First-timer’s guide to Fargo

Maybe you’ve heard of Fargo from the movie or TV series, but you’ve never actually visited the real place.

We promise, it’s nothing like what you see on TV. This three-day itinerary for your first visit will cover all the fun things to do in Fargo, plus where to eat, and how to fit in with locals.


Full first-timer’s itinerary

Want to customize this to suit your travel style? Check out other things to do in Fargo and add whatever you’d like!

Day 1

The first place you should go on your trip is Downtown Fargo. So that’s what Day 1 is for: covering some of the top things to do in Downtown Fargo.

MORNING

Nichole’s Fine Pastry

Get oriented with a stop in Nichole’s Fine Pastry, a European-inspired bakery. Overflowing shelves of small-batch, delicate pastries, cookies, truffles, and decadent cakes fill this cozy shop, but they also serve delicious lunches of sandwiches, soups, quiche, egg bakes, pasta bakes, and salads.  

13 8th St S, Fargo | (701) 232-6430

Hjemkomst Center

Pronounced YEM-komst, your next stop needs to be the Scandinavian culture center across the bridge in Fargo’s sister-city Moorhead. The area has a rich Scandinavian history, and many locals’ ancestry can be traced back to Norway and Sweden (you’ll notice a lot of fair-haired folks around town!).

Get your bearings by learning some of the history of the people of the area.

This cultural center’s centerpiece is a giant replica Viking ship. In the 1980s, this Viking ship actually sailed from Minnesota to Norway. While you’re here, you can also check out one of the region’s largest art collections.

202 1st Ave N, Moorhead | (218) 299-5515

AFTERNOON

BernBaum’s

After hitting the trails, head to this cozy Nordic-Jewish deli in a light, airy shop in the heart of Downtown Fargo. BernBaum’s whips up New York-style bagels each and every day while also integrating the local Scandinavian flare into dishes. Try the Iceland bagel plate, a bagel with lox (which gets rave reviews!) or Myron’s chicken matzo ball soup.

402 Broadway N, Fargo | (701) 306-4131

Kayak or canoe the Red River

Fargo is split from its sister city, Moorhead, by the Red River of the North. This river also separates North Dakota from Minnesota, so you can paddle in two states at once! Kayaks and canoes that fit one to three people are available for rent for just $10 an hour at two different locations in Fargo-Moorhead.

Read our guide to canoeing and kayaking on the Red River.

Lindenwood Park Kayak Rentals, 1905 Roger Maris Dr, Fargo | (701) 356-2106

River Keepers Rental Shack, 202 1st Ave N, Moorhead

Moorhead Dairy Queen

Hop off on the Minnesota side of the river and grab a mid-afternoon treat at the Original Moorhead Dairy Queen. This historical landmark has been a local favorite since it opened in the late 1940s. Try one of the hand-dipped Dilly Bars (invented at this very shop!) and take your photo by the 16-foot-tall Dilly Bar statue.

24 8th St S, Moorhead | (218) 233-3221

EVENING

HoDo Lounge

After an afternoon on the river, get refreshed at your hotel before heading to the HoDo Restaurant & Lounge inside the iconic Hotel Donaldson. Huge windows line the outer walls, giving you a great view of Downtown Fargo’s main drag, and you’ll often find a live band or musician playing.

The food matches the upscale ambiance, so you can get delicious plates of everything from steaks to walleye (Minnesota’s state fish!) to duck breast, and every day the chef whips up a vegan special.

They’ve got a full menu of martinis that we think work great as an after-dinner treat, but if you really want something sweet, check out their dessert menu, too.

101 Broadway N, Fargo | (701) 478-1000

See a show at Moorhead’s outdoor amphitheater

The place to be on a warm summer night is attending an outdoor concert, show, or play at Bluestem Amphitheater. Throughout the summer, the Bluestem Summer Concert Series brings bands such as the Avett Brothers, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, plus acts like Steve Martin and Martin Short. It’s also home to the Trollwood Performing Arts summer mainstage musical. Check ahead for what’s happening!

801 50th Ave S, Moorhead


Day 2

MORNING

Twenty Below Coffee Co.

Fargo’s craft coffee scene deserves to be your first stop in the morning. Twenty Below Coffee Co. is the only coffee shop in town that roasts its own beans in-house, so you can try a truly Fargoan cup of Joe.

Sit inside and chat or play one of their many board games, or take your coffee to go.

Just don’t eat too much! You’ll have a big afternoon of eating in store.

14 Roberts St N, Fargo | (701) 566-0977

Plains Art Museum

You’ll be just down the street from the largest art museum in the entire state.

Take a guided, 60-minute tour for $4 per person, led by an experienced guide. Reservations are required for the tours, but you can also take a self-guided gander through Plains Art Museum‘s three main exhibitions.

704 1st Ave N, Fargo | (701) 551-6011

The Boiler Room

One of Downtown Fargo’s longest-running restaurants, The Boiler Room sits one floor down off of Fargo’s main street, Broadway, and serves quirky dishes like Scotch Eggs and Sweet Potato Tater Tot Hotdish.

You’ll also find ribs, crab-stuffed walleye, meatloaf, and other decadent main meals, an all-day brunch menu for die-hard breakfast lovers, and specialty Bloody Mary bars and brunches on the weekends. If it’s nice enough to sit outside, check out their back patio.

210 Roberts Alley, Fargo | (701) 478-1990

If you’re looking for dessert, head to one of Fargo’s gourmet ice cream shops. You have three downtown ice cream options: Silver Linings Creamery for small-batch and experimental ice cream flavors, Scoop N Dough Candy Co. for cookie dough and ice cream medleys, or Tea & Crepe Cafe for trendy Thai rolled ice cream.

AFTERNOON

Shopping along Main Ave and Broadway

Head to Main Ave, the perfect starting point to explore the boutiques of Downtown Fargo.

KITTSONA sells boutique clothing, as does PrimRose Boutique right next door. Continuing west, you’ll run into MINT + BASIL (a home decor boutique), and then Downtown Diva for vintage clothes before finishing at Reed & Taylor’s Antiques.

It’s also worth wandering up Downtown Fargo’s main drag, Broadway, and stopping in the multitude of shops along the way.

Ones to note for cute gifts and souvenirs are STABO for Scandinavian-inspired goods, O’Day Cache for jewelry and great gift items, Unglued for things all made by local artists, and Zandbroz Variety for everything from books to scented soaps to coffee mugs to wrapping paper.

Broadway N, Fargo

Proof Artisan Distillers

Once you’re shopped out, it’s time for a drink.

Stop in at Proof – Fargo’s first craft distillery – for a cocktail made with their house-made gin, vodka, liqueur, whiskey, or bourbon. Their skilled mixologists will concoct a delicious drink for you from the extensive cocktail list.

Might we recommend the Colorado Bulldog? It’s made with their 2Docks vodka, 2Docks Coffee liqueur and 2Docks cream liqueur.

414 4th Ave N, Fargo

EVENING

A night at the RedHawks baseball game

Even if you’re not a baseball fan, a F-M RedHawks baseball game is a great spot to hangout on warm summer nights for the relaxed atmosphere. Check ahead to see if there’s a game on… sometimes, they even shoot fireworks off at the end!

Tickets are $5 in advance or $7 on the door. You can grab dinner here or have a local beer, sit back, and enjoy the game with passionate local fans.

Newman Outdoor Field, 1515 15th Ave N, Fargo | (701) 235-6161

Still have energy after the game? Find some great nightlife options.


Day 3

MORNING

Brunch

After a couple days of hustling around, treat yourself to some brunch. If it’s Sunday, you’re in luck because several places have phenomenal brunches. (Pounds and The Boiler Room both have Bloody Mary bars both days of the weekend.)

Depending your moods, you could opt for a more traditional brunch – Twist serves a dedicated brunch menu from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. And, they have an entire menu dedicated to vegans!

220 N Broadway Dr, Fargo | (701) 526-0149

If you’re in need of some hair of the dog, the impressive Bloody Mary and Mimosa Bars at Pounds (pictured below) will have just the ticket, with their massive selection of build-your-own ingredients. You can pile veggies, pizza rolls, grilled cheese sandwiches, sausage, shrimp, chicken strips, cheese, and more into your glass, so your drink doubles as your meal (or you can order food alongside it).

612 1st Ave N, Fargo | (701) 478-1234

Closer to Midtown or South Fargo? Stop by Granite City for their decadent brunch buffet or hit up the Tavern Grill & Bar for a build-your-own option.

FARGO  Woodchipper

In case you didn’t know, a famous movie was named after our fine city (and now, an FX series has rekindled its fame). FARGO, the Coen brothers cult classic film, doesn’t actually take place in Fargo, ND, but we still have the original iconic Woodchipper on display at the Fargo-Moorhead Visitors Center.

Stop in and take your picture with the well-known movie prop… there’s even a leg sticking out of it for excellent action shots. If you’re looking for Fargo souvenirs, this is a great spot for that as well.

2001 44th St S, Fargo | (701) 282-3653

Bonanzaville, USA

Fargo has prairie roots – it was built by pioneers around the railroad. A stop at this pioneer village and museum makes you feel like you’ve stepped back into the 1800s. Wander through original structures relocated here from across the region, including Fargo’s first house, a schoolhouse, a saloon and hotel, a church, and a fully-stocked mercantile store.

The huge complex has over 400,000 artifacts, and guides in period dress will explain how life worked in the early days on the prairie as you wander from place to place.

1351 Main Ave W, West Fargo | (701) 282-2822

AFTERNOON

Kroll’s Diner

This 50s-style diner is our number one go-to for local food. Start with a cup of award-winning knoephla soup, followed by the German classic, fleischkuechle, and finish with kuchen. Don’t know what any of those are? We promise you’ll like them (but if you don’t, you can always order a standard burger or ice cream malt instead).

1033 45th St S, Fargo | (701) 492-2319

West Acres Shopping Center

You might find it weird that we’re sending you to a shopping mall on your first trip to Fargo, but hear us out. West Acres Mall actually has one of the largest collections of local art in the region, plus an art studio, where you can see a resident artist hard at work on their creations.

Besides major department stores, the mall also has a cool little shop call MinnDak Market, which sells Pride of Dakota products and unique regional artisan gifts and foods – all made in North Dakota, Minnesota, and South Dakota.

3902 13th Ave S, Fargo | (701) 282-2222

EVENING

Find a patio & some food truck eats

End your day of adventures with a drink in hand on a patio and some food truck cuisine in your belly. Fargo has tons (like TONS) of food trucks AND patios. 

Here’s our guide to local food trucks… you can find them camped out all over town and in the summer, especially at the breweries.

Meanwhile, we’ve also got a long list of patios you can relax on. There are patios on rooftops, in alleyways, on the main downtown streets, and all over the city.

Locations vary

Grab a local beer

Fargo has eight craft breweries. Yes, you read that right, eight of them. And the Growler recently named us in their top 5 weekend drink destinations in the Midwest.

All of the area’s breweries make fantastic beer, and constantly have a rotating list of fun events happenings. If there’s one way to end your time in Fargo, it’s with a craft beer in hand.

To mention a few, Fargo Brewing Company was the very first brewery in Fargo and they make some great summer beers. Junkyard Brewing (picture below) in Moorhead makes experimental and small-batch beers, and Drekker Brewing opened their Viking beer heaven – Brewhalla – in Downtown Fargo.

All three of those spots have great outdoor areas so you can continue your patio-sitting evening.

Locations vary, check this web page for exact addresses

Live music

There’s a good chance whatever brewery you’re at has some live music happening. If it doesn’t and you really want to squeeze one last thing into your trip, you can always find some live music in Fargo. Check out this guide to live music venues in the city to cap off your night with some  local sounds.


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