Embracing the Chill: Things to do in the F-M area this winter

Winter has hit full force in the Fargo-Moorhead area. Despite blue skies and sunshine, the temperatures have fallen below zero. Streets and sidewalks are often slick, and the snow keeps piling up. 

For many people, winter means staying home and watching a movie or curling up next to a fireplace with a mug of hot chocolate and a good book. 

But even with the snow and the cold, there are still ways to stay active around the Fargo-Moorhead area. 

“The good news is that there is a ton of stuff to do,” said Kurt Manning, a junior biology and environmental studies major who loves to get outside. “The bad news is that in the winter, especially with how cold it is right now, you need some kind of gear. At the very least you need a good hat, gloves, coat and boots.”

So once you’re bundled up and ready to go, here are eight favorite winter activities from Concordia students and Fargo-Moorhead locals. 

Go Cross-Country Skiing
Kurt Manning and his friends cross country skiing | Emma Vogel

Cross-country skiing is an activity that Manning enjoys in the winter. 

“It’s my absolute favorite thing to do,” he said. “There’s really beautiful trails in town.” 

There are sixteen parks with access to groomed trails in the Fargo-Moorhead area. Manning’s favorite trail begins in Woodlawn Park, just half a mile from campus, and runs along the Red River. If you do not own a pair of skis, they can be rented at the Hjemkomst Center or the Edgewood Golf Course. 

Sled at the Dike

For Tor Kartenson, a sophomore music major, sledding at the dike is a winter classic. Kartenson has lived in the Fargo-Moorhead area for his entire life. Dike East Park contains a big hill that was constructed to keep the river from flowing over. However, in the winter it takes on a new purpose as a sledding hill. 

Attend Frostival 

Frostival is an annual celebration of winter. It includes events such as the Cold Cinema, Coffee & Cocoa Crawl, Sleigh Rides and live music. 

Frostival started five years ago as a weekend celebration and it has expanded to include events starting on January 13 and going to February 27, according to Jayci Altenbernd, the digital marketing manager at the Fargo-Moorhead Visitors Center. Altenbernd attended an opening event that included a light tunnel and a snow sculpture competition. A full schedule of events can be found at www.frostival.com

Visit a Museum 

For people who would rather stay inside when the temperatures are so low, visiting one of the museums in the area is a good option, Manning said. 

The Plains Art Museum in Fargo is the largest art museum in North Dakota, with over 4,000 local, regional and national works. Admission to the museum is free, according to the Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau. 

Another notable museum is the Hjemkomst Center, which shares Scandinavian heritage and culture. Inside the center is a full-size replica of a Vikings ship, and next to the cultural center is a replica of Stavkirke, a traditional Norwegian church. 

Take Classes at Fly Fitness

One of Altenbernd’s favorite ways to get a workout indoors is attending classes at Fly Fitness, she said. Fly Fitness opened in 2019 in downtown Fargo. The center offers classes in cycling, strength and cardio interval training and yoga. 

Go Ice Skating 

Another favorite winter activity for Kartenson is ice skating. This year, Fargo opened a rink on Broadway Square. However, this is not the only rink in the city. Before this rink was opened, Kartenson would skate at other parks around the city, he said. Skates can be rented for $5. 

Climb at Nature of the North

For anyone interested in rock climbing, Nature of the North is a great location to check out. Just a mile away from campus, it offers a bouldering wall that caters to many different skill levels. Climbing at Nature of the North is another of Manning’s favorite activities. Climbing shoes can be rented at the location, and the first climb is just $5, Manning said. Additional climbs are also discounted for students with a valid ID. 

Get Coffee at Twenty Below 

When the weather is cold, enjoying a hot drink at a coffee shop is always a great option. Altenbernd’s favorite coffee shop is Twenty Below. In addition to their location in Fargo, Twenty Below recently opened a new location in Moorhead, within walking distance from Concordia’s campus. If you visit the shop when it is below 20 degrees outside, you will receive a token for a free coffee, according to Twenty Below’s Facebook page. 

Stopping at a coffee shop is also a great way to warm up and stay hydrated after spending time outdoors, Manning said. 

“If you’re going to go outside when it’s cold make sure you drink a lot of water,” Manning said. “Or hot chocolate, or tea, or a combination of all three. Don’t do that, maybe that’s gross.” 

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