While you may only recognize the name “Fargo” from the 1996 film or the FX series, known for its famous woodchipper murder scene, Fargo, North Dakota is a surprisingly diverse city that offers something unique for everyone. During my two days in Fargo, I got my fill of art and culture; indulged in everything from donuts larger than my face to fine dining; drank sweet cider and craft brews; took a step back in time; and more.
So trust me when I say it’s a cool, under-the-radar-city worth exploring. Not to mention I was here on my own and felt totally safe! Everyone I met was super friendly and more than happy to guide me on all the fun things to do in town. Plus, the busy downtown area is totally walkable which makes exploring that much easier.
Here are some of the highlights of my trip!
If you love music and tacos, Vinyl Taco is your spot. All of the jams are played on—you guessed it, vinyl—spun on turntables behind the bar. It’s a funky, fun space that offers a vibrant atmosphere to grab a bite. They have a huge selection of tacos, along with tasty margaritas, cervezas and cocktails.
This hip downtown spot is located in the heart of the Fargo and serves food all day long, even late-night bites. My mind was blown away by Boiler Room’s signature Scotch eggs. For those of you that have yet to try them, they’re hardboiled eggs wrapped in sausage and deep-fried. So delicious! The rest of the menu is filled with comfort food classics like barbeque glazed meatloaf, chicken pot pie and braised beef short ribs. Weather permitting, have dinner out on the patio with some cocktails—they have over 25 to choose from. And if you’re more into brews, they also have one of the largest tap beer lists in the city.
The Silver Lining Creamery
If you’re craving ice cream, stop by this cute ice cream shop which has a huge selection of unique flavors and specialty mason jar sundaes. Be sure to take a picture in front of the angel mural around the corner with your cone!
Sandy’s Donuts & Coffee Shop
I started one of my mornings at Sandy’s and was completely overwhelmed by the fact that they have over 70 flavors of donut! I tried several with my iced coffee (a necessity after all those donuts!) and can safely say the freshness is real. From Almond Joy and Apple Bismark to Cookies-n-cream and chocolate nut Bavarian long john, you can’t go wrong. Filled, glazed or plain… they’re all yummy! And if you really want to go for it, opt for the giant classic iced donut. Warning: it’s bigger than the size of your head!
For a special dinner, make a reservation at Mezzaluna. The dining room is chic, yet unpretentious, and modernly designed. With shell-like booths, romantic lighting and a menu featuring seasonal American fare, it’s a great place to experience the best that the Fargo dining scene has to offer. Don’t miss out on the juicy bone-in-pork chop with cumin-roasted garlic risotto or the duet of duck with seared breast and duck merguez—two main entrees that had me drooling. If you want to come early, enjoy a fancy cocktail or choose a libation from their extensive wine and beer list at the Alleyway Bar.
Other popular places to eat in the area include:
- Scoop N Dough Candy Co.
- Poke Bowl Fargo
- The Toasted Frog
- Rosey’s Bistro and bar
- Nichole’s Fine Pastry & Cafe
The Cellar at Front Street Taproom
If you’re in the mood to be entertained, The Cellar at Front Street Taproom features live music, comedy and more every day of the week! I popped in after dinner at Mezzaluna, and enjoyed their open mic night which had quite a wide variety of musical acts, from folk music to rock and even experimental music. The taproom features 30 taps of beer and cider produced exclusively in Minnesota and North Dakota, so you know you’re getting a real local experience here.
Wild Terra Cider
For fans of beer, cider and kombucha, take a seat at Wild Terra Cider, the first cider bar in the city. Wild Terra Cider resides in the Historical Stable of Downtown Fargo, a building built between 1905-1910. The taproom space was renovated using all the original walls, tables, joists and more, making it a unique, rustic place to unwind.
Pixeled Brewing Co.
Pixeled Brewing Co. is part arcade and brewery. This was definitely one of the most fun places I’ve ever drunk beer in! Get ready to be filled with nostalgia after playing classic games like Frogger, Space Invaders, Street Fighter, Mario Bros and Pac Man. The old school audio gets me like none other! There are over 50 arcade games to choose from… good luck choosing!
Other popular places to drink in the area include:
- Drekker Brewing Brewhalla
- Junkyard Brewing Company
- Fargo Brewing Company
- Flatland Brewery
Points of Interest
One of my favorite things to do while in Fargo was exploring its art scene. The city is literally covered in murals. The sides of buildings, garage doors, alleyways and more are all canvases for creativity in the city. Not only are they awesome to admire, but a good amount of them are interactive. Definitely check out Art Alley, along with my favorite murals which include the Mario Wall, the Penguins and the Greetings from Fargo Train Car. Check out this handy mural map to find out where to see them.
The beautifully restored Fargo Theatre makes for a stellar backdrop for an Instagram picture! So once you take care of that, pop in to check out a foreign film, concert or live event. The theatre first opened in 1926, back when movie tickets were just 25 cents! It’s been in operation for 93 years and to this day offers all sorts of arts programming inside.
Lovers of history need to spend an afternoon at Bonanzaville, USA where guests can explore and interact with 41 historical buildings along with over 400,000 artifacts. From Fargo’s First House, Dobrinz Schoolhouse and the Embden Train depot to the Dahl car museum and the airplane museum, there are tons of collections to learn about. One of my favorites was the general store which has all of its original grocery and kitchen items in it, along with the airplane museum which is home to over 20 aircraft dating from 1911 to 1975.
Lindenwood Park is great for those itching to get outdoors! I recommend renting either a bike to explore or renting a kayak to spend the afternoon on the Red River. Another cool point of interest is the bridge in the park that has one end in North Dakota and the other in Minnesota.
One of my favorite parts about the main strip in Fargo is all the super cute shopping! From perfectly curated clothing boutiques that’ll have you wanting to upgrade your entire wardrobe to shops selling a variety of local crafts, unique pieces of furniture and home accessories, and items from around the world, the shopping is top-notch.
Here are a few of my favorite shops:
- Kindred People
- MINT + BASIL
- Zandbroz Variety
The Original Fargo Woodchipper
It only makes sense to snag a picture with what put Fargo on the map, right? Swing by the visitor’s center to see it in real life and be sure to ask one of the travel ambassadors for a trapper hat to make the picture complete.
For a one-of-a-kind hotel experience, book your stay at Hotel Donaldson, a boutique hotel that features artwork from local artists in each of its rooms. I stayed in Room 15 which is decorated with incredible glass blown art by Jon Offutt. My suite was absolutely lovely and featured an exposed brick wall, plush furniture and large windows which filled the whole suite with sunlight.
The service at HoDo was phenomenal and there were so many little touches that made me feel right at home. Like the complimentary wine and cheese each evening or the complimentary artisan pastry basket delivered to my door in the a.m. My favorite thing, however, was the turndown truffle service!
The hotel also has Sky Prairie on the Roof, a chic rooftop bar with views of the downtown area. Creative cocktails, garden-style decor and happy, summer vibes make this one of my top picks for an afternoon refresher.
Another perk of staying here? It has an ideal central location and is walking distance to downtown Fargo’s nightlife, dining and culture.
Fargo natives, is there anything I missed or should include?
Heading to Fargo soon? Pin this for later!
Thank you for covering Fargo so well. We live downtown and you really found the best of us. If you come back, we will always be happy to tell you the secrets.
Thanks so much! I had a great time 🙂
You missed the coffee and waffle place! It’s near silver lining creamery in downtown Fargo. I live in Fargo and still didn’t even know about some of these restaurants :’)
I’ll have to check it out! It’s been a few years 🙂
Also, they updated the silver lining wings if you’d like to visit again. They have some more stuff to enjoy. I don’t know if you tried those rolling red chairs from across silver lining.. you’ll know when you see ‘em. It would be lovely for you to stop by, very little people visit Fargo as there aren’t really big highlights like in Seattle the space needle and the very first Starbucks. Thank you for visiting!
I’m sure I’ll be back, I definitely enjoyed my time there!