Trip Report: Fargo, ND
Updated: Dec 4, 2022
If you’re looking for a quick weekend getaway, think north! With destination breweries, a beautiful dog friendly hotel, and several state parks on the way, Fargo will definitely surprise you.
Read on for our recommendations for what to see, where to stay, and what to do on a quick visit to Fargo!
Where to Stay
Fargo is about a 4 hour drive from the Twin Cities, and if you’re going to be visiting some of the area’s excellent breweries, you probably don’t want to do this trip in a day. Spend the night at Jasper Hotel, a new and hip hotel right in downtown Fargo. Jasper hosted us on our April visit! The property welcomes pups of all sizes (no weight limit) and dogs are allowed to hang out in the lobby bar area near Rosewild, the hotel restaurant that recently received a James Beard Award nomination.
Bert and Ernie were welcomed with “Distinguished Dog” bowls and special treat bags when we checked in. They loved looking out the wraparound windows of our 11th floor room! It was simple to take them out and walk just around the corner to Broadway Square, a park with a turf area and a small stage. See this post for more on staying in hotels with dogs and how to be a good guest!
What to do - Breweries
There are several breweries in the Fargo-Moorhead area, but the two that stand out for us are Junkyard Brewing and Drekker Brewing. Although they sit in different states, these breweries are less than 3 miles apart! Junkyard sits on the Moorhead, MN side of the border, and Drekker is just down the road (literally the same road!) in Fargo, ND.
Dogs are welcome on the patio at Junkyard, and the friendly staff will bring over a dog bowl for water for visiting pups. Junkyard’s taproom shares a wall with Sol Ave Kitchen, so it’s easy and fast to order takeout tacos and sandwiches. Bert and Ernie are big fans of Junkyard’s popcorn machine, too.
At Drekker, dogs are allowed to be in the large outdoor courtyard and inside in the Barrel Room space as long as it’s not being used for an event. Drekker’s taproom and production space sit inside a large building, a former locomotive repair facility. The team at Drekker is doing some major construction on an adjacent lot - “Brewhalla” is a massive 100,000 sq. ft project that will include a boutique hotel, retail, event space, and food from local vendors. Pending construction progress, the extension of the Drekker space is set to open in the fall.
What to do - Sights to see
When you think “Fargo,” you probably jump to the 1996 Coen Brothers film of the same name. Funnily enough, most of the movie was shot in and around Brainerd, MN and the Twin Cities, but the film is named after the North Dakota city nonetheless. The Fargo-Moorhead Visitors Center leans in to the movie memorabilia and features a replica of the movie’s notorious woodchipper!
Fargo is home to North Dakota State University and about 12,000 students. NDSU’s football team has dominated Division II in recent years, taking home the D2 championship in 9 of the last 11 seasons. Drive or walk around the self-contained campus, and be sure to grab a photo with bison statue on Albrecht Boulevard.
Not far from the bison statue is the Fargo Air Musuem. We weren’t able to visit on our recent trip as the museum was closed for a private event during our time in Fargo, but this museum is dog friendly! Interestingly, it’s a “flying museum” and many of the aircraft in the collection still take to the skies on occasion. We were really looking forward to showing Bert and Ernie some vintage aircraft but alas, schedules didn’t align. We’ll definitely be visiting on our next trip to Fargo!
We love finding giant roadside attractions, and Moorhead boasts a great one: The World’s Largest Dilly Bar. The Dairy Queen franchise that invented the delicious frozen treat in 1955 has a 12-foot-tall replica! On the drive to/from Fargo from the Twin Cities area, you’ll pass by a number of other excellent roadside attractions that are definitely worth a quick stop:
Big Ole in Alexandria, a 28-foot-tall viking commissioned for the 1965 New York World’s Fair
Pelican Pete in Pelican Rapids, the World’s Largest Pelican standing 15 ½ feet tall
Otto the Big Otter in Fergus Falls, an adorable 40-foot-long giant in a lovely park
Booming Prairie Chicken off I-94 in Rothsay
World’s Largest Loon in Vergas, MN, a 20-foot-tall lakeside monument
We’ve seen them all, of course! We use the Roadside America app to do our research and plan routes to visit these oddities, and we’re often able to learn more about them from stories on the HearHere app.
What to do - Hiking
If you’re taking I-94 north from the Twin Cities to Fargo, you’ll pass 5 state parks on your trip. We’ll start closest to Fargo!
Buffalo River State Park is less than half an hour outside of Fargo-Moorhead. We stopped here for a hike when we visited Fargo in the fall. Try the Hiking Club trail that loops through tallgrass prairie and alongside the winding Buffalo River.
Heading southeast on I-94, the next park you’ll encounter will be Maplewood State Park. Maplewood is about half an hour from Buffalo River or an hour’s drive from Fargo. We barely scratched the surface at this large park! Consider saving this park for the fall when all of the maple trees change color.
We hiked Hallaway Hill, a quick out-and-back gravel trail that reaches up to a high point in the park overlooking several lakes. Tons of migratory birds were making their way back to their nesting grounds during our spring visit - we saw pelicans and loons and watched an eagle riding an updraft at the top of the hill.
After our stop at Maplewood, we grabbed a beer and lunch at Outstate Brewing Company in Fergus Falls. Don’t forget to visit Otto the Otter while you’re there! There's also an XL Canada Goose in town - maybe we'll see it on our next trip through Fergus!
Head another 40 minutes southeast and you’ll come to Glendalough State Park in Battle Lake. We visited this park on our fall Fargo trip and really enjoyed a stroll on the Hiking Club Trail around Annie Battle Lake. Parts of this lake loop reminded us of the city lakes we so enjoy at home in Minneapolis. There are several ways to camp (including rental yurt!) at this park and enjoy the lakes and hiking. Before it was a state park, Glendalough Game Farm hosted two presidents (Eisenhower and Nixon) as guests of the Minneapolis Tribune and Cowles Media Company that owned the property.
Lake Carlos State Park is about halfway between Minneapolis and Fargo - we haven’t visited this one yet, but will update this post once we do. Closest to the Twin Cities (about an hour away) is Lake Maria State Park in Monticello. See this post for some trail recommendations (and a nearby brewery) at Lake Maria.
The Fargo-Moorhead area has a lot to offer if you’re looking for a dog friendly getaway. We look forward to our next visit to this charming area!