Fargo: It’s Not What You’d Expect

Fargo TheaterYou’ve seen The Movie, and like us, if you’ve never been there, you’ve probably always assumed that Fargo was this tiny, backwater place with a few strange people, dive bars, a barren landscape, and bad weather. Don’t believe it. The movie “Fargo” wasn’t even filmed here; it was filmed in Minnesota!

As you come in from the South, the Fargo skyline rises up from the farmlands. A huge Microsoft campus greets you from one side of the highway. On the other side, a local broadband company has taken over a large highrise. And there’s more like them. Yes, tech has come to Fargo.

The economy is good, and housing is still affordable — from boring apartments in West Fargo (strip mall paradise) that rent for less than $600 a month, to lovely Craftsman homes in the downtown area that often go for less than $200k), Fargo’s downtown area has undergone over 60 revitalization projects in just four years, and art galleries and trendy restaurants are sprouting up everywhere in the Main Street “Renaissance Zone” area.

Look around, and you’ll notice that the stereotype of the Midwestern toothless, beer guzzling hilljack is hard to find. People here are active. Runners, walkers and entire families can be seen using bicycles along the great paths that line Fargo’s parks along the Red River. It’s easier to be fit here, as the city has an infrastructure that makes walking and biking useful and easy.

Toshi’s Health Food Store, Fargo NDThere’s a great health food store with a hippie subculture that’s been around since the 1970s. Farmer’s Markets are just taking hold. Bicycle paths take you from end to end of town. North Dakota State University (Go Bison!) gives it a youthful energy. The city boasts two big dog parks. Terrific public facilities like swimming pools, skate parks, golf courses and the cleanest, tree-filled parks you’ve ever seen all make this a seemingly great place to live.

“But what about those winters?” you ask. Well, we talked to many locals, and they’ve all said that the weather in Fargo has changed (actually, everyone everywhere we’ve gone has said that about their own weather). For about the last 10 years, they’ve never gotten more than a couple of feet of snow on the ground. Sure, it gets hella cold. But that driving snow and blinding blizzards just doesn’t happen any more.

Red River Bike Trail, Fargo NDFargo is a grown up little cosmopolitan city, with so many neat things about it, it’s really not what I expected at all!

7 thoughts on “Fargo: It’s Not What You’d Expect”

  1. Although Fargo has a small town feeling with a large city convenice let us not forget that fargo is one of America’s drunkest citys…..

  2. I’ve been living in Fargo for the last 10 months, and i love it… I’m from the Caribbean, had never been in a cold weather, and i’m a wimp- and i survived the winter (it’s not as bad as people say). There’s so much to do, there’s museums, restaurants, movie theaters, lots of parks, and best of all, its people it’s soooo friendly, that i forgot all about how cold i was, and to me, as an immigrant, that’s very important. If you ever visit, i’d advice you walk down broadway, have some ice cream in one of the local soda shops (the kind that mix their soda and flavors right there- really good) or go biking, it’s fun. Everything i’ve wanted, i’ve found in Fargo, including the ingredients for my country’s cuisine (that was a surprise for me, considering i’m 2500 miles away from it). I’m so glad we decided to move here, it has the feeling of a small town, and the conveniences of a big city. We’d probably stay here for a very long time- we’re even planning on buying one of those character homes they mention here 🙂

  3. Glad you had a nice visit! I have to say that even though we might not get as much snow as before, the constant nasty wind makes up for it to make winters here gross….. but yeah, love the trees, parks etc here….. Did you check out any of the praire land outside of town? It’s so quiet and peaceful and at night you can see tons of stars in the pitch black sky…. 🙂

  4. Oh, I just meant that there are tall buildings there. Even 10 story buildings count as a skyline! Plus, we were dumb enough to fall for Hollywood’s interpretation of Fargo, which made the town look flat and stark. When we saw the real Fargo it was a great surprise, and a good one!

  5. i’m curious about this fargo skyline you describe…i’ve lived here 20 years and there are only a few buildings above 10 stories. otherwise a nice article though

  6. Fargo is a great town…I’m glad you went towards the downtown. There is a great little coffee shop there that I can’t remember the name of. It’s some lady’s first name…hmmmm. Can’t remember. Lots of cute shops too. Anywhoo. I spent lots of time there doing military duty…and both my brother and sister are NDSU alumni. However, I have to say: Boooo Bison…GO UND SIOUX! 🙂 hee hee.


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