What It’s Actually Like To Spend A Week In Fargo

So Rob Fee and I are in Fargo for the week, checking out all this great Midwestern city has to offer, because why go to Disneyland or something, when you can go somewhere you’ve never been? Somewhere that’s off the beaten path, somewhere that has a rich, cultural history and a penchant for woodchippers.

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Taking It Slow

When you go to a place like Fargo, you’re inevitably gonna expect a bit of a culture shock. But the culture shock in Fargo isn’t so much a shock as it is a refreshing reminder of human decency.

For instance, if there were a crowded subway in Fargo, the boarding process wouldn’t draw analogies to The Hunger Games. Rather, the process would probably be conducted in a civil, practical, and effective manner. Unlike the big cities of America (New York, Chicago, DC, LA), nobody’s too on edge here — nobody has that “I’ve just worked 13 hours straight and am ready to gouge my eyes out” sort of look. In Fargo, people would rather you get a good night’s sleep than stay up all night doing pointless, soul-crushing work you don’t need to be doing. In Fargo, it’s about substance. If style fits then that, too, but you gotta have the substance.

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Though it’s technically spring, North Dakota weather plays by its own rules. Maybe — just maybe — you’ll get a nice little blizzard warning on the last day of March.

The Weather

In Fargo, people talk about the weather just as much as anywhere else in the country. But in Fargo, you’ll talk about bad weather with this impressive sort of community reverence — our bartender, for example, seemed excited that the blizzard was gonna bring a lot of people in and create a cool vibe. He was pumped, as were our new friends we met at the bar. The overall conclusion was that the storm was gonna be an adventure, and that it was gonna be fun to power through. And unlike in other cities, nobody used the storm as an excuse to express their negative opinions of the mayor.

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The Food

Fargo may be in the middle of nowhere, but nowhere has pretty much all of the same things as somewhere.  The diners in other places are certainly be a bit more full…

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But the food at this Fargo spot, Mom’s Diner, was just as delicious as any other East Coast diner.

Country Skillet. A+
The Country Skillet…
...was excellent
…was excellent

Also important to note, the Mom’s Diner menu had quite a few, “who in their right mind would possibly get that?” classic diner menu items. If you thought having outrageous, expensive seafood dishes that nobody orders was just an east coast diner thing, think again.

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Scheels

If you’ve been remotely near Fargo, you probably know about Scheels  — Fargo’s famous sporting goods/hunting store, something that would never be located in most American cities. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think you’re gonna get such a comprehensive hunting section in Philly.

Don't get to see this at my local Dick's Sporting Goods

Scheels is known for their off the beat attractions — a ferris wheel in the middle of the store, and a simulated shooting gallery — just casually chillin’ in the upstairs of the store. An attraction that’s certainly worth checking out.

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Zero Pretension

If you’re looking for the most pretentious place in any city, your best bet is to go to its local coffee shop. But Nichole’s — a place right in the heart of downtown Fargo that specializes in coffee, desserts, and more desserts — lacked that usual stuffiness.  In addition to the great food, pastries, and prices, there were exactly zero people bragging about their hot new sketch comedy troupe. Definitely something you don’t get in every city.

All of this cost less than a Long Island Iced Tea. I much prefer a chocolate hangover.

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When you’re in a “different” sort of town, you gotta push the envelope. You gotta be adventurous, in the way a soccer mom feels adventurous by ordering normal eggs instead of egg whites.

In other words, you gotta try the chicken/bacon/ranch at Spicy Pie Pizza.

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Contrary to popular belief, there are plenty of things to do in Fargo. There are plenty of interesting, observant, and memorable people to meet. There are plenty of stories you can have upon return. You just gotta go. TC mark

This post brought to you by ‘Fargo’ – An FX Original Series.

‘Fargo’ premieres April 15 | 10ET/PT – Only on FX.

image – istock

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