One day exploring the history of Fargo
History buffs, this one’s for you. If you only have a day in Fargo and want to pack in as much of the area’s history and heritage as possible, follow this guide.
Just make sure you double check opening hours so you can get it all in!
Full day of Fargo history
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Nichole’s Fine Pastry
Start bright and early at 8:00 a.m. in the most historic section of Downtown Fargo at Nichole’s Fine Pastry. This French-inspired bakery serves delicious breakfast options like quiches and egg bakes, or you can pick a sweeter option from their overflowing shelves of small-batch pastries, cookies, truffles, and decadent cakes.
13 8th St S, Fargo | (701) 232-6430
Duration: 2 hours (including the Replica Stave Church)
Pronounced YEM-komst, your next stop needs to be this 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!).
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
Replica Stave Church
Duration: 2 hours (including the Hjemkomst Center)
You’ll notice a large, Scandinavian church on your way into the Hjemkomst Center. After you’ve seen the Viking ship inside, step outside to see an exact replica of a Norwegian stave church in the park.
This stave church was built to exactly mirror the Hopperstad Stave Church that stands outside the Norwegian town Vik. If you’d like a guided tour of the inside of the church (the views are great!) they’re scheduled each hour… just ask inside for the next one.
Viking Ship Park, Moorhead | (218) 299-5515
The Bergquist Cabin
Duration: 30 minutes
Only blocks away from the Scandinavian history of Fargo-Moorhead is a piece of pioneer history: the Bergquist Cabin. This cabin is the oldest house in Moorhead, and it sits on its original frontier site.
The home was constructed in 1872 by Swedish immigrant John Gustav Bergquist, who worked on the railroad, farmed, sold milk door-to-door, and later became a brickmaker using local, Red River clay.
1008 7th St N, Moorhead | (218) 422-5753
Original Moorhead Dairy Queen
Duration: 20 minutes
Keeping on the Minnesota side of the river, if you’re up for a mid-morning treat, stop by 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
Duration: 1 hour
Just up the street from the Moorhead Dairy Queen sits the historic Victorian home of Solomon G. Comstock. You can take a guided tour of this lawyer, politician, and railroad magnate’s house, just make sure to call ahead to schedule it!
506 8th St S, Moorhead | (218) 291-4211
After all that Scandinavian history, it’s time to move on to some German heritage for lunch.
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 a slice of 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
Duration: 25 minutes
After lunch, discover some of Fargo’s more recent history.
In case you didn’t know, a famous movie was named after our fine city (and now, an FX series has rekindled its fame). While FARGO, the Coen brothers cult classic film, doesn’t actually take place in Fargo, ND, 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.
2001 44th St S, Fargo | (701) 282-3653
Duration: 3 hours
This pioneer village and museum makes you feel like you’ve stepped 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
Wurst Bier Hall West
Wandering around the pioneer village will probably leave you a tad hungry. Luckily, you’re steps away from one of the top recommended spots for local food in Fargo: Wurst Bier Hall West.
Long, wooden tables fill this German-style pub. Order a boot of German beer (or a classic local draft) and some weinerschnitzel, spaetzle mac & cheese, or gourmet wurst sausages.
3179 Bluestem Dr, West Fargo | (701) 532-0484
Show at The Fargo Theatre
After dinner, head back to Downtown Fargo for a show in one of the most iconic and historic buildings in the city, the Fargo Theatre. This art deco theater was built in the 1920s, and hosts nightly shows varying from old movies to ballet to stand-up comedy, to live much, check their events calendar for what’s happening.
314 Broadway N, Fargo | (701) 239-8385
Fargo Brewing Company
When the show’s over, grab a drink at the oldest brewery in Fargo-Moorhead, Fargo Brewing Company. An institution in the city since 2010, the taproom welcomes visitors who want to try some great, locally-made craft beer.
610 N University Dr, Fargo | (701) 478-2337
Hopefully you enjoyed your day exploring the history of Fargo, and its sister cities Moorhead and West Fargo. Like what you see? Find other Fargo itineraries.