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City Spotlight: Why Fargo Is One of America’s Best Places to Live

“The energy here is incredibly optimistic and open to growth. It’s a community where someone can come in and make an impact.”

By Samantha Brisch on November 10, 2020

Fargo ND
Fargo / Photo Courtesy of Aaron Hill

Ranking number eight on Livability’s 2020 Top 100 Best Places to Live list, Fargo is a city that prides itself on community, hard work and dedication. An optimistic place that keeps creating and finding new opportunities for growth, Fargo’s culture is exactly why Aaron Hill, a proud Fargo native for 19 years and counting, co-founded Fargo Brewing Company here. We asked Aaron four key questions to discover why Fargo is indeed one of the best places to live in America.

Fargo ND
Fargo / Photo Courtesy of Aaron Hill

Why is Fargo a great place to live? 

Fargo is a great place to live for many reasons, the first being the culture and people. Fargo is a “big-small†town. We have the great amenities of a big city, including education, healthcare, entertainment, dining, employment and access to travel, while still maintaining a “small town” attitude of looking out for our neighbors. One of the most consistent comments we hear from visitors is that the people here are so friendly and helpful. If you see someone’s car stuck in the snow, you pull over and push them out. If you know your neighbor is out of town for a week, you mow their lawn. If you see someone drop a $20 bill, you pick it up and run after them. People here lookout for one another and take care of each other. 

There are three major universities in this area, including tech schools and satellite schools, so not only is education extremely accessible, it keeps the community young and progressive. The universities need and attract a diverse and educated workforce. They also provide entertainment through athletics due to NDSU competing successfully at the DI level, and the arts and humanities with vast options of lectures and presentations open to the public.

Can We Talk About How Cool Fargo Is?

We are at the cross-section of I-29 and I-94, which makes road travel easy and also provides easier access to national touring entertainment acts. We are only 225 miles from Minneapolis/St. Paul, where you’ll find even higher levels of entertainment (sports, concerts, dining, shopping). Travel west and you’ll soon find yourself in the rugged and wide-open west. Travel east and you’ll find lakes and woods. We are 45 minutes away from Detroit Lakes and other wonderful outdoor recreational activities. Many people who live and work here own vacation homes in the Minnesota lakes area, too.

The FargoDome holds up to 25,000 people and receives popular attractions from Monster Jam to Elton John and Celine Dion. There are plenty of sports available to watch, as well as local theatre and arts. The food and dining hold up to any major metropolitan area. The parks and trails are extremely accessible and well maintained. In short, there’s a lot to do here for pretty much any type of interest.

Fargo ND
Fargo / Photo Courtesy of Aaron Hill

How would you describe the opportunities here? What’s the energy of the city like?

Fargo is a very hardworking community. It centers on agriculture but has developed into a very diverse economy. Healthcare and education are large employers and we now see technology becoming a large growing industry. With a Microsoft campus and the NDSU Research and Technology Park, Fargo is becoming a hub for forward-thinking entrepreneurs and tech startups. 

I don’t have numbers to quote, but from my experience, this area is a very wealthy community that is ready to take the resources and keep on creating. In short, if you want to make money, this is a good place to be. The caveat is that it is agrarian-based, so a lot of the wealth is created from “blue-collar†industries. High-end trucks are more prevalent than imported sports cars and sedans (not to mention much, much better driving on snow and ice), but people here are very savvy, honest and smart. It’s also a very humble community, so displays of wealth and conspicuous consumption are generally frowned upon here.

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The energy here is incredibly optimistic and open to growth. It is a young, vibrant business community. It is a relatively young area in relation to business and wealth, too. It’s a community where someone can come in and make an impact and make their mark quickly, as long as you are a hard worker and love building relationships. Since it is a smaller community, word of mouth travels very quickly which helps move things along and helps sift out disingenuous and dishonest people.

Fargo ND
Fargo / Photo Courtesy of Aaron Hill

Why should people think about relocating to Fargo? 

Let’s address the elephant in the room … the weather and climate. High snowfall and bitter wind chills are common in the winter. High winds and humid summers. But trust me when I say: you’ll survive. It keeps us tough and forces us to look on the bright side. A very common saying here is “It could be worse†– sure, it’s -40, but hey, it’s sunny. There are 50 mph gusts of wind, but hey, it’s warm. However, beautiful places are close and airplane flights are easy to come by. You can have the most beautiful sunsets right in your backyard.

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Fargo is a fantastic place to raise a family, create a business, get an education, get a great job, and find or build a great home. The school systems are top-notch, we have great healthcare, great entertainment, and of course, great beer!

It is a young, vibrant, and growing community that is not afraid to invest in growth. It has roots in agriculture but has taken that work ethic and developed it into a blossoming metropolitan area that has something to offer everyone. We work hard, play hard. And while it is a great piece of art, we are not the movie “Fargo.”

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