Stretching from the Canadian border in North Dakota to the twin-named Kansas Cities, Interstate 29 is one of the busy thoroughfares that crisscross the Great Plains – north to south, in the case of I-29. On any given day, you’ll see trucks carrying loads of cargo to support the communities, livestock and grain in transit, and plenty of people driving from one city to another.
Along I-29, there are a number of big cities, including the iconic Fargo, North Dakota, and Kansas City, Kansas, and plenty of others between them. For many people, the chance to traverse along the route of the Missouri River is an interesting road trip experience; others need to drive for work reasons.
Whether you’re planning to make the long drive between Fargo and Kansas City for business or pleasure, below you’ll find all the info you need to safely make the journey as a road trip along the eastern border of the Great Plains.
In this post, I promote travel to destinations that are the traditional lands of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ, Bdewakantuwan (Mdewakanton), Yanktonai, Umoⁿhoⁿ (Omaha), Washtáge Moⁿzháⁿ (Kaw / Kansa), 𐓏𐒰𐓓𐒰𐓓𐒷 𐒼𐓂𐓊𐒻 𐓆𐒻𐒿𐒷 𐓀𐒰^𐓓𐒰^(Osage), and Kiikaapoi (Kickapoo) peoples. With respect, I make a formal land acknowledgment, extending my appreciation and respect to the past and present people of these lands. To learn more about the peoples who call these lands home, I invite you to explore Native Land.
Fargo to Kansas City Drive Distance
As the crow flies, it’s roughly 550 miles between Fargo to Kansas City. In most cases, the drive distance between two cities is larger as the route doesn’t follow a straight line.
Luckily, the distance you have to cover when you drive between Fargo and Kansas City isn’t that different. On average, the distance to drive between Kansas City and Fargo is about 600 miles. Consider this number an estimate. How many miles you end up covering depends on where you start in Fargo and end in Kansas City.
Kansas City to Fargo Drive Time
A nonstop drive from Fargo to Kansas City takes approximately 8 hours and 45 minutes to complete.
That being said, it’s obviously not feasible to cover that distance without making some stops along the way. Unless you’re traveling with other people and can take driving turns or are time-constrained and need to arrive as soon as possible.
Your final drive time is also subject to where you start in Fargo and your final destination in Kansas City. You’ll also extend your drive time if you include a couple of detours and stops along your journey.
Stops to Make on Your Drive From Fargo to Kansas City
The almost nine-hour drive between Fargo and Kansas City is full of great places where road-trippers can stop. Whether it’s a park to stretch your legs or a quirky statue to take goofy photos, here are nine places worth visiting on your Fargo to Kansas City drive.
When driving through Moorhead, make sure you stop by the Hjemkomst Center. This museum complex is home to the replica of a Hopperstad Stave Church (a church built in 1140 in the town of Vik, Norway), and the Hjemkomst Viking ship replica.
Visitors can buy tickets to tour the Church’s interior as well as learn about the Viking ship and its historic 1982 voyage to Norway. There’s also a museum with interesting exhibits throughout the year worth checking out.
It isn’t a proper road trip unless there’s at least one quirky attraction on it, right? The Kansas City to Fargo drive has the cowboy statue.
The huge mustached cowboy statue sits in front of a Cowboy Convenience Store in St. Watertown. With its saddle and chaps, the giant cowboy overlooks I-29 and has called the attention of road-trippers. You can park across the street and take a few goofy pictures.
Porter Sculpture Park
Photos courtesy of Porter Sculpture Museum via Facebook
Porter Sculpture Park is the perfect stop when you need to stretch your legs and get some fresh air. This stunning park in South Dakota features an eclectic collection of sculptures created by Wayne Porter.
There are around 50 sculptures and you can admire each one by following the grass pathway. The artist is occasionally on-site and loves to chat with visitors about his creations and creative process and methods.
If the art at Porter Sculpture Park isn’t your style, drive another 30 miles and you’ll find Falls Park.
A gem for nature lovers, Falls Park is a stunning place, covering 128 acres. As the name suggests, the park’s main attraction is the falls which have given the name to the city of Sioux Falls.
Visitors can explore the numerous walking paths (some are right next to the falls) or enjoy panoramic views from the observation tower. There’s also a cozy café if you’re feeling peckish.
SculptureWalk Sioux Falls
SculptureWalk is an annual exhibit of outdoor sculptures displayed in downtown Sioux Falls. Stretching from Washington Pavilion to Falls Park, the exhibit features a stunning variety of sculptures loaned by local artists. It’s a great place to go for a nice long walk to stretch your legs after a few, long hours in the car – and plenty more ahead of you.
There’s at least 65 sculptures, as of 2022. Take your time to look around and remember which one you liked the most. The city invites people to vote for its favorite sculpture and the winning piece is purchased at the end of the exhibit year for the city’s permanent collection. For information look for ballot boxes on Phillips Avenue.
National Music Museum
Photos courtesy of the National Music Museum
The National Music Museum is a must-see on the drive from Kansas City to Fargo. While it will delight music lovers, anyone can have a lovely time here.
The venue has curated exhibits that tell the history of music and instruments. Its collection is extraordinary. There’s a Stradivarius violin, one of five existing Stradivari guitars, and one of the two existing Stradivari mandolins. There’s also an interesting section dedicated to some famous artists’ instruments and movie props.
Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center
Families will love the Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center. Located in Sioux City, this well-maintained nature center is the perfect place when your kids need to blow off steam after many hours on the road.
The center has quality indoor and outdoor activities. Indoors, there are numerous exhibits with mounted animals on display and a working bee hive! Outdoors, there are hiking trails, a waterfall, and play area.
On top of the fun activities, visiting the nature center is free!
Glore Psychiatric Museum
The Glore Psychiatric Museum is a unique and interesting place like no other. Spanning four floors, the museum illustrates the history of the adjacent state psychiatric hospital.
While the collection is filled with antiques and relics from the old asylum, it’s a fantastic window to see how mentally-ill people have been seen and treated in the U.S. and the world throughout history.
There’s also reproductions of hospital rooms, medical scenes, and historic photos of the different procedures performed on mentally-ill patients.
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
One of Kansas City’s top places to visit, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art should be a must-stop on your Kansas City to Fargo drive.
When it comes to world-class museums, The Nelson-Atkins Museum is second to none. Its encyclopedic collection comprises art pieces from nearly every continent and culture. Moreover, The Nelson is also famous for having one of the most significant and extensive Asian exhibits in the United States.
Most of the galleries are free to the public, and the exhibits that require a fee are moderately priced.
Other Tips for Your Drive Between Fargo & Kansas City
Now that you know the basics of the drive and are inspired to make a few stops, here are some final tips to help you finish planning your road trip:
- The route between Kansas City and Fargo crosses six states – including two outside the Great Plains: Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota.
- There are several larger cities along the route, including St. Joseph (MO), Omaha, Council Bluffs (IA), Sioux City (IA), and Sioux Falls.
- If you’re looking for a good halfway point to stop for a few hours or overnight, consider Sioux City, which is about 4 hours, 30 minutes from Fargo, and 4 hours, 20 minutes from Kansas City.
- There are also plenty of rest stops and commercial truck stops to choose from along the way, and plenty of gas stations and truck stops along I-29 if you need fuel, toilets, snacks, or other services.
Should You Fly Between Kansas City and Fargo Instead?
Whenever people have to travel, it’s impossible for them not to wonder whether it’s better to drive or fly between the two cities.
As I always say, both modes of transportation have their pros and cons.
On the one hand, a flight between Kansas City and Fargo covers 550 miles and takes almost three hours, including the time to do the check-in, get to the airport, and arrive at your destination in Fargo. On the other hand, the drive between Fargo and Kansas City covers 600 miles and takes almost 9 hours (8 hours and 45 minutes) to complete.
Cost-wise, a flight between these cities is generally about $650 for a round trip – prices drop in January and you can find cheaper deals, but then again, it’s winter in the Great Plains… As for the drive between Kansas City and Fargo, travelers can spend around $220 on gas for a round trip.
Ultimately, which option you choose will depend on your budget, time necessities, and interests. If you have the time, I suggest you do the drive between Kansas City and Fargo. This will also give you the opportunity to explore new places!
Have any other questions about making the drive between Fargo and Kansas City – or reverse? Let me know in the comments!