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The Best Hidden Gems in North Dakota for Artists




Did you know that North Dakota is one of the five least-populated states? This fact leaves abundant space for nature to thrive and artists’ touch to take hold. From gorgeous murals and impressive statues to museums dedicated to the arts and natural beauty, North Dakota is home to many must-see destinations for artists.

North Dakota generally draws history buffs and outdoor enthusiasts. But the below destinations rarely appear when you search for a traveler’s guide to North Dakota activities. Anyone who appreciates beauty should stop by these hidden gems!

Rainbow Garden


The Rainbow Garden is home to seven themed gardens: the Children’s Garden, Herb Garden, Labyrinth, English Garden, Cottage Garden, White Garden, and Rock Garden. Plant life in the gardens can range from flowers to trees, and you can also find statues and fountains scattered throughout.

Additionally, enjoy the stunning sculpture walk featuring the creative talents of American sculptors and poets.

Gunlogson Nature Preserve


This 200-acre nature preserve is both peaceful and teeming with life. Nestled within Icelandic State Park, the preserve features rare endemic life and several species of birds and flowers. Ornithology enthusiasts should watch for the Common Loon, the Northern Waterthrush, the Piliated Woodpecker, and the Mourning Warbler. Meanwhile, botany lovers will notice the Delicate Sedge, Ladyfern, Marsh Fern, Shade Horsetail, and Showy Lady’s Slipper.

Hotel Donaldson and Fargo Theatre


Yes, we know. Hotel Donaldson isn’t a hidden gem. However, step inside the lobby and discover why it made this list. The stunning mural covers an entire wall section, contrasting the brick. Made with materials from the building itself, the mural is dedicated to influential local women.

Also within Fargo is the exquisite Fargo Theatre. The theater has a strong art deco aesthetic and doubles as Fargo’s cultural center, even hosting events. Visitors can watch independent and foreign films or enjoy live concerts.

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Turtle River State Park


This scenic stretch runs alongside Turtle River— and is one of the least visited parks in the state. The Civilian Conservation Corps created the park in the 1930s. Visitors can stop in for a brief walk, relax and enjoy a picnic, and camp outside or rent a cabin for a peaceful getaway. Hiking and biking are encouraged, and winter sees the paths open to cross-country skiers. You can enjoy the abundant wildlife or take a rod down to the river and see if you catch any rainbow trout.

Chateau De Mores State Historic Site


Built by Marquis de Mores in 1883, this summer home and hunting lodge is an architectural beauty set in a pristine landscape. It contains “Rails, Ranching, and Riches,” a museum of artifacts from de Mores’ family that tells their story. Occasionally, the Chateau will feature other exhibits as well.

Japanese Gardens and North Dakota Museum Of Art

Grand Forks

Gifted from the Japanese city of Awano, the serene Japanese gardens in Grand Forks are a feature of Sertoma Park. Flowers, hills, rocks, trees, and water features come together, harmoniously promoting nature’s handiwork and honoring the sister cities. Guests can enjoy hikes and bike riding, an accessible children’s playground, picnics, an arboretum, or a quiet spot for meditation.

Grand Forks is also home to the North Dakota Museum of Art. The museum features three galleries with international, national, and regional art. They also host exhibits, having become famous for their human rights exhibition. Guests will want to plan their visit ahead of time to see which exhibits are currently featured. In addition, the museum features a cafe that serves signature sandwiches, salads, and soups, so your visit can be an all-day affair.

Viking Statue and Fort Ransom State Park

Fort Ransom

North Dakota was home to many Scandinavians; thus, many locals believe they are descended from Vikings. The Viking statue stands 25 feet tall near the heart of Fort Ransom. The statue is peculiar, made from wire mesh and tape. The Viking has one foot perched on a rock and another arm raised aggressively.

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While in the area, don’t miss Fort Ransom State Park. The Sheyenne River winds through this picturesque sight that was home to many early homesteads. One such homestead has been preserved and is open to visitors. The main appeal, however, is the charming vistas on all sides once you enter the park.

Paul Broste Rock Museum


Established by artist and lover of rocks Paul Broste, this museum is a testament to the magnificence found in stones and gems. Pieces have been cut, polished, and mounted into a beautiful display. Guests can find collections of agates, diamonds, glass, opals, quartz, and more. Even the museum building is an exhibit, blending the architectural features of an English cottage and a Spanis Mission. Broste named the hill on which the museum stands Parhall Acropolis.

The Village Of Murals


In this quaint North Dakota destination, paintings of all shapes and sizes decorate almost every flat surface: doors, shutters, walls— even whole buildings! Admire the work of local artists who simply want to make the world more beautiful.

Pembina Gorge


If you’re interested in painting tree landscapes or simply want to enjoy a gorgeous view, you shouldn’t miss Pembina Gorge. This 12,500-acre recreation area near the Canadian border offers biking, canoeing, horseback riding, snowmobiling, and more. The natural life is wild and diverse, including 30 rare plants and 21 rare animals.

The Lillian and Coleman Taube Museum Of Art


Situated in a building almost 100 years old, the Taube Museum of Art is constantly changing the artwork on display. Admission is free, but they accept donations if you want to help support their efforts. The Minot Art ASsociation opened the museum in 1970 as the Minot Art Gallery. The name was changed in 2006. The museum features two upper and lower galleries and a gift shop selling artwork from local artists.

On and Off the Beaten Path

Not every must-see destination for artists in North Dakota is a hidden gem. Below, we’ve listed a few more well-known attractions to ensure you don’t miss out!

  • Enchanted Highway
  • International Peace Garden, Dunseith
  • Maah Daah Hey Trail
  • Plains Art Museum, Fargo
  • Theodore Roosevelt National Park
  • Wind Canyon Trail

Additionally, several animal statues can be found scattered throughout. Jamestown Reservoir, Fargo-Moorehead, Fort Abraham Lincoln, and Frost Fire Park are locations not listed above that have these statues on display. Keep your eyes out when visiting Tabot Art Museum, Pembina Gorge, and the Paul Broste Rock Museum for the rest.

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