Why Downtown Fargo is the perfect spot for Christmas shopping

Written by: Mike Allmendinger

Featured photo by J. Alan Paul Photography
Other photos courtesy of Josie Danz

Fargo is a retail destination for shoppers from hundreds of miles around, anchored by the very successful West Acres Shopping Center. As the largest mall in the state, West Acres has established Fargo as a shopping mecca in the minds of North Dakotans and Manitobans alike.

West Acres is anchored by national and regional chains that draw in a critical mass of shoppers, which has allowed smaller, local retailers—both inside the mall and surrounding it—to flourish.

There’s another retail destination in Fargo that offers more than 75 eclectic, local, small retailers: Downtown Fargo. Shopping in Downtown Fargo holds surprises and experiences that you won’t find anywhere else.

The picturesque magic of the holiday lights along Broadway is brought you by the Downtown Fargo Business Improvement District, a collaboration of downtown property owners who pool resources to continuously improve the neighborhood. They’ve upped their game this year with more and brighter lights that make the sidewalks glow.

For those nostalgic for the vintage practice of dressing store windows for the holidays, the retailers of the Downtown Community Partnership bring you #WindowWinterWonderland. On Saturday, December 17, stroll down Broadway and be dazzled by the creativity of our merchants. Then, step inside the shops to be dazzled by in-store specials and holiday surprises.

Study after study shows that when you choose to shop at a local, independently owned business, much more of your dollar stays in your community, creating more local wealth and jobs.

The Red Silo, an upcycling shop at 12 Broadway, has partnered with Dakota Carriage Company to offer horse-drawn carriage rides through Downtown each Sunday afternoon through December 18. (A great family picture idea!)

On Thursday, December 22, Downtown retailers offer gift- wrapping for your last-minute purchases. Dubbed the Victory Wrap event, it also includes a pint of locally brewed Drekker beer for each $25 spent in participating stores.

The retailers of the 400 Block of Broadway also combine forces on special holiday-season events. Last year, they hosted one of Santa’s reindeer to greet shoppers and delight children. We’re anxiously awaiting the unveiling of their plans for 2016.


Downtown Fargo will surround you with art, history, music and events to make the season bright. Need a break from your shopping spree? Be a guest at one of Downtown Fargo’s more than 60 restaurants, cafés and bars. Or bring your skates and lace up for a glide around the rink at the corner of Main and Broadway.

Need more reasons to make Downtown Fargo part of your shopping fun?

Shopping local is a way to celebrate and support small businesses and all they do for their communities. When you make a purchase at a locally owned shop, you are supporting your neighborhood risk-takers and community-builders. Small-business owners employ more people per revenue dollar and, in turn, are customers of the local economy, creating opportunities for more local business growth.

Study after study shows that when you choose to shop at a local, independently owned business, much more of your dollar stays in your community, creating more local wealth and jobs. Who knew your shopping list held that much power?

Get to know the owners of our local shops. They would be happy to share with you the impact you make when you become a customer. Every dollar you spend is a vote for the Downtown you want to see.

Also, never fear! Parking exists

Downtown. Parking along Broadway is free for 90 minutes until 5 p.m., at which point the time limit is lifted. If you can’t snag a spot there, data shows that a block off the core of Broadway in any direction is typically only 50 percent full at any point during the day. Throw in the many low-to-no-cost city lots and we’ve got you covered.

Shopping at small, locally-owned businesses is making a contribution to your community. It’s also opening yourself up to unique new experiences you can only have in Fargo.

About Mike Allmendinger
General Manager, Kilbourne Group
210 Broadway N, Fargo

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Mike Allmendinger is the General Manager of the Kilbourne Group.