6 ways to experience “home for the holidays” in North Dakota

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The holiday season draws families and friends together for outdoor activities, cultural celebrations and – of course – Christmas shopping. Share the genuine North Dakota experience of our food, fun and outdoors, and create lasting memories. Tempt your guests’ taste buds with authentic German or Scandinavian food; treat your loved ones to a one-of-a-kind gift; or spend the day with the kids at the zoo, a museum or even Santa’s Village. Contact North Dakota Tourism for additional ideas at www.NDtourism.com or call 800-435-5663 or 701-328-2525.

1. North Dakota culture at the table 

You know it’s the holiday season when you see varenyky (cheese buttons), lefse, kuchen, pfeffernüsse, springerle cookies and krumkake on the table. These North Dakota favorites remind us of celebrations growing up and can be found locally without doing all the work. To bring these items to your table this holiday season, try Charlotte’s Homemade Lefse in Edmore, Karen’s Kuchens in Cavalier, the Ukrainian Culture Institute in Dickinson or Magic Morsels in Minot. Enjoy your traditional Christmas.

2. Christmas is for kids

December and kids go hand-in-hand. Dakota Zoo in Bismarck gives kids a chance to have breakfast with the animals and the jolly old elf on Dec. 21, while Grand Forks invites kids young and old to create crafts and play games at their Santa Village. Everything is hands-on at the Children’s Museum at Yunker Farm in Fargo and Gateway to Science in Bismarck. At the Rheault Farm in Fargo, kids can make decorations, listen to stories and see live reindeer. And don’t forget that every hill is a sledding hill, and the state’s four downhill skill areas will open for skiing when snow conditions allow.

3. ‘Tis the season for home-made German cuisine

You have guests in town and they want to experience some German cuisine. Where can you find it in North Dakota? Here are few places that the locals go to enjoy their German favorites: Nibbles & Brunch in Bismarck plates authentic German fare; Four Corners Café in Belfield serves cheese buttons, Kroll’s Diner in Bismarck and Fargo have knoephla soup and fried dough; Frieds Family Restaurant in Mandan serves up a mean fleischkuechle; and Webo’s Restaurant in Linton dishes out knoephla and kraut on Fridays. Don’t forget the kuchen, which is quite popular at.

4. Home for the holidays, “Scandinavian” style

North Dakota offers visitors and lifelong residents alike a taste of its Scandinavian delicacies. For the traditional lutefisk and lefse, the new Northside Café in Grand Forks has it on the menu. If you are looking for Klub (Norwegian potato dumplings), try Shenanigan’s Family Restaurant in Grafton. For mouthwatering Swedish meatballs, head to Cavalier and you’ll find them at Thompson’s Café. Satisfy the sweet tooth with springerle cookies or krumkake from Sweet and Flour in Minot or sandbakkels and caramels at Sonja’s Old-Fashioned Delicacies in Mohall.  

5. Fun on the ice

Take in a hockey game or test your skills on the ice in North Dakota.  Enjoy the lighted rink in downtown Medora where Main Street becomes a winter wonderland or head indoors to one of the many skating venues that offer public skate times.  If you prefer to watch rather than skate, check out a University of North Dakota Hockey game at the Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks or take in a junior hockey league match-up to see the Minot Minotauros, Bismarck Bobcats, or the Fargo Force.

6. The lights of downtown

Window shopping is one of many outdoors activities in North Dakota, especially during the holiday season. Some of the most eclectic and one-of-a-kind gifts can be found in stores that line downtown streets, such as Zandbroz Variety in Fargo or Badman Designs in Grand Forks. Other unique stops might be Prairie Fire Pottery in Beach, Junkin Gypsies in Walhalla, Meriwether Trade & Gift Shop in Mandan and La Di Da in Minot. Their warm lights are a welcome invitation to guests on cool winter nights.

These are just a few ideas to experience that “home for the holidays” feeling in North Dakota. For more information, go to NDtourism.com or phone 800-435-5663 or 701-328-2525. 

Follow North Dakota Tourism on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TravelND or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NorthDakota and get tips on what to see and do all year long.