When you think about destinations in North Dakota – and yes, I know this is something that everyone thinks about quite a lot – what comes to mind? There’s one town, right? Fargo – made famous by the dark crime dramedy of the same name from 1996.
Thankfully, there’s a lot more to Fargo than woodchippers and funny accents… though you can certainly find a woodchipper if you know where to look! There are plenty of other great things to do in Fargo, from street art and art museums to craft breweries and cultural sights.
If you’re planning a trip to Fargo, or perhaps passing through on I-94 journeying across the Great Plains, spend some time to explore this distinctly North Dakotan city. Below you’ll find some of the best ways to explore all that North Dakota’s most populous city has to offer.
In this post, I promote travel to a destination that is the traditional lands of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ and Bdewakantuwan (Mdewakanton) 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.
Special thanks to Visit Fargo-Moorhead for all photos in this post.
1. Wander in the Plains Art Museum
The Plains Art Museum is North Dakota’s largest art museum and is one of the greatest things to do in Fargo. It houses curated local, regional, national, and ‘Midwest Modern’ art pieces, alongside rotating exhibits. Plus, it has free entry! so it’s a budget-friendly plan as well.
All of the exhibitions are highly diverse, interesting, and engaging. In addition to the artworks on display, the museum offers a variety of interesting arts education classes and resources for artists, including a printmaking studio.
2. Explore the Red River Zoo
If you’re traveling with kids, the Red River Zoo is one of the top Fargo things to do. Opened in 1999, the Red River Zoo is a 33-acre facility featuring some of the world’s rarest cold climate species.
It is a great experience that combines fun and educational activities. You’ll enjoy a view of beautiful animals of all kinds and sorts: birds, fish, cats, camels, sheep, farm animals, wolves, while learning about their species and environment. The zoo opened an interactive Children’ Zoo Farm and Nature’s Legendary Playground in 2016 so make sure to spend some time after you’ve seen the exhibits.
3. Visit Fargo Air Museum
Visiting Fargo Air Museum is one of the must things to do in Fargo if you have any interest in aviation. The museum features two hangars filled to the brim with everything aviation. Planes, jets, helicopters, and more. There is lots to see and read about and learn.
It is also home to the “most accurate recreation of a Wright Brothers’ flier the Smithsonian Institute has ever seen.” (source) One of the museum’s selling points is that it has a flight simulator and many of the airplanes occasionally take to the sky.
4. Raise a Pint at Drekker Brewing Company
When in Fargo, don’t miss the chance of enjoying a pint at Drekker Brewing Company. The brewery has slayed the game when it comes to fruited sours and seltzers. Their IPAs are just delicious.
The brewery’s vibe is incredible, too! Drekker has managed to repurpose an old train building near the tracks. In doing so they have created a very fun atmosphere with both outside and inside areas (weather permitting). There’s also a fire pit and some pinball games.
If Drekker isn’t your style, there are a number of other craft breweries in Fargo and Narth Dakota craft breweries on tap at local bars.
5. Learn about Baseball at the Roger Maris Museum
Are you a baseball fan and wondering what to do in Fargo? Well, you’re in luck as the town is home to the Roger Maris Museum. As the name suggests, the museum is dedicated to Roger Maris, a legendary baseball player who hit a Major League Baseball record with 61 home runs during the 1961 season for the New York Yankees.
Fargo has decided to honor the legend with a 72-foot long glassed-in exhibit at the West Acres Shopping Mall. The exhibit explores all aspects of his career, including major awards, uniforms, and some of the home run balls from 1961.
6. Take a Goofy Pic with the Fargo Woodchipper
If you’re cinephile, the town of Fargo definitely rings a bell as the town where the Coen Brothers’ brilliant movie, Fargo, takes place – if you haven’t watched it, this is a sign that you should.
While not a single scene was shot in Fargo – it was mainly in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and around Pembina County, North Dakota – the town’s visitor center has the original wood chipper on display. Most visitors love taking goofy pictures recreating the iconic scene.
7. Discover Fargo’s Street Art
The Fargo-Moorhead area is filled with fabulous street art. Local artists have made the town’s walls their canvas to create beautiful murals and the perfect background for your selfie.
The murals are ever-changing; however, there are a few iconic pieces you can see anytime you visit. You can see the Bob Dylan mural on the side of the Old Bison Hotel at 420 Broadway, or the Cow Print on the alley between Pounds and Wurst Bier Hall. The Mario Wall on the alley behind The Toasted Frog has become one of the most photogenic spots in the town.
8. Shop Fresh Produce at Red River Market
The Red River Market is one of the top attractions in Fargo. Hosted on Saturdays only, spending the day in the market is a favorite local pastime.
While it is marketed as a farmers’ market, it actually is an assorted potpourri, with stalls selling everything from mugs and homemade soaps to veggies and meats. The market invites local artists to perform and has a sitting area to enjoy lunch and rest while your kids run around.
9. Stroll Down Lindenwood Park
Now that you’ve stocked up with delicious produce from River River Market, put it in a basket and head to Lindenwood Park for a picnic.
Lindenwood Park is the largest multi-use park in Fargo. The park welcomes joggers and families who love to bring their kids to play in the playgrounds and enjoy a day out in nature. During spring and summer, the park has the water fountain on and colorful flowers. During winter, it hosts holiday lights. The park features five picnic shelters, six softball diamonds, plus a baseball diamond.
10. Visit Veterans Memorial Bridge
Connecting Fargo with Moorhead, the Memorial Bridge is a stunning location, with its majestic columns and flags. The bridge spans the Red River and commemorates the men and women who have served in the United States military. It comprises ten columns that have emblems representing the different branches of the military (Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force) and numerous following veterans organizations. The bridge also features interpretive signs attached to its walls describing different aspects of Fargo’s history.
11. Catch a Movie at the Fargo Theater
Many consider the Fargo Theatre the crown jewel of downtown Fargo. This stunning art deco movie theater was built in 1925. Besides being an incredible slice of local history, it has served as the main venue of the Fargo Film Festival since 2012.
It was restored to its historic appearance in 1999. The attention to detail on the inside and outside of this building make for a very special experience. Currently, it has an excellent (and affordable) programming, with a wide variety of concerts, performances, and movies throughout the year.
12. Travel Back to the 1800s at Bonanzaville, USA
Bonanzaville, USA is one of the best things to do in Fargo to get to know the past of the Red River Valley.The Cass County Historical Society put together Bonanzaville, USA, a 12-acre history museum complex, to tell the history of the area from the 1800s and 1900s in a creative way.
Located in West Fargo, Bonanzaville, USA features up to forty buildings, many of which are historic and from the region. Every building has its own story, with several dedicated to specific displays. One building houses law enforcement memorabilia. Another is dedicated to firefighters, their equipment, and lifestyle. The tickets cost $12 for adults and $6 for students and children.
13. See a Norwegian Stave Church
If you’re driving though Fargo, it’s worth taking a detour to look at the Norwegian Stave Church in Moorhead. Located at the Hjemkomst Center, the Norwegian Stave Church is an interesting replica of an old 12th century Norwegian church.
Visitors can take a tour to visit the interior and admire the quality of construction. The tour ticket also gives you admission to see the Viking ship replica that’s in the center. If you don’t want to get a ticket, you can simply admire the exterior and take a walk around the grounds.
There you have it – some of the best things to do in Fargo (and neighboring Moorhead). Have any questions about how to spend your time in this iconic North Dakota town? Let me know in the comments.