Set on rolling prairies and full of farms and picturesque backdrops, Fargo is North Dakota's largest city with a population of nearly 120,000. Today, the city's pastoral roots are complemented by a burgeoning downtown scene, complete with used bookstores, antique shops, and live theater performances. Family-friendly activities are plentiful here and include the Red River Zoo and Bonanzaville. Fargo's bitingly cold winters (highlighted in the 1996 award-winning film named after the city) are paradise for cold-weather Fargo hotel guest enthusiasts who can join locals in sledding, skiing, and snowshoeing.
Reasons to visit
Next to the Red River of the North, the City of Fargo is the perfect stopover spot during a road trip along Cass County, North Dakota.
On the border between two states, Fargo is intersected from east to west by I-94, one of the main roads that passes through the main cities of North Dakota and heads directly into Minnesota.
With some of the most competitive attractions in North Dakota, Fargo-Moorhead draws in visitors for a number of reasons:
- Red River Zoo: A fun and family-friendly attraction, Red River Zoo lets you visit over 89 species, ride an antique carousel, and enjoy new interactive exhibits. This zoo features both local and exotic animals found in similar climate conditions as those of the Red River Valley.
- Fargo Woodchipper: Located inside Fargo’s Visitors Center is one of the most infamous murder scenes in cult classic cinema history. This woodchipper is listed as one of the top three attractions in Fargo, and it offers the perfect quick photo op with a trapper hat and a fake leg that you can shove into the Fargo “chipper.”
- Bonanzaville, USA: A pioneer village in West Fargo, this museum makes you feel like you’ve stepped back into the 1800s and 1900s. Original structures have been relocated from across the region, including Fargo’s first house, a schoolhouse, a saloon, a hotel, and a fully stocked store.
- North Dakota State University (NDSU): Boasting Bison Pride, NDSU is home to a Football Championship Subdivision national powerhouse.
- Murals of Fargo-Moorhead: Fargo is covered with amazing works by local artists. From the city’s buildings to its electrical boxes, you can visit new works of art every few blocks. The Art Alley, the Mario Wall, the Postcard Mural, and the Silver Linings Wings are just some of the favorite artworks of both locals and visitors.
Special events and celebrations
Every year, Fargo holds hundreds of great events and celebrations. Whether you’re looking for beer-and-food festivals, live music, performing arts, or sporting events in North Dakota, chances are you’ll find them here.
During summer, you can explore the Midwest Viking Festival, the Red River Valley Fair, the Downtown Fargo Street Fair, and TedX Fargo.
During fall, you can attend NDSU Bison Football events, experience the paranormal investigations at Bonanzaville, and indulge at Oktobrewfest.
During winter, you can participate in the Holiday Lights Parade, visit Christmas on the Prairie and the Santa Village, and attend Fargo Force Hockey games.
During spring, you can enjoy the Fargo Comedy Fest, attend the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Fargo Film Festival, and watch or participate in the Fargo Marathon.
Fargo and its surroundings
Seeing as it is a popular leg between two main states, there are plenty of unusual attractions worth checking out in the nearby towns along I-94, such as Bismarck, Jamestown, and Medora.
- The Enchanted Highway: From a chunk of the I-94 highway, which begins at Exit 72 near Gladstone and ends 32 miles down the road in Regent, you can see beautiful and unique large metal sculptures.
- World’s Largest Buffalo: Also known as Dakota Thunder, this famous pitstop is one of the Midwest’s most popular roadside attractions. Located in Jamestown, a town 94 miles (155 km) from Fargo, you can find this 26-foot-tall, 60-ton concrete giant sculpture.
- Theodore Roosevelt National Park: A great place for hiking, camping, and sightseeing, this park, located near Medora in the colorful North Dakota badlands, is a frequented natural site among locals and visitors alike.
The Red River Valley is full of Norwegian and German descendants. During the holiday season in particular, locals celebrate their Norwegian and German heritage. This includes upholding German holiday traditions like the Advent calendar and eating traditional Norwegian and Swedish treats and delicacies, such as smörgåsbord, lutefisk, and lefse.
While the summers in Fargo are long and warm, the winters are frigid, snowy, and windy. Throughout the year, the temperature varies from 2°F to 83°F, so it is best to bundle up when visiting during the winter months.