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Can We Talk About How Cool Fargo Is?

When you think of hip cities on the rise, Fargo, ND might not instantly come to mind. Here's why it should.

By Sarah Von Bargen on September 11, 2018

Is there anything to do in Fargo? Besides checking out the woodchipper homage to the Oscar-winning movie at the visitors center and listening for those famous accents?

While those two activities might come to mind first at the mention of “Fargo,†in reality, this Midwestern city is packed with amazing food, art, culture and fun things to do. It’s no coincidence that huge numbers of young people are moving to Fargo, eager to take advantage of the small-but-growing city’s energy – and affordability. 

And unlike many other hip cities on the rise, Fargo isn’t just cool, it’s friendly too. “I’ve moved around a lot,†says Fargo transplant Norma Maxwell. “The people here are my favorite – I love them. They’re kind, down to earth, honest, hard-working, and welcoming.”

If you haven’t been to Fargo in a few years (or ever), you should absolutely add the city to your “places to check out” list. Want proof? Here are five reasons the city deserves more credit for being an awesome place to live and visit.

1. The Surprising Number of Art Galleries

Ten art galleries and museums is a lot for a city of 113,000, isn’t it? These range from the Plains Art Museum – the largest art museum in North Dakota, featuring national exhibitions – to intimate galleries like the Ecce Gallery which showcases local and regional artists.

The Rourke art gallery and museum is impressive too, boasting pieces from pop art rock stars like Roy Lichtenstein, Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso.

Even more amazing? All of these spaces are free thanks to member support!

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2. An Adorable, Active Downtown With Tons of Parking

Here at Livability, we love a good downtown. Streetlamps, boutiques, those hanging flower baskets – we can’t get enough.

But lots of cute downtowns are short on parking. It’s hard to get excited about poking through antique stores and sniffing artisan candles when you know you’ll need to budget an extra 30 minutes to find parking or pay an arm and a leg for a centrally located lot.

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I’m pleased to report that this is not a problem in Fargo.

“The downtown area is amazing; it’s come so far in the past five years,†says Fargo local Rikka Brandon. “It’s got unique (not chain) restaurants and a parking garage that solves parking headaches of old. But it’s still got the ‘been around forever’ stores, restaurants, and bars we love. It’s far hipper than you’d expect!â€

3. How Culturally Diverse It Is

Small cities and the Midwest in general can get a bad rap for their lack of diversity. But Fargo (and its neighboring city Moorhead), boast four colleges, each attracting international students and faculty.


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Fargo-Moorhead was actually voted the fifth most active welcoming city in America! They even have a local organization called ‘Welcoming FM‘ that’s specifically devoted to inclusivity and welcoming new people to the city. During 2017’s ‘Welcome Week,’ the organization hosted no fewer than 23 educational and social events for community members and new Americans.

4. Big Name Concerts and Shows

Think big shows skip the Midwest? Nope! The Fargodome‘s 2018 calendar includes big name musicians like Ed Sheeran and Pink, plus headlining comedians Jim Gaffigan and Kevin Hart. And they host musicals, too! In 2019, Fargonians will be wowed by “Kinky Boots,†“The Sound of Music†and “Chicago.”

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5. Year-Round Sports and Outdoor Activities

Okay, let’s be honest. Is Fargo cold? Yes. But is there a lot to do in the winter to distract you from the cold? Also yes!

The Fargo park district has seven free cross-country ski trails and three ice arenas. They offer hockey, ice skating, and curling lessons! They have a broomball league! They have an old clubhouse with a fireplace and snack bar that serves as a warming facility!

And if you’re a snowmobiler, the East Central Valley Trail will give you 196 miles of trail to shred.

Is Fargo the next Nashville or Savannah? The only way to find out is to visit! And I highly suggest you do.

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