Thanks in part to the Coen brothers film and its TV spin-offs, Fargo is often thought of as a bit of a backwater. In truth, though, Downtown Fargo is a forward-thinking place that’s home to a TEDx series and the innovative AgTech site Grand Farm. About $300 million has been invested in Downtown projects over the last two years, spurring the opening of many hip lifestyle ventures—including the six featured here.
The design of this 125-room boutique hotel—named for the “Father of Fargo,” Jasper B. Chapin—pays tribute to North Dakota with details such as lobby columns that recall grain silos. The restaurant, Rosewild, impresses with Nordic-inspired Plains cuisine. “Everything is as local as local gets, coming from the Fargo area and regional partners,” says director of food and beverage Nader Mossavi.
This buzzy new urban space hosts everything from yoga classes and outdoor movies to a monthly Night Bazaar that draws tarot card readers, graffiti artists, and circus acts all summer. Come December, skaters can lace ’em up at an outdoor ice rink. “This gathering space has activated Downtown,” says Mayor Tim Mahoney. “In this big town, this has an old-fashioned, small-town feel.”
Cellar 624, The Venue on Main
Located in the landmark deLendrecie’s building, this event space from the owners of the acclaimed Maxwells restaurant has a cellar, a wine cave, and a glass wall revealing more than 700 bottles. Aside from private events, the venue hosts weekly wine tastings. “We’ll introduce you to new grapes or regions you haven’t thought of,” says owner Ramon Sosa.
Soirée Victorian Tea Room
Inside this cozy 10-table space decorated with antique furnishings and gilded mirrors, diners sip tea from vintage china cups and nibble on snacks such as salmon matcha finger sandwiches and scones with clotted cream. “I think it’s important for people to slow down in their busy lives,” says owner Natalia Heikes. “I tried to create a place that pleases your senses.”
Carmine & Hayworth Vintage
At her vintage shop, Courtney Schur stocks garments hailing from the 1940s all the way through the 1990s, as well as curiosities such as faux strawberry layer cakes, bourbon-scented bar soaps, and a jewelry line from two local gemologists. “I wanted to bring excitement and eclectic vibes to Fargo,” the shopkeeper says, “like I felt when I traveled abroad.”
The two spaces here—the main dining room, Prairie Kitchen, and the rooftop bar, Camp Lone Tree—celebrate the Midwest’s culinary heritage, serving dishes with Scandinavian, German, and Native American influence (Swedish meatballs with lingonberry jam, fry bread tacos). “It’s food we grew up eating,” says co-owner Shelby Terstriep. “The recipes honor those of our grandparents.”