Greetings Internet Stranger! So you’re looking for 24 hours with the best, most fun things to do in Fargo ND? You’ve come to just the right place. I’m all about helping you have fun! And if craft beer, delicious food, walking from one state to another state, and stuffing a severed foot in a woodchipper don’t sound like fun to do, then you might not be ready for North Dakota’s jelly! But I think you are. I believe in the power of your weirdness!
Fun Things to Do in Fargo ND
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. Just being at this hotel is already one of the most fun things to do in Fargo ND.
Fun Things to Do in Fargo ND
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. Plus the Anker lasts for several full charges of a phone, so I’ll never run out of juice!
Fun Things to Do in Fargo ND
Morning: Red River Zoo
Any list of the most fun things to do in Fargo ND must start with the Red River Zoo. This is the place where you can meet the most exotic creatures in North Dakota! I sort of assumed that any zoo in North Dakota would just be full of bison and ice storms. But the friendly staff soon learned me that the Fargo Zoo can stand up to any zoo in the midwest.
PS. Don’t be scared of the tiger outside the zoo. He isn’t real.
And now that I’ve put your mind at ease, let me get even more in depth with…
Three Fun Facts: Red River Zoo
1) Does the Zoo have local animals?
Absolutely! In fact, the local animals were probably my favorite part of the zoo. In my photo above, you can see the incredibly cranky porcupine. I didn’t believe in reincarnation before visiting this zoo. But now I do because based on the weird, grumbly noises this porcupine was making, he must be a reincarnated mean old man.
Another local animal is the black-tailed prairie dog. These cuties are noble and proud beasties because Lewis and Clark described them in their diaries recording their adventures as they explored the western United States.
I laughed out loud when I saw that the Red River Zoo had placed a sign nearby saying “Prairie Dogs Bite”. No one ever puts up a warning sign unless someone has already done that thing, so you just know there were foolish North Dakotans showing up and trying to pet the prairie doggies. Don’t pet them! They bite!
2) Are there More Exotic Animals?
Absolutely! Some of my favorites were the ridonkulously lazy sloth and something called “the white-faced saki”. According to the sign, this saki can jump 30 feet horizontally. I have never heard of this animal before and I’ve been to a lot of zoos, so I suspect the Red River Zoo just put a white mask on a monkey and invented this “animal”.
The Bactrian camel is probably the most impressive creature in the zoo. These poor fellows are endangered; there are only about 950 left alive today. Also, the Red River Zoo told me they can drink 30 pails of ice cream’s worth of water in ten minutes. I can eat 30 pints of Ben and Jerry’s in ten minutes just after a breakup, so color me unimpressed.
3) Is There Anything to Do Near the Red River Zoo?
Yes! The Fargo Visitor Center, which is within walking distance of the Red River Zoo, is definitely one of the most fun things to do in Fargo ND. The staff, which all seemed to be either extremely young or extremely old, will be proud to tell you the wonders of North Dakota’s largest city.
But the most exciting thing in the Fargo Visitor Center is the woodchipper from the movie Fargo. For those who haven’t seen the movie SPOILER Bad Guy Steve Buscemi gets very murdered and stuffed in a woodchipper by Really Bad Guy Peter Stormare. To add insult to horrific injury, Peter Stormare is wearing a very silly hat while he is woodchippering Buscemi.
If you visit the Fargo Visitor Center, you can get your photo taken stuffing a leg into the woodchipper and wearing a silly hat. It’s lots of fun!
See! Don’t I look like I’m having a great time! I don’t think that’s really Steven Buscemi’s leg, though.
Fun Things To Do in Fargo ND
Afternoon: Explore Fargo-Moorhead
Fargo is so close to Minnesota that it actually shares a metro region with Moorhead, Minnesota. So one of the most fun things to do in Fargo ND is take a walk on over to Moorhead and check two states off your bucket list in one trip! There will be lots of eating, drinking, and Lutheranism. I’ll get you started with…
Approximately Top 5: Fun Things to do in Fargo ND and Moorhead MN
1) Blackbird Woodfire Pizza
I’m from New York City, so when I say that Blackbird Woodfire has good pizza, you’d best believe me. The crust is puffier than NYC style, but it’s still freshly baked and yumm-alicious! You actually watch them bake the crust in front of you, which is some of the best entertainment in Fargo not involving a woodchipper.
I recommend the BLT pizza, which I have photographed “very beautifully” above. The tomatoes and the lettuce were as snappy as a prairie dog. Plus bacon makes everything better.
2) Silver Lining Creamery
For lunch, I usually recommend getting dessert at a different place than you get your main course. That way you can try two places in the time of one! I recommend the freshly made ice cream at Silver Lining Creamery. (And before you ask, I was in Fargo in the summer, when the weather is warm enough for ice cream.) They have creative flavors, like Summer Sky, stuffed with little marshmallows to look like clouds. I like ice cream that makes you think a little.
3) Historical and Cultural Center of Clay County
Now it’s time to walk on over to Moorhead, Minnesota and see the major attraction of the region: the Historical and Cultural Center of Clay County. Much of this museum is dedicated to the Scandinavian heritage of the inhabitants of the area.
Admission will get you a tour of this gorgeous replica of a traditional Norwegian stave church located right behind the museum. This beauty was modeled after the Hopperstad Stave Church in Vik, Norway. Please take the time to examine the carvings in detail–they were made by hand by a local man who wanted to honor his Norwegian roots. That’s really impressive to me because I lack the fine motor skills to even write my name legibly.
Here is the main treasure of the museum: the Hjemkomst. Hjemkomst means Homecoming in Norwegian, and it is an authentic replica of a real Viking ship. Why would someone go to the trouble of building a Viking ship in modern times? Well, get out your hankies, Internet Strangers, because this one’s a doozy.
Back in the Dark Ages of the 1970s, a local Norwegian-American named Bob Asp decided he wanted to build his own Viking ship and sail it from Minnesota to Norway, which is the reverse trip that his ancestors took. Bob worked for almost a decade to build the ship, and it was finally completed.
Unfortunately, Mr. Asp died of cancer before he could take the journey, but 12 of his beloved children and friends sailed the ship on his behalf and made the journey successfully for him. Truly, no man is a failure who has friends that are willing to sail an incredibly dangerous boat through icy waters for him even after he is gone.
5) Junkyard Brewing
For our last stop in Minnesota before we walk back to North Dakota, we’re going to grab some craft beer at Junkyard Brewing. Junkyard Brewing specializes in funky flavors like the Peanut Porter and the strawberry cream sour. So it’s like getting a drink and dessert all rolled up in one delicious treat. (And if you’re snacky, there’s as much freshly made free popcorn as any Minnesotan/North Dakotan could desire.)
Lest you forget that Fargo-Moorhead is Lutheran Country, here’s an image of Martin Luther himself reminding you to Sin Boldly. Thanks Mr. Luther! I will have another craft beer!
Fun Things to Do in Fargo ND
Dinner at Mezzaluna
Some small-minded souls might think you can’t find fine dining in Fargo ND. They might say that the only things to eat are pancakes and hot dish. And while you can get GREAT pancakes and Hot Dish in Fargo, you can enjoy a quality urban dining experience here too. One of the best-known restaurants in the city is Mezzaluna, which means “Half a Luna”. But you’ll get a whole lot of deliciousness in your tummy here.
Midwestern kitchens are famous for their blue cheese wedge salad, so I liked that Mezzaluna serves a more elegant version with red leaf lettuce and a lighter blue cheese vinaigrette.
For the main course, I recommend the grilled rack of lamb with cauliflower purée, bulgur wheat, smoked tomato, asparagus, and honey mustard. I know NYC is famous for its steakhouses, but I think the meat out west is just better than the stuff we get here. Probably because those North Dakotan animals are able to fatten up and roam the plains with nothing but angry Swedes with woodchippers to stand in their way.
And for dessert, you can’t go wrong with the rhubarb crème brûlée. I would not have thought of putting fresh fruit in the custard but it added an interesting flavor and texture. Crème brûlée can be a little bit monotonous after all, dontcha know.
That’s the Fun Things to Do in Fargo ND!
What do you think are the most fun things to do in Fargo ND? Have you ever been bitten by a prairie dog? How about stuffed in a woodchipper? Please leave your thoughts below!
Note: If you want to learn more about how I put my itineraries together, just click here! There are tons more fun things to do in Fargo ND than you can fit in just one day! If you have time, add on this Fargo itinerary. And if you want to tack on a couple of South Dakota itineraries, try this one or this one.