One of the smaller cities in Minnesota, Brainerd is also known as the Brainerd Lakes Area because of the many lakes that surround the city. Built originally as a railroad town, the city has experienced a notable growth spurt since the 1980s due to its growing tourism and service industry. Today, the city is home to more than 13,000 residents.
Brainerd accommodates roughly 5,800 houses, of which 96 percent are occupied. Owners occupy more than half of the homes, with renters occupying the remainder.
Brainerd lies in the lake region of Minnesota, and about 500 lakes surround the town, giving rise to the name "Brainerd Lakes Area." The Lakes Area includes Gull Lake, which is one of the largest lakes in Brainerd and is home to numerous fishing tournaments in both the summer and winter. Gull Lake, located just northwest of Brainerd, is also a bustling residential and commercial area that consists of eight lakes and a few thousand residents.
Brainerd's economy is composed of a number of retail, service, and professional and manufacturing businesses. More than 30 percent of employees are in administrative support jobs, sales, and the food service industry. Brainerd's main industry is tourism. The Lakes Area vacation center attracts thousands of tourists during the summer months, when the population nearly doubles.
Brainerd's impressive fine arts community, which is supported by cultural groups such as the Heartland Symphony and Central Lakes College Theatre, provides another contribution to the city's economy.
Additionally, Brainerd health care systems cater to several communities. The city's hospitals, situated in Brainerd, Crosby, Staples, and Aitkin, offer a wide range of services that are available 24 hours a day. The Brainerd area also has a number of chiropractors, dentists, surgeons, and physicians.
The Brainerd Lakes Area has thrived because of the efforts of the Brainerd Lakes Area Development Corp., a community-supported nonprofit organization that aids in the creation of employment and business opportunities and sustains and increases property values for home owners.
Shopping opportunities include a number of antique shops in downtown Brainerd and trendy clothing stores in Crosslake. Fish lovers can find delectable smoked fish to purchase in this area.
Top employers in the area include Brainerd Public School District, St. Joseph's Medical Center, Wal-Mart, Acensus, and Maddens.
Brainerd offers a number of attractions for residents and tourists:
The Brainerd Lakes Area is a popular vacation destination for tourists and those seeking recreation of all sorts.
Although Brainerd winters are rather cold, visitors can choose from plenty of activities:
Brainerd also contains two geological wonders:
Brainerd is home to Central Lakes College, which enrolls around 3,000 students.
Brainerd has a number of radio stations: