True, Fargo, North Dakota, is remote (235 miles northwest of Minneapolis). But the notion that everyone here is a little provincial? That's Hollywood fiction.
Downtown Fargo (population 96,000) offers appealing shops and restaurants, a boutique hotel, and a beautifully restored cinema, all within easy walking distance from each other. Across the Red River in Moorhead, Minnesota, the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County is a fascinating historical counterpoint to ever-hipper Fargo
Click ahead for some of our favorite places to see, shop, eat and stay in Fargo.
Photo Courtesy of Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau
One of the area's coolest attractions is actually across the river in Moorhead, Minnesota. The societ's Hjemkomst Center features a full-scale replica of a Viking ship, as well as a replica of the Hopperstad Stave Church, the original of which is located in Vik, Norway; and a Red River Valley exhibit explaining the history and culture of the area. See reviews and ratings. (218) 299-5511; hcscconline.org
Located in the renovated International Harvester warehouse, this downtown standout is beautiful inside and out. The collection includes works by artists as varied as Impressionist Mary Cassatt and Native American contemporary artist George Morrison. See reviews and ratings. (701) 232-3821; plainsart.org
The 1926 movie palace's glittering marquee announces live performances and film showings, including the occasional silent-movie night, when a Wurlitzer organ accompanies black-and-white flicks. See reviews and ratings. (701) 239-8385; fargotheatre.com
Photo Courtesy of North Dakota Tourism/ Jason Lindsey
Interpreters and more than 40 buildings on 12 acres re-create life on "bonanza" farms that ruled the prairies in the late 1800s. Admission to this West Fargo attraction is half-price Thursday evenings. Seasonal. See reviews and ratings. (701) 282-2822; bonanzaville.com
Guided Red River pontoon rides are an affordable way to enjoy the outdoors in the city. Rides last 45 minutes and are offered Memorial Day to Labor Day, when weather and river conditions permit. (701) 235-2895; riverkeepers.org
• Nichole's Fine Pastry (pictured) Cakes, tarts, pastries and gelato line up like edible art in the cases. A recent expansion means more seating, a bigger breakfast menu, and more fabulous soups and sandwiches for lunch. See reviews and ratings. (701) 232-6430; nicholesfinepastry.com
• Cafe Aladdin You'll enjoy the laid-back feel and Mediterranean flavors, as well as specialty grocery items. Try the savory sampler with spanakopita, falafel, baba ghanoush, hummus and stuffed grape leaves. See reviews and ratings. (701) 232-4200
• Monte's Downtown This favorite offers a sophisticated atmosphere and tempting entrees, such as macadamia-crusted halibut and wild mushroom soup. They also have a light menu for late-night eats. See reviews and ratings. (701) 526-0149; montesdowntown.com
• O'Day Cache (pictured) Browse among colorful slippers, lanterns and other Asian imports. (701) 293-2088; odaycache.com
• Zandbroz Variety Jewelry, toys, books, home decor items and more pack this eclectic store, which has a branch in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, as well as Fargo. See reviews and ratings. (701) 239-4729; zandbroz.com
The historic Hotel Donaldson features artwork in its 17 stylish rooms and intimate fine-dining restaurant. The hotel includes the HoDo Lounge and seasonal Sky Prairie Lounge, both great places for a cocktail or postshow tapas. The three-story, corner brick building was built by the Fargo Odd Fellows Lodge in 1894. From $179. See reviews and ratings. (888) 478-8768; hoteldonaldson.com