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Why Fargo, ND is a Great Place to Live

Cultural flair, an essence of adventure and an artistic spirit – these are just a few things that give Fargo, ND, its unique vibe.

By Emily Handy on December 21, 2022

Photo Courtesy of Aaron Hill

There’s no denying it — Fargo is just cool. 

This artsy, vibrant North Dakota city is the state’s largest, and it only continues to grow as more and more young people and families choose to call Fargo home. The city boasts a surging economy with a strong high-tech presence, high-quality health care, outstanding education and entertainment galore — including easy access to the stunning North Dakotan outdoors. Fargo is a welcoming community with the perfect balance between small-town charm and big-city fun. 

Aerial shot of downtown Fargo, ND.
Visit Fargo-Moorhead

Fargo’s diverse and thriving economy has seen huge growth in manufacturing, medical and technology industries. Unemployment in Fargo is low at 1.9 percent, and it is expected to dip even lower and reach pre-pandemic levels. The area’s job market is surging, with top employers being North Dakota State University, Sanford Health and US Bank. 

“Jobs are abundant here, with an emphasis on high tech,” said Charley Johnson, President & CEO of Visit Fargo-Moorhead. “We’re home to a large Microsoft campus, with more than 1,000 employees and vendors. John Deere has its ‘Electronic Solutions’ electrical engineering facility here, and Fargo is also home base for Aldevron, the world’s largest supplier of plasmid DNA for medical research and vaccinology.”

Fargo, ND, students at work.
Courtesy of North Dakota Department of Commerce

Fargo is also quickly becoming a Midwestern tech start-up hotspot. Dubbed the “Silicon Prairie,” Fargo is home to start-ups like Bushel, a software technology for agriculture, and the cloud-based drone linking company Botlink. Meanwhile, the company CoSchedule resides in an impressively large office space in the heart of downtown. In addition, several coworking spaces, accelerators and incubators are dotted around the city to assist entrepreneurs with getting their businesses off the ground. Fargo’s access to a highly creative local talent pool also boosts its start-up ecosystem. It’s no wonder that North Dakota has been ranked one of the best states for start-ups. 

As evidenced by its high-tech presence, Fargo is smart. “We are a college community, with some 25,000 students at North Dakota State University, Minnesota State University — Moorhead, Concordia College and several smaller 2- and 4-year post-secondary schools,” Johnson said. As North Dakota’s most educated city, Fargo’s public schools are all top-rated. 

Fargo, ND, is home to North Dakota State University.
Visit Fargo-Moorhead

Fargo isn’t all work and no play. Entertainment and recreation opportunities are virtually endless here. Downtown Fargo is packed with good restaurants and craft breweries, shopping and attractions like the Historic Fargo Theater and the Fargo Air Museum. The Plains Art Museum is just one of the many galleries in the city’s active arts scene. Fargo’s Red River Zoo houses some of the rarest cold weather species. Sports fans can get their fill cheering on the Bison in the Fargodome, one of the country’s loudest college football stadiums.

People skate at a public rink in North Dakota.
Dan Francis

Don’t let the winter weather deter you; Fargo does, in fact, have all four distinct seasons! Just bundle up in the winter and enjoy all this city has to offer outdoors year-round. The city’s vast network of trails and 175 parks is ideal for those looking to get some fresh air. A cyclist’s haven, Fargo features trails along the Red River of the North, and several races and festivals centered around biking — even an annual winter classic. 

Kayaking, canoeing and fishing are also popular along the Red River. Things don’t slow down in the winter, and many parks create skating and hockey rinks. Residents dust off their snowshoes, cross-country skis and sleds or head to the Red River to ice fish for walleye. 

Kayaking and canoeing on the Red River at Fargo-Moorhead. Credit North Dakota Tourism
North Dakota Tourism

Access to quality health care and an affordable cost of living are two more Fargo assets. The city’s 1-million-square-foot Sanford Medical Center is the largest hospital in North Dakota and serves the region as a health care hub. Sanford is verified as a Level 1 Adult Trauma Center and is the only one between Minneapolis, Seattle, Denver and Omaha. 

People walk along the banks of the Red River in Fargo, ND, during the winter. Free to use and share; Credit "Visit Fargo-Moorhead"
Visit Fargo-Moorhead

Fargo residents get more bang for their buck, as the cost of living here is well below the national average. Housing and transportation, in particular, won’t set you back as much as they would in similarly sized cities. According to Zillow, an average 3-bedroom home costs approximately $222,000, and the average renter will pay about $921. You’ll also save money on entertainment in Fargo, as most attractions are free or cost less than $10

And forget Southern hospitality — some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet live in Fargo. “North Dakota Nice” is a real thing, and it’s alive and well in the city, with someone always willing to lend a hand or offer a smile. 

This article was sponsored by the North Dakota Department of Commerce.

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