The Peace Garden State has a wide variety of places to see. Beautiful parts of nature, impressive architectural structures, and historic small towns are all examples of some of the best places that North Dakota has to visit. But what about the more unusual side of things? These 8 places you can go to are a little different compared to everywhere else, and here’s why:
1. 'Fargo' Wood Chipper - Fargo
Want to get your picture shoving a leg into the real movie prop from
Fargo? I mean who wouldn't, right? Although the wood chipping scene in the movie was in Minnesota, not North Dakota, the actual authentic wood chipper prop from the movie has found its way to the visitor's center in Fargo where you can pose for pictures while wearing a cool hat. Maybe a little strange to greet visitors to the city with, but hey, it's famous! I'll admit it, I find it mostly weird, but kind of neat at the same time.
2. Paul Broste Rock Museum - Parshall
This museum is exactly as it sounds, no surprises here. It's dedicated to rocks, specifically one man's collection of rocks, most of which were cut and polished into spheres. From the rarest samples to the local granite the actual museum was built out of, this place is full of samples and is actually quite a sight to behold. And it definitely takes the cake as the most unusual museum in North Dakota. It's fascinating but definitely a bit different.
3. Old Armory - Williston
I guess having a castle-like design seems most fitting for an armory, especially one known as the Old Armory. This place in Williston may cause some double takes when you first see it. It was built in 1915, which was way after the time of castles, but this design was actually kind of popular for armories during that time. Regardless, it's definitely stands out but is still in use for various things today. Pretty cool piece of history, even if it's not your average type of architecture!
4. McHenry Railroad Loop - McHenry
This place is definitely a unique hidden gem in North Dakota that is often forgotten. Even its construction was puzzling to people at first. Though they knew the railroad would reach the end of the line in McHenry, instead of going for the cheap option of putting in a railroad turntable, they made a huge loop for the trains to turn around with. Believe it or not, the town was named after the man who designed this loop - E.H. McHenry. This also ended up being the town's biggest attraction for many years after the railroad left the town, loop and all, and they decided to open it for rides. Unfortunately the upkeep of the loop proved to outweigh the profits resulting in the loop and the station at the beginning being auctioned off some years ago. Today it is slowly decaying but is still visible via satellite imagery. In the spring, it is usually partially covered by the lake next to it. There is no other place like it pretty much anywhere else!
5. Grand Sky Drone Park - Grand Forks
This is actually a brand new drone park - yes, you read that right - that is still under construction. It is the first commercial drone park to exist anywhere and is located right in Grand Forks, North Dakota. It is going to be used for testing all kinds of drones, both official and privately owned, large and small, and many businesses interested in drones can use it. There isn't any other place like it, but not many other places have big and beautiful - grand, you might say - skies like North Dakota does.
6. Vinyl Taco - Fargo
A vinyl taco in it of itself does not sound very tasty and the concept of this restaurant in general might confuse a passerby, but this place is actually super awesome. The interior is full of both retro and modern flair, plus neons, and they do serve both tacos and vinyl; that is, you get to listen to some great music played on vinyl while eating your tasty tacos. This place is definitely quite unique and a bit unusual, but all kinds of great at the same time. Their food is top notch and well worth a trip, even if this oddity might put you off from a first glance. Don't judge a book, or should we say record, by its cover!
7. Safeguard Missile Complex - Nekoma
This place is borderline creepy in some aspects. This huge pyramid on the prairie is certainly one of the most bizarre spots in North Dakota, and it's history and interior doesn't change that. It's actually a giant radar system, surrounded by (now empty) missile silos in the ground, at one point ready to fend off the US from any incoming nuclear attacks back in the Cold War. But even then it wasn't really used. It closed after just a few days of operation, and well after months of construction along with millions of dollars put into its creation. This place is all kinds of crazy no matter which way you put it.
8. Art Moderne House - Grand Forks
No house beats this one when it comes to out of the ordinary architecture in North Dakota. It is following the art moderne style which obviously hasn't ever been quite a popular way to go in North Dakota or much of anywhere else. Nonetheless, it is truly unique and adds a bit of flair to the neighborhood.
I didn’t know some of these even existed! I might have to try visiting them all some day. There’s some other unusual places in North Dakota that are a bit more on the creepy side that I wouldn’t probably visit myself, like
these spooky ghost towns. You never know what a place may be hiding…