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That's So Minnesota Road Trip: Alexandria

Discover a mysterious artifact, 22 Norsemen, and Minnesota-made wine in this day trip to Alexandria.

ALEXANDRIA, Minn. — All over Alexandria, you'll find nods to the Norse. Here are our favorite things to do in this Douglas County town.

1. Alexandria Visitor Center

A great first stop when arriving to Alexandria!

2. Runestone Museum

Sharing a building with the Alexandria Visitor Center, the Runestone Museum features a mysterious runestone. In 1898, a Kensington, MN, farmer found the stone tangled in tree roots on his property. Researchers worldwide were fascinated because the date 1362 was etched into the stone as well as a story about 22 Northmen. Many people believe, if authentic, the stone proves Vikings landed in North America before Christopher Columbus. This is why Alexandria calls itself the "Birthplace of America."

3. Big Ole

Standing 28 feet tall, Big Ole is a favorite tourist attraction and community icon. The Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and partners are developing the area around where he stands. Big Ole Park features a music park, the Cedar Lake bike trail, the town's farmer's market, and other lakefront activities.

4. Carlos Creek Winery 

This vineyard has 160 acres of land, home to their varieties of grapes, and 22 different kinds of apples. There are family-friendly games and things to see and do.

5. 22 Northmen Brewing

Located within Carlos Creek Winery, this Viking-inspired brewery is a place to spend time with family and friends wile enjoying a drink and a slice of wood-fired pizza.

6. Panther Distillery

A place to taste locally-sourced spirits while seeing how their whiskey is made.

7. Noonan Park

Walking paths and picnic tables surround the small lake at the center of town, and the lake is converted into ice rinks for the winter.

8. Country Blossom Farm

Stop by Country Blossom for its bakery and gift shop featuring home décor and other gifts. Holiday sales begin Nov. 9.

9. European Christmas Market

The European Christmas Market is scheduled for Dec. 5 but could be changed or canceled due to the pandemic.

10. Downtown Shopping

If you like boutiques and bookstores, check out this list of retailers located downtown.

11. Andes Tower Hills

Looking for something to do in the snow? This resort features downhill and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, and tubing. Lessons and rental gear are available on site.