**Updated : August 2023**
This post may also contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you purchase a product via these links, with no extra cost to you!
What is Alexandria Known For?
Alexandria is known for being surrounded by some of Minnesota's best lakes. With over 20 lakes less than 20 minutes from downtown, there really are endless opportunities for summertime fun. As the area has gained popularity over recent years, new businesses have sprung up as well, making it an ideal summer destination. Although it might seem like there isn't too much to do in town, especially if you're coming from the Twin Cities, this small town feel will make you feel like you've just stepped into a Hallmark movie and will leave you coming back for more! From scenic flights to unique annual festivals, read on for our 12 favorite things to do in Alexandria!
Our Favorite Things to Do in Alexandria
Visit Big Ole - Known as America's Largest Viking, this 28 foot tall giant statue was built in 1965 for the New York World's Fair before it was moved to Alexandria. Big Ole now sits near the shores of Lake Agnes right off Broadway Street. Although this isn't the most exciting stop on our list, it's definitely a must when you're in Alexandria!
Carlos Creek Winery - A local favorite, this winery is widely known throughout the state for their Annual Grape Stomp Festival held each September! (If you're visiting during this time, we highly recommend checking it out for wine & beer tastings, art vendors & a marketplace, along with daily stomping competitions!) They also have great wine (my favorites are their Wombegon White & You Betcha Blush), and if wine isn't your thing, then you can stop by the nearby 22 Northmen Brewery right next door or the Copper Trail Brewing located downtown!
Scenic Flight Tour - Head out on a scenic tour 3,000 feet up with Alexandria Aviation. Alright, so we haven't actually done this one ourselves yet BUT we can guarantee it is at the top of our Minnesota Bucket List. At only $95 for up to 3 people, this price is unbeatable, and we think this is hands down the most epic thing to do in the area and the best way to see the views of the Alexandria Lakes Region!
Explore Historic Downtown - Almost destroyed by a fire in 2020, this downtown has undergone a lot of changes and remodels. Now, there's lots of shopping (whether you're in the mood for trendy boutiques or unique antiques), hidden gems, and cute cafes to stop at! Some of our favorites are The Edge, Ollie Birch Boutique, and Kindred People. If you've got a sweet tooth then a stop at the Sugar Shack is a must (we've heard they have great ice cream in the summer!).
Try to Escape - We've all seen the Escape Room fad pop up all around the US, but did you know there's one right downtown Alexandria? Head to Escape Room Alexandria to test all your Sherlock Holmes skills in their themed rooms that change every so often - they currently have a new Santa themed room! At $27 per person, this is a great activity for team building or family fun!
Family Fun at Casey's Amusement Park - With a variety of options onsite from mini golf to go karts to bumper boats, you could easily spend an entire day here with the kiddos. Open everyday in the summer from 10:30 AM, prices vary for each activity but all have special discounts on Tuesdays!
Get Outside on the Central Lakes Trail - This 55 mile route used to be for the railroad, but has since been paved over as a biking and walking trail. Starting in Osakis and running all the way to Fergus Falls, this is the perfect way to spend some time outside! (Looking to rent a bike to explore? Try Alex Bike Shop for regular bikes and e-bikes!)
Learn some History - Although Alexandria might not seem like a town steeped in past events, there are multiple historical happenings rooted in Alexandria - from the Kensington Runestone to Vikings and Nordic Explorers to Scandinavian Heritage and even Minnesota Lake Life, there are multiple museums in the area that you can visit! Try the Runestone Museum ($10 a person) to learn about Nordic & Scandinavian Heritage and the Legacy of the Lakes Museum (also $10 a person) for more history about Minnesota Maritime and Lake history!
Live that Minnesota Lake (or Resort) Life - According to multiple sources, there are over 350 lakes in the Alexandria Area! It sounds hard to believe, but with almost 12,000 lakes in Minnesota it starts to make a little more sense. With so many lakes it can be hard to choose, but some of our favorites near downtown are Lake Agnes & Lake Darling, but the fun doesn't stop there! With so many lakes comes multiple resorts - Arrowwood Resort has an extensive property (including a water park) and Lake Darling has a bit more of a homey feel with pontoon rentals available during your stay. Looking for something more private? Try Gathered Oaks Airbnb, they have very unique lodging and are known around the state for their silo themed stays! On a summer day you might also want to check out Zorbaz for a lake front restaurant & bar!
Summer Saturday Speedway Shenanigans? - Try saying that 5 times fast ;) (I had to lol.) If you're looking for some Saturday night fun, try heading over to the Viking Speedway for some car racing and demolition derby entertainment. We recommend checking out their Facebook Page for better weekly updates, however on most summer Saturdays they will open doors around 6:30 and tickets cost $15 for adults, $12 for seniors/college students with an ID, and the best part? Anyone under 17 is free!
Local Events - Alexandria is home to many fun events throughout the year, from the Douglas County Fair in August to the Annual Grape Stomp at Carlos Creek Winery in September, we've gathered a list of some of our favorite events in the Alexandria area!
Head out of Town - This might seem a little contradictory when you're looking for things to do in Alexandria, but there are so many little towns nearby, each with uniquely quirky things to do, that this is 100% something to consider when exploring the Alexandria area! From Berry Picking in Holmles City, to learning about the Kensington Runestone in Kensington, going skiing at Andes Tower Hills, or visiting Erickson's Petting Zoo in Osakis there is a limitless amount of things to do within a short drive of Alexandria!
Grab some Food - In the last few years there have been a lot of changes to the food scene in Alexandria. Unfortunately a few years ago one of our favorites D Michael B's closed down after 37 years, but not to fret there are plenty of other places to eat. Some of our new favorites are The Depot, Pizza Ranch (a classic) and Pike & Pint Grill. *Note - one place we DO NOT recommend is DJ's Tap House & Grill, we visited a few years ago and had terrible service & food.
Have anything else you think we need to add to our list? Let us know in the comments and we'll stop by next time we're in the area!
Watch our Adventures in Minnesota here!
Check out our other Minnesota blog posts!
Pin this post for later!
We're Deborah & Tyler, a pretty average husband and wife duo from a pretty average state that didn't want to live so averagely. After our *Covid wedding we sold everything that didn't fit into the Jeep and moved to Alaska, then decided to take a gap year!
We share bucket list itineraries and cost saving guides to help you travel easier and inspire your next adventure! ;)
Our blog and all its content are free to you, however when you purchase through referral or affiliate links on our site we may earn a small commission. Learn more here.