Holiday Guide: The Quintessential Thanksgiving in North Dakota

From drinking at a bar the night before Thanksgiving, to eating a fresh piece of pie, to watching a festive parade, there is no shortage of Thanksgiving events across North Dakota. Follow our quintessential Thanksgiving guide to see the best the state has to offer!

1. Boots Bar & Grill, Medora, ND

Since 2009, Boots Bar & Grill has been providing Medora with a phenomenal bar and restaurant. Their food menu includes options like steaks, burgers, homemade pizza, and much more. The drink menu include bottle and draft beer, show wines, white and red wines, and specialty drinks like Bloody Mary, margarita, pineapple martini, and Orange Julius. Head to this watering hole on Thanksgiving Eve for an unforgettable night!

Because TWO speeding tickets in one day. #FML #atleastnotcaughtgoing100mph

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2. Holiday Lights Parade Downtown, Fargo, ND

Downtown Fargo comes alive during the Holiday Lights Parade Downtown in the days before Thanksgiving. This free event has hundreds of participants and tons of dazzling lighted parade floats, marching units and bands, and horseback riders. This holiday parade is the perfect event—with both Thanksgiving and Christmas magic!

3. North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum, Bismarck, ND

Use this holiday season to remind yourself and your family about North Dakota’s history. The North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum in Bismarck is the state’s largest museum and includes everything from its geological formation about 600 million years ago to pre-Columbian civilizations to modern history. Some of the most popular exhibits are the Adaption Gallery: Geological Time, Early Peoples, North Dakota and the Great War, and Yesterday and Today which shows the state’s people through a variety of themes like a homestead shack, a 1950s diner, and modern farming displays.

4. Kirkwood Mall, Bismarck, ND

The Kirkwood Mall in Bismarck is the second largest mall in North Dakota at 850,000 square-feet. Opening early in the morning and not closing until late at night, Black Friday is clearly a big deal at this mall. They have over 90 stores and plenty of holiday deals.

5. Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site, Stanton, ND

Learn about the lives of the Northern Plains Indians who call North Dakota home. Activities at the Knife River Indian Villages include a 15-minute orientation film about the Buffalo Bird Woman who lived at the Knife River Indian Villages, learn about the culture and history of the Hidatsa people from exhibits and artifacts, tour the reconstructed structures, and see the remnants of the Awatixa Xi’e Village (Lower Hidatsa site) and Awatixa Village (Sakakawea site).

6. Cystic Fibrosis Association Turkey Trot, Bismarck, ND

Lace up your running shoes and burn off some of the calories from your Thanksgiving Feast at Bismarck’s Cystic Fibrosis Association Turkey Trot. Each year, thousands of runners (and walkers) hit the trails around the Missouri River for a 5K run, 10K run, 5K competitive walk, and a fun walk. This family friendly event is on Thanksgiving morning. For the majority of its income, the Turkey Trot relies on pledges. Contact the Cystic Fibrosis Association for more information about collecting pledges.

7. Magic City Turkey Trot, Minot, ND

Join other runners from Minot for the Magic City Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. It is an untimed race, either 5K or 1K. Runners and walkers are encouraged to wear festive costumes. Awards will be given for the best dressed and most spirited runners. 

8. Salvation Army, Williston, ND

Spend the holiday season by giving back to the community by volunteering at Salvation Army. This organization offers a wide range of services including food shelf services, Thanksgiving and Christmas assistance, transportation assistance, classes, and after-school programs, so no matter what your talents are, your time can make a big different for the community! Sign up online for more information about volunteering opportunities.

9. Taylor Made BBQ, Mandan, ND

This family owned and operated barbecue joint is a local favorite. Not in the mood to make a big meal over the holidays? Head to Taylor Made BBQ and sink your teeth into their gourmet dishes. Their dynamic menu includes sandwiches, “Meat Flight for 2” (quarter pound of brisket, ribs, turkey, & pulled pork, three sides of your choice, and two dinner rolls), and a variety of side. They claim to have the coldest beer in Mandan, but we’ll let you be the judge of that! The beer menu has Coors Light, Dales Pale Ale, Surly IPA, Blue Moon, Bells Two Hearted Ale, and Shiner Bock.

Our fav spot to get BBQ in Mandan 😎

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