carlos.

The park is home to a vast array of birds, such as doves, hawks, sandpipers, pelicans, herons, chimney swifts, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, and plenty more.

You can camp at one of the many campgrounds here to explore the wilderness and stargaze.

Swim in Lake Le Homme Dieu

This picturesque lake features two swimming beaches and is a popular spot for fishing, swimming, boating, jet skiing, and tubing. Enjoy a refreshing stroll here while admiring nature’s beauty.

Cool off by diving in for a swim or exploring the waters by kayaking or jet skiing.

You can also try your hand at fishing.

The lake is home to a vast array of fishes, including bluegill, black crappie, sunfish, bass, walleye, and several others.

Relax by the water and relish a delicious picnic against the stunning backdrops.

Shop at Alexandria Farmers' Market

You can find farm-fresh blueberries, apples, cabbage, herbs, lettuce, beets, beans, strawberries, raspberries, syrups, honey, poultry, eggs, flowers, plants, and so much more at this market.

It is located in Big Ole Central Park and is open from May through October.

All products offered for sale here are sourced from local farmers and businesses.

Visit this market to buy fresh and delicious local produce and experience the vibrant local culture.

Hiking on Central Lakes Trail

This scenic trail extends from Fergus Falls to Osakis, covering over 50 miles.

It features countless enchanting lakes, verdant rolling hills, sprawling grasslands, farms, marshes, brilliantly colored wildflowers, towering trees, and plenty more.

Enjoy the captivating vistas while hiking and exploring the region.

The trail follows a former railroad route and is popular for hiking, in-line skating, and biking.

In winters, the trail is frequented for snowshoeing and snowmobiling.

You can spot waterfowls, rabbits, muskrats, turtles, and deer.

Numerous diverse birds patrol the skies above this region.

Make a stop to relish a delicious picnic on one of the picnic tables along the way.

This trail provides you with countless opportunities to appreciate nature’s astounding beauty.

Canoeing on Long Prairie River State Water Trail

The Long Prairie River extends nearly 100 miles from Lake Carlos and drains into the Crow Wing River.

The river initially starts out as a stream and features verdant marshes, farms, wetlands, and forests.

It is ideal for canoeing in summers and fishing.

The broad array of fishes found in this river include northern pike, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, walleye.

The site is also a habitat for turtles, larks, beavers, and white-tailed deer.

Explore the region’s breath-taking wilderness by canoeing and try your hand at fishing here.

Final Thoughts

With so much to see and do, it's easy to understand why locals and visitors alike love this city.

If you're in Minnesota, don't miss experiencing what Alexandria has to offer.

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