Population (2010)



Otsego is one of the communities on the exurban fringe of the Twin Cities metro area; visitors will find a couple of reasons to pull off the highway, especially if you like quiet walks next to the river.

Visitor Information

Direct your questions to the Elk River Area Chamber of Commerce (763.441.3110).


Ho Chunk Indians had a village around here in early 1850s (their reservation was up by the Watab River). The village of Otsego got going in fits and starts. It was surveyed and platted in 1857 and even got a sawmill that year. It was named after Otsego, New York, which is a township, county, and the first name of the village now called Cooperstown that became famous for being the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Samuel Carrick started ferry service between Elk River and Otsego in 1854. Most of the early settlers were New Englanders. David Ingersoll arrived from Maine in 1854 and started a brick factory on the Mississippi that lasted until 1890. Most folks in the area were farmers, however.

The Panic of 1857 drastically slowed the village’s development. The village got a post office in 1856 but it closed in 1904. Otsego’s kids went to high school in Elk River. The city roared to life in 1990 when the entire township was incorporated as the City of Otsego. Because it was organized so recently, it has an unusual setup: Otsego has no post office, three school districts, six zip codes, three different phone companies, no fire department, and police service is provided by the county sheriff. Most residents commute to work elsewhere.

Exploring the Area

Otsego City Hall (13400 90th Street NE; 763.441.4414) has a few displays showcasing the town’s history.


Otsego Regional Park (15186 – 96th St. NE) has 70 acres of open space adjacent to the Mississippi River, with a paved multi-use trail, picnicking, and canoe access.

Carrick Waterfront Park (90th St. NE at Quantrelle Ave.) has a walking path and good views of the river.

**Otsego is covered in the Headwaters Region Guide; other places in northern Minnesota are covered in Road Tripping Along the Great River Road, Vol. 1. Click the links above for more. Disclosure: This website may be compensated for linking to other sites or for sales of products we link to.

Where to Go Next

Heading upriver? Check out Monticello.

Heading downriver? Check out Dayton.

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If you like the content at the Mississippi Valley Traveler, please consider showing your support by making a one-time contribution or by subscribing through Patreon. Book sales don’t fully cover my costs, and I don’t have deep corporate pockets bankrolling my work. I’m a freelance writer bringing you stories about life along the Mississippi River. I need your help to keep this going. Every dollar you contribute makes it possible for me to continue sharing stories about America’s Greatest River!

©Dean Klinkenberg, 2015