As my time to Fargo is coming to a quick close, I thought it would be fun to put together a little collection of some things I will miss in Fargo. Obviously, I will mostly miss my friends but here are some fun things I experienced more than once while living in the city for 7.5 years.
Best annual summer event: Fargo Street Fair. Held annually in Fargo, I have not missed this event. In fact, my parents usually come down for this event as well.
What not to miss:
- Tents. Tent upon tent of hand-crafted goods including jewelry, fine art, clothes and yeah, maybe some “junk” too. One person’s junk though…
- Entertainment. Every few hours or so there is a variety of entertainment at the center of the fair you can gather around and watch. Tips are appreciated by the performers.
- Pig alley, aka, the FOOD: be sure not to miss all the typical fair-food offerings of deep-fried anything, gyros, corn dogs and more. The smell alone will draw you in.
- Beer! Of course, right? I rarely get downtown (I live on 71st Ave S), so the fair is a great time for me to visit Rooters or Old Broadway for a cool beer.
- Sunscreen. It seems no matter what, it is always hot and sunny during the fair. Come prepared.
- Stores. As I mentioned, I rarely get downtown so this time also gives me a chance to stick my head in downtown stores I might not get a chance to visit as often.
- Volunteer. My mom and I did this a few times. Organizers are always looking for help, if you are free, it is a great way to people watch.
- Bus. If you don’t want to drive, the bus generally will give free rides from certain destinations to downtown. Parking is usually difficult so this is a great option.
Best summer evening activity: Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks.
Gorgeous Newman Field is an inviting venue for all ages. The Redhawks organization is sure to always put on fun evening of activities in addition to the actual game. Cloverdale hot dogs, Hi-Ho burgers and a relaxed beer garden will draw you in. The hawks are also usually a pretty good team! They have many activities for all ages including giveaways, coupons, games and more. I have also noticed the stadium is very accessible for anyone with special needs and has a great viewing area for those in wheelchairs. Exciting bonus? On various nights they have a free fireworks show after certain games. Looking for extra fun? Tailgate prior to the game!
Best summer day activity: SS Ruby pontoon tours. You might not have heard of this one. I think it is fairly well-known locally, but not many people outside of the area are aware of the 45-minute, affordable tour of the Red River on a pontoon. From their website:
“Discover the history, geography, and wildlife of the Red River from the decks of the S.S. Ruby during a 45-minute pontoon tour.
Open Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend. Open Tuesdays and Fridays 5-8 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays 1-7 p.m. weather permitting. $8 adults, $7 seniors, $4 ages 5-7, Charters available other days as well. Reservations encouraged. Call 701-793-RUBY for more information.”
The tours are harder to come by in the past few years due to the river being flooded quite often. Riverkeepers also offer canoe, kayak and bike rental. Don’t miss checking out the “ruby” Red River. The boat departs from the Hjemkomst Center in Moorhead, also worth checking out.
Best grocery store: Hornbacher’s. Have you read my little blog? I love this grocery store. My favorite location, Southgate on 32nd Ave S, is always clean, has a helpful staff, is well-stocked and has great sales.
Yep, they do make shopping easy.
Best pizza: Gina’s Pizza located in the Bowler on South University Dr. They have a great in-house special that includes a pitcher of beer. Also, one of the few places that delivers to our house!
Best place to catch a cheap concert: No doubt, RibFest at the Fargodome. Held in early June, this event seems to always attract bad weather. But it is always a good time and you can also sample ribs, cheese curds and more. They have fun family activities as well. The Red River Valley Fair is a close second, but you should be prepared to know the crowds and find the less-populated beer stand.
AND, as talked about before on this blog:
Best burger in Fargo: JL Beers. I am partial to the slightly larger West Fargo location which also boasts a larger patio for those rare days when it is nice. I love the Cajun burger and Cajun fresh cut chips. Yes please, all day, everyday. The truth is, I don’t go there often, but it is a special treat, great service and great selection of beers.
Best place for happy hour and beer selection: I hate to do this, as it is a chain, but Old Chicago is a clear winner for me. JL doesn’t have a happy hour (they don’t need it) so they don’t have a chance to contend for the title. JL has a great selection of beers but Old Chicago has over 110 beers to choose from, from a long list of tap beers, canned or bottled beers. From their website:
“Since Old Chicago opened in 1976, beer lovers have praised our diverse and exciting lineup of beers from around the world. We keep our beer list fresh, featuring little-known craft beers from local breweries alongside tasty European classics.”
I have, along with my sister, completed the Wall of Foam by drinking 110 different beers. A huge accomplishment, well in my beer foamed eyes, anyway. They often feature mini tours where they bring in different beers than they usually feature and give the customer small incentives (usually a t-shirt or beer giveaways) when kicking off and ending a mini-tour. Maybe this is fun because we are young and married (boring), but we aim to finish every mini-tour OC throws at us. In fact, OC is my final destination I choose to visit in Fargo before leaving. Quite appropriately, they are just kicking off a mini-tour. I’d like to think in honor of me, but the truth is I have reviewed the Wall of Foam and there are many people who have done 20+ World Beer tours. Are you afraid of trying new beers? Get a beer flight that offers smaller samples for you to try.
Oh, OK, they serve food too. A few quick tips on food:
- Go during happy hour for half price appetizers. I love the extra hot buffalo wings or Italian Nachos, don’t miss the pizza rolls either.
- Need something healthier, I love their (small) caprese salad.
- Sit in the bar to watch sports on multiple TV’s, play blackjack or listen to music. Also, no happy hour in the restaurant portion. Don’t worry, this bar isn’t teeming with youngin’s on most evenings.
- Sit on the large patio for happy hour on a nice day.
- Don’t miss the pizza! I love the deep-dish with marinated tomatoes.
- Sign up for the Wall of Foam, even if you are a single beer-drinker. You will receive occasional perks such as a free pizza the month of your b-day or Foamer Bucks.
- Take advantage of the beer! I always thought I was a domestic loving beer drinker. I thoroughly enjoyed drinking all 110 beers. Some weren’t so great, but I’m glad I tried them! They do have wine, margaritas, teas and more as well.
- Skip dessert.
- Go to happy hour on Wednesday. Every two beers you buy, OC picks up the third!
Other places not to miss include the downtown Farmer’s Market, Toscana downtown and WF Maxwell’s. Actually, there are a lot of other Best Of’s in Fargo. Fargo is a great city to live in and I will truly miss it and all of my friends and family here. But I can’t wait for our small-town life. Although, there won’t be a lot of Best Of’s in Hazen as we will be more limited to choices, I am looking forward to it all. It was definitely our time to leave Fargo and we had many things fall into place and tell-tale signs to know we are making the right decision. Have a great Wednesday. I’m going to happy hour at Old Chicago!