My Five Fargo Favorites from my 49th State North Dakota

Ok, I’m on an adventure to visit all 50 US states, 50 by 50 is the goal.  So I headed off Fargo to capture my 49th state – North Dakota. . I didn’t have much of an agenda for the trip besides a simple goal to experience the state and enjoy Fargo.

Mission accomplished.

welcome to north dakota, fargo, ND

Welcome to my 49th State- North Dakota

With little research prior to the trip and kept my itinerary wide open. I knew of two items thanks to a fellow traveler, I interviewed in my first 50 by 50 podcast and put those on the list, but really just decided to follow my interests and find a few Fargo style activities by surprise.

Here what I discovered, my top 5 activities and things to do in Fargo, North Dakota.

  1. Visit the Visitor Center

North Dakota became my 49th state, so apparently I didn’t save the best for last and earn the official visitor center t-shirt and entry into the official club. It didn’t stop me from taking a selfie with the sign and also another selfie with the wood chipper from the famous 1996 film directed by the Coen brothers.

For many the wood chipper (and movie) is all people know of Fargo – and of course people recall the actor’s accents (more north Minnesota than Fargo actually). Yet this darker film (often labeled as a comedy) continues to hold a cult popularity with many visitors stopping in to see and pose with iconic movie artifact – the Wood Chipper. Yet visitors do discover much more.

posing in fromt of the save the best for last sign, club inside Fargo, North Dakota CVB

Not my 50th State, but I have my t-shirt: Stay Adventurous

fargo ND CVB iconic Wood Chipper

Avoid the Wood Chipper

For me, I’d prefer T-shirt and although I didn’t get into the official “best for last club” I did score a North Dakota Tee with some postcards. Let me know if you want a postcard – first person to ask gets one sent to them.

Finally, the Fargo CVB is actually is known as FarMoore  (Fargo, ND and Moorehead, MN) visitor center since it serves both Fargo and also across the state line to Moorehead, MN.

  1. The Roger Maris Museum

Last summer Roger Maris received much attention thanks to Aaron Judge’s incredible 62 home run last season so when in town I decided to visit the mall-based “museum” to pay tribute to the American baseball icon. I first browsed the vast collection of artifacts from his playing career and then settled in to authentic original NY Yankee Stadium seats to watch a documentary on his life.

Roger Maris exhibit West Acres Mall Fargo, North Dakota

Roger Maris Display

Roger Maris musue in NY Yankee stadium seats inside West Acres Mall Fargo, ND

Settle in for the documentary on roger Maris

I stayed for an hour to watch a complete loop. Fascinating man and a fantastic ball player. The Roger Maris Museum is located in the West Acres Mall in Fargo and remains free at the request of Roger Maris before his untimely passing in 1985.

  1. Bear Creek Winery.

As I continue to expand my knowledge of wine and also continue with my Stay Luxurious Wine Journeys, I typically look to visit wineries and was quite surprised North Dakota holds a wine trail. Multiple vineyards are available for visit on an entire Red Rive Wine Trek. So I decided to check it one evening for happy hour at the Bear Creek Winery for a tasting.

This time I could not take the free bikes provided by my hotel, the Element Fargo, and booked an Uber for the journey to the winery.  The grapes grown here are made to withstand the cold winters not unlike wines I discovered in the Adirondacks of New York. You may not see many bottles in the local wine shops, but there was certainly a crowded scene for tastings and local fare served up by an onsite restaurant.

wines of Bear Creek, North Dakota

my first flight to taste

glass of red wine at bear creek winery in north dakota not far from Fargo

Enjoying a glass post tasting

Happily, I also found a few worth ordering a second glass too. But if wine is not your jam? There are plenty of local craft breweries in town to visit, two I sampled were Junkyard (located in Moorehead) and also Fargo Brewing.

  1. A Viking Adventure Across State Lines

Fargo borders Moorhead, Minnesota and there is actually the opportunity to cross into the state on foot over multiple bridges. Just a few steps inside Minnesota across one such bridge connecting two local parks visitors can appreciate Viking history and culture.

Inside this cultural center can see and learn about the voyage of a 8th century burial ship replica crafted in Minnesota, the Hjemkomst Viking Ship, appear inside the space with documentation and stories about its  passage “home” to Norway in the 1980s through the Great Lakes, then off to New York Harbor and eventually across the Atlantic.  After its Norway arrival, the ship was “shipped” back to the region and now finds its home port inside the cultural center.

Hjemkomst ship that sailed from Minnesota to Norway through Great Lakes and NYC Harbor

the ship that made the voyage; most locals believe the Vikings settled MN

Viking helmet, Axe inside the 12th century Stave in Moorehead, Minnesota

We all want to be a viking some days.

 

Also on site is a 12th century Stave, definitely look at the schedule and hop on the tour – you’ll get to learn how heavy Viking attire was – wow, heavy.

  1. Walking the Downtown – The Jasper Hotel, Broadway Square, the Theater

The image of Fargo is its Art Deco Theater (recently revitalized and renovated) remains the iconic image of the city and downtown. Yet, it may be changing along with its downtown renaissance.  Surely all visitors take a photo of the active theater and some take in a movie, but all visitors stop in Broadway Square too – the true center of the downtown activities. This outside park offers concerts, events, and even ice skating in winter.

The Fargo Theater

pointing to the sign – it’s Fargo alright

Does downtown have luxury too? Of course, I also wonder about luxury travel when planning my visit and figured with booming business in agriculture and technology in a city, there must be a luxurious hotel for visitors to Fargo, North Dakota.  There is indeed.

Adjacent to Broadway Square visitors can enjoy the  Jasper Hotel.  I received a tour and then decided to appreciate the happy hour scene with its vibrant lobby bar with extensive craft cocktails made by professionals (sometimes even flown in). Plus, the restaurant, Rosewild, offers a viewable wood grilled oven for patrons of the bar and window seats to the square for its dining tables.

the cocktail list and cocktail from the lobby bar at the Jasper in Fargo, North Dakota- ND

enjoying a cocktail inside the Jasper

Also, for the hotel, it is the attention to the details of the area that showcase local artists and the craftsman local style with its décor and amenities designed to impress and pamper.  Regardless if you stay or not, it remains must visit when walking the downtown.

Conclusion

Well there you have it, the five things to do in Fargo, the top activities to put on your list when visiting Fargo, the gateway to the historic Wild West. For more, definitely stay tuned for the next drop of the Staying Adventurous Podcast and episode 69, later this month, we will be discussing Fabulous Fargo.

Stay adventurous, Craig

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