This article is from DESTINATIONS magazine, your source for inspiration and resources about travel in Central and Northern Lakes Area Minnesota! Read on for more links and information about some of Alexandria's most noteworthy sites and events, or click here to return to mndestinations.com, where you can browse travel articles about other communities throughout the region.

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Here are seven must-see sights in the Alexandria area, according to Explore Alexandria Minnesota:

7. Glacial Ridge Trail Scenic Byway. This officially designated Minnesota State Byway includes more than 220 miles of beautiful rural routes through rolling hills, lakes, woods, prairies and farmlands. Find it in Douglas County along Highways 27 and 29.

6. Lake Carlos State Park / Inspiration Peak. They’re both fantastic natural attractions for the area. The park is located 10 miles north of Alexandria and Inspiration Peak is 25 miles northwest. Inspiration Peak, which is managed by Lake Carlos State Park, is the highest peak within the glacial-formed Leaf Hill Moraines.

5. Historic Downtown. Downtown Alexandria is teeming with lush history and some of the best locally-owned shops and restaurants around.

4. Big Ole. It’s not every day you’ll see a giant 28-foot-tall Viking standing guard over a city’s downtown! Big Ole was built in 1965 for the New York’s World Fair by a fiberglass sculptor.

3. The Kensington Runestone. Is it an authentic historical artifact carved by explorers from Norway way before Columbus sailed the ocean blue, or is it an elaborate hoax? You decide. The famous rock is on display at the Runestone Museum on North Broadway.

2. Central Lakes Trail. Since the trail was built on an old rail line, it provides its users with a flat and smooth experience as it routes through dozens of rolling hills, lakes, woods and prairies, spanning a total of 55 miles from Fergus Falls to Osakis.

1. Chain of Lakes. Lakes link to one another by channels without having to portage your watercraft (accessibility varies by lake, season and boat size). Lakes include Carlos, Darling, Le Homme Dieu, Geneva, Victoria, Cowdry, Jessie, North Union, Taylor, Stony and Brophy.