Greetings, Internet Stranger! So you’re interested in taking a 24 hours in Fargo tour? I have to assume you’re trying to visit all 50 states and now you want to check North Dakota off your list. Or maybe you live near Fargo in a more rural area and just want to check out the big city? Perhaps you just like getting off the beaten track?
Well, whatever your reasoning, I can certainly arrange an amazing 24 hours in Fargo tour for you. Even though Fargo isn’t the most famous city in the US, it’s full of fun attractions, adorable architecture, and that small-town Americana feel. Join me and I’ll show you the thrilling side of Fargo–one that doesn’t involve woodchippers.
24 Hours in Fargo Tour
Where to Stay?
One of the nice things about heading to a more off the beaten track destination is that you get more bang for your buck. When I’m back in NYC, I can’t afford a glamorous boutique hotel like the Hotel Donaldson. (I mean, I don’t stay in hotels in NYC because it’s my hometown. But you get the point.)
The Hotel Donaldson has amenities on amenities. Breakfast in bed? Check! Wine and cheese evening? Check! Turndown service with chocolate truffles and gentle music from obscure local artists? Check check and check. I would never stay anywhere else in Fargo.
24 Hours in Fargo Tour
What to Pack?
The weather in North Dakota can be…unpredictable. I don’t recommend visiting Fargo in the winter, so I’m not going to suggest you need a winter coat. But you will need an umbrella. My favorite travel umbrella is the Repel Teflon Waterproof Umbrella. It is strong enough to stand up to the sometimes-quite-strong winds of North Dakota. I hear they’re strong enough to drop a man in a woodchipper.
If the weather is rainy or snowy, which happens quite often in Fargo, I recommend the Asgard Rain Boots. They are comfy/cozy and keep my feet dry all day. Plus they’re cute enough that I can wear them out without feeling like some gauche tourist with gross feet.
Finally, since we’re going to be out all day, you’ll want a battery for your cell phone. I always use the Anker charger. It’s light enough to fit in even a small purse. That will save us time at the ballpark because they check your bags for contraband. Plus the Anker lasts for several full charges of a phone, so I’ll never run out of juice!
24 Hours in Fargo Tour
Morning: Museum of Flight
I usually advise balancing one major cultural attraction in the morning, like a museum, with a more relaxed attraction in the afternoon. Some of you might be thinking, “Does Fargo have cultural attractions?” Mais bien sur, y’all, as they say in North Dakota! And one of the best is the Museum of Flight. It’s a little bit of a long walk from Downtown Fargo, so you can either prepare for a lengthy stroll through North Dakota State University Campus to get here, or you can just take an Uber.
The Museum of Flight has two separate buildings, so you’ll definitely be able to enjoy more than an hour here exploring the planes. You can find more detailed info about the hours, price, and address on their website here. I’ll give your exploring some direction and purpose with…
Three Fun Facts: Museum of Flight
1) What About Breakfast?
Before we go to the museum, we’re going to need breakfast. We’re starting it strong with arguably the best breakfast in Fargo! I’m talking about BernBaum’s, a Scandinavian-influenced delicatessen. I’m from New York City, and I can promise you these bagels are actually delicious, not just “Good for North Dakota Bagels”. You could serve these bagels at any place in NYC, and they’d be crazy popular. Plus the cream cheese was farm fresh, and the Scandinavian pickles added an intriguing zing.
The staff here is so friendly, and once they figure out that you’re not a local, they’ll be happy to make suggestions for things to see and do in Fargo. They’re very used to getting tourists trying to check all 50 states off their bucket list!
2) Why is there a Museum of Flight in Fargo?
Great question! Airplanes have been important in North Dakota practically since they were invented. That’s because North Dakota is a deeply agricultural state, so they’ve been using airplanes for farming purposes, like cropdusting. (Cropdusting always makes me think of the scene in North by Northwest when Cary Grant is being chased by a cropdusting plane. I think they should get ahold of that plane for the museum.)
The Fargo airport is named Hector International Airport after a dude named Martin Hector who donated the land to the city. If you arrived in Fargo by airplane, I’m sure you landed here. The airport’s main claim to fame is that it’s where Richie Valens, Buddy Holly, and the Big Bopper were supposed to land on the day of their fatal plane crash, aka the Day the Music Died. But they never made it to Fargo, so the crash is not Fargo’s fault. Blame Iowa!
3) What are the Best Planes in the Museum?
My favorite plane is this adorable little fellow called Duggy. He’s also known as “The Smile in the Sky”! So happy and cheerful! I think you could cure someone’s fear of flying just by showing them this plane. He looks brand new, but he actually served in Australia as a military plane during WWII. After the war, he was sent to Canada to work for the Department of Transportation. (Of course it was those polite Canadians who repainted him to have this smile!)
Aside from the military planes and cropdusters, I enjoyed seeing homemade planes that amateur aviators had built themselves. The Maltese Falcon is just one example. Got to admire someone who’d name a plane after a Humphrey Bogart movie. Also, I’m so impressed with anyone who can build an entire plane from scratch. I can’t even put an IKEA chair together.
24 Hours in Fargo Tour
Afternoon: Take in a Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks Game
One of the most fun things to do in a smaller American city during the summer is going to a Minor League baseball game. It’s a more relaxed atmosphere than a Major League game, and the fan rivalries don’t get so intense. (I speak from experience here. Yankees-Red Sox games are for hardcore fans only.) Plus Minor League tickets are much more affordable.
Fargo, North Dakota is home to the RedHawks, a team that plays for the American Association of Independent Baseball, so they’re not associated with MLB at all. We’re going rogue with a rebel baseball organization here! You can check the schedule for the RedHawks and buy tickets on their website here. And I’ll give you some other pointers that will help you enjoy the game with…
Three Fun Facts: Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks
1) First, Will You Feed Me?
We can’t bring food into the baseball field, and they will inspect your bags at the entrance. So that means we’ll have to buy lunch at the stadium. For a true Midwestern experience, head to the Potato Brothers stand and pick up a tater tot hot dish. If you’ve ever wanted to nosh on a warm plate of fried potatoes, mushrooms, and cooked meat while sitting in the sun watching a ballgame, now you can live your dreams! I guarantee you can’t find this at any ballpark in the northeast.
Wash it all down with a local craft beer from the Fargo Brewing Company! Starch + meat + brew = a happy baseball watching experience!
2) Why are they The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks?
They’re technically the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks because the team belongs to both Fargo and its neighboring city, Moorhead, Minnesota. Yes, that’s how close Fargo is to Minnesota. You can literally walk from Fargo to Moorhead, and I know because I’ve done it. I’ll tell you about it in my other Fargo itinerary. But the Red Hawks ballpark, Newman Outdoor Field, is all in Fargo.
The team isn’t very old; they’ve only been playing since the 1990s, and I don’t think anything more recent than the fall of the Berlin Wall counts as old. However, they’ve obviously been around long enough to inspire local devotion. The ballpark was full of enthusiastic local fans when I attended the game. And the children of Fargo were especially excited to cuddle up with the team’s mascot, Hawkeye.
3) How is it Different From a Major League Game?
Well, the ballpark is smaller, the tickets are cheaper, and the players aren’t millionaires, for one thing. But the biggest difference for me is that the games only run seven innings, as opposed to nine innings in Major League baseball. So the RedHawks were winning against the visiting team, the Chicago Dogs when the 7th inning finished. (That’s not a joke, and no their mascot is not a hot dog. It’s actually a bottle of mustard.)
At this point, I was expecting a 7th inning stretch, but instead, I heard the song “All I Do is Win” blast over the loudspeakers, and all the fans started to leave. “How presumptuous and unlike Midwesterners to assume they were going to win with two innings still left!” I thought. Then I realized they were right, and the game was over. Don’t be like me. Leave at the end of the 7th inning. Then go back to the Hotel Donaldson.
See! We’re living large here in North Dakota!
24 Hours in Fargo Tour
Evening: Dinner and a Movie
Fargo has traditionally been home to a large German community. So naturally, they know what they are doing when it comes to both beer and sausages. I suggest stopping for dinner at Wurst Bier Hall. This place is so popular that they recently opened a location in West Fargo. But we’ll be dining at the original location in Downtown Fargo.
Wurst Bier Hall serves such a wide variety of beers that there’s sure to be something on tap to please any drinker. They have everything from ordinary lagers to experimental craft beers. I’m definitely more on the experimental side, so I got a tangy and sour cucumber beer with the adorable name Benedict Cucumberbatch
Of course it wouldn’t be the Wurst Bier Hall without Wurst. For the best bang for your buck, try the sausage flight. It comes with a crunchy Banh Mi sausage, a spicy blue cheese buffalo wing-style sausage, and a Hawaiian sausage with pineapple, habanero aïoli, and grilled onion and sweet Italian peppers. It was so fun to experiment with different toppings like this, especially when all the sausages are clearly handmade and delicious.
When the dinner is over, end your 24 hours in Fargo tour by catching a show at the beautiful Art Deco theater, aptly named The Fargo. Even an evening ticket will cost half of what you would pay in NYC. Plus you get the chance to see a show in a gorgeous historic building that’s still nice enough to wish happy birthday to a mysterious lady named Ava. (And yes, in case you are wondering, they show lots of movies, not just the movie Fargo.)
Further Reading/Watching: 24 Hours in Fargo Tour
Are you ready to start booking your hotel in Fargo right now? Let me help you get started with some reading/watching suggestions for your 24 hours in Fargo tour. One of the most famous North Dakota writers is the Native American writer Louise Erdrich. I suggest starting with her most famous book, Love Medicine. You’ll never look at North Dakota the same way again.
No 24 hours in Fargo tour is complete without watching the movie Fargo. You need to see this film to understand all my strange jokes about woodchippers. This is one of my favorite movies of all time, and I quote it constantly. “WHERE’S PANCAKES?” Just keep in mind that, despite the title, only one scene really takes place in Fargo.
Of course, Fargo isn’t just a movie, it’s now a TV series. And some of the TV series actually takes place in Fargo. If you’re looking for a North Dakota-centric show, watch Season 2 of Fargo, which is largely about a fictional Fargo-based family of gangsters led by an extremely cool lady boss played by Jean Smart. They did a good job capturing the Art Deco style buildings that remain in historic Downtown Fargo. Plus a lot of people get murdered horribly in the face in this series, if that’s more interesting to you than architecture.
Note: Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY have a 24 hours in Fargo tour. If you have extra time, try this itinerary. And if you want to tack on a couple of South Dakota itineraries, try this one or this one.