Okey-dokey, thanks a bunch!
Fargo has become North Dakota’s must-go, and it’s not above sly references to a certain famous wood chipper
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/08/2022 (207 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A favourite for weekend shopping jaunts, Fargo is shining brightly these days with a bustling downtown, creative boutiques and inspired restaurants, all the while maintaining its downright polite prairie hospitality. It’s the perfect mix of fun and fancy for those Friday to Sunday getaways.
Way back in 1996, the Coen brothers debuted a dark crime thriller at the Cannes Film Festival. Their little project was called Fargo, a film that went on to collect an armful of awards and inspire a television series of the same name. It solidified, in the minds of movie watchers, what Fargo, the city, was all about — quirky speech patterns, a fashion trend toward wearing fur hats and perhaps most significantly, new uses for a woodchipper. But it did more than that. It put the city on the radar, inviting visitors to see for themselves if the movie had nailed the vibe. Today’s visitors might be surprised because Fargo has grown up and it showing off a rather upscale side.
Check into the Jasper Hotel, the city’s newest boutique inn, nestled in a high rise in the heart of downtown. Rooms are modern but not fussy, with plenty of thoughtful touches such as a snack bar with local treats, sink-away-to-slumberland beds plus soaps and lotions that will make you tuck the leftovers into your bag. And like many newer boutique hotels, the Jasper is pet friendly. Fidos are showered with affection and attention, offered non-stop treats and elevated to near-celebrity status.
The main floor houses several posh lounging areas where guests gather for cocktails and chats. The bar is bustling thanks to classic cocktails plus a selection of non-alcoholic drinks from the dry bar, including the Smashless featuring blood oranges and lemon flavours. Dining at the Rosewild includes offerings from sun-up to sundown, including the show-stopping stuffed French toast at brunch.
Adjacent to the Jasper is Broadway Square, an outdoor space that’s become the gathering place for locals and visitors alike. There’s always something going on in the square — yoga, Zumba, markets, music and movies. An interactive water feature put a smile on everyone’s face and the spinning red circle chairs are seldom without takers.
A stroll down Broadway reminds shoppers what retail therapy is all about. Charming shops line the street including Zandbroz Variety — part curiosity shop, part bookstore and always a delight for one, two or more hours. There are carefully curated antiques — perhaps a hand-woven beehive is the finishing touch for your décor —racks of frameable posters featuring mushrooms and moths, artisan jewelry, intoxicating soaps and lotions, cards and notebooks and pretty purses.
Just a skip over the bridge into Moorhead, Minn., is where the steeple of the replica Hopperstad Stave Church reaches skyward in Harry Potter design style at The Hjemkomst Center. Inside, there’s a Viking ship that was built locally, then made her maiden voyage from Duluth to Norway before finding a permanent home at the museum.
Beer and pretzel fans will not be disappointed at Wurst Bier Hall, where dogs are welcome on the patio, given a water bowl and a pup cup ice cream treat. There are plenty of local pours on tap, along with those hot and salty Bavarian pretzels served with warm beer cheese dip. Drekker Brewing Company, Junkyard Brewing Company, Swing Barrel Brewery and DCR Brewing Company are also great choices among the many craft houses brewing the bubbly stuff.
Room for dessert? The Moorhead Dairy Queen is a bit of a wildcard in the franchise family. If you’ve ever enjoyed a Dilly Bar, thank this location. They invented it and are happy to go off-menu and create a custom Blizzard, any way you like it.
Take in a movie at the Fargo Theater, the Art Deco gem that’s the background for many an Instagram selfie. Built in 1926, the venue is now home to art cinema and live performances, all bathed in the sweeping curves and glowing neon of the era. There’s even a Wurlitzer theatre pipe organ in play, just to add a touch more drama to those live theatre moments.
For late night bites, head to The Boiler Room, located, as the name suggests, in the basement of a restored building. Find the entrance in Roberts Alley, behind Broadway where some gems of Fargo’s restaurant scene reside. The signature Scotch Eggs are a must, served with spicy maple aioli. And if you’re really hungry, the barbecue glazed meatloaf with bourbon sauce, mashed potatoes and creamed corn will make you remember Sunday dinners at grandma’s place.
Before leaving town, head to the Fargo-Moorhead Visitors Center, don those fur hats and record a quick Instagram clip in front of the ACTUAL wood chipper from the movie Fargo. Utter that now-famous line, “And I guess that was your accomplice in the wood chipper?” You betcha.