Wander North Dakota’s Winter Wonderland

Print / Email

Winter’s holidays are right around the corner and North Dakota is welcoming the season with a range of celebrations. Layer up and get outside for some winter wonderland fun, whether it’s a hike through a state park or a stroll down festive city sidewalks. Fill your belly with locally-made seasonal delicacies and then catch The Nutcracker or listen to traditional holiday carols at a musical production. Don’t’ forget to leave time for a visit to Jolly old St. Nick. Contact North Dakota Tourism for additional ideas at www.ndtourism.com or call 800-435-5663 or 701-328-2525.

Embrace the Chill

North Dakota is known for its vast countryside full of opportunities for outdoor adventure. Bundle up and go explore! Take a hike along the bluffs of Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park for a stunning view of both the Missouri River and nearby cities Bismarck and Mandan. Gunlogson Nature Preserve within Icelandic State Park offers visitors three miles of developed hiking and cross country skiing trails in a pristine setting. Spend the night in a luxurious yurt - outfitted with a kitchen, bathroom and two bedrooms - at Fort Ransom State Park. It’s December, but who says the fish aren’t biting? Lake Sakakawea and Devils Lake are ideal for anglers looking to drop a line. Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s winter wildlife scene is bustling so check at the ranger station for a recommendation on which trail to tackle. Grab a sled and head for a nearby hill or burn off some of those holiday calories at the Jingle Bell Run in Fargo or the Santa Fun Run/Walk 5K in Bismarck. 

Enjoy the Eats and the Drinks

The Scandinavian and German ancestry of many North Dakotans is on full display during the holiday season. Delicacies like lefse, kuchen, springerle cookies and krumkake can be found in kitchens, banquet halls and restaurants across the state. Taste for yourself why these flavors have survived through the decades. Minot’s Bethany Lutheran Church is hosting a lutefisk and meatball dinner with a holiday bake sale. Model Bakery in Linton offers 12 (yes, 12) flavors of kuchen. You can find homemade potato lefse at West Fargo’s Freddy’s Lefse. Stop at The Wurst Shop in Dickinson to sample their German sausages and desserts. Or for more current North Dakota flavors, visit the wildly popular Wurst Bier Hall in Fargo, local favorite Mi Mexico in Minot, the new Sky’s Cloud 9 in Grand Forks or farm-to-table restaurant and bakery Terra Nomad in Bismarck. December in North Dakota calls for delicious cold-weather cocktails available at establishments like Maxwell’s in West Fargo, the Starving Rooster in Minot or Teddy’s Lounge in New Town or Watford City.

Relish the Retail

Holiday shopping can be a daunting task. Fortunately, North Dakota has a burgeoning retail scene that includes a range of styles and options for shoppers. Downtown Diva, Lulu B and Stella’s offer everything from clothing to unique décor. Check out Lulu Lane in Minot, Pout Baby Boutique in Fargo or Tinee or Trendee Boutique in Bismarck for one-of-a-kind holiday gifts for children or grandchildren. Honor North Dakota’s heritage and pick up a traditional Scandinavian item at Stabo Scandinavian Imports in Fargo and Bismarck or visit Five Nations Gallery and Gifts in Mandan to select hand-crafted pieces by local Native Americans. Support local artists and purchase gifts for loved ones at local galleries or at one of the many craft fairs held across the state this December.

Get in the (Holiday) Groove

It’s a joyous time of year so get in on the holiday fun! Don your best apparel and spend an evening at The Nutcracker in Bismarck or Fargo. Or check out Lori Line and her Fab Five as they tour North Dakota for her “Christmas in the City Tour”. Civic choirs are hosting holiday concerts in communities across North Dakota and the Minot Symphony Orchestra is performing a “Holiday Pops” concert. Christmas lights twinkle in North Dakota neighborhoods and cities so jump in the vehicle and go for a cruise to see the dazzling displays. Not to be missed: Lions Christmas in the Park , Spring Lake Park Holiday Lights Drive, Christmas in Bismarck’s Sertoma Park and Holiday Lights in Fargo’s Lindenwood Park. And what’s December without sightings of the man in the red suit? He’ll be at the Coming Home for Christmas Event in Mandan, Buckstop Junction in Bismarck and at West Fargo’s Christmas on the Prairie, to name a few.