More than $100 million in public and private funding has done wonders to revitalize Fargo’s once-declining downtown. The investment has centered on a 39-block “Renaissance Zone,” through which Broadway is the central corridor for business, shopping and dining.
Property values in Fargo’s downtown have soared since the Renaissance Zone efforts began in 1999. Exploring Broadway today, you’ll see and feel the impacts of its $10 million facelift project. Strategic investments have made the avenue more appealing and pedestrian-friendly, with iron street furniture, new trees and planting beds alongside the street, decorative pavers and attractive light poles.
Fourteen blocks of downtown are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They recall the decades after the railroad came to Fargo in 1871, when this city — and Broadway specifically — was North Dakota’s commercial, manufacturing and retail hub.
After a major shopping mall opened outside the city limits in 1973, Fargo’s downtown core began a long decline. But both public and private investments and work of the last two decades have dramatically reversed the decline. Broadway is once again a showcase. With some 4,000 students at North Dakota State University taking classes downtown, Broadway has a new-found youth vibe. It has even been named the official downtown “Bicycle/Pedestrian Safety Zone,” with bike racks, bike lockers, and a shared path for riding.
Among the handsomely restored attractions on Broadway include the Fargo Theatre, a onetime stop on the vaudeville circuit, built in 1926 and a lively venue today for independent and foreign films, plus concerts and other live events. The Hotel Donaldson, over a century old, is prized for fine dining and hosts live music. “For everyone who has seen the mosaic mural when you walk in, look closer,” advises the magazine Fargo Monthly. “There’s a door hidden in the wall. People are encouraged to take something and leave something behind.”
There are some other quirky attractions along Broadway, including pop-up businesses and the Red River farmer’s market. You’ll discover many unique art galleries along Broadway, including Gallery 4, a cooperative art gallery that “has miniature art hidden in the floor,” Fargo Monthly notes. “Your kids can enjoy this fun scavenger hunt while you enjoy the original artwork.”
With 75 retailers, 22 bars & nightlife spots, 10 coffee shops, 41 restaurants, eight art galleries and six theatre companies, there are plenty of reasons to keep exploring Broadway and its environs through the evening.
All photos courtesy of Fargo-Moorhead Convention & Visitors Bureau
Fargo, ND is home to a 2016-17 LifeChanger: Amy Petersen