Too Cool to Miss in North Dakota: Time-honored Cuisine, Shopping Local and the Makers Movement

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It’s that joyous time of year and while cooling temperatures may call for mittens and a hat, there are many festivities across North Dakota that are simply too cool to miss. Attend a ballet or theater production and cap your night with a chest-warming beverage or a piece of kuchen at a local watering hole or restaurant. Check off that holiday list while shopping at an eclectic boutique, or attend a workshop and make your own gifts. Santa is out and about this season and you can find him everywhere from the zoo to the air museum. Contact North Dakota Tourism for additional ideas at or call 800-435-5663 or 701-328-2525

Holiday Eats, NoDak Style

It’s no secret that Scandinavian and German roots run deep in this state, and those legacies are especially evident during the holiday season. Many locals grew up making and eating seasonal favorites like lefse, kuchen, pfeffernüsse, springerle cookies and krumkake. You won’t have to search far and wide to find many of these traditional staples. If you want to serve these items this holiday season without doing any of the work, check out your local grocer or visit Freddy’s Lefse in Fargo, Karen’s Kuchens in Cavalier and Model Bakery in Linton.

Explore the Holiday Arts Scene

Looking for a chance to dig out your festive, well, digs and go out on the town? There are many opportunities to get festive in North Dakota this December. Lori Line and her Fab 5 are traveling through the state on their “Christmas in the City Tour.” Northern Plains Dance is performing its annual “The Nutcracker” at the historic Belle Mehus in Bismarck. In Grand Forks, the Empire Theater Company is putting on a production of Charles Dickens beloved “A Christmas Carol.” Civic choirs are hosting holiday concerts in communities all across North Dakota.

Give Big and Shop Small

Holiday shopping can be overwhelming, even for the best of shoppers. This gifting season, give big by shopping “small” for your loved ones at your neighborhood businesses. Discover exquisitely unique gifts at Ecce Art in downtown Fargo or Junkyard Chic in Bismarck. Little Muddy Gifts in Williston, Prairie Fire Pottery in Beach or Davy Pottery in Burlington are not to be missed. If you prefer to shop from the comfort of your own home, search for North Dakota makers on Etsy or pick out something special from the North Dakota Legendary gift shop.

Get in on the Makers Movement

Nothing says “I care” quite like a handmade gift. A plethora of workshops are available for both experienced and novice crafters in December. Unglued Market in Fargo is hosting a Holiday Late Night Craft Party in December. Crabapple Floral in Bismarck is offering a class on creating a fresh holiday wreath for your front door. And Crooked Lane Farm Folk School near Colfax is hosting an event on holiday décor and gifting how-to.

A Hot Toddy Remedy

Whether it’s mulled wine, hot buttered rum or egg nog, nothing completes a day of holiday shopping or cross-country skiing quite like a warm mug in your hands. Fargo’s Hotel Donaldson serves up hot, delicious libations in its lounge and Maxwell’s Bar and Restaurant serves a variety of “warm-up” drinks. The 501.2 speakeasy in downtown Bismarck offers not only a secret entrance but a repertoire of mixed drinks. The newly opened B2 Lounge above the Brickhouse Grille in downtown Dickinson or The Starving Rooster in Minot serve chest-warming cocktails. Enjoy a Winter Warmer from the menu in Williston’s Eleven Restaurant and Lounge.

Get Outside and Move

As the weather gets cooler, there’s no better time to get outside and get moving. Burn off those holiday calories by cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing or hiking on one of the many trails around the state. For some old fashioned fun, grab a toboggan and find a local sledding hill. Support a good cause and take in a fun run like the Jingle Bell Run/Walk in Fargo or the Santa Run/Walk in Bismarck.

Go For a Holiday Jaunt

Tune your car stereo to cheerful carols and take in the holiday lights at Lions Christmas in the Park in Grand Forks, Holiday Lights in Fargo’s Lindenwood Park, Spring Lake Park Holiday Lights Drive in Williston or Christmas in Sertoma Park in Bismarck.

Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick is in Town

Santa Claus is coming to town … lots of towns, actually. Spot him at the Festival of Trees event in Williston or at the Fargo Air Museum. The man in the red suit will also be at Santa Days in Washburn, Buckstop Junction in Bismarck, Grand Forks Santa Village and at the Santa Village at the Rheault Farm in Fargo.