Brainerd, Minnesota

Brainerd is known as Minnesota's playground and lies in the heart of the Brainerd Lakes Area. Immersing your family or friends in the beauty of Brainerd area forests, lakes, and rivers. Enjoy birding, hiking, biking, skiing, fishing, boating, horseback riding, canoeing, kayaking, golf, watersports, and much more.

Brainerd offers the Midwest’s largest Raceway with Top Fuel Dragsters, Nascar, Snowmobile, and Superbikes in addition to an excellent dirt track raceway. Just east of Brainerd is the Cuyuna Lakes Recreation Area offering world class mountain biking, fishing, biking, and even scuba diving in underwater forests and abandoned mine pits.

 Brainerd Minnesota doesn't roll up the sidewalks in the winter either. Play on Mount Ski Gull which offers downhill skiing, snowboarding, and Minnesota's largest snow tubing hill. Miles of cross country ski trails, miles of snowmobile trails, ice fishing, events, and much more await you.

Downtown Brainerd is rich in history and offers a selection of unique stores and great events throughout the year. Be sure to set aside some time while in the area to stop down and explore Downtown Brainerd and check the event calendar for great events like the Fourth Of July Celebration, Street Fest on 7th, and others.

Whatever your pleasure, Brainerd delivers it in world-class style. The area is a top 50 world golf destination, has the World's largest live release Ice Fishing tournament, the world larges ice golf and snowmobile event, and these are just a few of the many highlights of the Brainerd area.

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Latitude: 46.352673 Longitude: -94.202008 Elevation: 1211 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Richard Polipnick


The Brainerd area was once a dense pine forest that served the Chippewa Indians as hunting grounds and blueberry fields. The area that would become Brainerd was first seen by white men on Christmas Day, 1805, LT. Zebulon Pike, U.S. Army, camped in the area for a day of rest and relaxation while exploring the source of the Mississippi River.

On September 19, 1871 the plat was signed and on September 25, 1871 it was filed for record in Crow Wing County. The name on the plat was BRAINERD. The City was incorporated on 11/19/1881.

At the time, the president of the railroad company was John Gregory Smith. His wife was Anne Eliza Brainerd Smith. Since Mr. Smith objected to the proposed town names of “Smithville” and “Smithton,” his wife’s maiden name was chosen for the town name and Mr. Smith’s middle name was chosen for the town square.

The first settlers had wanted the name to be OCAMACUA, Indian for “The Crossing.”

The historic water tower was built over four years, from 1919-1922. It was the first all concrete elevated tank used by a municipality in the United States. The tower held 300,000 gallons of water drawn from three wells. The tower served until 1958 when a new 1 million gallon tower was constructed. The old tower was drained in 1960. It was added to the State Inventory of Historic Sites in 1972.

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