Located in the Midwest region in the northern central part of the United States, North Dakota is the 19th largest in terms of area but has the fourth smallest population of any state. This means that North Dakota is the 47th most densely populated state. Known as the 'Peace Garden State', North Dakota covers an area of 70,762 square miles and has an estimated population of 755,000. North Dakota has borders with South Dakota and Montana, as well as the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.


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North Dakota is situated on the Great Plains region of the United States and is home to a rich array of natural resources, including oil, that have helped to boost the state's economy over the years. Recent resource discoveries have triggered a lot of growth in North Dakota, helping the state become richer and reducing its unemployment numbers. Key contributors to the state's economy include agriculture, energy, and tourism, despite the fact that the state has no major tourist attractions to speak of. The capital city of North Dakota is Bismarck, while the largest city in the state is Fargo.

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Located in Cass County, of which it is the county seat, Fargo is the largest city in North Dakota. It is the only city in North Dakota to have a population in excess of 100,000 and is located in the eastern section of the state. Fargo covers an area of 48.82 square miles and has an estimated population of 122,000, with over 238,000 people living in the surrounding metropolitan area.

Fargo, alongside neighboring cities Moorhead, West Fargo, and Dilworth, forms the Fargo-Moorhead Metropolitan Statistical Area, which stretches across the North Dakota-Minnesota border and is a key business and commercial center for the two states. Fargo has demonstrated rapid growth in recent years, becoming a burgeoning cultural, educational, and healthcare hub for the state.

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Situated in Burleigh County, of which it is the county seat, Bismarck is the second largest city in North Dakota and is also the state capital. This city is located in the southern central part of the state on the Missouri River and covers an area of 31.23 square miles.

The estimated population of Bismarck is 72,000, with more than 132,000 people living in the city's metropolitan area. Bismarck was founded in 1872 and named after Otto von Bismarck, the first Chancellor of the German Empire. Bismarck has close connections with the neighboring city of Mandan, which is situated on the other side of the Missouri River.

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4.Grand Forks

Grand Forks
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Located in Grand Forks County, of which it is the county seat, Grand Forks is the third largest city in the state of North Dakota. This city is situated on the eastern border of the state and covers an area of 20.09 square miles. The estimated population of Grand Forks is 57,000, with over 102,000 people living in the surrounding metropolitan area.

Grand Forks was named due to its location at the fork of the Red and Red Lake rivers. Initially an agricultural settlement, Grand Forks has grown to become a key North Dakota center for research, education, healthcare, and more. The city has its own international airport and is the home of the University of North Dakota.

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Located in Ward County, of which it is the county seat, Minot is the fourth largest city in North Dakota. Nicknamed 'Magic City' due to its rapid growth and development, Minot is situated in the northern central part of the state. This city covers an area of 17.45 square miles and has an estimated population of 47,000, with over 77,000 in the metropolitan area.

Minot was founded in 1886 and incorporated just one year later. The city is named after Henry Minor, a railroad executive. The city has a strong Scandinavian past and culture, with almost half of its residents having Scandinavian heritage. In line with this, Minot plays host to the largest annual Scandinavian festival in the country, Norsk Hostfest.

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6.West Fargo

West Fargo
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Located in Cass County, just outside Fargo, West Fargo is the fifth largest city in North Dakota. It is also one of the fastest-growing cities in the state and covers an area of 14.72 square miles in total. The estimated population of West Fargo is 35,000.

This city was founded in 1926 and is part of the large Fargo-Moorhead Metropolitan Statistical Area which includes cities in both North Dakota and Missouri. Due to its proximity to Fargo, West Fargo has close links with North Dakota’s biggest city.

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5 of the Largest Cities in North Dakota

  • Overview, Photo: spiritofamerica/stock.adobe.com
  • Fargo, Photo: Jacob/stock.adobe.com
  • Bismarck, Photo: pabrady63/stock.adobe.com
  • Grand Forks, Photo: Jacob/stock.adobe.com
  • Minot, Photo: oldmn/stock.adobe.com
  • West Fargo, Photo: Devin Allphin/stock.adobe.com
  • Cover Photo: Courtesy of Jacob - Fotolia.com

Attraction Spotlight: North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum

The fascinating heritage of North Dakota is shared through interactive exhibits, high-tech displays, and thousands of artifacts at the North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum in Bismarck. Along with museum galleries, the exhibits along the Corridor of History help to tell the state's unique story. The museum's Northern Lights Atrium is a beautiful combination of symbolism and architecture, while the Pembina River Plaza showcases geologic specimens from the past. Visitors can bring a treasure home with them from the Museum Store, enjoy a snack at the James River Café, and walk through the site's stunning ground along part of the Capitol Arboretum Trail. A wide variety of exhibits are on display at the free museum, from a T. Rex skeleton cast to a soda shop from the 1950's.

The North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum's Treehouse is designed with younger visitors in mind. This museum exhibit encourages kids to explore and discover life in North Dakota, both during the past and present. The Treehouse features a flight simulator, locomotive, steamboat, fire station, bank, and a child-sized treehouse in which children can climb into for an aerial view of the area.

The North Dakota and the Great War exhibit tells the story of the state of North Dakota during World War I through military weapons, gear, documents, and more from the museum's collections. The North Dakota Native American Hall of Honor can be found in the Mouse River Hall, between the Inspiration Gallery and the Innovation Gallery. The Hall honors individuals who have gone the extra mile in representing their cultures and tribes.

The North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum's Adaptation Gallery: Geologic Time tells the interesting story of life and geology during the past in North Dakota, from 600 million years ago to 13,000 years ago. Visitors will journey back in time to explore how Earth's geologic events transformed the land many times, requiring animals and plants to adapt to changing landscapes and climates. The gallery features monstrous sea creatures in primordial oceans, the rise and extinction of dinosaurs, tropical swamplands, and the ice age's elephant-like mammals among much more.

The Innovation Gallery: Early Peoples at the North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum focuses on North Dakota's Native peoples, highlighting the broadness and beauty of the State Museum's collection. Visitors can learn about the state's tribes, both before their contact with European-Americans and today as sovereign nations. North Dakota's varied and rich history is shaped by the people who call the state home across place and time.

The Inspiration Gallery: Yesterday and Today shares the story of North Dakota through six themes that still shape the state's history today. These six themes are Cultural Expressions; Our Lives, Our Communities; Conflict and War; Newcomers and Settlement; Industry and Energy; and Agricultural Innovation. Guests can view numerous works of art in the North Dakota Art exhibit in the Red River Hall, located between the Adaptation Gallery and the Governors Gallery. The rotating art gallery showcases North Dakota artists.

612 East Boulevard Avenue, Bismarck, North Dakota, Phone: 701-328-2666

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Attraction Spotlight: Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site

Visitors to the Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site in North Dakota can learn more about the lives of the Upper Missouri River's Northern Plains Indians. Earthlodge people were farmers who lived alongside the Upper Missouri River, as well tributaries, in essence, but also hunted bison and other animals. The historical land was a significant trade center for Native Americans for several hundred years. After 1750, it became an important trading market for those trading fur. Congress established Knife River Indian Villages as a national historic site in 1974 to preserve an area rich with culture and history.

There are a wide variety of things to do and see at Knife River Indian Villages. It all really depends on how long of time guests have during their visit. If visitors only have an hour or two, they can start their visit with the short video Maxidiwiac, a film about the Buffalo Bird Woman's life. The museum features exhibits highlighting the culture and history of the Hidatsa people, including artifacts from village sites and decorative arts made by the Northern Plains Indians.

Visitors can then venture outdoors to explore the reconstructed full-scale Earthlodge, drying racks, and Hidatsa garden. Guests can take a stroll along the 1.3-mile Village Trail to see the remnants of the Awatixa Village and Awatixa Xi'e Village. At the Awatixa Village, a trail loop exists that consists of a walk beside the Knife River.

A visit during half of a day allows for even more hiking along the trails of the Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site. The 2.2-mile North Forest Trail takes visitors through native prairie and bottomland forest. Hikers can then continue down the 2.8-mile Missouri overlook trail for amazing river views. After arriving in the forest area, visitors can choose to walk the short Big Hidatsa Trail to see the Hidatsa Village. Guests interested in bird watching should be sure to bring their binoculars and pick up a birding checklist from the site's visitor center.

For those who have an entire day to visit the Knife River Indian Villages, the 6.2-mile Two Rivers Trail follows along the Knife River towards the national historic site's south end. At the trail's end, hikers can view the sight of the Knife River meeting the Missouri River. Visitors can try their luck at fishing for trout, catfish, walleye, and northern pike along both rivers. The Knife River Indian Villages site follows the fishing regulations and rules of the state of North Dakota.

The Knife River winds its way through North Dakota's Mercer County, flowing into the Missouri River around Stanton. A forested peninsula is created throughout part of the site by park land bordering both sides of the two rivers. The remaining land of the 1759 acres is located within a few hundred yards of the rivers. The site was established in 1974 for the preservation of certain archeological and historical remnants of the agricultural lifestyles and culture of the Northern Plains Indians. The land consists of exotic grasslands, native short grass prairie, culture village sites, some wetland areas and sandbars, and 450 acres of hardwood forest.

564 County Road 37, Stanton, ND, Phone: 701-745-3300

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Attraction Spotlight: Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center

The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center is a place where visitors can learn more about the time the famous explorers spent in North Dakota during their Expedition. Fort Mandan was constructed as the winter post for the Corps of Discovery from 1804 to 1805. During their time at the fort, Lewis and Clark interviewed the people of the Mandan-Hidatsa villages nearby to gain information to plot maps, as well as plan their expedition's new phase towards the Pacific Ocean.

Today, the recently remodeled Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center features interactive state-of-the-art exhibits that highlight an interesting artifact collection. It also includes a new exhibit that honors family farms in North Dakota, as well as several other new exhibits. Along with the Interpretive Center, visitors are welcome to explore Fort Mandan to learn more about the history of Lewis and Clark, as well as the area's history. It's a memorable experience for both first-time visitors and experienced explorers alike .

The Lewis and Clark Gallery at the Interpretive Center features several exhibits that immerse visitors in the adventure of the Lewis and Clark Expedition through interactive displays and sound. New exhibits at the center include more than one hundred items that represent those used during the expedition from the John Fisher Collection. Among these items is one of just six air rifles still in working condition in the world. The Fort Clark exhibit highlights the story of Native American culture and the early fur trade in the region of the Upper Missouri River after the expedition of Lewis and Clark left the area.

The Prince Maximilian and Karl Bodmer Exhibit at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center was added in April of 2013. The new exhibit shares the tale of Swiss artist Karl Bodmer and the German Prince Maximilian who journeyed through the frontier of America between the years of 1832 and 1834 to record the lives of Native Americans. A collection of aquatints of Karl Bodmer, one of four found in the world, is also display on display at the Interpretive Center. Visitors can also create their souvenir aquatints of their own at the interactive art kiosk.

Guests can learn about the agrarian heritage of North Dakota at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, starting with the area's first farmers up to agriculture of the present-day. The exhibit preserves the farming history of the state through a newly-installed kiosk, featuring a constantly updated, searchable database of North Dakota's Centennial Farms. After exploring the Interpretive Center, visitors can stop by the Museum Store. The store offers an extensive selection of North Dakota made items, books, artwork, clothing, home décor, unique jewelry and much more.

The nearby Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center provides student with learning experiences designed to appeal to a variety of learning styles. The Lewis and Clark Fort Mandan Foundation offers bus and group tours special rates as well if they schedule their visit to the fort in advance. Highly trained staff are able to adjust programming to meet the needs and interest of any group.

2576 8th Street SW, Washburn, North Dakota, Phone: 877-462-8535

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