Road Trip: Alexandria

Alexandria Adventure Eat & Drink Play & Stay

July 5, 2017

Christina|Lake Time Magazine

Alexandria is located in the heart of West Central Minnesota along Interstate 94. Its close proximity to the Twin Cities and Fargo have made Alexandria a thriving community and a popular vacation destination for decades. The population of the city is a little over 13,000, but it sits in a service area of substantially more residents with an estimated population of over 35,000 in Douglas County. The community is home to regional medical facilities, a community and technical college, broad based manufacturing companies, and a full array of service and retail providers. 

Residents and visitors alike enjoy a plethora of outdoor recreation with over 350 lakes, hundreds of miles of trails, parks, great fishing, 150 holes of golf, and more! The scenic beauty of the area is complemented with many other great attractions including an award-winning winery, brewery, whiskey distillery, dozens of locally-owned restaurants, theatre, unique museums, and a vibrant Downtown district.

The Alexandria Lakes Area is home to the famous and controversial Kensington Runestone, an artifact with inscriptions that suggest Scandinavian explorers visited the area in 1362, much earlier than the voyages of Columbus. If authentic, these runic inscriptions would turn the American discovery story upside down, making Alexandria the true birthplace of America. The artifact was discovered in 1898 near Alexandria in the tangled roots of an aspen tree, and has led researchers from all around the world to investigate its authenticity. The controversy remains today and you can visit the actual artifact at the Runestone Museum. Big Ole, a 28-foot Viking statue, pays homage to the Kensington Runestone with his shield that reads: "Alexandria, Birthplace of America." 

When asking residents or visitors alike the first word that comes to mind when describing the Alexandria area, it's community. You don't just have a connection with the nature of the area, which is fantastic with all the beautiful lakes, parks, trails and things to explore.
The amount of care and support that this community puts back into the area is ten-fold. A fitting example is the new development of the Alexandria Area High School.

The Alexandria area community has always played, and continues to play a crucial role in the success of education development and workforce training. By engaging students earlier and deeper, this allows them to be more excited about school, discover their passion, and find possibilities in future careers. The Academy model that the Alexandria Area High School (AAHS) has implemented prepares students for their future, whether they continue their education or step directly out into the workforce.

Community members also get involved as mentors for job shadowing opportunities, field experiences, and are given the chance to make a difference in a student's life. Instructional guides also come into the high school to work closely with students, and all staff is given the chance to participate in externships. There have been a total of 2,492 volunteer hours in the 2016-2017 school year because of 1,213 different impressions. These partnerships are designed to provide authentic, real-life experiences for students. Without the help of the Alexandria area community, none of these career exploration opportunities would be possible.

The Alexandria area has been called both the "Top Micropolitan in Minnesota" and the "7th Best Small Town in America" and both describe the area perfectly. It's truly the best of both worlds having a close-knit community where you can make supportive and friendly connections, opportunities for career growth, outdoor recreation for all seasons to fit your active lifestyle, big-city amenities without the big-city traffic and congestion, all while still having that relaxed small-town feel. Check out LivingAlexArea.org for more area information and demographics.