18 ‘North of Normal’ Things to Check Out in Fargo-Moorhead

One of the tag lines for the Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo area is “North of Normal.” While the phrase is more about an attitude and a way of doing things than actual physical assets, we thought it would be fun to highlight a few things in the area that you might not find in any other destination and could be considered ‘North of Normal,’ or a little quirky. 


COLORED PENCIL FENCE AT RED RIVER ZOO
This colorful piece of functional art at the Red River Zoo has a way of brightening your mood. The fence, consisting of over 1,000 large colored pencils, is in the Nature Playground area of the zoo. If you visit the zoo, definitely make sure you see this fence. And honestly, we think the fence itself is almost worth a trip to the zoo…and we guarantee you’ll have to stop and look at the cute animals while you’re there!

FM MIXER 2016 Red River Zoo 34 - Colored Pencil Fence


PAINTED BISON (HERD ABOUT THE PRAIRIE)
The Fargo-Moorhead area doesn’t have any herds of live buffalo roaming around (head to Jamestown’s National Buffalo Museum to see some live buffalo), but we have something almost as cool – a herd of painted bison scattered throughout the area. These creatures are every bit as majestic and awe-inspiring as the real deal. Painted by various artists, each bison has a unique look. Finding these bison all around town makes for a pretty fun scavenger hunt! If you want to try it, click here for more information on where you can find each of these beautiful bison.  Rourke Art Museum_Painted Bison


CRAZY TREE
Aptly named, the “crazy tree” in Moorhead is definitely a bit eccentric, and that’s probably why people are so fond of it. The tree is located on the Concordia College campus, near the corner of 11th Street and 12th Avenue South in Moorhead. Mention the legendary tree to a Fargo-Moorhead resident or someone that went to Concordia College and they’ll likely take a trip down memory lane and tell you about the family photos they took by (in) the tree, how they proposed to their significant other there, etc. It’s a pretty special place that piques the curiosity of many.  

Crazy Tree_Summer Sunset


HODO ROOFTOP VIEWS
You can find some of the best views in Fargo-Moorhead from the rooftop of the Hotel Donaldson, the Sky Prairie lounge. In the heart of downtown Fargo, you’ll feel like you’re in the middle of it all, but yet it’s peaceful and relaxing. Grab a drink, enjoy the views and listen to the rustle of the prairie grass. It’s also a pretty great place to watch the sun set. The Sky Prairie is seasonal, but the rooftop hot tub is available to Hotel Donaldson guests any time of the year. 

My love, The HoDo. #fargo #rooftop

A photo posted by nicole gunnarson (@n.gunnarson) on


BEER & HYMNS AT JUNKYARD BREWING COMPANY
Beer and hymns is an untraditional pairing. When you think of singing hymns, you probably think of church. But at Junkyard Brewing in Moorhead, every Sunday evening from 7pm-9pm, people gather to sing along with gospel-themed music and enjoy a beer.    

#beer and hymns, y’all. #craftbeer #Moorhead #brewery #Minnesota #PrairiePlaces #OnlyInMN

A photo posted by prairiestylefile (@prairiestylefile) on


STICKSGARDEN
You might be wondering what on earth a “sticks garden” is – and that’s why it made this list. Located in Moorhead, Sticksgarden is home to a variety of sticks designed by talented local artists. It’s unconventional art in an unexpected place. You can see the Sticksgarden near the intersection of Main Avenue and 6th Street in Moorhead.  

Sticks Garden_Moorhead (27)


PIE DAY AT SONS OF NORWAY
Pie Day at our local Sons of Norway is a truly authentic experience. It’s a bit like going to grandma’s house. All of the pie is homemade and don’t be surprised if you hear “oh honey, here, take this piece…it’s the biggest.” Every Thursday is Pie Day and pie is served during lunch (11:00am-1:30pm). Try to get there early because the pie goes fast!

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RATTLESNAKE RABBIT BRATWURST AT WURST BIER HALL
Rattlesnake and rabbit bratwurst may not sound like the most delicious thing you’ll eat this week, but it’s one of those things you almost just have to try. When perusing Wurst Bier Hall’s menu, you might find your eyes traveling back to the rattlesnake with rabbit. The desire to try something different might get the better of you, and that’s ok. Go ahead and order that rattlesnake and rabbit brat. And some bavarian pretzels…and you might as well get some sweet potato fries with marshmallow fluff too. 


STARGAZING AT JUNKYARD BREWING COMPANY
We’re not talking about the kind of stargazing you list as an interest in your online dating profile to make people think you’re into romantic things (no judgement). Stargazing at Junkyard Brewing is the real deal, with legit telescopes. It’s kind of like the space camp you went to as a kid…except there’s beer. The telescopes are set up on the patio at Junkyard and usually focused on something fascinating. There’s no set schedule for when they have the telescopes set up, but they usually post an update on Facebook or Instagram when there will be an opportunity for stargazing at the brewery! 


PINT-IT-FORWARD AT DREKKER BREWING COMPANY
Drekker Brewing Company understands that sometimes the best way to express gratitude is with free beer. Their “pint-it-forward” program allows you to fill out a card with the name of the person you’d like to gift a beer to and they put it up on their board. To read more about the program, check out this blog post

Such a groovy idea. #pintitforward

A photo posted by @jeremymeidinger on


STREETS ALIVE
Playing in the streets is generally discouraged, but Streets Alive provides an opportunity to safely play in the streets. During the event celebrating outdoor physical activity, several streets in downtown Fargo-Moorhead are closed to motorized vehicles and you can ride bike, skateboard, walk, run, etc. in the street. In addition, there are many other games and activities to participate in, as well as food vendors to fuel your body! The event also usually features athletes doing pole vaulting, long jumping or other track and field jumping events. Remaining Streets Alive dates for 2017 are Sundays June 25 and August 27.  

Streets Alive Downtown 42


FARGO PINBALL
One of the more addicting games in life (especially before Pokémon Go came along) is pinball. At Fargo Pinball, you can play pinball for hours on end and no one will judge you. They have an awesome selection of machines. Fargo Pinball is membership-based, but members are allowed to bring guests in to play a few games. Visitors passes for Fargo Pinball can be purchased at the F-M Visitors Center for $15 and the visitors passes allow access for a 24-hour period.    


RED RIVER MARKET
A trip to the Red River Market is a wonderful way to spend a couple hours on a Saturday. At the market in downtown Fargo, you’ll find local produce, jams, crafts from local makers, ready-to-eat food vendors and much more! The market happens Saturdays 10am-2pm during the months of July-October. If you need a little more convincing, read this blog post with five reasons to visit the Red River Market. 

Red River Market Downtown July 46


YOGA ON TAP AT FARGO BREWING COMPANY
 A typical after-yoga beverage might be a fresh fruit smoothie, but not when you do yoga at a brewery. Fargo Brewing Company hosts Yoga on Tap the third Friday of each month at 5:30pm, and it’s perfectly acceptable and normal to have a beer at those yoga sessions. The yoga instructor for Yoga on Tap is Andrea Paradis and the events are usually posted on her Facebook page.  

Yoga On Tap Fargo Brewing Co Downtown19


PAY-WHAT-YOU-WANT DRIP COFFEE AT TWENTY BELOW COFFEE CO.
Craving a good cup of coffee but don’t think it’s in the budget at the moment? Twenty Below Coffee has you covered with their pay-what-you-want coffee. That means exactly what it says – whether you have a couple bucks or a couple pennies, the delicious local coffee is available for you. 


FROSTIVAL
Frostival is a new event in the Fargo-Moorhead area that celebrates winter. Instead of just sitting around and complaining about it, we figured we could at least do fun things in the cold and snow. The event features the ‘North of Normal Games’ which is a variety of competitions that take place outdoors. These competitions include kickball, volleyball, golf and more. The opening kickoff for the event is an outdoor celebration with live music, food vendors, a beer garden, carriage rides, fire pits, etc. A couple other activities that happen during Frostival are a snow sculpture contest and snowga.   

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MOORHEAD DAIRY QUEEN
The Moorhead Dairy Queen is different. Read this love letter to the Moorhead Dairy queen for an explanation on why this particular Dairy Queen is so extraordinary.  They pioneered the dilly bar, which is pretty much reason enough for them to be an object of affection in the hearts of many. 

Moorhead Dairy Queen Moorhead 35_c


HAWKS NEST
If you’re into skateboarding, you definitely need to check out the Hawks Nest in Fargo. It’s a skateboarding co-op that’s just a cool place for people to hang out with other skaters. In order to have 24/7 access to Hawks Nest, you have to be a member. Members can also bring guests to skate. The Hawks Nest occasionally hosts live music and other events too! 

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