By Andrew Jason
Photos by Tiffany Swanson and Andrew Jason
Downtown Fargo has many hidden treasures. Everybody knows about the Fargo Theatre or the deliciousness served up at the Hotel Donaldson, but what about some of the awesome aspects of this part of the city that makes it one-of- a-kind? This month, we went off the grid to bring you some of the best hidden things to do, eat and experience in Downtown Fargo. Now get up and go see all this city has to offer.
Be sure to check out 40 Hidden Things In Downton Fargo, this is our 2015 version.
1. A BREW FOR YOUR DOG
Show your dogs that you love them by getting them a nice cold brew. OK. It might not exactly be a beer for your dog, but this non-alcoholic Bowser Beer comes in various flavors and is packed with protein- rich 100 percent USDA beef or chicken and has a malt barley for shiny coats and glucosamine for healthy joints.
Hotdog! Pet Salon
635 1st Ave N, Fargo
2. OLD FASHIONED SODA POP SHOP
For 17 years, Zandbroz operated Dakota Soda. Offering many different soda fountains and a lunch counter, it closed six years ago. Luckily for us, they have converted it to Danz Boys Books, a used bookstore. With the original booths, backbar and counter, the room is filled with used books, specializing in North Dakota and Minnesota history. This beautiful room is filled with taxidermied Bobcat, opossum, woodchuck and birds.
420 Broadway, Fargo
3. FARGO HISTORY
Fargohistory.com is a website created by Angela Smith, an Assistant Professor of History at NDSU. She created this website for a digital history class. The website has a fascinating timeline of Fargo’s history and an interesting documentary entitled “Prostitution and Fargo’s Most Notable Madam.”
4. LET OUT YOUR INNER GAMER
Section 9 Cyber Café offers the latest and greatest in gaming. From top of the line computers to classic game consoles, you can find it all. You can either pay an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly pass to play to your heart’s desire. If you’re looking for a fun party spot, they also rent out the rooms.
Section 9 Cyber Café
14 Roberts St, Fargo
5. INDOOR SKATEBOARDING
One of the most unique aspects of this skateshop is the indoor mini ramp in the basement of the building that anyone can use. For only $2, and with the signature of a waiver, anyone can skate this indoor ramp, which is open primarily during the winter.
THIS Skate and Snow
625 1st Ave. N, Fargo
6. Monte’s Patio
While it’s no secret that Monte’s is a great downtown restaurant, people might not know about the patio in the back. This patio is great for a casual lunch or late-night martini.
220 Broadway, Fargo
7. HIDDEN GEM
In the Hotel Donaldson there is a spot hidden right in front of everyone. For everyone who has seen the mosaic mural when you walk in, look closer. There is a door hidden in the wall. People are encouraged to take something and leave something behind. People have found Legos, jewelry and even money inside this secret compartment.
101 Broadway N, Fargo
8. TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE
Fargo Pinball beckons back to days gone by. With 21 different pinball machines, this fun arcade lets people purchase a membership that gives them around the clock access to play a wide variety of pinball games. With Star Trek, Fish Tails and other games, this will please any pinball fanatic.
413 Broadway N, Fargo
Search “Fargo Pinball” on Facebook
9. TAKE A TOUR ON YOUR OWN
Looking for more information about historic Downtown Fargo? The city of Fargo created a self guided tour of Downtown Fargo. This series narrated by Merril Piepkorn, allows you to guide yourself through downtown while listening to the recordings. You can download the recordings from cityoffargo.com/CityInfo/Departments/PlanningandDevelopment/HistoricPreservation/LookAroundDowntown.
10. DOWNTOWN CITY LIMITS
Downtown Fargo actually extends quite a bit farther than most people think. According to the City of Fargo, Downtown Fargo extends as far west as University Ave. and goes east to the river. It extends north to 7th Avenue and goes around Sanford Hospital and extends south to 3rd Avenue and goes around Island Park and Prairie St. John’s.
11. HIDDEN ART ￼￼
There is art hidden along Broadway that you may have never noticed. Murals are inlayed in the bricks at intersections on Broadway. These murals depict scenes ranging from Bonanza Farms to North Dakota wildlife. Look closely at the black streetlights and you’ll realize they have metal stamped city logos on the bases and metal bands around the glass lamps.
12. MEDITATION SPOT
One of local artist Marjorie Schlossman’s largest projects is the new Roberts Street Chapel. This chapel, an ongoing project, was purchased in 2001 by Schlossman and renovated by architect Bruce Hella. This building is filled with light provided by a large skylight. Schlossman created this chapel as a place where people can go to meditate and enjoy the silence. There is a large 56 foot mural that Schlossman has painted as well. The chapel is open periodically throughout the week.
Roberts Street Chapel
333 Roberts St, Fargo
13. DOWNTOWN DINING
According to the Downtown Community Partnership, Fargo has 59 restaurants downtown. They are broken into the following categories:
- Evening: 20
- Lunch: 34
- Coffee Shops: 9
- Sandwiches: 8
- Pizza: 6
- Pubs: 11
- Late Night: 12
According to the 2012 Fargo Parking Evaluation conducted by the City of Fargo, there were a total of 3,766 public parking spaces in Downtown Fargo. 1,622 of these spots were on the street while 2,144 spaces were off-street. There were also an additional 3,904 private parking spaces.
15. $600 Million
The Renaissance Zone, an incentive program to encourage business growth in Downtown Fargo, has quintupled its value in its first 15 years. According to City Commissioner Mike Williams, it went from $150 million to $600 million in value in Downtown Fargo.
16. LOOK DOWN
You can sometimes discover something new if you just look down. That is true at Gallery 4. This cooperative art gallery has miniature art hidden in the floor. Your kids can enjoy this fun scavenger hunt while you enjoy the original artwork.
114 Broadway N, Fargo
17. MIMOSAS AND MANICURES
The Nail Bar is the only spot in Fargo where you can get a manicure or pedicure while enjoying a glass of wine or a beer. Talk about the ultimate in luxury.
505 Broadway, Fargo
18. A TRIP TO CUBA
It’s a Cuban sandwich transformed into a pizza. Made with mustard sauce, Canadian bacon, pulled pork, pickles and mozzarella, this was the winner of the annual pizza contest held at Rhom- bus Guys. Starting this fall, it will be added to the menu, as it well deserves.
606 Main Ave, Fargo
19. PLAINS ART MUSEUM SCAVENGER HUNT
Hidden throughout the Plains Art Museum are dozens of miniature clay human figures created by Omaha-based artist Jamie Burmeister. Next time you’re at the museum, have your kids go on a scavenger hunt to find them all.
Plains Art Museum
704 1st Ave. N, Fargo
20. HIDDEN MUSIC VENUE
Most people know about the different music venues downtown, but there’s one you might not know. The New Direction is an independent venue that hosts a variety of concerts, but focuses on metal and rock shows.
The New Direction
14 Roberts St. N, Fargo
21. ONE-OF-A-KIND COCKTAILS
The Boiler Room is one of Downtown Fargo’s newest hotspots. This restaurant in the basement of the Loretta Building has some of the best cocktails in town, created by their talented staff. We recommend the Pisco Sour, Green and Gold and Gingerbread Cookie.
The Boiler Room
210 Broadway Ste 90, Fargo
22. FARGO DOG AT SIDESTREET
Don’t tell your cardiologist about this one. This Nathan’s hot dog is wrapped in bacon, deep fried, topped with pulled pork, Swiss cheese and horseradish mayo and served on a New England roll. Decadence at its finest.
Sidestreet Grille and Pub
301 3rd Ave. N, Fargo
23. HUNGRY? GRAB A TOMATO
There is a public garden downtown where residents are invited to come and help themselves. The Native American Girl Scout Troop tends this 5th street garden that is planted in the US Bank Plaza. When the garden is ripe, anyone is allowed to pick produce that includes tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and sunflowers.
24. ALLEY ART
There is a new movement to make our alleys more beautiful. Alley Fair is behind this movement that’s in the process of painting different dumpsters. So far three different dumpsters have been painted downtown and the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau has commissioned for three more painted dumpsters.
25. FARGO GREATEST CITY IN THE WORLD MUG
Believe it or not, this is becoming one of Unglued’s most popular items. This mug was used in Brad Wimmer’s mayoral campaign and is designed and sold by the folks at Unglued.
408 Broadway, Fargo
26. BLT PIZZA
￼￼￼We love BLTs. We love pizza. We REALLY love Blackbird Woodfire’s BLT pizza. Made with fresh tomatoes, a delicious harissa mayo, enough fresh greens to make it seem healthy and, of course, plenty of bacon, this dish brings together some of the greatest pleasures in life.
206 Broadway N, Fargo
27. DOWNTOWN SHOPPING
According to the Downtown Community Partnership, Downtown Fargo has 75 shops. They are broken into the following categories:
- Antiques: 6
- Fine Jewelry: 2
- Furniture: 6
- Art: 9
- Books: 3
- Grocery And Pharmacy: 4
- Specialty: 33
- Boutique: 15
- Wine And Liquor: 4
- Clothing: 18
28. PIANO PROJECT
Artist Susanne Williams has always worked to make Fargo beautiful, but now she’s making it sound beau- tiful. The Piano Project is a public art project that will save old pianos from being destroyed, artistically paint- ing them and placing them around Downtown Fargo. Anyone is invited to sit down and play the pianos. The first piano is in front of Uptown Gallery at 74 Broadway.
You might not know how to pronounce this dish, but you will love the taste. Toscana’s ossobuco is made with a slow roasted veal shank that is so tender it will melt in your mouth. It is then served on a bed of fresh mashed potatoes and topped with a wild porcini mushrooms sauce.
202 Broadway N, Fargo
30. A NEW OLD FLOOR
The Loretta Building at 210 Broadway is one of the most unique buildings in Downtown Fargo. The building was built in 1912 and the Kilbourne Group, who renovated the building, kept the historical feel. In fact, the entire fourth floor is 100 percent reclaimed 1920s-era floor from Hallock, N.D.
The Loretta Building
210 Broadway, Fargo
31. BIKE SHARE PROGRAM
A new initiative from a local nonprofit, Great Rides Fargo, is launching the Great Rides Bike Share. This program will bring around 100 bicycles to 10 docking stations located around NDSU and Downtown Fargo. Anyone can purchase a pass and will have access to the bikes 24 hours a day. All NDSU students will automatically be enrolled.
32. EAT ELK
Würst Bier Hall is known for their wild sausages, but one of their most popular exotic sausages is their elk sausage. The elk comes from Colorado, is stuffed with jalapeños and cheese and is served with grilled onion, sauerkraut, sweet peppers and hot peppers.
Würst Bier Hall
630 1st Ave. N, Fargo
Clockwerks caters to clock enthusiasts. With about 400 unique clocks for sale, Clockwerks has a large variety, although they specialize in repairs. Over the last nine years, they have repaired 5,716 clocks. They have sold everything from a high end $24,000 grandfather clock to a $10 wristwatch.
1101 1st Ave. S, Fargo
Search Clockwerks on Facebook
34. SHINE THOSE SHOES
The Broadway Shoe Company recently opened up their new store at 102 Broadway in Downtown Fargo. Not only does this store sell a wide variety of high-end shoes, you can also receive a shoeshine for only $4. They recommend a shoeshine every two weeks with Fargo’s harsh weather.
Broadway Shoe Company
102 Broadway, Fargo
This new 6,000 square foot collaborative workspace has offices in Minneapolis, St. Paul and now Fargo. CoCo is dedicated to helping freelancers, small business and corporate workgroups grow their business. This workspace gives members a casual and flexible workspace, meeting rooms and educational and social events.
Merchants National Bank Building 1221⁄2 N. Broadway, Fargo
36. CORKS AND CANVAS
Good wine, good art and good people. What more can you ask for? For $20, you can stroll Downtown Fargo and enjoy wine sampling, live artists and great shopping. There are over 25 businesses that participate. Check out downtownfargo.com for more information.
Art and Wine Walk – September 11
The new wine and cheese bar, D’Vine, offers their gusts over 100 different types of wine, a plethora of cheese and small plate options and sake cocktails. Besides the culinary delight, the restaurant also offers a visual treat with its unique design of reclaimed wood.
212 Broadway N, Fargo
38. LATE NIGHT MUNCHIES
Do you have the late night munchies but are craving something a little nicer than the typical 2 a.m. greasy food truck? The Radisson has the answer for you. On Fridays and Saturdays in The Lobby Bar from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m., they offer a changing brunch buffet. The buffet usually includes breakfast items like French toast, eggs, bacon and sausage as well as lunch and dinner items.
201 5th St. N, Fargo
39. FARGO PRIDE
This custom made Fargo sweatshirt is made specifically for SHANNALEE. It is available in many different colors and will be available in Bison colors so you can really show your Bison pride.
313 Broadway N, Fargo
40. THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT
Appetizers have long been relegated to cheap, fried grub. The Beefsteak Club is changing that with their lobster corn dogs and duck fat fries. The corn dogs are made with real lobster tail, while the duck fat gives the fries a taste like no other French fry out there.
The Beefsteak Club
612 1st Ave. N, Fargo
41. BLOCK IT OUT
Almost everything from O’Day Caché is hand-selected from India, China, Turkey or Thailand by Cindy O’Day. This hand-carved block printing is an example of the unique items available in the store. Imported from India, there are dozens of options to choose from and for only $18, you can’t go wrong with this unique purchase.
317 Broadway N, Fargo
42. LOCAL ICE CREAM
Last December, a new local ice cream hit the restaurants of Fargo-Moorhead. Milkhaus Ice Cream offers a variety of flavors of push-up ice cream at Red Raven, Atomic Coffee and Blackbird Woodfire. Their flavors include bacon, green tea, salted caramel, white chocolate lemon, hickory smoked vanilla and rhubarb. They hope to hit grocery stores this fall.
Milkhaus Ice Cream
Wasabi’s poke (pronounce pou-kei) is such a hidden treasure it’s not even listed on the menu. This dish is a specialty of head chef T.J. Edra and is based off a typical sushi dish in Hawaii. It is ahi tuna and avocado served over a ginger salad. Ask for it and the staff will be happy to make the dish for you.
623 NP Ave, Fargo
44. MIX AND MATCH
Lot 2029 prides itself on the fact that it is easy to mix and match their apparel as well as being affordable. You can get the outfit pictured below for less than $70. Don’t feel like going to the store? Check out their new website, which doubles as an online store.
612 Main Ave, Fargo
45. WE ARE OTA
What do you get when you combine South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota? OTA of course. This group is dedicated to building a relationship between these states. The first OTA event in Fargo will take place Friday, Sept. 12. The event will bring 18 speakers and 550 OTA members together for a day of bonding and relationship building.
Friday, Sept. 12
Fargo Civic Center – 207 4th St N, Fargo
46. HAPPY BIRTHDAY FARGO BREWING COMPANY
The Fargo Brewing Com- pany is turning four years old and everyone is invited to their party on Sept. 12. The bash will include music from country-punk band Lucero, food trucks and plenty of Fargo Brewing Company beers. Check out jadepresents.com/lucero-fargo for tickets.
Fargo Brewing Company
610 University Dr. N, Fargo
47. RUNNING CLUB
If you enjoy running, but need some motivation to hit the pavement, then Beyond Running has the answer for you. There is a free running club that goes out on Tuesday and Thursday nights at 6:30 p.m. They offer three, five and seven- mile routes. All levels are welcome to attend.
516 Broadway, Fargo
48. ALLEY FAIR
On Saturday, September 20 the alleyway south of Main Ave, between 9th and 10th streets South is going to look much different, thanks to the Alley Fair. From 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. there will be a farmers market, artist market, live music, food trucks, live art demonstrations and more. The evening concert will feature a beer garden along with a performance by Diane Miller and the Silver Daggers.
Saturday, Sept. 20
49. BLUE GOOSE CAFÉ
A few months ago, Granville Wood opened up The Blue Goose Café in the Great Northern Bicycle Company. This little cafe’s menu changes weekly but always features delicious food made with quality ingredients.
Blue Goose Café
425 Broadway, Fargo
50. GRILLED DUCK BREASY AND LEG CONFIT
Since opening, Mezzaluna has been among the pantheon in the FM dining scene. It is the top rated restaurant in Fargo on yelp.com. A menu item that illustrates Mezzaluna’s quality is the Grilled Duck Breast and Leg Confit. The pan- roasted breast of duck with leg meat confit and served with Lingonberry-pecan preserves is certainly a hidden pleasure.
309 Roberts St. N, Fargo