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Old 01-07-2007, 11:20 PM
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I recently visited Fargo and really liked it and plan on moving to MN/ND soon. I'm wonderng how these three cities stack up against each other? I'm leaning more towards Fargo or GF b/c they're right on the border. But, I haven't ruled out Bismarck. So, what city would you guys recommend?
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Old 01-08-2007, 05:04 PM
Location: E ND & NW MN
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I have lived and worked in the Grand Forks ND area since 1998...and ever since I have arrived in the area Fargo has always been what Bismarck and Grand Forks wanted to be like. Fargo's growth took off in the early 1900s and continues to this day...although more growth is now outside of the city limits in other towns such as West Fargo.

But in answer to your question...I would say Fargo is best hand-down. Fargo has long had the better shopping, restaurant variety, and more varied cultural activity than any other ND city and serves as a regional hub for a 100 mile radius. Fargo is a quick 3 1/2 drive down I-94 to the Twin Cities. Fargo, as all other ND cities, are clean, low crime (that does NOT mean NO crime though), and just pleasant places to live. It still maintains that small city, quiet atmosphere, but if you look around there are many things to do.

Jobs and housing are also more varied in Fargo, though growth in both of those areas in recent years has also moved into Bismarck and Grand Forks. Grand Forks is seeing growth now, recovering from the devasting 1997 flood. Bismarck has surpassed Grand Forks as the number two city in ND in terms of population, and has been having fast growth in the commercial area.

All areas up here are desparate for high skill workers and are having a very hard time finding enough workers for jobs available. Unemployment rates in Fargo for the past many years has always been under 2 percent.

For housing...if renting I would choose Fargo ND over Moorhead as Income tax in ND is lower than MN. If buying a home, real estate taxes are higher in ND than MN, so it is a toss up at the end combing the two things.

So in closing...I dont see Fargo mentioned much as places to live, but it is always ranked high on places to live lists and you would be hard pressed to find a better city its size that is not some suburb. Winters are colder than the Twin Cities and that is one drawback to some.

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Old 01-08-2007, 11:12 PM
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hey, dan thanks for the info. i think u helped me out with some other msgs on the MN page too. i like the idea that fargo is closest to the TC. i'm just concerned that with its tremendous growth, the population might be increasing too fast. im still leaning towards fargo tho.
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Old 01-08-2007, 11:42 PM
Location: E ND & NW MN
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I wouldnt worry about it too much....the number of people who want to live in a flat area with cold winters are not too great. While it has grown, it is nothing like the explosion down in southern cities. Growth up here and growth in the sun belt and southwest u.s. are two different categories.

In the F-M area...growth is south and west.... Fargo city limits is getting built out...with more growth now occurring in what is called West Fargo. Also southern parts of Moorhead are growing pretty good too now. Many apartments and other options to choose from and prices while they have risen in recent years are not bad. Overall right now....in terms of housing prices....I think Bismarck is now the most expensive (in terms of average) due to a bad housing shortage this past year. Grand Forks seems a bit more expensive than Fargo. I dont know about apartment rents though. Fargo has North Dakota State Univ (around 12,000 students +/-) and Concorida college and Minnesota State University-Moorhead is across the river in Moohread. So fairly large college age crowd. University of North Dakota is in Grand Forks as as slightly larger number of students than NDSU, the they are very close together.

The Fargodome and Fargo's pop does attract national acts and concerts....not as many as the TC of course....but a large number for its size. Winnipeg is about 4 hours north and its a large city of 750,000.

I like it up here myself, it is windy and temps do vary greatly sometimes from day to day. Never two days alike. Summers are usually pleasant (though depends on how much rain mosquitos can be bad) and falls and springs are short and pleasant too. Winters usually run Nov 1 to March 31...give or take a few weeks. All depends on what you call winter. This past Halloween was quite cold where I live (70 miles north of Fargo) and had to dress our 1 year old in two coats, mittens, hat and boots and could only stay out for 4-5 houses as it was quite cold for that time of year (I think it was around 10 or so).

Fargo also has two good size hospitals....and all hospitals up here do have good working relationship with Mayo.

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Old 01-09-2007, 08:33 AM
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Of the three cities you mentioned, I'd personally choose Bismarck. Fargo just doesn't do anything for me, and Grand Forks feels a little too isolated (plus the whole town smells like potatoes and sugar beets).
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Old 01-09-2007, 08:53 PM
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Between Fargo & Bismarck its really a matter of personal taste. I'd sum it up the following way: Bismarck is closer to the rockies & Badlands & Fargo is closer to Minneapolis. Take that not only as a geographic fact but as a metophor:

Fargo is twice as big as Bismarck so it has more urban amentities, more national shows etc. Bismarck sits in a beautifull river valley and has amazing ammeneties when it comes to hiking, biking, rollerblading & just being outside. (Fargo is a bit beautificatoin challenged when it comes to the landscape they have to work with). Bismarck is also has a bit more hospitable climate than Fargo (not to mention GF). Bismarck also seems to have a greater number of good / funky / fancy local reastuaraunts as opposed to Fargo's chain based atmosphear. Both cities are growing but nothing that's all that fantastic. Fargo's growth rate is about the national average, Bismarck, about 1.5 times the national average.

So really its a matter of personality whether you'll like Bismarck or Fargo better - I work for a company that sends lots of out of staters to Bismarck & Fargo. Its pretty much a 50 / 50 split on which city they like better. Generaly the out doorsy types like Bismarck & the persons wanting to be in a place that's more like the east coast prefer Fargo. Having grown up in ND, I'd say the split amoung NDers on whether they like Bismarck or Fargo is pretty close to 50 - 50 too.
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Old 01-10-2007, 08:22 PM
Location: Bryn Mawr Minneapolis
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I have to agree that Fargo/Moorhead is much closer related to the Twin Cities than any other ND city, probably because of it's proximity. I grew up in Fargo/Moorhead, and have lived in MSP for 20+ years. I love both places, and many of my former Fargo friends here call Fargo/Moorhead "Ridgedale North" (Ridgedale a mall in the w.burbs of MSP), as there are so many of the same shops/restaurants in FM as MSP 'burbs. Sadly, too many strip malls in FM. But you can get to MSP from FM in 3 hours or so. I just like the urban feel of the FM area for any place in ND . I will always remember when downtown Fargo was really a big deal, before West Acres. Everyone shopped there. Glad to see they are trying to revitalize that great area. As far as weather goes, it is windy most of the time anywhere in the state. As others have posted, Bismarck is much more arid and actually warmer in the winter than the eastern part of the state. Fargo and Grand Forks can be quite humid in the summer, with more mosquitoes. Fargo is very close to the MN lake country, and you can be there in 30 minutes or less. So, I am a bit partial to FM ! Enjoy-
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Old 01-12-2007, 11:47 PM
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My wife and I moved to Fargo 3 years ago. We did not plan on staying at that time, just came for the job and now we plan on raising our 1 year old daughter here.
I don't like that there is no "forest" or rolling hills, but the great thing is that I can take a short drive into MN and have access to ATV trails, lakes, and "terrain".
The other great thing about Fargo is that the city has more bike/walking trails than Kasas City did.
Bismarck is a great looking city and has some of the great things that Fargo does but the extra 3 hours from the T.C.'s is a long drive.
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Old 01-14-2007, 08:09 PM
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i was also leaning towards fargo cuz i heard that there are lots of lakes nearby across the border in minnesota. i'm wondering if bismarck has lakes around their area too? i like fishing and hiking and all that outdoors stuff, so this will def play a part in my decision.
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Old 02-01-2007, 04:26 PM
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Default I like Bismarck the best!

I grew up in the Minot area, lived in Minneapolis for 15 years and now live in California. I have always thought that Bismarck is hands down the prettiest city in North Dakota BY FAR. Yes Fargo is closer to Minneapolis and it is somewhat bigger than Bismarck but it really doesn't have a whole lot more to offer, except maybe a few more chain restaurants and a few more stores. (But not by much) In terms of climate, I don't think there is a whole lot of difference, although it has been my experience that Fargo always seems to be windy and it can get humid, whereas Bismarck isn't always quite as windy and hardly ever gets humidity. Bismarck has an upscale "new-west" feel and sits in the Missouri River valley with beautiful rolling hills as far as the eye can see. The city's proximity to the west, i.e. the Badlands, Black Hills, Montana and Lake Sakakawea make it very desireable. It is the fastest growing city in North Dakota and also the most progressive, in my opinion. I especially like the quality new housing that is being constructed in every direction surrounding Bismarck. The Bismarck Civic Center has been completely renovated and is now first-class and home to North Dakota's only NBA D-league team. It also attracts numerous concerts throughout the year. Also the city just built a brand new airport which is also truly first class, and by far the nicest airport in North Dakota. The recreational opportunities on the Missouri River are limitless in the summertime, so you don't even need to leave the city limits! Anything from boating, swimming, fishing, waterskiing, etc. Educational and job opportunities abound with two progressive universities, government jobs (state capital) and a thriving economy. The city is a class act! I would choose Bismarck!
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