North Dakota Story Idea: Downtown Fargo

Downtown Fargo offers up urban options at a prairie price.

Flanked by a state-of-the-art public library to the east, the North Dakota State University College of Arts & Architecture to the south and the regionally recognized Plains Art Museum and the NDSU School of Business to the east (both housed in renovated and iconic downtown buildings), Fargo’s downtown is brimming with metropolitan flair, intellectual energy and a funky feel with a prairie price.

The shopping is ideal. Eclectic shops interspersed with coffee shops and restaurants. Real or wanna-be globetrotters will feel the world beat in O’Day Cache with its international mix of home décor and fashion. The designer duds at Lena K. and Scandinavian modern furniture at Scan Design, to name a few of the boutiques found downtown, create a great range of shopping. Broadway is capped by the gloriously quirky gifts and good books found at Zandbroz. 

Just south of Zandbroz is the iconic, art deco Fargo Theatre. The theater, along with the Plains Art Museum, serve as cultural and entertainment anchors to downtown. The theater carries a full schedule of plays, festivals, special events, concerts and independent films, while the museum is a showcase of rare and celebrated Midwestern art interspersed with international touring exhibits. 

A variety of food options abound as well. The kids will love Spicy Pie, a pizza-by-the-slice joint. Try J.L. Beers, a hole-in-the-wall eatery where burgers meet beers and seating for 24 means a regular lineup that’s worth the wait. At Stella’s, find authentic Italian for dinner and lunch. Night owls love the Drunken Noodle, where sushi and noodle bowls are served up until 3 a.m. The upscale atmosphere of Monte’s on Broadway is the perfect dinner date destination. 

While shoppers, the business community and students keep the area hopping all day, downtown is just as vibrant at night with live music and entertainment ranging from the pub feel of Rooters, to poetry readings at Atomic Coffee to live bands at Dempsey’s Irish Pub and dancing at the Old Broadway.

Need a place to hang your hat? The trendy Hotel Donaldson, an upscale boutique hotel dedicated to the arts, has 17 unique suites, each featuring the work of one local artist. Along with these suites, the hotel features locally grown dining in the HoDo Restaurant. Three lounge spaces within the hotel — the HoDo lounge, Stokers and the rooftop Sky Prairie — provide eclectic space to relax, a wide range of beverages as well as a diverse assortment of performances by musicians, poets and other artists.