Grand Forks Travel Guide

Plan your trip to Grand Forks with our comprehensive travel guide, including information on must-see attractions, hiking and biking routes, food and drink scene, where to stay, local culture, safety and health, and more.

Introduction to Grand Forks

Grand Forks is a charming city located in the Red River Valley of North Dakota. It is also known as the “City of Gracious Living” because of its friendly and welcoming residents. Grand Forks is a perfect destination for nature lovers, history buffs, and adventure enthusiasts.

List of Places to Visit in Grand Forks

Grand Forks offers a variety of attractions for tourists. Here are some notable places to visit:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • North Dakota Museum of Art - A contemporary art museum located on the University of North Dakota Campus. It features works by local, national, and international artists.
  • Grand Forks County Historical Society - A museum dedicated to preserving the history and culture of Grand Forks County.
  • North Dakota Mill and Elevator - A functioning flour mill that offers tours to visitors.

Natural Attractions of Grand Forks: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Turtle River State Park - A beautiful park with hiking trails, fishing, camping, and scenic overlooks.
  • Red River State Recreation Area - A popular spot for fishing, boating, and camping.
  • Greenway Trail - A paved path that runs along the Red River and offers great views and recreational opportunities.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Grand Forks

Grand Forks has several hiking and biking trails that visitors can explore. Here are some famous routes:

  • Greenway Trail - A 2.6-mile trail that runs along the Red River.
  • Flood Memorial Trail - A 15-mile trail that runs between Grand Forks and East Grand Forks. It offers scenery and views of the Red River Valley.
  • Turtle River State Park Trail - A beautiful walking trail that passes through scenic woods and offers opportunities for bird watching.

Best Things to Do in Grand Forks: Activities and Tours

  • Grand Forks Farmers Market - A popular spot for locals and visitors to buy local produce, crafts, and other goods.
  • University of North Dakota - A public research university located in Grand Forks. It offers tours to visitors.
  • Empire Arts Center - A performing arts center that hosts live music, theater, and other events.

Week-Long Itinerary for Grand Forks

Here is an ideal itinerary for a week in Grand Forks:

Day Activity
Day 1-2 Explore the city, visit museums, and historical places.
Day 3-4 Hike or bike along Greenway Trail and other trails.
Day 5-6 Take a day trip to Turtle River State Park and other natural attractions.
Day 7 Enjoy local food and shopping, relax, and prepare to travel to your next destination.

Food and Drink Scene of Grand Forks

Grand Forks offers a range of food and drink options, from casual diners to upscale restaurants. Here are some must-try dishes and local beverages:

Must-Try Dishes

  • Frybread - A local delicacy made of deep-fried dough and served with toppings like honey, jelly, or powdered sugar.
  • Knoephla Soup - A rich and creamy soup made with chicken and dumplings. It is a popular traditional dish in North Dakota.
  • Lefse - A soft and thin flatbread, made with potatoes, flour, butter, and cream. It is usually eaten with butter or cinnamon sugar.

Local Beverages

  • Beer - Grand Forks is home to several breweries that serve craft beer.
  • Caramel Rolls - A sweet and decadent dessert that is a local favorite in Grand Forks.

Where to Stay in Grand Forks: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Grand Forks offers several options for accommodation, from budget-friendly hostels to luxury hotels. Here are some recommended places to stay:

  • Canad Inns Destination Center - A full-service hotel with a waterpark and on-site restaurants.
  • Lakeview Inn and Suites - A hotel with affordable rates and comfortable rooms.
  • Chelsea Inn Hotel - A boutique-style hotel perfect for a romantic getaway or business trip.

What to Buy in Grand Forks: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

  • Pottery - Grand Forks is home to several pottery studios that produce unique and beautiful pieces.
  • Gourmet Popcorn - A local snack that comes in several flavors, including cheddar, caramel, and butter.
  • Wooden Toys - Handmade wooden toys are a popular souvenir made in Grand Forks.

Local Culture and Customs of Grand Forks

Grand Forks is a friendly and welcoming city, and visitors should respect local customs and culture. Here are some essential things to keep in mind:

  • Be polite and respectful - North Dakotans are known for their politeness. Visitors should reciprocate this by being respectful to locals.
  • Be aware of seasonal weather - North Dakota has a harsh winter season, and visitors should bring warm clothes and prepare accordingly.
  • Tipping - It is customary to tip 15-20% at restaurants, salons, and other service industries.

Best Time to Visit Grand Forks

The best time to visit Grand Forks is from May to September when the weather is pleasant, and outdoor activities are in full swing.

Do’s and Don’ts of Grand Forks


  • Explore the local food scene - Grand Forks offers a range of food and drinks that visitors must try.
  • Take advantage of outdoor activities - Grand Forks has several hiking and biking routes that offer great scenery and recreation opportunities.
  • Respect local customs and culture - Visitors should be polite and respectful toward locals.


  • Underestimate the cold weather - North Dakota has a harsh winter season, and visitors should bring warm clothes.
  • Leave trash - Tourists should always clean up after themselves and dispose of trash in designated areas.
  • Disturb wildlife - Visitors should be careful not to disturb wildlife and obey park rules.

Safety and Health

Safety in Grand Forks

Grand Forks is a safe and friendly city, but visitors should still take precautionary measures to ensure safety. Here are some guidelines to follow:

  • Avoid walking alone, especially at night - Visitors should avoid walking alone at night and stay in well-lit areas.
  • Secure your belongings - Visitors should keep their valuables, such as wallets, phones, and cameras, in a secure place.
  • Be cautious when driving - Visitors should be cautious when driving, especially during winter months, as roads can be icy and hazardous.

Health in Grand Forks

Visitors should keep in mind that Grand Forks is in a rural area, and medical facilities may be limited. Here are some health-related precautions to keep in mind:

  • Stay hydrated - North Dakota has a dry climate, so visitors should drink plenty of water.
  • Bring necessary medications - Visitors should bring any necessary medications with them, as they may not be available in Grand Forks.
  • Be aware of ticks - Visitors should be cautious of ticks, which can spread diseases like Lyme disease.

Getting to Grand Forks: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Grand Forks

  • Grand Forks International Airport - Located five miles northwest of the city, this airport offers non-stop flights to several destinations in the United States.

Bus Stations Near Grand Forks

  • Greyhound Bus Lines - Located in downtown Grand Forks.

Other Options

  • Car Rental - Several car rental companies operate in Grand Forks.
  • Taxi - Taxis are available throughout the city.

How to Get Around in Grand Forks

Grand Forks is a small and walkable city, but visitors can also use public transportation. Here are some options for getting around:

  • Bus - The city offers a bus service that operates on several routes.
  • Taxi - Taxis are available throughout the city.
  • Bike - Visitors can rent bikes from several bike rental companies in the city.

Where to Go Next from Grand Forks: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

  • Fargo, North Dakota - A vibrant city located two hours south of Grand Forks, Fargo offers a range of cultural attractions, dining options, and outdoor activities.
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba - Located two hours north of Grand Forks, Winnipeg is the gateway to Canada and offers world-class museums, galleries, and shopping.


Grand Forks is a beautiful and welcoming city that offers a range of attractions and activities for visitors. From exploring local history and culture to enjoying hiking and biking trails, there is something for everyone in Grand Forks.