The visitor center will tell you that “every fork in the road leads to a good time,” and Grand Forks does indeed offer a plethora of activities, cultural events and attractions for you to enjoy. The presence of the University of North Dakota in the city gives it a youthful and cultural vibe that you will not want to miss. Check in to one of the excellent Grand Forks hotels below so that you enjoy several of those forks in the road, which include:
While you may not be in town when there is a hockey game or a concert at the Ralph Englestad Arena, that should not keep you from planning a visit: there are terrific guided tours available and seeing the stadium itself, with its marble floors, leather seats, suites and more, is well worth your time, as are the stories of the games and players who have been—and continue to be—its heart and soul.
After you have toured the “Ralph,” as the arena is known locally, take a few minutes to visit the Flood Memorial Monument, a tower marking the various floods the city has experienced and dedicated to the rescue workers of the epic 1997 flood. The Red River did not get the best of this city, which mobilized immediately and carried out the nation’s largest-to-date (pre-Hurricane Katrina) mass evacuation—a good reminder of the strength of the human spirit.
Feeling peckish? Then it is time for a visit to Widman’s Candy Shop. Free samples of all the homemade chocolates are available, and past visitors recommend that you leave with a box of “chippers,” the shop’s famous chocolate-covered potato chips.
One of the premiere aerospace programs in the country is located in Grand Forks at the University of North Dakota’s Center for Aerospace Sciences. Take a guided tour of the Aerospace College and see classrooms, simulators, pressure chamber, the airport and specialized hangars.
For an understanding and appreciation of the Native American tribes of the area, visit the North Dakota Museum of Art, which beautifully begins its mission statement with the words, “We, as inhabitants of the Northern Great Plains, struggle to ensure that the arts are nourished, and that they flourish, because we know that a vital cultural life is deeply essential to isolated people.” Both the museum’s temporary and permanent exhibits are excellent.
Your children will be delighted with a visit to Spasher’s of the South Seas, which has a large kid/adult slide, some smaller slides, a lazy river, a wading pool for the toddler crowd, a swimming pool and a spray treehouse. There are cabanas available (for a small extra charge) and a poolside pizza and drinks (including cocktails) service.
The Grand Forks hotels below all provide the best place to rest and rejuvenate, no matter what you have been exploring in town. There is so much to see and do here that you will definitely need your rest—but no matter what you do, it will be time well spent.
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