A perfect balance of size which offers quiet and quaint relaxation.
Alexandria is located in the heart of lake country in West Central Minnesota and serves as the county seat of Douglas County. The city population is 13,045 within city limits, but the unique layout of over 300 lakes in the county makes the service area closer to 35,000 people.
It’s a perfect balance of size which offers quiet and quaint relaxation, while also possessing comfortable full services and all the best shopping, dining and overnight accommodations that you can imagine. While all the lakes and woods provide great outdoor opportunities, you can also find plenty of fun around many of our attractions. Alexandria has a thriving Downtown district, excellent trails, plenty of arts, museums, parks, wineries and a whiskey distillery.
The Alexandria Area is full of history and interesting geology.
The modern geological form of the area can be attributed to the events of the last glacial period, often referred to as an Ice Age. The Wisconsin Glaciation began over 75,000 years ago with Minnesota covered by multiple lobes from the Laurentide Ice Sheet that covered most of Canada.
The Alexandria Area was affected by a section of the giant ice sheet called the Wadena Lobe in the early advances of the ice, and some areas by the larger Des Moines Lobe towards the end of the glacial period. These lobes were thousands of feet thick and covered most of Minnesota for about 65,000 years. As the lobes advanced, they sheared off rocks and soils down to the bedrock that were then carried countless miles across the landscape during the progression of the advance.
When the glaciers began to retreat around 10,000 years ago, they deposited countless tons of rock material, gravel, debris and ice to form the lakes, rolling hills and valleys that are now part of the signature beauty of the area. Many of the large rocks can still be seen scattered across the regions.
The Birthplace of America
It’s hard to miss Alexandria’s giant Viking statue standing guard at the shores of Lake Agnes just north of downtown. Big Ole stands 28 feet tall and bears a shield which reads “Alexandria: Birthplace of America.” This claim is not unfounded as an artifact was discovered near Alexandria in 1898 that turned the American discovery story upside down.
The artifact, called the Kensington Runestone, was discovered by a farmer named Olof Ohman in the tangled roots of an aspen tree. The runic artifact suggested that a group of Scandinavian explorers visited the area in 1362, much earlier than the voyages of Columbus. The Kensington Runestone has led researchers from all around the world on many studies and investigations into the authenticity of the artifact. The controversy remains today and you can visit the actual artifact at the Runestone Museum, and visit the discovery site at Kensington Runestone Park. The reputation and impact of this discovery was widespread, including the influence of Minnesota’s professional football team, the Minnesota Vikings.