Fargo can be a hard, cold, frozen tundra of alcoholics and folks who pledge their loyalty to whichever NFL team the most recent NDSU star signed to. It can also be a loving and friendly place that brings you memories that will last a lifetime, if you make it your mission to do so! Coming from a small town in Minnesota consisting of 1,500 citizens, I felt like I was moving to a city of dreams, a place filled with new and exciting experiences that would build me up into adulthood with grace and prosperity. Instead, I got over $750 in parking fines and a group of friends of which I only see when it’s Ladies Night at the Windbreak. I learned pretty quickly that my dreamer mindset had bamboozled me once again. As someone who attended one party in high school, the college scene hit me pretty hard. As did turning twenty-one, and realizing that twenty-fun wasn’t really all that great when your social life consists of four nights of drinking each week and the only consistent meaningful interaction you’re presented with is the blurry Sunday afternoon texts that read “did you get home” and “i just threw up in the shower”. Over the past four years I’ve encountered most of Fargo’s occasional mundanity, but I’ve also experienced some absolutely beautiful adventures that makes Fargo a true gem of the midwest. Here are 10 things to do in fargo during the winter that don't include blacking out or eating out:
1. Roller Skating at Skateland, $8
Go freaking roller skating. Indoors? Check. Low-Cost? Check. Music + friends? Check. It costs $5 for admission and is $3 for skate rental, and the place hasn’t been updated since the 90s so you’ve got full-blown retro vibes. Wednesday is discount night, knocking the price to a $3 admission fee for 3 hours of roller skating. They’re also open on Friday and Saturday nights until 11 pm, and Sundays from 12-6.
2. Movies at the historical Fargo Theatre, $5
The Fargo Theatre plays classical, independent, locally directed films Sunday through Saturday. It’s gorgeous art deco features make you feel like you’re living in the roaring 20s. The theatre also often features musicians, comedians, magicians, dancers, and more.
3. Ax Throwing, $20
A semi-new business in town as of 2019, Triple Ax is a place where you can throw axes at wooden walls. Yup, it’s about as good as it sounds. It costs $20 per person for one hour of ax throwing. Here is a video of my ax throwing talents:
4. Downtown Ice Skating, Free
If you have a pair of skates and you can bear the cold for a bit, skating under christmas lights in the warmth of the downtown Fargo atmosphere is an amazing way to spend a winter evening with friends or ya cup o’ burnin love.
5. Dance Classes, $5
I dare you to text a friend or your partner and tell them that the two of you are going salsa dancing on Friday. Please email me their responses, they’re bound to be surprised and hopefully excited to step out of their comfort zone if they’re not a regular dance-class attendee. You can even go alone if you have lame friends. No shade, but like, try new things and create bomb memories.
6. Red Raven Espresso Parlor Events, Free-$10
The Red Raven Espresso Parlor has been a hub for the alternative beauty of Fargo. Poetry nights, local and non-mainstream bands, and artist features make up a few of the popular events that take place at this little coffee joint. It has an amazing outdoor patio lined with plants and lights to enjoy during the warmer months, and the inside is a vintage + warm atmosphere.
Facebook Events Page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/RedRavenEP/events/?ref=page_internal
7. Pole Dancing, Free-$15
Need I say more? Zero Gravity Alternative Fitness is a welcoming and judgement-free environment that gives you a solid workout while also providing you with plenty of laughs and oofdas. 10/10 do recommend.
8. Ninja Gym, $10
Conquer Ninja Gyms has open obstacle hours every day so that you can get a super fun workout in with friends or pretend you’re training to become the next American Ninja Warrior. I like to do both, so it’s a win-win for me.
9. Baker Garden & Gift Plant + Crafting Events, $10-$50
Baker Garden & Gift hosts tons of events that revolve around plant-keeping, gardening, decor creation, crafting, and more. I need to do a plant event every week because all of my houseplants die within four days. Hopefully you have better plant management skills than ya girl Sadie Kay!
10. Live Music, Varied Pricing
Listening and dancing to live music has been my new favorite thing to do sober. I will dance alone, with friends, with strangers, or I’ll try to dance with my man without getting trampled by his size sixteen feet. There is something so freeing and beautiful about dancing to a live band, seeing passionate musicians up close, and feeling connected to complete strangers through a shared love of music and appreciation for the present. Fargo has a ton of live music every week in multiple locations. My favorites are the HoDo (Hotel Donaldson), Dempseys, The Aquarium, Fargo Elks, Fargo VFW, and TAK Music Venue. I recommend checking out the ‘Events’ section on Facebook, it is a super helpful tool for when you need to find where all the live music is at for any specific day, week, and month.
There are always fun things to do, try, and see wherever you go. The winter makes life a bit more difficult in terms of movement and ability, as does our flatlands with a lack of landscape fit for hiking or running with a view. However, from my experience, nobody in the world appreciates a sunset or a nice set of rolling hills like we do. There is beauty in our gratitude for the things that may seem small or insignificant to others; and there is artistry in the way we suffer a lot in order to truly rejoice in the moments and experiences that are meant to be enjoyed to the fullest. I believe that winter is a time for us to slow down, get closer to those we love, and welcome new memories, lovely and troublesome, with open arms.