The Peace Garden State
North Dakota is located in the Midwestern region of the United States, along the Canadian border. Like South Dakota, high temperatures reach 90 degrees farenheit during the summer, while harsh winter temperatures often fall below 0 degrees. North Dakota is home to many holy sites that are important to Native American history and spirituality. Major points of interest include American Indian sites and battlefields (Big Mound for example), the International Peace Garden (on the border of Canada), Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the State Capital building in Bismarck, to name a few. To travel around the state, you can book a train ticket, but renting a car is more convenient for getting around and exploring the state. For more information visit: www.ndtourism.com.
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Buffalo Monument in Jamestown. Photo by Tourjamestown.
Add some local history to your cultural exchange experience by visiting a nearby historical site or tourist attraction when living and working in the U.S.
Bonanzaville in West Fargo recreates part of North Dakota’s history with a pioneer village, a museum, and original buildings like a general store, prairie church and schoolhouse. A popular event at Bonanzaville is Pioneer Days – visit the Local Festivals page to learn more.
Fort Union Trading Post is home to a partially reconstructed trading post on the North Dakota/Montana border that was originally built in 1828. Visitors are able to see what life was like in the 19th century for fur traders and the native Plains Indians that traded at the site. A hiking trail, visitor center, museum and reconstructed Trade House are also available for visitors.
See a replica of an ancient Viking ship and a Norwegian Stave church at the Hjemkomst Center in Moorhead, Minnesota, located a few hundred feet across the border from Fargo, North Dakota. Special cultural and historical events are also held at the center, home of the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County.
Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site was one the location of a major trade center for the Hidatsa tribe and other Northern Plains Indians. The site contains a recreated Earthlodge, Hidatsa garden, nature trails, decorative artwork, and actual artifacts and from the original village site.
The Prairie Village Museum in Rugby includes 23 historic buildings and six exhibition halls to teach visitors about the pioneer days of the 19th century in North Dakota and the local area.
The Red River Zoo in Fargo is home to many native and exotic animals, including the grey wolf, prairie dogs, otters and red panda. Educational programs and events also take place throughout the year at the zoo – check the website for details.
See the world’s largest buffalo statue in Jamestown, also known as the “Buffalo City.” Visitors can also stop by the National Buffalo Museum in Jamestown to learn about the history of the bison, the culture of the Great Plains, Plains Indians, artwork and other information about the buffalo.
- Black Butte Adventures
- Dakota Cyclery Tours
- Escape Adventures – Maah Daah Hey Trail
- Medora Riding Stables Trail Rides
- Missouri River Kayaks
The United States offers a wide variety of cultural learning opportunities through the arts. Dance, music, theater, opera, art museums and festivals are just some of the options available to international visitors who wish to experience the U.S. and its culture.
Art and Cultural Museums
- MSUM Art Gallery, Fargo
- North Dakota Museum of Art, Grand Forks
- Plains Art Museum, Fargo
- Rourke Art Museum, Fargo
- Scandinavian Heritage Association, Minot
- Taube Museum of Art, Minot
Performing Arts Venues
- The Arts Center, Jamestown
- Empire Arts Center, Grand Forks
- Fargo Theatre, Fargo
- Fargo-Moorhead Opera, Fargo
- Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra, Fargo
- Frost Fire Theatre, Walhalla
- Medora Musical, Medora
- MSUM Theatre, Fargo
- Ukrainian Cultural Institute, Dickinson
Many Americans are passionate about sports – and not just baseball and football! Get a glimpse into this part of American culture by watching or participating in a favorite U.S. sport or recreational activity in your local area.
There are no professional sports teams in North Dakota, but visitors can watch popular American sports by going to a college game or watching a minor league sports team.
- BSC Mystics, Bismarck State College
- Bottineau Lumberjacks, Dakota College at Bottineau
- NDSU Bison, North Dakota State University
- U-Mary Marauders, University of Mary
- UND Athletics, University of North Dakota
Browse a full list of college sports teams in North Dakota.
Minor League Sports
Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Photo by Podruznik.
The United States is home to a variety of landscapes and climates to suit all types of outdoor activities. The courageous traveler can find extreme sports and outdoor adventure tours, while others may want to keep both feet on the ground in a national park or forest. Whatever your interests, take advantage of the many outdoor activities available during your time in the United States.
Lake Sakakawea is located on the Missouri River in northern North Dakota and is one of the largest man-made lakes in the United States. At Lake Sakakawea State Park, visitors can go fishing, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, biking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Cabins are also available to rent.
Visit a ranch in North Dakota to try out activities like horseback riding, calf roping, wildlife viewing and other outdoor activities. Visitors can often go to working ranches or former ranches that are now historical sites. Learn more at the North Dakota tourism website.
Lewis & Clark State Park offers many opportunities for outdoor recreation, including hiking, canoeing, kayaking and swimming, and snowmobiling, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in winter.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park remembers former President Theodore Roosevelt and a trip the president took to North Dakota that prompted his interest in conservation. Visitors can go camping, biking, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding, take a guided tour or try cross-country skiing or snowboarding in the winter. The park is located in the badlands of western North Dakota.
Downhill skiing and snowboarding is available at four ski areas in North Dakota – Huff Hills, Bottineau Winter Park, Bears Den Mountain Ski Area and Frostfire Ski Resort. Beginners can take lessons and try out easier trails, while more experienced skiers and riders can try out intermediate and advanced trails.
One of the best ways to experience cultural exchange is through food and cooking. Visitors will enjoy exploring the regional specialties and local cuisine during their time in the United States.
North Dakota’s population is made up of many people with German, Norway or Native American ancestry, and these cultures have also had an impact on the cuisine. International visitors in North Dakota may find dishes like lutefisk, lefse, kuchen, spaetzle, summer sausage and buffalo. Local produce and game is also popular, including rhubarb, juneberries, chokecherries, elk, duck, walleye (fish), trout and salmon.
North Dakota farmers’ markets offer fresh fruit and vegetables, homemade goods and often other products from local growers and artisans.
- Aneta Turkey Barbecue, Aneta, June
- Ribfest, Fargo, June
- Rhubarb Festival, Grand Forks, June
- Bismarck Ribfest, Bismarck, June
- Buckstop Junction Old Settlers’ Day and Corn Feed, August
- Potato Bowl, Grand Forks, September
Downtown Street Fair in Fargo. Photo via Flickr.
For a unique and local perspective on American culture, be sure to check out festivals and events near your cultural exchange program location. These events are a fun and interesting way to interact with locals and to learn more about American culture by experiencing it firsthand.
Both the Scandinavian Hjemkomst Festival and Viking Midwest Festival takes place in June at the Hjemkomst Center in Moorhead, located about 500 feet across the border of North Dakota. The festivals celebrate Scandinavian culture and Viking heritage in the Midwest with traditional arts and crafts, dancing, music, entertainment and food.
The Fargo Downtown Street Fair is a free outdoor festival in July featuring food, arts and crafts, a marketplace and live entertainment.
Northern Plains Indian Culture Fest in July is held at Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site. The event celebrates the Northern Plains tribes with traditional cultural activities and demonstrations from skilled artisans. The historic site is located about one half mile from Stanton.
The North Dakota State Fair in July features carnival rides, food, music concerts, live entertainment, contests, livestock competitions and much more. The event is held in Minot at the Fairgrounds and it is the largest even in North Dakota!
Pioneer Days at Bonanzaville recreates pioneer history with cultural demonstrations, live entertainment, educational events and food. The event takes place in August at Bonanzaville in West Fargo.
Norsk Hostfest in Minot is the largest Scandinavian festival in North America. The October event includes contemporary and traditional music, food, arts and crafts, clothing, jewelry, dancing, concerts and live entertainment, including characters from Scandinavian folklore!
Find more information on upcoming events and local festivals on the North Dakota tourism website’s event page.
Employers may be able to assist with housing during your time in the United States, but this is not always possible for all participants. When looking for housing during your cultural exchange program, consider the cost of the accommodation, the distance to your work place and the amount of time you will be in the United States.
It's also important to avoid fraudulent housing. It is highly recommended that you secure short-term housing upon arrival (e.g. in a hostel) and conduct your housing search once you are in the U.S. Never give your financial information to a stranger over the Internet. Browse the Housing Information guides for InterExchange participants below for more tips and advice.
General Housing Information
- Housing information for Work and Travel USA participants
- Housing information for Career Training USA interns and trainees
North Dakota Housing Resources
Some examples of housing and accommodation resources for North Dakota participants include:
- Craigslist – North Dakota
- American Homestay Agency
- Hostelling International
Public transportation options can be hit or miss, depending on your location in the United States. Buses are a common transportation option for short and long-term travel in the U.S., while some areas will also have trains, subways and other options.
Public Transit Systems
There are a limited number of public transit systems in North Dakota. The American Public Transportation Association website has information on public transportation throughout North Dakota, including the following areas:
Amtrak’s Empire Builder travels between Chicago and Washington State, making stops in Fargo, Grand Forks, Devil’s Lake, Rugby, Minot, Stanley and Williston.
Participants in North Dakota can use the following resources in case of an emergency or extreme weather event in their area:
Emergency Management Agencies
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): www.fema.gov and www.ready.gov
- North Dakota FEMA updates: @femaregion8
- National Weather Service
- Weather – Bismarck and western North Dakota
- Weather – Grand Forks and eastern North Dakota
Interact with others and expand your skill set by volunteering in your local community. Volunteer organizations are often looking for short-term volunteers or for individuals to help with a single event, making it a great option for InterExchange participants who wish to add to their cultural exchange experience during their time in the United States.
RSVP + North Dakota helps volunteers find community service opportunities throughout North Dakota. There are both ongoing and one-time volunteering opportunities for volunteers with different types of skills and levels of experience.
Volunteer at the Fargo Marathon and help organize a great community event. Volunteers are an important part of the event and the marathon couldn’t go on without their help.
Great Plains Food Bank needs volunteers to help with tasks like sorting through donations, packing meals, sorting clothing, helping with events and assisting in the office. Groups and individuals are welcome.