15 Fun & Best Things to Do in Fargo, North Dakota

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Things to Do In Fargo ND

Look, I’m just going to get this out of the way now, okay? There’s more to Fargo, North Dakota than sticking someone’s leg in a wood chipper.

The Coen brothers’ seminal 1996 movie has a lot to answer for, yet there’s no denying its impact on putting the eponymous town on the map. You can even see said wood chipper at a visitor center here. Is that going to be included as one of the best things to do in Fargo, North Dakota? You betcha!

Real-life Fargo is a hip city known for its food scene, entertainment venues, student population, and arts centers. And not inept criminal capers. It’s one of the best places to visit in the Midwest, an up-and-coming destination that’s been attracting a lot of young people in recent years, with a close-knit community spirit.

Culturally diverse and accommodating, Fargo is an active city with yearly sporting events and concerts. It boasts a vibrant downtown area with unique shops and restaurants. There are several colleges scattered throughout and some fun and funky places to stay – even if you’re just passing through.

In the winter, things get decidedly more chilly, but that’s not to say there isn’t anything to do. Fargo is a city that embraces the seasons and has plenty of attractions and activities even when snow is on the ground.

There are no less than six Fargos in the United States, and this one is the largest city in North Dakota. Visit it sometime. You’ll receive a warm welcome even in winter, and the locals will murder kidnap kill you with kindness.

TL;DR

  • Most significant landmark – Fargo Theater
  • Park to visit – Lindenwood Park
  • Free activity – Plains Art Museum
  • Activity for kids – Red River Zoo
  • Activity for adults – Drekker Brewing Company
  • Place to eat – Mezzaluna
  • Nightlife – Dempsey’s Public House
  • Place to stay – Jasper Hotel

Things to Do in Fargo, North Dakota

1. Fargo-Moorhead Visitors Center

Fargo-Moorhead Visitors Center
LeanneBizTraveler / TripAdvisor

Address: 2001 44th St S, Fargo, ND 58103, United States

If you are visiting Fargo for the first time, there’s no better place to start than with the Fargo-Moorhead Visitors Center. Not least because it’s the first thing you get to when leaving the interstate. I stopped in as recently as last year and found it to be, entertaining, informative, and a little weird.

Inside what looks like a grain elevator, you’ll discover everything you need to know about Fargo, North Dakota, and its Minnesotan sister city, Moorhead. There are helpful staff on hand to point you in the direction of the most famous historical landmarks in ND. And they have their fingers on the pulse of everything good to see and do in the area.

Don’t miss the Walk of Fame, with handprints of famous and random celebrity visitors. But perhaps the main attraction is, of course, the wood chipper prop from the movie Fargo.

Yes, it’s awesome. And yes, you can snap a comedy photo. I even bought myself a wood chipper coaster from the eclectic gift shop.

2. Plains Art Museum

Exhibit at Plains Art Museum
Plains Art Museum / Facebook

Address: 704 1st Ave N, Fargo, ND 58102, United States

The Plains Art Museum is anything but plain. Housed in a renovated International Harvester warehouse in downtown Fargo, it displays works by local, regional, and national artists. Its mission is to create strong communities through the importance of art. It is the largest and only accredited art museum in North Dakota.

One of the best things to do in Fargo, a visit to the Plains Art Museum, which is an essential activity when you’re in this part of the world. It features beautiful and thought-provoking works of traditional native american art. An extensive permanent collection of over 4,000 pieces and rotating temporary exhibitions throughout the year.

Admission to the Plains Art Museum is free, although guided tours are available for a small fee. And there’s a museum shop on site selling unique gifts. Check the museum website to see if there are any fun events planned during your stay in Fargo.

3. Fargo Theatre

Fargo Theatre in North Dakota
FiledIMAGE – stock.adobe.com

Address: 314 Broadway N #4715, Fargo, ND 58102, United States

For over 90 years, the historic Fargo Theatre has entertained locals and visitors alike. Built in the roaring 20s, it was originally an art house cinema and vaudeville theater.

Today it shows the latest blockbusters, along with independent and foreign films. It’s also a great place to watch classics on the big screen and hosts the Fargo Film Festival every year.

But aside from it being just a cinema, the Fargo Theatre’s facade and lobby are tourist attractions in their own right. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the restored art deco entrance will make you smile. The vintage exterior and marquee are the most photographed locations in the city.

The theater also offers a regular program of concerts and events, which are popular with locals. One of the best things to do in Fargo when it’s raining (or even if it’s not), you can check out the Fargo Theatre movie listings if you are planning to catch a flick during your visit.

4. Downtown Shopping & Eating

Mezzaluna interior
Mezzaluna / Facebook

Aside from historic buildings and landmarks, downtown Fargo has a lot to offer regarding shopping, cafes & restaurants, bars, and boutique stores.

You’ll find a plethora of unique shops, independent eateries, and art dealers. There are antique stores to poke around, thrift and upcycle shops, and record dives.

Broadway Square is the hub, which plays host to an annual program of events. The Red River Market thrives in the summer (more below), and there’s a popular community ice skating rink in winter.

Some of the best restaurants in Fargo are to be found in and around the downtown area. Try Blackbird Wood-Fired Pizza for artisanal pies. The Toasted Frog for laid-back eats. Mezzaluna (pictured) boasts the best fine dining in Fargo. And there’s even Middle Eastern fare served up at Ishtar Mediterranean.

5. Lindenwood Park

Lindenwood Park in Fargo
Fargo Parks / Fargo Parks

Address: 1905 Roger Maris Dr, Fargo, ND 58103, United States

Fargo isn’t blessed with vast areas of green space, but the parks it does have are charming enough. Of these, Lindenwood is the largest multi-use park in the city. It sits on the edge of town, with the Red River and Minnesota border running simultaneously alongside it.

There are plenty of amenities to keep outdoor enthusiasts happy. You’ll find bike and kayak rentals available. There are extensive picnic facilities with grills. Hikers will enjoy the recreational trails. And there are playgrounds to keep the young ones entertained.

If you visit Fargo in winter, Lindenwood is popular for cross-country skiing, skating, and snow-shoeing. And for a place to stay, you can try the Lindenwood campground, which is pleasantly shaded among a wilderness of trees.

6. Drekker Brewing Company

Front of Drekker Brewing Company building
Drekker Brewing Company / Facebook

Address: 1666 1st Ave N, Fargo, ND 58102, United States

The Midwest is famous for its craft breweries and taprooms. It seems every state, city, and town has its die-hard favorites brews. In Fargo, ND, it’s the Drekker Brewing Company.

Opened in 2014, Drekker has risen quickly to become one of the best breweries in North Dakota. The giant Viking-themed beer hall reflects the owner’s Scandinavian heritage and is a stunning place in which to quaff an ale or three. They offer free tours of the brewery, led by someone who genuinely crafts the beers on site. And this, of course, ends with a guided tasting session so you can sample the goods.

Living in Wisconsin, I might be a little biased towards the Dairy State. But the Drekker Brewing Company certainly offers an excellent craft beer experience in North Dakota and is one of the best Fargo attractions for adults. Vikings welcome.

7. Fargo Air Museum

Exhibit at Fargo Air Museum
Fargo Air Museum / Facebook

Address: 1609 19th Ave N, Fargo, ND 58102, United States

Anyone who is even remotely interested in aviation history and aircraft needs to visit the Fargo Air Museum. Located at Hector International Airport, this is a top Fargo attraction if you’re flying in and out of the city.

The Fargo Air Museum features two hangers filled with aircraft, 90% of which are still airworthy. Covering WWII to the present day, aviation enthusiasts will love the interactive displays and planes on show.

Notable exhibits include a full-sized replica of the early Wright brothers’ aircraft. There’s a thrilling flight simulator to try, a drone-flying cage, and a paper airplane station to fly your own creations.

As a kid, I used to love going to air shows and aviation museums with my dad. It makes no sense since I’m terrified of flying, but there you go. He would have enjoyed the Fargo Air Museum, and it’s the ideal place to bring the entire family when visiting Fargo, North Dakota.

See Related: Flying for the First Time? Here’s What You Need to Know

8. Bonanzaville USA History Museum

Bonanzaville USA History Museum street scene
Fargo-Moorhead CVB / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0

Address: 1351 Main Ave W, West Fargo, ND 58078, United States

Bonanzaville is aptly named. It’s a huge museum complex housed over forty historic buildings, containing a wealth of displays, exhibits, and artifacts detailing the history of the region. If you want to do a deep dive into prairie and pioneer living, Bonanzaville is the place to go.

Owned and maintained by the Cass County Historical Society, it’s one of the best Fargo museums for history buffs. There’s an old schoolhouse, a general store, a fire station, and a telephone museum.

See the train shed with its 1833 steam locomotive. And the Dahl Car Museum has a stunning display of vintage motors.

The museum is on the outskirts of town but is well worth taking the short trip. Check the Bonanzaville website for a full annual program. And if you’re visiting in August, don’t miss the annual “Pioneer Days” event, which is the largest and longest-running historical reenactment in the area.

9. The Hjemkomst Center

Replica Viking Ship in Hjemkomst Center
Ken Lund / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0

Address: 202 1st Ave N, Moorhead, MN 56560, United States

Now, I understand that this is technically cheating, as the Hjemkomst Center is not actually in Fargo. It sits right across the Red River in Moorhead, Minnesota.

But since these two sister towns are sort of smushed together across the state divide, they’re kind of the same place. I hope I don’t get into trouble for saying that.

The Hjemkomst Center is a unique attraction in Fargo (Moorhead). It explores the culture, history, and heritage of the many Scandinavian settlers in the region. There’s a stunning and faithful recreation of the Hopperstad Stave Church and a full-sized, seaworthy Viking ship.

Minutes from downtown Fargo, the Hjemkomst Center is a must-see when planning your Fargo itinerary (even if it is in Minnesota). There’s also another Stave Church replica in Minot, ND and it’s one of the best things to do in North Dakota.

10. Red River Market

Aerial View of Red River Market
Red River Market / Facebook

Address: 201 Broadway N, Fargo, ND 58102, United States

If you happen to be visiting Fargo on a Saturday, there’s no excuse for missing the Red River Market. Typically running from June to October, this is a bustling farmer’s market that showcases the wares of over 50 local vendors.

Located on Broadway Square, the market is a community institution. It seems the whole township attends every weekend, all looking to sample and purchase delicious fresh produce.

The event also features live music and performances from local bands and artists. There are cooking demonstrations, food & wine tasting, handmade goods, and more.

One of the best free things to do in Fargo, you should not miss the Red River Market experience when visiting this part of North Dakota. Head to the market’s website for more information.

11. Red River Zoo

Wolf in Red River Zoo
Red River Zoo / Facebook

Address: 4255 23rd Ave S, Fargo, ND 58104, United States

When visiting the Red River Valley, you’ll find many things named after the Red River. This one happens to be home to a bunch of animals. The Red River Zoo is Fargo’s mammalianmenagerieand it sits on 33 acres just off Interstate 94.

One of the best things to do in Fargo with kids, Red River Zoo boasts a collection of over 600 animals across 89 species. It specializes in cold-climate critters (welcome to Fargo), and its family of grey wolves is a particular highlight.

You can also ride a 1928 antique carousel, see the colorful pencil wall, and learn all about the animals at the zoo’s interactive exhibits. The Red River Zoo is a must-visit attraction in Fargo for children, so don’t miss it.

12. The Roger Maris Museum

Address: 3902 13th Ave S #3717, Fargo, ND 58103, United States

Baseball fans should head to the Roger Maris Museum when visiting Fargo. The collection is dedicated to Roger Maris, the legendary New York Yankees outfielder who spent much of his youth in North Dakota. In a career that spanned 12 seasons in Major League Baseball, Roger Maris was a record-breaker.

Maris is best known for hitting 61 home runs in 1961, a feat that remained unbeaten until 1998. They’re rightly fond of him in these parts, as you can probably glean from this impressive collection of stats, memorabilia, apparel, and artwork.

There’s a video room with genuine Yankee stadium seats from the Maris era. You can see replicas of his locker and Yankee Stadium monument.

And as Roger himself requested, the museum is always free. You’ll find it inside the West Acres Shopping Center, which is the largest mall in the state.

13. Thunder Road Amusement Park

Tracks in Thunder Road Amusement Park
Thunder Road Amusement Park / Facebook

Address: 2902 Thunder Rd S, Fargo, ND 58104, United States

One of the most fun things to do in Fargo has to be the Thunder Road Amusement Park. It offers a selection of wholesome activities the entire family can enjoy.

Fargonians have been coming here for entertainment since 2001, and you can join them. When in season, of course.

Race your family members on the go-carts. Shoot them in the laser tag.

Claim the highest scores in the arcade. Emulate Roger Maris in the batting cages. Get beat by the kids on the mini-golf, and then exact your revenge on the bumper cars.

And it’s not just for the kids, as the Thunder Road Amusement Park is a great place to go on a date, or for some business team building. Thunder Road is where the “fun never stops.” Except from November to May when Fargo turns into Antarctica.

See Related: The Budget-Friendly Family Vacations

14. The North Dakota State University

The North Dakota State University of Agriculture and Applied Sciences
Brianna.glaus / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

Address: 1340 Administration Ave, Fargo, ND 58105, United States

Fargo is a college town. There are some 15,000 students enrolled here, all putting their little grey cells through their paces.

At least when they’re not killing them with raucous bar crawls. The North Dakota State University is the main seat of learning, and while it might not be a typical Fargo tourist attraction, there are some notable points of interest – particularly for sports fans.

This is where the famous North Dakota State Bison football team plays. ND doesn’t have a team in the NFL, but watching the Bison is every bit as good.

Fargodome Indoor Sports Stadium is their home, situated on the university campus. Aside from packed sporting events, it hosts arena concerts by international artists every year. Check out their calendar to see if any of your favorites are playing.

For baseball, Newman Outdoor Field is also on campus grounds. Home of the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, the field is a great place to catch a game.

And the campus itself is beautiful, covering around 258 acres, and dating back to the late 1800s. There are several historic buildings to explore, including the Memorial Union and Minard Hall. Even if, like me, you’re academic days are a distant memory, a visit here will help you reminisce.

15. Go Mural and Bison Hunting

Bison Statue at The entrance to the Red River Zoo in Fargo, North Dakota
Ace Diamond / Shutterstock.com

Here are two great free attractions in Fargo that won’t cost you a bean, and yet are bags of fun. The first is to wander the city streets and seek out the painted murals and artwork around Fargo. The second is to hunt bison. Thankfully, they’re not real.

The bison statues are part of a public art project. Built to scale, around 20 are scattered across Fargo, West Fargo, and Moorhead. And unlike those foolish tourists in Yellowstone, you can approach and take photographs with these bright, benevolent bovines.

Easily one of the most fun things to do in Fargo, bagging and tagging these Insta-friendly creations is a great way to explore the city. And it’s totally free.

And you’ll get a cool new profile picture. And all while getting your steps in.

See Related: Spring Break Destinations For Families

Where to Stay in Fargo, ND

Lounge area in Jasper Hotel
Jasper Hotel / Booking.com

There’s no shortage of places to stay in Fargo. But rather than bombard you with soulless roadside chains, here’s a small selection of unique Fargo accommodations.

  • Jasper Hotel (pictured) offers stylish, five-star service at the best hotel in Fargo.
  • Downtown Fargo Loft Apartment for an alternative place to stay in Fargo, this cozy downtown holiday rental has everything you need.
  • Hotel Donaldson is a Fargo stalwart in a great location. Don’t miss the rooftop cocktail bar.
  • C’mon Inn features indoor pools, hot tubs, and an enormous, leafy atrium. The best budget-friendly accommodation in Fargo.

See Related: The Top-Rated Hotels in the Midwest

FAQs

Author Stuart Jameson visiting the Woodchipper Exhibit in Fargo
Stuart Jameson / ViaTravelers

What are the top attractions in Fargo, North Dakota?

The best attractions in Fargo include the Fargo-Moorhead Visitors Center, Plains Art Museum, the downtown area with the historic Fargo Theatre, the Fargo Air Museum, and the Red River Zoo.

Are there any free activities to do in Fargo?

Yes! Fargo has plenty of free attractions for when you’re on a budget. Try the Plains Art Museum or the Roger Maris Museum. Get outdoors and explore any one of the parks in the city.

The iconic wood chipper at the Fargo-Moorhead Visitors Center costs nothing to take comedy photos (see above). And you can wander the town discovering the many murals and painted artworks adorning the streets.

Are there any festivals or events in Fargo that I shouldn’t miss?

The Fargo Marathon is arguably the biggest event in the city, attracting spectators and competitors from all over the world. The Fargo-Moorhead Opera puts on three professional performances a year. The Fargo Blues Festival is always well attended, and the Hjemkomst Center welcomes a Midwest Viking Fest.

And there is a varied program of music concerts, fairs, and cultural events year-round. Check the Visit Fargo-Moorhead tourist website to see a full calendar.

Related Resources

Kyle Kroeger
WRITTEN BY

Kyle Kroeger

Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He's a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he'd heard.

Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he's learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.

He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time. Read more about his portfolio of work.

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