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Category Archives: Travel & Tourism

Plan for a Simply Grand time

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Conveniently located at the junction of Interstate 29/Exit 141 and Highway 2 (4251 Gateway Drive), the Visitor Center is a friendly stopping point for information on Greater Grand Forks events, attractions, shopping, dining and accommodations.  We also have brochures on North Dakota, Minnesota and Winnipeg, along with maps for most states.   Professional travel consultants will be available to answer your questions from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday thru Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday.  Even when we’re closed, there is an after-hours information box right outside the front door which is always stocked with Grand Forks Visitors Guides, Simply Grand $avings Coupon Books and North Dakota state maps.   The Visitor Center also houses our Simply Grand Gift Shop, featuring a wide variety of local and regional products.  You’ll find items ranging from RBJ’s Strawberry Rhubarb Jam, North Prairie Signature Bison Sticks and Dot’s Homestyle Pretzels to Grand Forks wine glasses, mugs and t-shirts.  We’re excited to announce that our visitor center manager and in-house designers are currently working feverishly on some cool new souvenir additions soon to be hitting the shelves!   Our updated Visitor Center offers free Wi-Fi for guests; plus, use of …

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Showing off at the Fritz

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Move over Big Apple, Grand Forks is stealing some of the spotlight when it comes to bringing in top-notch shows!  Since 1972, the Chester Fritz Auditorium stage has hosted numerous legendary performances in a variety of genres. With events ranging from Broadway musicals to Moscow’s ballet, their current schedule promises not to disappoint.   At just over 2,300 seats, Chester Fritz is the perfect size to host musical theater and intimate concerts.  The superb sound system, renowned acoustics and auditorium layout are such that it makes you feel at one with the production.   Experience a little of the auditorium’s great history by strolling down the halls lined with autographed pictures of past performers, just some of whom include the Oak Ridge Boys, Foreigner, John Mellencamp, Bette Midler and Jerry Seinfeld. When you’re in the lobby, make sure to look up and enjoy the iconic beauty of the Starcher Chandelier.  Custom made in Italy, it is lighted by approximately 30 lamps and blends 5,550 lead crystal beads, prisms and tear drops.   Whether it’s a family outing or date night out, Chester Fritz Auditorium has been the place to go for over 40 years.  And no matter what show (or …

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Parking it at Turtle River

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Greek philosopher Aristotle once said: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”  We at the Greater Grand Forks Convention & Visitors Bureau (aka Visit Grand Forks) couldn’t agree more!  While our two towns offer up lots of simply grand outdoor spots for both adults and kids to enjoy…less than a half hour drive away, you’ll find one more great place to play!   Situated on in a scenic wooded valley, Turtle River State Park (TRSP) is located just 22 miles west of Grand Forks on Highway 2. TRSP was constructed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps and offers year-round recreational activities such as camping, picnicking, fishing, hiking and biking. Rustic group cabins can also be rented.   If fishing is your thing, the Turtle River is stocked with rainbow trout.  No pole?  No worries!  You can borrow all the needed gear at the park office.   To truly experience TRSP, I suggest lacing up the hiking boots.  Another way to capture all the beauty is to pedal your way through. The park also offers up cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails for some cool winter recreational opportunities.   Pack your own lunch or swing by a …

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Summertime fun under SimplyGrand skies

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Warm temps plus sunny skies can only equal one thing: summer has officially arrived in our two Forks! While there are certainly many more, below are my top five SimplyGrand seasonal to-dos.   LISTENING SESSIONS. If you’re a fellow music lover, definitely add the Happy Harry’s Blues on the Red three-part summer music series to your calendar.  The final two concerts take place July 28 and August 15 in Town Square.  From 5 to 10 PM, listen to some of our region’s top blues musicians while enjoying tasty eats and drinks served up by local establishments.  Admission is just $5 but the food and brews are extra.   EXPLORING GREENS ON THE RED. Strolling or rolling on our beautifully groomed Greenway Trail System is a perfect way to enjoy a sunny day. Hop on a bike, strap on the inline skates or simply use your tennis shoes to propel yourself around.  Like to try navigating our north-flowing Red River?  Stop by Boathouse on the Red (weekends only from 10 AM to 8 PM) and rent a canoe, kayak or stand-up paddleboard. My favorite Greenway spot is near downtown because it’s easy to refuel with a yummy homemade cupcake or muffin …

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Summer brings SimplyGraNDMOA concerts

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Nothing beats listening to great live music, on a beautiful summer evening, under our simply grand skies.  If you agree, we’ve got some awesome news from you…the popular North Dakota Museum of Art (NDMOA) Concerts in the Garden series is back again this summer!   Be sure to bring a lawn chair or blanket plus several of your friends.  All the fun takes place in the NDMOA sculpture garden, on the University of North Dakota campus, located at 261 Centennial Drive. Tickets are $12 at the door and free for those 12 and younger. There will also be food and beverages available for purchase, including local grass-fed hamburgers, vegetable skewers, nightly specials, root beer floats, beer and wine.   Performance dates, along with scheduled artists, are as follows:   Tuesday, July 10, 6 PM ~ THE BREVET (Irvine, CA): The Brevet, comprised of Aric Chase Damm (lead vocals, guitar), Michael Jones (backing vocals, piano), David Aguiar (backing vocals, drums) and Ben Ross (bass, backing vocals), is a young American band from sunny Southern California. The band released their debut album “Battle of the Heart” in April 2013 and have been met with great success ever since.   Tuesday, July 17, …

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Five Fabulous Food Farmers’ Market Finds

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  Travel writer Shel Zolkewich selects a handful of tasty treats to sample as you stroll the market on a summery Saturday morning.   Market season is upon us! And there’s no better place for foodies to taste the bounty of the season than at The Town Square Farmers’ Market, open every Saturday from 9am to 1:30 pm at the corner of 3rd Street and Demers Avenue. Whether you come to the market hungry and want to snack and stroll—or take home some treats for dinner, the market offers delicious options, all locally made and fresh as can be.   Kick off your visit with a stop at Bully Brew Coffee for a cold-brewed coffee. It comes in a reusable plastic cup that turns blue when it gets cold! It’ll keep you energized at you explore the rest of the market. You could also opt for a hot coffee and a variety of every-changing treats including a monster cookie, scone or toffee bar. This local business has four bustling locations, and plans to open a fifth in East Grand Forks this summer. Coffee for one and all!   The irresistible aroma of freshly roasted nuts is coming from the far …

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Kid Stuff 101

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Yay, school’s out for the summer!  Uh-oh, now what am I gonna do?  If you’re looking for things to entertain kids, Greater Grand Forks has lots of options!   For outdoor fun, try Sherlock Forest Playground, Sherlock Park Pool or LaGrave Outdoor Skate Park, all located in East Grand Forks.  The Grand Forks Park District runs three outdoor spray parks (University Park, Elks Pool and Choice) plus the newly remodeled Riverside Pool and several playgrounds located throughout the city.  If you feel adventurous, rent a canoe from Boathouse on the Red and spend the day navigating our Red River of the North.  Just a short 22 miles west of Grand Forks on Highway 2, Turtle River State Park sponsors a summer series called “Dakota Explorers,” which is a hands-on environmental program for youngsters.  Summerthing Kids Family Fun Festival, Family Community Block Party and Sertoma’s 4th of July Festival all feature many different games and activities.   On rainy day or when the temp dips a little too low, just head inside.  The Canad Inns Destination Center features a tropical themed water park and mega arcade for both guests and non-guests.  Likewise, the new Choice Health & Fitness facility offers an …

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What’s up is Downtown

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Interested in doing some shopping but still want to enjoy the beautiful summer weather?  Then you really need to check out the region’s top Outdoor Farmers Market!  It kicks off June 16 and takes place every Saturday through September, from 9 AM to 1:30 PM, in Town Square (corner of DeMers Avenue and 3rd Street).  Vendors sell everything from fresh produce and flowers to home baked bread and pies to handmade jewelry and pottery.  You’ll also be able to enjoy an array of tasty food truck fare and great live entertainment on the Square’s main stage.  If you’d like to learn more about how our fabulous Forks were founded, guided Historical Walking Tours are held at 1 PM during every Farmers Market.   While in the area, make sure to explore both of our beautiful downtowns (Grand Forks, North Dakota and East Grand Forks, Minnesota) and discover all they have to offer.  Below are some suggestions for a day or two of fun.   Downtown Adventures             Take a stroll through streets that lead to places where past and present meet.  Historic buildings house 21st century businesses.  Attractive public art captures the spirit of our …

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pARTy up down by the Red

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Get ready…this weekend the Greenway, Town Square and Cabela’s parking lot will be lined with great shopping, entertainment, food and plenty of fun during Art on the Red 2018!  Formerly known as Grand Cities Art Fest, the Public Arts Commission (PAC) Art on the Red will feature over 150 quality artists and crafters from around the nation selling their wares.  Examples of the different media include ceramics, drawing, glass, jewelry, metal, naturals and painting.  Dozens of food vendors will be on hand to tantalize your taste buds with everything from caramel apples, funnel cakes and kettle korn to Indian fry bread tacos, Southern barbecue and Somali samosas.  And don’t forget to check out NoVAC’s Arts in Action, Fine Arts Avenue, Kids’ Corner and the Main Stage.   NoVAC’s Arts in Action: Are you curious about how artists turn raw materials into amazing works of art?  At Arts in Action, sculptors will perform live demonstrations of their art-making process in the Town Square.   Fine Arts Avenue: What happens when you take simple, inexpensive materials and add inspiration and talent?  You get Fine Arts Avenue where more than 25 of the region’s finest artists will be offering items worthy of any art …

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Make a SimplyGrand grape escape

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See ya later Sonoma.  Maybe next time Napa Valley.  No need to travel across the country when you can pick great grapes and taste grand wines right here in Greater Grand Forks…at the popular Grape Mill Vineyard and Winery!   Overlooking the banks of our beautiful Red Lake River, Grape Mill’s cold hardy vines produce red, white and blush varieties with a unique, palate-pleasing flavor specific to this region. The Halversons – Russ, Gail and Matt – planted their first 200 grape vines back in 2006.  Today, the vineyard has well over 2,000 vines including the varieties Marquette, La Crescent, Frontenac Gris, Frontenac Blanc and Brianna.  Bottles of Grape Mill wine were even featured in Super Bowl LII celebrity gift baskets.   Situated on the estate, take a stroll through the vineyard and discover just what makes their vines so special.  You’ll also learn how each variety is grown, cultivated and turned into delicious wine.   After taking the tour, be sure to stop in Grape Mill’s tasting room and try some of your favorites or grab a bottle to take home for later.  On most Saturdays, you’ll also be serenaded by talented local musicians while you sip and savor.   …

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