Anoka County is the fourth-most populous county in the U.S. state of Minnesota. As of the 2010 census, the population was 330,844. The county seat and namesake of the county is the City of Anoka, which is derived from the Dakota word anokatanhan meaning "on (or from) both sides," referring to its location on the banks of the Rum River. The largest city in the county is City of Coon Rapids, the twelfth largest city in Minnesota and the seventh largest Twin Cities suburb.
Anoka County comprises the north portion of the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI Metropolitan Statistical Area, the largest metropolitan area in the state and the sixteenth largest in the United States with about 3.3 million residents.
The county is bordered by the counties of Isanti on the north, Chisago and Washington on the east, Hennepin and Ramsey on the south, Sherburne on the west, and the Mississippi River on the southwest. The Rum River cuts through the county and was the site of many early European settlements. It was a common route to the Mille Lacs Lake, the spiritual homeland of the Mdewakanton Dakota (Sioux). The river was traveled under captivity by Father Louis Hennepin in his first exploration of the region. The area became a center of fur trade and logging as French and French Canadian communities grew in the cities of Anoka and Centerville. Organized in 1857, the county's southern border eventually met Minneapolis and has become a predominantly suburban area following the construction of Interstate 35W. The county is home to local Twin Cities destinations such as the Heights Theater in Columbia Heights and Northtown Mall and the National Sports Center in Blaine.