Grand Forks sits on the western edge of the Red River. Although the river provides a scenic placement for the town, it also poses a threat, as Grand Forks has often had to deal with severe flooding when the River bursts its banks. At one point, the widespread agricultural operations around the city were the focus of the Grand Forks economy, but it has since become much more diversified. Grand Forks is home to the oldest post-secondary institute in North Dakota. The University of North Dakota is actually even older than the state, and was founded instead by the Dakota Territorial Assembly. It is a smaller school by national standards, with about 14,000 students attending each year.
The University is certainly the biggest draw to this North Dakota city. The student population also exerts enormous pressure on the rental apartment market. This means that you should avoid looking in September and January when new students have likely filled most of the available apartments. Instead, focus your search in May and June, or November and December.
References are going to be extremely important to landlords in Grand Forks. Because most people can afford the low rent prices, landlords base their decision more upon trust than on strict financial security (although that is still certainly important). Having high quality educational, employment and rental references can greatly improve how a landlord views your application.
Grand Forks is justifiably proud of its bus service. Cities Area Transit (CAT) is the provider of bus routes in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks. Although the coverage and hours are excellent, there is no Sunday or Holiday service. During the summer months, many people cycle in Grand Forks, but the harsh winters don't make a bicycle a practical year-round vehicle.
Like many of the northern states, hockey is a big deal in North Dakota. The Ralph Engelstad Arena is home to UND's men's and women's hockey teams, and taking in a game is well worth the price. Outdoors types will enjoy the great hiking and fishing in the area around grand forks. Ice fishing is popular in the winter too. Head downtown to find the best bars and restaurants. If you want a big-city style dance club, head to Gilly's.
The University of North Dakota is one of the most popular attractions in the city. Many of the people who visit town are visiting faculty or students, and the beautiful campus is certainly one of the perks to visiting this smaller North Dakota city. Race enthusiasts from across the state come to watch events at the River Cities Speedway. The Alerus Center is a huge facility that doesn't just hold conventions and meetings; it also hosts NCAA football and soccer games. The biggest concerts that come to town also tend to play at the Alerus Center. For more cultural entertainment, the Chester Fritz Auditorium is home to theatre, live music and children’s entertainment on a regular basis.
You wouldn’t expect to find a place as cool as The Toasted Frog in Grand Forks. From the minute you walk in you'll feel like you're in a much larger city, as the artistic décor and the high-end martinis will transport you directly to the big city, while enjoying small town friendliness. If you're looking for a more traditional, upscale dining experience then you should try sampling the fare at Sanders 1907. Rhombus Guys is a local hotspot known for a great selection of beer, fantastic pizza, and their rooftop patio, which is always popular during the summer months. If you're craving a big steak dinner, the Texas Roadhouse is a great bet.
The Diamond Lounge is a local legend, and is always recommended as a great place to go if you want to go out on a budget. If you prefer wine to beer and fine dining to pub grub, head to Helix Wine & Bites. Beer lovers certainly have lots to choose from in Grand Forks. Brick & Barley Bar & Grill is a good option if you're looking for a more substantial meal to accompany your libations. If you want some selection, JL Beers usually has more than 40 different beer taps going at any given time of year. The Level 10 Martini Lounge offers a completely different atmosphere than any other bar in the city, and Wednesday nights feature Karaoke.
Grand Forks is a theatrically rich city, with many different venues being utilized to present live theatre. One of the best places to see a play in town is the Firehall Theatre. This historic building was a fire station for many years, and has since been converted into a theatre. The Empire often hosts great Broadway-style musicals. One of the largest cultural institutions in town is the Gallery 2: Grand Forks and District Art and Heritage Centre. The building and the organization serve as a cultural hub for arts and artists in Grand Forks. The Gallery is now housed in a hundred year old courthouse.
The annual Rhubarb Festival is always popular, and takes place in June of each year. If you want to sample the best desserts that Grand Forks can make, this is your chance. Throughout the summer, the third Saturday of each month features a wine and art walk, where you can sample local vintages while enjoying local art. One of the largest events of the year takes place at the end of each June when the Greater Grand Forks County Fair comes to town. The fair has lots of rides for the kids, along with agricultural shows and competitions, and as much delicious food as they can fit in the fairgrounds.
Two large shopping malls in Grand Forks provide a convenient means for people to do all their shopping in one location. The Columbia Mall is a large, single-floor mall that is anchored by a Sears, JC Penney, Macy’s and Scheels. The Grand Cities Mall is the city’s other mall, and it tends to feature more budget conscious shopping options, and is anchored by a Kmart. The scenic downtown area is a great place to shop if you prefer to browse smaller, independent stores instead of shopping with the typical mall tenants. Several boutique gift and clothing stores are mixed amidst restaurants and professional offices downtown.
As the largest post-secondary institution in Grand Forks, the University of North Dakota also doubles as it's largest provider of sporting entertainment for the town. The school’s teams compete in the Big Sky Conference of the NCAA. UND’s hockey program is among the strongest in the country, and the men’s team has brought home seven national titles to the city. Ralph Engelstad Arena is packed most nights that the hockey team plays. UND has had more athletes go on to professional careers in hockey than in any other sport the school competes in, and famous alumni include goalie Ed Belfour, and current captain of the Chicago Blackhawks, Jonathan Toews.
The Turtle River State Park is a very excellent place to go from Grand Forks if you're in the mood for some outdoor recreation. It is a great location to enjoy some fishing, and campsites are provided for those who want to make a weekend of it. Right within the city, you have the beautiful Greenway to take advantage of. The greenway is a stretch of well over 2,000 acres that follows along the Red River. There are biking and hiking paths throughout much of the greenway. In addition, there are opportunities for boating and all other kinds of water activities on the Red River and the Red Lake River.