North Dakota suffers the same fate as many of its neighboring states in that movies and television have been working to characterize them. Ask the visitor what they may know about the state and you may get boom towns or you may get Fargo, the show, not the city. Fargo is wonderful though, the city this time, it has a great deal to offer in terms of events, meetings, and charm. We’ve previously featured amazing spots such as Red Raven Espresso Parlor in Fargo that are tucked away and waiting to be visited.
A short walk down the street from Mezzaluna are hot spots like Wasabi which is associated with The Drunken Noodle, both feature interesting Asian fusion. Nearly across the street is an underground music venue, literally and metaphorically, called The New Direction. It features alternative acts that range from international indie pop-rock, folk-punk solo acts, or metalcore bands. The downtown Fargo area can be great to just stroll around and discover, Halvorson gave us a bit of local wisdom, “We are asked more about the unique meeting spaces more than we ever have before…We have everything from refurbished 100-year-old buildings downtown, rooftops, breweries, and wineries to old barns and farmsteads recreating themselves to expand their business.” Though not every spot may be big enough to host an entire conference there’s plenty of unique and refreshing spots for breakout sessions or small events.
North of Fargo lies Grand Forks, one of the largest cities in the state. Home to state-of-the-art facilities for events and meetings like The Alerus Center with 130,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space. Julie Rygg, Executive Director of the Greater Grand Forks CVB, was eager to tell us about some of the unique spots, “Sky’s Cloud 9 marks a new chapter in Grand Forks fine dining…Count on fresh over-nighted salmon from Alaska and sea bass from Hawaii when they’re available, along with specialty cuts of steak!”
What would a great city be without its own brewery, Rhombus Guys Brewing opened in September of 2015 and has been establishing itself well in the area. The owners decided to distance this brewery from their already established Rhombus Guys Pizza Place by having an elevated gastropub menu in the bar. With porter-braised pulled pork, shrimp and grits, and from-scratch pretzels, the food is much different from typical bar-fare. Not only is the concept of this pub unique but the building that it is nestled in is fairly well known, Rygg gave us the run down, “The Opera House… constructed in 1890…was considered the best opera house between Minneapolis and Seattle.” It has since been converted into apartments known as the Opera House Lofts and houses the brewing company.
Located in central North Dakota is the capital of Bismarck, named in 2014 as one of the fastest growing cities in the US by Forbes. Historic spots like the 100-year-old Belle Mehus Auditorium are close to accommodating areas like the Radisson Hotel Bismarck with its 12,000 sq. ft. event space. This city is a strange amalgamation of midwest small town and city life, it’s had a few major sports teams start out within its metropolitan area like the former Dakota Wizards which were folded into the Golden State Warriors. Take a walk downtown and you’ll catch sights like the 19th century Art Deco state capital building or you may wander into the Cathedral District named for the towering Cathedral of the Holy Spirit and surrounded by homes that date as far back as the 1880s. Bismarck definitely seems to be a microcosm of the state it represents: modern and full yet still not a fast paced city, keeping some of its midwestern appeal.