Five places to discover Forksful of cool culture

Whether it be national concert tours, Broadway style shows or grand works of art, our two Forks offer a variety of ways to get cultured! Here are a mere five of my favs.

Empire Arts Center

Besides being one of the most beautiful buildings in Forks, the historic Empire Arts Center (EAC) has become a Downtown hub of great live entertainment. Renovated in 1998, the Empire is a circa 1919 movie house turned multi-use theater and gallery facility. In addition to hosting numerous concerts, classic films, North Dakota Ballet Company productions and other special events, EAC produces an annual theater season through its in-house Empire Theatre Company. With everything from hilarious musicals to impactful dramas, their productions will have you laughing, crying and up on your feet cheering. The Empire is also home to the University of North Dakota Art Collections Gallery, which has featured works by several acclaimed artists.

North Dakota Museum of Art

Where can you find a life-size giraffe, classical music from the nation’s top string quartet, unique gifts, delicious culinary creations and works from internationally acclaimed artists? If you’re a fan of all things far out and fabulous, you definitely need to spend a day at NDMOA! A must-see is the Barton Lidice Benes permanent exhibit.  Ranging from a mounted giraffe and warthog to tribal masks and antiques, this eclectic collection will leave you awestruck. Acclaimed artist Barton Benes gifted the contents of his New York apartment to the museum, which includes over $1 million in African, Egyptian and contemporary art. NDMOA is also noted for the many musical events it hosts throughout the year including Sunday Concerts in the Galleries and Summer Concerts in the Garden.  After checking out all NDMOA has to offer artistically, make a stop at the Museum Café for a delicious lunch. Before you go, don’t forget to peruse through the Gift Shop filled with unique, artsy items.

Alerus Center

Grand Forks’ premiere performance and convention complex, the Alerus Center is the perfect place to entertain and be entertained. Completed in 2001, with recent additions and an upcoming remodel, it is considered one of the top facilities in the country. The main arena, with a full set seating capacity of 22,000, has been used for a wide variety of events. Some of the most popular performers in the nation – including Chris Stapleton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Metallica, Cher, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Cirque du Soleil – have all taken center stage at the Alerus. You’ll find the acoustics to be astounding, especially for such a large arena, thanks to their state-of-the-art sound system. The Public Art Commission (PAC), in cooperation with the Alerus Center, has created a gallery in the meeting room prefunction hallway. Known as the Bruce Gjovig Collection, its goal is to showcase local artists.

Fire Hall Theatre

The Greater Grand Forks Community Theatre is a nonprofit organization, established in 1947, to provide the opportunity for everyone to experience and participate in live theatrical entertainment. In 1982, the Number One Fire Hall was purchased from the City of Grand Forks and renovated into a quaint one hundred seat performance venue. It is currently listed as one of the oldest community theatres in the nation. Productions held here provide the audience a unique, up close and personal experience with the actors. From quirky comedies to avant-garde dramas, Fire Hall shows are always worthy of a standing O!

Downtown Public Art

If you love grand art and the great outdoors, combine the two with a public art walk. You’ll find an array of unique works scattered about Downtown, each with its own story and personality. Town Square is always a good starting point. While there, take a selfie with one of our BIG Heads or pose in front of the cool new Grand Forks mural. There are also several pocket parks dotting the landscape including my favorite, Loon Park, which is located behind Ely’s Ivy. A smattering of eclectic sculptures can be found near the Alley of Love and Urban Stampede Coffee House, which also houses the World’s Smallest Art Gallery. Continue on 3rd Street to Rhombus Guys Brewery and check out the impressive mural on the building’s south wall, where its small dots of color are designed to be viewed from afar. A perfect spot to enjoy a cup of coffee and one of the most scenic river views in Forks is Flood Memorial Park. Located adjacent to our amazing Greenway Trail System, the large obelisk commemorates the historic 1997 flood and is not only a sobering reminder of the challenges our community faced but also about hope and recovery.

More information about these and countless other activities, events, restaurants, stores and more may be found at We also invite you to follow Visit Greater Grand Forks on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.