Founded in 1870 and incorporated in 1881, Grand Forks is now the third largest city in North Dakota. Over time it has changed from an assembly point of Native Americans, to a trading station of French fur trappers, to a farming community. Grand Forks developed quickly with the coming of the railroad and construction of a state-owned mill. In 1954 the city became the home of the Grand Forks Air Base which brought thousands of new people and new jobs.
Homes and infrastructure were devastated by flood waters in 1997. Since then many important public and private facilities have been constructed—a levee system, the Greater Grand Forks Greenway, two big sports centers and a 13 story hotel and water park. All in all the city has managed to recover from the 1997 catastrophe and increased its population to more than 53,000 in 2010.
When to Visit
Grand Forks has four seasons—extremely cold and snow-bound winters, hot and humid summers, short lived springs and summers. There are sudden but short variations in weather conditions, quite marked from January to July. The average temperature in January is 5.3F and 69.4F in July. Average annual snowfall is 40 inches (3.3 feet). Extreme temperatures were recorded on January 2004 (-60F) and on July 1936 (121F). Book your Grand Forks City Hotels with Reservations.com.
ñ North Dakota was a “dry” state in 1900 and many of its residents crossed the river to East Grand Forks where they could get a beer (made by a local brewery) and other liquor at any one of 30 saloons
ñ In the same year local merchants brought hundreds of Canadians to Grand Fork. Since then the Winnipeg Day has been celebrated each year to encourage local tourism
ñ The leading private employer and health care provider in Grand Forks is the Altru Health Systems
ñ Grand Forks was awarded the title 6th Best Small City to relocate a family in the US and was 10th in Sperling’s Best Places in 2004
ñ Grand Forks is an advocate of Green Living, getting two energy and cost efficient hybrid buses for its public transportation system.
Things to Do
Try to hook some fat and large specimens of catfish during the end of summer festival called Catfish Days. Get some pickles. Go to the Hilton Garden Inn, check in and order a bloody Mary. It comes with a pickle. Eat it and get another pickle. Visit the North Dakota Museum of Art at the University of North Dakota.
The museum is a showcase of modern Native American art done by artists who come from places like Cuba, Indiana and Minnesota. Spend a day with your kids at the Turtle River Park. Children can explore the trails using their bikes, scooters, tricycles or feet. The camping grounds are provided with clean water and restrooms.
You can take your pick. Grand Forks’ first Mexican restaurant is the Mexican Village. The food is a Mex-Dakota fusion. You get chicken burritos served with a local gravy. Delicious nonetheless.
The Big Sioux Cafe serves Big Breakfasts including the Trucker Special—ham, bacon, sausage, onions, cheese, mushrooms and sweet peppers over hash browns and topped with 2 eggs. For slightly more formal dining, Sanders 1907 serves Swiss Eiger steak, crab cakes and buffalo meat.