25 Best Things to Do in Bismarck, North Dakota
Plan a weekend trip to Bismarck, North Dakota to explore the city's landmarks, parks and museums.
Visitors looking for a cultural experience will find a thriving arts community in North Dakota, including museums, historical theaters, and concert venues.
Plan a weekend trip to Bismarck, North Dakota to explore the city's landmarks, parks and museums.
As the craft beer industry grows at an alarming rate, small, intimate breweries are popping up all over the country with North Dakota being no exception.
North Dakota is the 19th largest in terms of area but has the fourth smallest population of any state.
From elegant ballrooms to rustic chic barns, Fargo is able to accommodate a range of different wedding styles.
More North Dakota Points of Interest
North Dakota is known for its rugged Great Plains terrain, bordering the West's Badlands at its border with Minnesota. The state is a nature lover's paradise, home to national wonders such as Theodore Roosevelt National Park, which preserves gorgeous landmarks like the picturesque Painted Canyon. Visitors can enjoy opportunities for fishing, hiking, and camping at state parks throughout the region or view native and exotic species, including bison herds, at a number of area zoos and frontier parks. The state's pioneer and indigenous heritage is on display at a plethora of museums, many of which feature recreated and preserved living history facilities or offer excursion tours.
Beaver Lake State Park
Beaver Lake State Park is a charming public recreation area near the cities of Wishek and Napoleon, stretching for 283 acres along the shores of the lake of the same name. The park is one of Logan County's top outdoor recreational destinations, opened to the public in 1932 with amenities constructed by the Works Progress Administration. Today, it offers some of North Dakota's best chances for boating, swimming, and watersports against a backdrop of gently-rolling prairie lands. An historic cairn preserved at the park stands as a testament to the early settlers of nearby counties and the WPA's efforts in constructing the park. Gorgeous nature trails abound, including the self-guided interpretive Bearer Lake Nature Trail and the Moraine Loop Trail, a popular birding destination. Primitive and modern campsites are available for overnight stay, along with three fully-equipped rental cabins.
3850 70th St SE, Wishek, ND 58495, Phone: 701-452-2752
Bonanzaville Pioneer Village and Museum
Bonanzaville Pioneer Village and Museum is a unique history museum complex located just west of the city of Fargo, commemorating the pioneer history of the North Dakota region in the 19th century. The museum, which is overseen by the Cass County Historical Society, showcases 40 preserved and replica historic buildings located on 12 acres of land just off Interstate 94. Visitors can explore historic buildings such as a restored prairie church, one-room schoolhouse, drug store, general store, and fire station, along with the preserved first house constructed in the city of Fargo. Newer buildings onsite include an automobile and aircraft museum. Each year, the museum hosts the annual Pioneer Days event, held on the third weekend of August, celebrating the region's pioneer history and culture.
1351 Main Ave W, West Fargo, ND 58078, Phone: 701-282-2822
Chahinkapa Zoo is a delightful Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited zoological park in Wahpeton, home to over 200 animals representing more than 100 international species. The park was North Dakota's first zoo when it was opened in 1933, founded by the City of Wahpeton under the supervision of R.J. Hughes. Today, it spans 29 acres and is open to the public May through October, with special appointments and tours available for groups during the winter months. Animal exhibits showcase native and exotic species, ranging from White rhinos and Bengal tigers to ring-tailed lemurs, grizzly bears, and gibbon apes. The zoo is also home to the beautiful restored 1926 Prairie Rose Carousel, originally constructed for upstate New York's Lee Funland amusement park.
1004 R J Hughes Dr, Wahpeton, ND 58075, Phone: 701-642-8709
The Children's Museum at Yunker Farm
The Children's Museum at Yunker Farm is a unique family attraction overseen by the Fargo Park District, founded in 1985 by the Junior League of Fargo-Moorhead. The museum is recognized as one of the United States' top 25 children's museums, housed within a restored farmhouse set on a 55-acre property. The property is Dakota's oldest brick house, originally constructed in 1876 and restored to its historic condition by area volunteers. Children and families can enjoy over 50 interactive hands-on exhibits, intended to engage visitors with arts and science concepts and stimulate young ones' creativity. Exhibits and activities include a building block room, a cow-milking station, and a musical instrument collection. Outside, a miniature train offers short rides, while a miniature golf course and nature trails provide opportunities for outdoor recreation.
Fargo, ND 58102, Phone: 701-232-6102
The International Peace Garden
The International Peace Garden is a charming 3.5-square-mile park commemorating the peaceful relationship between the United States and Canada, set directly on the national boundary between the state of North Dakota and the province of Manitoba. The park, which was established in 1932, can be visited by residents of either nation, though all visitors must show proper border crossing identification when leaving the park. More than 150,000 flowers are planted at the park each year, which is also home to an 18-foot floral clock display, a whimsical chime, and gorgeous water fountains. 14 bells are showcased, cast by Gillett and Johnston and gifted to the park in 1972 by the Central United Church of Brandon, Manitoba. A lovely Peace Garden Lodge and Masonic Auditorium holds annual programming for local Freemason groups.
10939 Highway 281, Boissevain, MB R0K 0E0, Canada, Phone: 701-263-4390
Lake Sakakawea State Park
Lake Sakakawea State Park is a delightful public park near the city of Pick City, located along the banks of gorgeous Lake Sakakawea adjacent to Garrison Dam. The 1,293-acre park was originally developed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers in the early 20th century before being converted into a state park in 1965. Today, it is known as one of the state's top destinations for hiking and cycling, located at the western terminus of the 4,600-mile North Country National Scenic Trail, which crosses the entirety of the northern continental United States. Miles of lakeshore are home to a lovely public swimming beach and access points for sailboaters and windsurfers. Anglers can enjoy opportunities to catch northern pike, chinook salmon, and walleye.
781 42 1/2 Ave NW, Hazen, ND 58545, Phone: 701-487-3315
The Lewis and Clark Riverboat
The Lewis and Clark Riverboat offers excursions along the route of the majestic Missouri River aboard an historic passenger riverboat. The excursion company, which has been in operation for nearly two decades, is overseen by the Fort Abraham Lincoln Foundation, embarking from Bismarck throughout the year. The boat, which is powered by twin Cummins diesel engines, showcases stunning views of the riverfront from its lovely open upper deck. Excursions are offered May through September, lasting approximately 1.5 hours. Special tour offerings include sunset tours, and dinner cruises offering homestyle catering options such as Southern-style barbecue dinners. Private charter tours include excursions for bachelor and bachelorette parties, business groups, and family reunions.
N, 1700 River Rd, Bismarck, ND 58503, Phone: 701-255-4233
The National Buffalo Museum
The National Buffalo Museum is a charming nonprofit museum dedicated to exploring the natural and cultural history of the North Dakota prairie and its populations of native bison. The museum, which is located within Jamestown's Frontier Village museum complex, focuses on the history of the Wild West during its indigenous and pioneer days and the role that buffalo played in helping early populations sustain and survive. Visitors can explore the museum's permanent exhibits throughout the year, which include a bison hide tipi replica, a collection of Great Plains and Wild West artwork, and an exhibit of 19th-century bison hunting firearms. Animal mounts are also showcased, along with a live herd of bison at an outdoor area near the museum, which includes a rare white bison specimen. Other attractions include the world's largest buffalo statue, which weighs 60 tons and measures 46 feet in length.
500 17th St SE, Jamestown, ND 58401, Phone: 800-807-1511
The Red River Zoo
The Red River Zoo is an Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited museum in Fargo, opened to the public in the spring of 1999. The 33-acre museum is located at the site of the former Red River Ranch, the former farmstead of the George Anderson family. It is open to the public between late April and late October each year, with special weekend hours and group tour appointments offered during the weekend months. More than 600 animals are showcased in exhibits throughout the zoo, representing 89 species of native and exotic animals. The zoo is known for its cold-climate species breeding programs, showcasing populations of rare red pandas, Pallas' cats, Sichuan takin, and Russian red tree squirrels. A world-class gray wolf exhibit is also showcased, along with a North American river otter exhibit featuring underwater viewing areas. Family-friendly activities include a 1928 carousel, which was fully restored to its historic condition in 1995.
4255 23rd Ave S, Fargo, ND 58104, Phone: 701-277-9240
Cross Ranch State Park
Cross Ranch State Park is a lovely public recreation area spanning nearly 600 acres along the west banks of the Missouri River, approximately nine miles south of the city of Washburn. The park was originally established in 1982 after the purchase of an 11,000-acre ranch that once belonged to Burlington Northern Railroad land agent A.G. Gaines, which was deeded to the city by subsequent owners Gladys and Bob Levis. Today, the ranch's lands have been divided between the state park and the adjacent Cross Ranch Nature Preserve, which stretches for 6,000 acres and is home to a herd of several hundred bison. Park visitors can explore over 16 miles of hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing, open throughout the year. Boating and canoeing launch sites are also offered, along with overnight stay yurts and modern campsites.
1403 River Rd, Center, ND 58530, Phone: 701-794-3731
Des Lacs National Wildlife RefugeDes Lacs National Wildlife Refuge is one of the United States' premiere bird sanctuaries, home to populations of tens of thousands of migrating and breeding bird species throughout the year. The refuge, which is located adjacent to the United States-Canada border at the edge of Des Lacs Lake, was originally established in 1935 under the supervision of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Today, it stretches for over 19,500 acres near the town of Kenmare, protecting significant populations of bison, elk, moose, and pronghorn. Visitors can enjoy opportunities for hunting in season or hike along the park's four nature trails, including the Canada Goose Trail and Munch's Coulee Hiking Trail. A beautiful scenic byway traverses the park's lands, meandering through 14 miles along the Upper, Middle, and Lower Des Lacs lakefronts.
Double Ditch Indian Village Historic Site
Double Ditch Indian Village Historic Site preserves the site of a significant indigenous village archaeological site along the banks of the Missouri River, just north of the city of Bismarck. The site, which is also known as the Bourgois Site, is named for two preserved trenches that once served as fortification for the Mandan indigenous village, when it thrived between the 15th and 18th centuries. At the peak of its population, the village was home to a population of up to 10,000 indigenous people. Around 1781, a massive smallpox epidemic struck the village, causing the abandonment of all of the Mandan villages along the Heart River valley. Today, the site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, overseen by the State Historical Society of North Dakota as an interpretive historical site. Visitors can explore the site for free throughout the year and learn about its more than 30 preserved mounds through interpretive trails and displays.
ND-1804, Bismarck, ND 58503, Phone: 701-328-2666
The Fargo Air Museum
The Fargo Air Museum is a charming aviation museum in Fargo, located on the campus of Hector International Airport. The museum, which was founded in 2001, showcases a stunning collection of historic aircraft, nearly all of which are restored to their original flying condition. Pieces on display represent the full scope of aviation history, from the early days of the Wright Brothers through the present day. Highlights of the museum's collection include a replica of the 1902 Wright Flyer, World War II-era planes such as the North American P-51 Mustang, and experimental prototypes such as the Lancair 360 and Meyer's Special Little Toot. The museum also showcases one of the Midwest's largest aviation libraries, along with an extensive aviation-themed gift shop.
1609 19th Ave N, Fargo, ND 58102, Phone: 701-293-8043
Fort Abraham State Park
Fort Abraham State Park is a charming North Dakota state park located just a few miles south of the city of Mandan, preserving a plethora of indigenous and military structures dating back as far as the 16th century. The preserved On-A-Slant indigenous village dates back to approximately 1575 and thrived for 200 years until a significant smallpox outbreak caused area Mandan populations to migrate north. Reconstructed military buildings are also showcased at the site, including the Custer House, connected Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer, the commander of the 7th Cavalry. Visitors can explore the Custer House as part of guided living history tours offered on the half-hour throughout the year, lasting approximately 30 minutes. Interpretive tours explore the preserved earthen lodges and structures of the On-A-Slant Village, which is also home to an historical museum.
4480 Fort Lincoln Rd, Mandan, ND 58554, Phone: 701-667-6340
Fort Ransom State Park
Fort Ransom State Park is a lovely public recreation area near the town of Fort Ransom, located within the gorgeous Sheyenne River valley region. The park, which is named for an 1860s military fort, was established to preserve two historic pioneer homestead farms located along the route of the gorgeous Sheyenne Valley National Scenic Byway. Visitors can explore the preserved Bjone House and Andrew Sunne Farm, both of which are operated as living history museum facilities. A visitor center at the park showcases displays and exhibits related to the region's pioneer sodbusters and indigenous groups dating back eight millennia. Over 15 miles of multipurpose hiking trails are offered throughout the park, along with opportunities for canoeing, fishing, camping, and bird watching. Each year, the annual Sodbuster Days showcases demonstrations and activities related to the area's pioneer culture.
5981 Walt Hjelle Pkwy, Fort Ransom, ND 58033, Phone: 701-973-4331
The Fort Seward Covered Wagon Train
The Fort Seward Covered Wagon Train has offered family-friendly covered wagon adventures throughout the Jamestown area since 1969, embarking from the city's preserved historic Fort Seward Infantry Post at Fort Seward Park. All wagon excursions embark from the park, offering historically informative and entertainment experiences for visitors of all ages. Visitors can bring their own horses to ride along with the wagon or book a space to ride aboard the company's historic replica flare box wagons. Adventures take place for one full week each June, traveling to the company's rustic campsite near the city of Jamestown. History talks are showcased throughout the week, along with arts and crafts experiences, sing-a-longs, and story sharing times.
PO Box 244, Jamestown, ND 58402
Icelandic State ParkIcelandic State Park is a lovely natural recreation area located along the banks of Lake Renwick, approximately five miles outside of the city of Cavalier. The state park was established in 1964 following the donation of over 200 acres of family farmstead land by G.B. Gunlogson. It is intended to preserve the Icelandic pioneer heritage of the region, which dates back to the 19th century. Park visitors can enjoy excellent opportunities for hiking and cross-country skiing along the park's three miles of multipurpose nature trails. Fishing, swimming, boating, and kayaking are offered throughout the year on Renwick Dam, which is home to a seasonal public beachfront. Indoor attractions include the Pioneer Heritage Center, which showcases exhibits on the region's pioneer history, and the Gunlogson Homestead and Nature Preserve living history museum.
13571 ND-5, Cavalier, ND 58220, Phone: 701-265-4561
Roosevelt Park Zoo
Roosevelt Park Zoo is North Dakota's oldest zoological park, originally opened to the public in 1921. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited zoo has been overseen by the Greater Minot Zoological Society since 1970, a year after its flooding and complete redesign in 1969. Today, it spans 19 acres throughout the city of Minot and showcases lovely populations of native and exotic species. More than 200 animals are showcased in public exhibits, representing more than 48 species. Animals on display include international species like reticulated giraffes, African black-footed penguins, red pandas, and rare Amur leopards. Family-friendly attractions include a discovery barn and a children's zoo area.
1219 E Burdick Expy, Minot, ND 58701, Phone: 701-857-4166
The Dakota Zoo
The Dakota Zoo is a lovely zoo in Bismarck, located along the banks of the Missouri River within the city's Sertoma Park. The 88-acre zoo was North Dakota's third zoo at its founding in 1961, created after a petition by a local television station spearheaded by area resident Marc Christianson. It was initially started as an extension of Christianson's private farm collection of domestic and farm animals, including collections of stray and injured animals. Today, the zoo is an Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited facility that attracts over 100,000 visitors each year, home to over 125 species of native and exotic animals and birds. Animals on display include Canada lynx, snow leopards, emus, bald eagles, Bactrian camels, and Clydesdale horses. A Monkey Barn also displays a wide variety of international monkey species, including Goeldi's monkeys, golden-headed lion tamarins, pygmy marmosets, and spider monkeys.
602 Riverside Park Rd, Bismarck, ND 58504, Phone: 701-223-7543
The North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame
The North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame preserves and presents the history of North Dakota's indigenous and pioneer cowboy, rancher, and rodeo communities, showcasing exhibits related to the state's Wild West heritage during the 19th century. The Hall of Fame is located within Medora's Center of Western and Heritage Cultures, which features a plethora of exhibits related to the region's indigenous and pioneer heritage across its 15,000-square-foot facility. Permanent and traveling exhibits detail Western culture, including exhibits on cowboys and cowgirls during the region's pioneer era. A Hall of Honorees showcases seminal figures throughout cowboy history, while a theater presents documentary films related to the history of cowboy and ranching practices.
250 Main St, Medora, ND 58645, Phone: 701-623-2000
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Theodore Roosevelt National Park is a delightful national park facility in western North Dakota, named in honor of American President Theodore Roosevelt, the only national park facility to be named for an historical figure. The park stretches over 70,000 acres in three sections throughout the state's badlands region, where the terrain meets the nearby Great Plains. Visitors can explore preserved historical sites like the Maltese Cross Cabin, a former residence of the president's during the 19th century, where he wrote major works such as The Wilderness Hunter and Hunting Trips of a Ranchman. Gorgeous natural wonders are showcased throughout all three units, including the South Unit's vibrantly-colored Painted Canyon. A scenic loop drive meanders through all of the park's main units, while over 100 miles of trails provide opportunities for hiking and equestrian riding. Three developed campgrounds offer primitive overnight camping experiences.
PO Box 7, Medora, ND 58645, Phone: 701-623-4466
Turtle River State Park
Turtle River State Park is a spacious 784-acre public recreation area located along the banks of the Turtle River in Arvilla, established in 1934 and developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Today, the park is known as a top year-round destination for outdoor recreation, offering 10 miles of lovely hiking and cycling trails throughout its scenic terrain, including trails meandering along the river valley. The river is stocked with trout throughout the year, making it a prime destination for anglers all over North Dakota. Other year-round recreational opportunities include chances for cross-country skiing and mountain biking on designated trails and opportunities for sledding down the park's hills during the winter months. Shaded day-use picnic areas are available for visitor use, along with several primitive campsite areas and a rental Woodland Lodge.
3084 Park Ave NE, Arvilla, ND 58214, Phone: 701-795-3180