University of North Dakota Hockey in Grand Forks

Top 7 Grand Forks North Dakota Favorites

You get the chance to have a fun winter weekend in Grand Forks North Dakota. Here is our list of the top 7 must do things you’ll want to visit in Grand Forks. 

On our drive from Fargo to Grand Forks, the weekend started off a bit chilly with temperatures at -23 degrees. But Winter doesn’t stop the fun in Grand Forks. Put on a warm hat & gloves and enjoy some of the favorite attractions Grand Forks has to offer.

Grand Forks Favorite 1: UND Hockey

Grand Forks is a hockey town. The University of North Dakota has an amazing hockey team and it is the number one fun activity in Grand Forks. We attended the Friday night game against Denver. Sitting behind the student section, we could feel the energy of the crowd. The pep band kept the crowd happy. Of course UND won 4-1.

Even if you aren’t visiting on a game day, you should visit the hockey arena. The Ralph Engelstad Arena, otherwise known as The Ralph, is the nicest college hockey arena anywhere. The Ralph seats over 11,000 fans in comfortable leather seats. As you walk around at period break checking out all of the restaurants, you might notice that the concourse floors are granite. Check out all of the memorabilia from past players, many of whom went on to play in the NHL. There is a great fan shop open daily. Tours are available Monday through Friday for $7 or $5 for Seniors, Students and Military.

Grand Forks Favorite 2: The Red Pepper

If you are in the mood for Mexican after a game or any time of the day, a Grand Forks favorite is the Red Pepper. While you can get the usuals like tacos, you might want to check out a Red Pepper specialty – a Ham Grinder with Taco Meat. A grinder is a sub sandwich and the grinder at the Red Pepper is Grand Forks tradition you might not find anywhere else.

Red Pepper

Grand Forks Favorite 3: Darcy’s Cafe

To get the day started right, check out Darcy’s Cafe. I had a short stack of blueberry pancakes with a side of thick cut bacon. Dear daughter enjoyed cinnamon roll pancakes frosted with tasty cinnamon roll frosting. If you enjoy coffee, they’ll make sure your cup stays full. It’s a small cafe and you may have to wait for a table or a seat at the counter, but it is well worth it.

Blueberry Pancakes at Darcy's Cafe Grand Forks North Dakota
Pancakes at Darcy’s Cafe

Grand Forks Favorite 4: Widman’s Candy

Founded in 1949 in downtown Grand Forks, Widman’s Candy is a legend. They have everything and anything you can imagine dipped in chocolate. Their signature item is Chippers. Chippers are Red River Valley potato chips covered with amazing milk chocolate. People are sometimes skeptical until they try one – and then they are hooked. When you get a pink chippers box as a gift, you know you are in for a treat. The only problem is that they disappear too soon.

Widman's Candy Shop Downtown Grand Forks North Dakota
Widman’s Candy Shop

When you stop in at Widman’s, they will give you a free sample from the candy counter. Selecting only one thing to try might be the hardest decision you’ll need to make that day.

Grand Forks Favorite 5: Tea & Crepe

After doing some exploring, you might be looking for another treat in Grand Forks. Something you might not expect to find is Thai Ice Cream Rolls. The Tea & Crepe offers a variety of sweet treats. But, the one you have to try is a Thai Ice Cream Roll. OK, I know this is a winter weekend in Grand Forks and it might be a bit chilly outside. But, that doesn’t stop anyone from enjoying ice cream.

You select the ice cream flavor, mix-ins and toppings and then the fun begins. I selected berries which were mixed in to the ice cream. On a cold flat surface, the ice cream is spread out. Once chilled, it gets rolled up into several rolls and then placed into a cup. The additional toppings you select get added to the top.

Grand Forks Favorite 6: Rhombus Guys Pizza

In the evening, you might like to head to Rhombus Guys Pizza. They offer a fun selection of tasty pizza flavors like Hawaiian Sunburn or The Great Buffalo. Or, you can just pick whatever toppings you like. We kept it pretty basic with a pepperoni pizza. Rhombus Guys also has a brewery so you’ll be able to order a craft beer to go with your pizza.

Rhombus Guys Pizza Grand Forks North Dakota
Rhombus Guys Pizza

While you wait, you can have some fun drawing on the paper table cloth. Crayons are provided.

Grand Forks Favorite 7: The Empire Theater

The Empire is a historic theater in downtown Grand Forks. Once upon a time, this was the main movie theater in town. In 1998, it was reborn as a performing arts center that stages multiple shows each year. The Empire has a main stage theater for larger shows. UND’s musical theater department will be staging Pump Boys and Dinettes in February. Later this year, you’ll be able to catch Puffs. Earlier this season, they staged Legally Blonde and Elf.

The Empire Theater Grand Forks North Dakota
The Empire Theater

We attended a production of The Moors in the black box theater housed in the basement of The Empire. Seating only about 40, guests get an up-close view of the production. The Moors was a dark comedy. It was well acted and the audience seemed to be enjoying their evening.

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