What do I do in North Dakota in the winter?
January 10, 2011 5:56 PM   Subscribe

I am going to Fargo, Grand Forks, Bismarck and surrounding areas in mid-February - what do I do for fun?

I am going to these places for work (W-F), and my husband is coming with me. We will have some free time during the day, and we're considering staying a couple of extra days if there is something to do. I have seen some other threads about Bismarck and Fargo shops/eateries, but I'm looking for more than that (of course, any information is good!) Any places that are beautiful/unique in the winter? What about skiing? My husband has this fantasy of cross-country skiing there. Any help is much-appreciated. Thanks!
posted by emilyv to Travel & Transportation around North Dakota (8 answers total)
"What about skiing?"

It's a little like skiing Nebraska. But there is actually a cross-country ski club in Fargo, and the city maintains some trails.
posted by paulsc at 6:25 PM on January 10, 2011

Grand Forks has a great greenway for cross-country skiing! You could stop by Amazing Grains Food Co-op for really good soups & sandwiches to warm up -- it's right off the greenway. If you're in GF on a Saturday, check to see if Amazing Grains has a SNAG (Saturday Night At Grains) that week -- it's a 7-course BYOB prix fixe ($30 when I worked there, inflation may have happened in the past coupla years) dinner, and the quality is almost always fantastic.
posted by kitarra at 6:51 PM on January 10, 2011

posted by unixrat at 7:29 PM on January 10, 2011

Cross country skiing in Fargo is more than possible; I'd say Edgewood's cross-country area is the best (I'm not a cross-country skiier, though, but the area is very nice); note that the cost is for ski rental - it's a public facility, so there's no charge to ski if you've got your own equipment. According to the community calendar, there's candlelight cross-country skiing at a nearby state park on Feb 5th, but that may be too early for you.

The state tourism board has winter-specific suggestions. I'd suggest ice fishing for some regional flavor, but Devil's Lake may be a bit off your path.

Keep in mind that winter is harsh around these parts from January to February -- there's a lot of beautiful things, but you run the risk of exposed skin freezing rather quickly if you go out unprepared. Bismark tends to be milder than Grand Forks or Fargo. If it's 10 below or colder, be prepared to reign in your outdoor fun, unless you're accustomed and equipped for those temps. Make sure you've got heavy coats, hats, gloves, boots, etc.
posted by AzraelBrown at 7:35 PM on January 10, 2011

Not exactly what you were asking, but I recommend to everyone that's in grand forks that they eat at sander's downtown. It's a really delicious restaurant in an area that doesn't have a whole lot of good food.
posted by flaterik at 11:31 PM on January 10, 2011

Yeah, there's a good chance it'll just be too damn cold to go out. Try and come up with some back-up indoor plans as well, in case your outdoorsy plans fall through.

North Dakota (the majority of it, at least) in the winter is flat. White. Ungodly cold.
posted by Windigo at 8:30 AM on January 11, 2011

There's some really good Grand Forks advice in here. Yes, there's cross country skiing here and also outdoor ice skating rinks if you're at all into that. More info on winter sports here.

The food in Grand Forks is a bit touch and go (not that Bismarck's is anything to write home about either), but there's a new Thai place in East Grand and it's supposed to be quite good, plus there's some good places (Sander's, as mentioned) in downtown Grand Forks. Like chocolate? You have to try a chipper! Also, if you have a craving for Subway, this town has got you covered. I can also recommend a nice little bar if you're into that.

As for a silly little thing to do, drive over one of the bridges into Minnesota (Grand Forks is right exactly on the border, similar to Fargo and Moorhead) and head into East Grand Forks. You can catch a movie there, should you want the ordinary suburban big screen experience. You can also go to Cabela's, if you're in need of hunting gear or just want to marvel (admittedly, you could also pick up gear there for winter sports). On the way back, drive through Reeve's drive and admire some pretty houses while eyeing the huge retaining walls and the flood gates.

If you're into trains, Grand Forks is a not insignificant freight center (there's a big mill here and the Great Northern Railway sent a lot of trains through town).

I notice you said you're free in the daytime but if you're a) in Grand Forks b) free on Friday night and c) there's a hockey game being played at the Ralph, I really really recommend it. That is one thing I'd recommend extending a stay for.

This is the visitor's bureau website for the Grand Forks Region. Admittedly, it's sort of hit and miss for things to do (I certainly wouldn't extend your stay to take advantage of things to do in Grand Forks, but Bismarck and Fargo both have more things going on).

As for weather, Grand Forks is projected to hit a high (high, mind you) of -3F this weekend (don't ask what the low's going to be) but that's a bit of a cold snap. In mid February, I'm told to expect highs in the positive digits (0-15F) with lows in the negatives (-1to-10F at least). It will probably snow at least once during your trip.

I've been to both Bismarck and Fargo but am more familiar with Bismarck. There's the capital of course, and all the associated buildings with that. The legislature should even be in session, if you'd like to catch that. I have a hotel that I would absolutely recommend against, but please MeMail me on that one because I don't want to badmouth them in thread. Other than that, Bismarck doesn't have tons going on that I know about (though I'm sure others can chime in).

I'm probably forgetting a few things, but if you'd like to MeMail me I'm happy to go into more detail or take you out while you're here (though I'm new here myself).
posted by librarylis at 8:15 PM on January 11, 2011

Bismarck has the Heritage Center. Free admission, nice and warm way to kill an afternoon in Bismarck.
posted by nathan_teske at 10:25 AM on January 14, 2011

« Older Help me identify this song   |   VPN on iOS - app restart needed? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.