5 reasons why you might want to visit Fargo

It was kind of a tradition: every time we watched an episode of Fargo (the TV-series) we swore we would never ever go to Fargo. The freezing cold, the endless flat – and boring – landscapes, the snow, the strange accent people talk with, and let’s not forget: the presence of some really weird and evil characters (yes Billy Bob Thornton, every time you show up something bad happens).

But you know, never say never and when 20th Century Fox invited us to write a travel-related post about Fargo – with the opportunity  to win a free ticket to Fargo – our curiosity was triggered. The timing was a bit off: they contacted us last week, a day before we were leaving for Istanbul. Today we got back – Istanbul is a fantastic city by the way! – and the winner of the Fargo-ticket will be chosen on the 29th of April, the day the Fargo DVD & blue ray will be released in Belgium (update: and we won, yeehaa!). But anyway: we’re big fans of the series and yes, now we’re intrigued by Fargo as a travel destination.  So here it goes: 5 reasons why you should travel to Fargo.

1. Fargo is a bit different

You think there are no interesting facts to know about Fargo? Think again!

  • There are 6 places in the United States are named Fargo. The Fargo we’re talking about, is the one in North Dakota.Fargo Map
  • Fargo is the largest city in North Dakota.
  • Fargo takes its name from William George Fargo, co-founder of American Express.
  • In 2004 and 2005, according to data from the FBI, North Dakota was the safest place in the country.
  • And bizarre: according to Lonely Planet Fargo is also “a haven for folks in the Federal Witness Protection Program”.
  • Fargo has one of the youngest population in the United States with an average age of 30,2 years.
  • In 1948 a UFO was seen in the skies over Fargo. It is known as the Gorman UFO dogfight, named after George F. Gorman, a North Dakota National Guard-pilot who claimed he had a 27-minute ‘dogfight’ with the UFO. In 1949 the US Air Force said the Gorman Dogfight was caused by a weather balloon.

2. Fargo is north of normal

The people from Fargo don’t mind being different, in fact: they cultivate it. The town’s slogan is  north of normal’ and on the Fargo-website you’re welcomed by this little text: You know it the moment you hit the ground. You can sense it in the air and feel it on the prairie wind. This place is different. Not like anywhere you’ve been before. It’s unfamiliar ground, but it is ground you want to spend some time on. Welcome to Fargo, a place that sets the bar far above the norm.” Admit it, pretty cool, no?

fargotheatre_truck

 

3. There are some surprisingly fun things to visit and to do:

  • The Red River Zoo: the Red River Zoo opened in 1999 and was a former ranch that now features 300 animals from similar climates.
  • Don’t miss the Alley Fair: this event in downtown Fargo brings the area’s best food, music, and art together.
    Alley Fair Fargo
    Alley Fair
  • The Plains Art Museum organizes various exhibits throughout the year. Check out the website for a full calendar.fargotheatre
  • Fargo is surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes, making it the perfect place to enjoy a breath-taking sunset. Go to Sheyenne River Valley Scenic Byway for a beautiful view.
  • Those who love history will certainly love Bonanzaville. This historic open-air museum consists of several buildings from the early years of the United States. Perfect for a trip back in time.
  • The Fargo Theatre is located in downtown Fargo.

 

4. There’s a lot of food, drinks and more

There are hundreds of restaurants, bars and other dining options to choose from in Fargo.

  • How about tasting the true American cupcakes from Gigi’s Cupcakes. Take a pit stop for the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough cupcake, Scarlett’s Red Velvet cupcake or a Snickerdoodle.
  • Stumbeano’s Coffee Roasters is an absolute must for a delicious cup of coffee.
  • Enjoy an all American breakfast (including blueberry pancakes!) at The Boiler Room.
  • Widman’s Candy Shop is run by the same family since 1885. Try the potato chips with a layer of chocolate!
  • For a fresh beer you should definitely drop by The Fargo Brewing Company. On Saturday afternoon, you get a tour of the brewery and you can enjoy a freshly pulled pint. Definitely try the Wood Chipper or the Iron Horse.

5. If you love Fargo (the series), you’ll probably love Fargo (the place)

The series FARGO has won a Golden Globe and three Emmy Awards and is based on the eponymous film by the Coen brothers. Think: dry humour, murderous chaos and weird characters. Oscar winner Billy Bob Thornton shines like Lorne Malvo, a manipulative master criminal who changes the life of underdog Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman) radically. Gus Grimly and Molly Solverson, two local policemen, join forces to unravel the secrets of Lester and stop the ruthless, destructive Malvo.

We’re really big fans of the series and if you haven’t watch it yet: you’re missing out of one the most unique television series ever.

ndtourism.com – fargomoorhead.org

7 comments

  1. I drove through Fargo on a road trip a couple years back, and I wish I would’ve had time to spend a night or two. I aways like going to those quirky small towns and cities, like Fargo, that a lot of people would dismiss. There’s always more to these places than meets the eye, and it seems like there’s some cool things to check out in Fargo.

  2. You forgot to mention Nichole’s Fine Pastry which has been in People Magazine for having the best wedding cakes in all of ND.

  3. Love your blog. Just wanted to throw out a couple of additional reasons to visit Fargo, as I’m originally from the area.

    1 – FOOD & DRINKS

    Rhombus Guys is the best pizza in the state. It’s science. http://rhombuspizza.com/
    Mezzaluna is delicious, too. http://www.dinemezzaluna.com/
    Monte’s has a great selection of wins and they make some killer cocktails. Haven’t been there in years but I remember it well. http://www.montesdowntown.com/

    On top of this, you can get quality food from around the globs. Thai, Indian, Japanese, there’s a Mongolian grill. Broadway has a number of bars of varying styles – college, hole-in-the-wall, quasi-club, sports.

    2 – SIGHTSEEING

    A few miles south of town there’s Fort Abercrombie – there’s not a great deal left to see, but as one of the original forts of the expansion era it’s still pretty cool. There’s the zoo that you mentioned and Bonanzaville, but North Dakota also is a boon for ghost towns that fell apart as the rail industry’s relevance faded. Visit http://www.ghostsofnorthdakota.com/ and type a few of those places into your GPS and enjoy the endless horizons.

    3 – SPORTZ!

    The NDSU Bison football team has won four national championships in a row. The FM Redhawks are an Independent League baseball team in a league with teams from St. Paul and Chicago down into Texas. The Fargo Force are a USHL hockey team. While these aren’t MLB or NFL or top-level NCAA teams, they’re very popular with the locals with passionate fans. In addition to the quality of play, tickets are also relatively affordable (except perhaps Bison football tickets, they might be hard to get a hand on).

    There are also a number of beautiful golf courses, from the Country Club to Rose Greek to Edgewood, to others outside of the city. Maple River Golf Club in Mapleton is beautiful, too.

    4 – THE ARTS

    Theatre B (http://theatreb.org/) was just given a $100,000 grant and puts on fantastic shows. It was built from the determination and passion of people in the community and it’s turned into something really special. If they’re putting something on and you’re in the area, I highly recommend finding tickets. In the summer there are the Straw Hat Players. During the school year there are a number of colleges that regularly put on good shows as well.

    On Broadway there are independent stores selling art and records, there’s a good art gallery/museum or two, and the Hjemkomst heritage center has exhibits worth visiting . There are craft shows on the regular. The Fargodome hosts a number of concerts each year and has been the venue for musicians including Justin Timberlake, Paul McCartney, Garth Brooks, Bon Jovi, The Rolling Stones, and many more. I think Taylor Swift is coming in 2015.

    5 – THE ATMOSPHERE

    Call it “the people” or the laid-back feeling, but in spite of a city and surrounding communities playing host to more than 228,000 people there’s something very easy-going about Fargo. There’s a reason the population of the metropolitan area has exploded.

    Sometimes you want to “get away from it all” just to go and do things you can’t do where you live. Sometimes you want to “get away from it all” to just take a deep breath, relax, and just chill a bit. If you’re in the ladder group, Fargo might be a place worth adding to your list. It’s a great little city, accessible to not just the things I’ve mentioned but lakes, trails, and the open road. Those things have their own appeal, and Fargo is worth visiting for those reasons.

    ANYWAY – enjoyed your blog post. Hope you get picked for the tickets.

    1. Hi Jesse,
      Your make Fargo look even more interesting! Even if we don’t get picked for the tickets we’re going to Fargo anyway.
      Love the tip about the ghost towns!

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