Nothing quite compares to the holiday season in North Dakota. Even with cooler temps, North Dakota’s charming towns get decked out with boughs of holly, twinkling lights, festive trees and more that will send the warmth of the season all the way down to your toes. This year, North Dakota Tourism invites visitors to experience the magical, one-of-a-kind, festive experiences the state has to offer.
Christkindlmarkt | Fargo
A German Christmas market, Christkindlmarkt, evokes a European winter wonderland November 18 – 21 at the Fargo Civic Center. With experiences inspired from across the pond, the market dazzles with a merry schedule of events including live musical performances, art demonstrations, food, mulled wine, a Bier Hall, gift market, children’s activities and more. This year, extended hours will allow guests to fully immerse themselves in the event and enjoy the market later into the evening.
Holly Dazzle Festival of Lights | Grand Forks
Enjoy the Holly Dazzle Festival of Lights in downtown Grand Forks with free activities for all ages such as sleigh rides, cookie and ornament decorating along with s’mores, hot chocolate, and ice skating in Town Square. This holiday cheer will be followed by the Holiday Parade of Lights, tree lighting ceremony and a winter fireworks show. Join the fun on November 20 from 1-5:30 p.m.
Mandan Holiday Lights on Main | Mandan
New in 2022, the “Mandan Holiday Lights on Main” will light up the streets of Mandan and bring everyone a little bit of holiday magic. With innovative and larger-than-life light displays arranged in Dykshoorn Park, the event will engage the traditional spirit of the holiday season along with activities that will exemplify Mandan’s uniqueness as a vibrant and engaging community. The “Mandan Holiday Lights on Main'' is a free event beginning on November 26 and will be open to the public each evening from 5-10 p.m. until January 7.
Dickens Village Festival | Garrison
Held every Thanksgiving weekend and the two following weekends, the holiday season truly begins in Garrison with the Dickens Village Festival. Known as the “Christmas Capital of North Dakota'' the town transforms itself into the jolliest place with Queen Elizabus rides, a lighted parade, craft shows, tree decorating contests, and more. Live entertainment performs every day, and every Friday and Saturday night there is a performance of the play itself at the Kota Theater. A full schedule of events and tickets are located on their website.
Old Fashioned Cowboy Christmas | Medora
Step back into the wild west mixed with a little holiday cheer at the annual Old Fashioned Cowboy Christmas December 2 - 4 in Medora. The weekend-long event is filled with several activities including tasty eats on the street, shopping, dancing, a gingerbread contest and more for the whole family to enjoy. You can also catch a showing of “A Very Merry Badlands Christmas.” This holiday favorite takes place at the charming Old Town Hall Theater with a wonderful story put on by the Medora Musical stars. Tickets are on sale now for showings December 1 - 18.
Holiday Lights Parade and Winterfest | Fargo
The Holiday Winterfest is an annual kick off celebration in Downtown Fargo that’s filled with sparkling lights, warm treats, ice skating, gift donations and more. Snap your picture at the holiday photo stations, skate on the SCHEELS Skating Rink, and play holiday-themed games all for free at the outdoor Fargo Park District event on December 3 from 12-4 p.m. Don’t forget to watch the parade that includes dozens of entries that are decorated with lights and music.
Canadian Pacific Holiday Train
After a two-year hiatus, the Canadian Pacific Holiday train will roll through North Dakota once again with stops in Carrington, Harvey, Minot, and Kenmare on December 17. This train does not offer rides but puts on a rocking holiday concert with musical stars, Alan Doyle, and Kelly Prescott. Organizers politely ask that attendees to the free events bring a food donation that will directly go to local food banks.
Igloo Dining | Fargo and Mandan
Embrace the colder temps and enjoy unique dining experiences in Fargo and Mandan. Crave, an American kitchen and sushi bar in The District at West Acres Mall offers heated igloos for up to six people. Enjoy a glammed-up ski lodge-inspired snow hut at Rosewild’s Ice House Chalets in downtown Fargo featuring fur décor, twinkle lights, and, of course, a heater to maximize comfort for up to six guests. 701 Eateries also has a cozy rooftop dining experience featuring igloos. Their igloos are not insulated so if you decide to brave it, wear warm clothes, boots, hats & mittens. The Polar Trap in Mandan provides a unique winter dining experience that is all the more festive inside their cozy and heated igloos.
Send a little North Dakota
Can’t make it to North Dakota for the festivities? Don’t worry, North Dakota has several unique gifts that can be shipped to friends and family nationwide.
Every holiday season, Grand Forks residents make their way to a local candy store for its famous chocolate covered potato chips known as “Chippers.” For four generations, the Widman family has been using North Dakota’s Red River Valley potato chips to make decadent chips covered in milk, dark and white almond chocolate. The name “Chippers” was designated to the treat by the store’s loyal customers.
Beyond Buckskin features over 40 artists that produce traditional jewelry, clothing, accessories, and home decor. This boutique shares Indigenous cultures' ancient designs, natural materials, and cultural stories to modern fashion. There is a brick-and-mortar store on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt or browse all their unique, gorgeous products online.
For more on Legendary gifts for everyone on your list, check out North Dakota’s Holiday Gift Guide.
Follow North Dakota Tourism on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TravelND, on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/northdakotalegendary/ or on Twitter at http://twitter.com/NorthDakota and get tips on what to see and do all year long.