Rough lands, long cowboy traditions, huge open spaces, old school houses, abandoned old homesteads…the Roughrider State truly lives up to its nickname! North Dakota is, indeed, one of the last places in America where you can still experience life like it was in the old days.
If you’re a prospective tourist planning to visit North Dakota on vacation, you can rest assure North Dakota’s flat prairies and wheat crops aren’t the only tourist attraction! Rodeo shows, art fairs, museums and beautiful park lands are other things waiting for you in North Dakota. To get an idea of what not to miss, be sure to check out the following list of top 10 tourist attractions in North Dakota:
North Dakota Heritage Center, Bismarck
The Heritage Center is located right within the grounds of the North Dakota State Capitol and it’s easily one of the most interesting places you’ll go in North Dakota. Best of all, it’s free admission!
If you’re interested in finding out about the natural history of North Dakota, you’ll love spending time at the Heritage Center learning about the life of the early pioneers and checking out cool exhibits such as old Indian artifacts, dinosaur exhibits and other cool displays such as tipis (Indian tents made of animal skins).
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
A trip to North Dakota would not be complete without seeing the wildlife and amazing Badlands rock formations at Theodore Roosevelt national park.
Theodore Roosevelt NP offers unparallel views of the North Dakota Badlands as well as many opportunities to see buffaloes and prairie dogs roam freely. Theodore Roosevelt NP also offers plenty of opportunities for fun outdoor activities like day hikes, horseback riding, camping, etc. Be sure to spend at least 2 days at Theodore Roosevelt NP to soak it all in!
Ralph Englestad Arena, Grand Forks
The Ralph Englestad Arena is without question, one of the top 10 tourist attractions in North Dakota. Ralph Englestad is home to one of the best college hockey rinks in the Midwest and it’s a great place to experience a hockey game if you’ve never been to one.
You can also catch a concert at the Ralph Englestad arena, as well as enjoy a walking tour of the facility (Monday thru Friday) for around $3.
Fargo Theatre, Fargo
The Fargo Theatre is another gem you cannot miss visiting while in North Dakota. The historic Fargo Theatre is one of the few remaining 1920’s movie palaces built with a vaudeville stage.
Even if you don’t plan to stay in Fargo for long, seeing a movie at the old-fashioned Fargo Theater is definitely a must, if only to see the interior décor and experience the nostalgic vibe there.
Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park
Fort Abraham Lincoln SP is no doubt, another place worth adding on the list of top 10 tourist attractions in North Dakota.
Whether you’re a history buff or not, Fort Abraham Lincoln and the reconstructed Mandan Indian Village are two fantastic places for everyone to explore, especially during special times such as the 4th of July and Christmas when live reenactments take place.
Chateau De Mores Historic Site
The Chateau De Mores was built in the late 19th century and it is one of the nicest original examples of French architectural legacy in North Dakota. The Chateau De Mores residence is open to the public and offers interesting living history tours that give you a nice glimpse into how the wealthy of the day lived.
By the way, the Chateau De Mores is located within the Theodore Roosevelt National Memorial Park, which is just a few minutes drive outside the town of Medora.
Scandinavian Heritage Park, Minot
If you’re looking for nice places to enjoy an afternoon out, the Scandinavian Heritage Park is probably one of the nicest places you could go in North Dakota. The Scandinavian park is a popular spot for picnicking and leisure walks as it boasts gorgeous grounds.
Besides marveling at the beautiful grounds, the Scandinavian Heritage Park boasts statues and many traditional Scandinavian buildings on display such as a Finnish sauna and a full-size replica of the Gol Stave Church in Oslo Norway (see 6 Places to visit in Oslo in 1 day).
Enchanted Highway, Regent
Besides offering one of the most beautiful scenic drives in the state, the Enchanted Highway is home to one of the word's most famous metal works - The Fisherman’s Dream, which is most certainly one of the top 10 tourist attractions in North Dakota.
The Fisherman’s Dream metal sculptures span a 30 mine stretch of road that runs between the towns of Gladstone (near Dickinson) and Regent. If you’re planning to be in the area around Dickinson and Theodore Roosevelt NP, you’ll find that the Enchanted Highway is located off Interstate 94. However, the detour is totally worth it since you will be able to see these impressive metal creations at close range!
Jamestown is without a doubt, one of the highlight attractions along North Dakota’s Interstate 94 and if you’re planning a road trip along I-94, Jamestown should definitely be a must stop in your itinerary.
Jamestown boasts a nice replica of an 1800’s frontier village with original buildings from North Dakota’s frontier days, as well as a Buffalo museum (called National Buffalo Museum), which boasts a small herd of bison and a couple of cute albino (white) buffalo within their grounds.