Famed largely for its role as the sleepy town backdrop of the Coen Brothers’ 1996 masterpiece of the same name, the town of Fargo, North Dakota, is a great day trip option for travellers making their way through the Peace Garden State. Naturally the iconic woodchipper that played a pivotal role in the movie’s plot is one of the biggest attractions in town, while a certain energy has begun to take hold in recent years brought in with a variety of bars, clubs, boutique hotels and quirky eateries opening up in the center. Joined with its sister city of Moorhead across the Red River, the larger metropolitan area here offers a wealth of cultural highlights, from modern art exhibitions to historical museums, making this one definitely worth a visit.
Relive the history of North Dakota at the Bonanzaville Historical Center
Home to a number of immersive exhibitions the pièce de résistance of Bonanzaville is the Pioneer Village. A clever recreation of traditional life, the village comprises of 43 restored historic buildings of interest, from the timber-clad town hall (dating from the 1890s) to the Cass County Courthouse display in the original Hagemeister Schoolroom. Other permanent exhibits show a real wealth of artifacts that help chronicle North Dakotan history from its earliest times.
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Local artistry and curious relics to boot:
Education, conservation and some seriously exotic animals at the Red River Zoo
Home to Yukiko the red panda, and packs of prowling grey wolves, the Red River Zoo also has a huge variety of mammals, reptiles, amphibians and fish on exhibition. However, it’s not all about gawking at animals here – the Zoo’s emphasis on educational and conservationist programs make this one a truly hands-on experience, where guests are encouraged to learn and get involved in the day-to-day lives of every animal.
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Something for the adults and something for the kids:
Warm up with the Fargo Brewing Company
Establishing itself as one of North Dakota’s leading independent breweries just five years after setting up, the Fargo Brewing company is the product of a beer-loving partnership that’s truly passionate about their craft. Visitors are invited to sample products in the on-site tap room or take one of the regular weekend brewery tours. The latter costs just $1, and all the proceeds are donated to local food charities.
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Check out JL Beers, Fargo's best burger bar
Big burgers and home cut potato fries are the name of the game in this hearty pub-style eatery. Come to savor the large portions of filling meat creations, where healthy eating is forced unashamedly into the back seat. Specialities include Fargo’s own 1st avenue burger, and the in-house special JL burger that comes doused in deep-fried onions; is your mouth watering yet?
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From hearty grills to local fine dining, there’s also a twist of the exotic on Fargo’s culinary scene:
From hearty grills to local fine dining, there's also a twist of the exotic on Fargo's culinary scene:
Since renovation in 2003, the Donaldson has become one of Fargo’s premier hotels, and one that offers much more than just a bed and breakfast. Today, guests enjoy luxurious, boutique rooms, one of the city’s best roof garden bars, and a cultural experience that incorporates local art events and live music. The in house restaurant also serves a wide variety of organically sourced dishes prepared in the regional style.