Fargo is a city that defies convention for North Dakota. It is progressive, welcoming, and full of fun times. It also has a sizable brewpub scene.

And, yes, they host a Pride celebration between it and its sister city across the Red River, Moorhead, Minnesota.

About Fargo, it is the easternmost city in North Dakota at the junction of both Interstates 94 and 29. The drive from Minneapolis is about three-and-a-half hours. You can fly into Hector Airport with connections from a few hub airports, including Minneapolis-St. Paul, Denver, and Chicago-O’Hare. Amtrak’s Empire Builder stops there, but in the middle of the night in either direction.

No matter how you get there, Fargo has plenty going for it. It downtown is vibrant with a lot of cool local places to eat and shop.

Yet, it is also a compact place to do a lot. You can walk around quite easily from a meal to a snack to a movie at the Fargo Theater. Parking is inexpensive and plentiful.

The keyword here is “local.” Restaurants that emphasize local ingredients, local chefs and staff, and local atmosphere. Downtown Fargo also has numerous local coffeehouses – outnumbering Starbucks and the larger chains.

In our time in Fargo, we had a chance to dine at The Boiler Room (210 Roberts Alley), which offered “upscale tavern food” with solid quality and great service. For breakfast one morning, we ventured up to the northern end of town to The Shack on Broadway (3215 Broadway N) with superb food and service. We suggest you go before the “church crowd” arrives around 10:00AM. Our burger at Pounds (612 1st St. N) was very tasty and filling.

As the residents of Moorhead enjoyed greater LGBT rights, including marriage equality, North Dakotans had to wait for their turn at being equal. There were instances where North Dakotans would jump across the river/state line to be free. Nowadays, LGBT residents of Fargo found that they live in a bubble of acceptance and tolerance that protects them from a mass of hate.

Fargo serves as an oasis from the rest of the state. It is a respite from small towns and conservative values that are often associated with North Dakota. Fargo also serves as a beacon for LGBT folks from communities, such as Grand Forks, Valley City, Bismarck, Minot, and so forth.

It is not to say that these places do not have LGBT communities in them, but it appears that the combined metropolis of Fargo and Moorhead proudly houses a more visible community in this part of the country.

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