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, and yet there’s no denying the impact it had 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 sporting events and concerts throughout the year. 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 there are plenty of attractions and activities even when there’s snow on the ground.
There are no less than six Fargos in the United States, and this one is the largest city in North Dakota. Pay it a visit sometime. You’ll receive a warm welcome even in winter, and the locals will
murder kidnap kill you with kindness.
Show Table of Contents
- Things to Do in Fargo, North Dakota
- 1. Fargo-Moorhead Visitors Center
- 2. Plains Art Museum
- 3. Fargo Theatre
- 4. Downtown Shopping & Eating
- 5. Lindenwood Park
- 6. Drekker Brewing Company
- 7. Fargo Air Museum
- 8. Bonanzaville USA History Museum
- 9. The Hjemkomst Center
- 10. Red River Market
- 11. Red River Zoo
- 12. The Roger Maris Museum
- 13. Thunder Road Amusement Park
- 14. The North Dakota State University
- 15. Go Mural and Bison Hunting
- Where to Stay in Fargo, ND
- What are the top attractions in Fargo, North Dakota?
- Are there any free activities to do in Fargo?
- Are there any festivals or events in Fargo that I shouldn’t miss?
- Most significant landmark – Fargo Theater
- Best park – Lindenwood Park
- Best free activity – Plains Art Museum
- Best activity for kids – Red River Zoo
- Best activity for adults – Drekker Brewing Company
- Best food – Mezzaluna
- Best nightlife – Dempsey’s Public House
- Best place to stay – Jasper Hotel
Things to Do in Fargo, North Dakota
1. Fargo-Moorhead Visitors Center
Address: 2001 44th St S, Fargo, ND 58103
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 pretty much 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
Address: 704 1st Avenue North, Fargo, ND 58102
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 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 there are guided tours 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
Address: 314 Broadway N #4715, Fargo, ND 58102
For over 90 years, the historic Fargo Theatre has been entertaining locals and visitors alike. Built back 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 it plays host to 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 bring a smile to your face. 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
Address: 201 Broadway N, Fargo, ND 58102
Aside from historic buildings and landmarks, downtown Fargo has a lot to offer when it comes to 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
Address: 1905 Roger Maris Dr, Fargo, ND 58103
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
Address: 1666 1st Ave N, Fargo, ND 58102
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
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.
8. Bonanzaville USA History Museum
Address: 1351 Main Ave W, West Fargo, ND 58078
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
Address: 202 1st Ave N, Moorhead, MN 56560
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
Address: 201 Broadway N, Fargo, ND 58102
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
Address: 4255 23rd Ave S, Fargo, ND 58104
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
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
Address: 2902 Thunder Rd S, Fargo, ND 58104
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 Best Family Vacations on a Budget
14. The North Dakota State University
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
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: Best Spring Break Destinations for Families
Where to Stay in Fargo, ND
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 Best Hotels in the Midwest
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.
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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a seasoned traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers find their next adventure, whether it’s exploring new places or revisiting old favorites.
He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wonderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). He loves listening to people’s stories from around the world as well as sharing his own 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.