30 Must-See Places in North Dakota

Fill your itinerary with more than two dozen things to see and do in a tour of North Dakota. From classic airplanes to tigers and forts on the prairies, the attractions are as diverse as the regions in which they are found. Click here for a printable version.

Fort Buford State Historic Site

A military post at the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers, Fort Buford was a supply depot for the U.S. Army during the Indian wars. It's the site of Sitting Bull's surrender in July 1881. Sitting Bull, a Sioux Indian, was imprisoned here, as was Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce tribe.

Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site

Home to John Jacob Astor's powerful American Fur Company, Fort Union Trading Post dominated the fur trade on the Upper Missouri River between 1829 and 1867. It's where Indians and fur traders co-existed in peace before the great Indian wars. Today, you can see museum exhibits in the Bourgeois House and shop for gifts and souvenirs in the reconstructed Indian Trade House.

Three Affliated Tribes Museum in New Town. 3
Three Tribes Museum and Four Bears Bridge

See artifacts relating to Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara tribal history at Three Tribes Museum, where you can find traditional American Indian arts, crafts and books. Don't miss the nearby Four Bears Bridge. Named for 19 tribal chiefs of the three tribes, it's the longest bridge in North Dakota, spanning nearly a mile of Lake Sakakawea.

Statue and church at Scandinavian Heritage Park in Minot. 4
Scandinavian Heritage Park

See a typical Norwegian house and a Norwegian stabbur (storehouse) at this park paying tribute to Scandinavian and American heritage. Among other attractions, there's a Danish windmill, 30-foot-tall Dala horse (the national symbol of Sweden) and a Nordic-style visitors center.

Minot Air Force Base

Home to the 5th Bomb Wing, Minot Air Force Base offers drive-around tours of the facilities and flight line. Step-on guides are available, but reservations are required so you must plan in advance.

Adventure and Recreation Category and Best in Show: Winner - "Sailing Dreams," Josiah Kopp, Beulah 6
Lake Sakakawea and Garrison Dam

The largest lake in North Dakota and the largest manmade lake within one state, Lake Sakakawea is 609 square miles of water behind Garrison Dam. It's named for the young Indian woman who accompanied Lewis & Clark on their expedition. Daily tours of the Garrison Dam powerhouse are conducted.

Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site

Visit the 1804 meeting place of Sakakawea and Lewis & Clark. On the ruins of an ancient Indian village last occupied in 1845 today sits a state-of-the-art museum dedicated to preserving the culture of the Plains Indians. A reconstructed earthlodge contains artifacts from the Plains culture.

Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center and Fort Mandan

Stop into this world-class interpretive center along the very route Lewis & Clark traveled. Exhibits focus on artifacts from every tribe the explorers encountered, showcasing the culture of the Mandan Indians and the winter of 1804-05. Fort Mandan is two miles west of the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center. Daily tours are available of the reconstructed fort.

, ND
Lewis & Clark Riverboat

Take an afternoon, dinner or sunset cruise aboard the Lewis & Clark Riverboat, a 150-foot paddle-wheeler with twin decks and a 70-foot cabin. The riverboat can carry more than 150 passengers, and reservations are required for all lunch and dinner cruises.

Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park

At Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, history goes back 300-plus years to when it was home to the Mandan Indians. Today it's a 977-acre park on the banks of the Missouri River, and its exhibits relate to the life of the Mandans and the military history of the fort (in the mid- to late 1800s, it was the site of a military garrison). Tour the home of General George and Libbie Custer and the 7th Cavalry.

North Dakota Capitol Grounds in Bismarck 11
North Dakota Capitol Building

Tour the "Skyscraper of the Prairie" -- the 19-story Capitol, which was built in the early 1930s. The Former Governor's Mansion State Historic Site is also in Bismarck. Restored to the late Victorian era, it housed North Dakota's governors from 1893 to 1960.

North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum

The collection of Plains Indians artifacts found here is second only to the Smithsonian's. You can also see displays on the state's rich military and agricultural history, and shop for local arts and crafts in the museum gift shop.

612 E. Boulevard Ave. Bismarck, ND 58505
Tiger exhibit at Dakota Zoo in Bismarck. 13
Dakota Zoo

See more than 600 animals -- and more than 125 species -- at the Dakota Zoo, home to mountain lions, moose, grizzly bears, river otters and more.

A Triceratops greets visitors to the Dickinson Museum Center in Dickinson. 14
Dickinson Museum Center

Don't let the life-sized Triceratops and Pachycephalosaurus outside the entrance scare you away. Real skeletons excavated from the area are found inside, in addition to a Triceratops skull named "Bill" and a collection of minerals from all over the world. Stop into the gift shop for such unique souvenirs as insects in amber, and casts of dinosaur teeth and claws.

Dickinson, ND
Nightly Medora Musical in the Burning Hills Amphitheatre at Medora. 15
Medora Musical

The Medora Musical is a Broadway-styled musical production held nightly throughout the summer in the Burning Hills Amphitheatre in Medora. A rotation of specialty acts appear.

Medora, ND 58645
Chateau de Mores State Historic Site

This 26-room, two-story historic house museum was built in 1883 as the summer home of the Marquis de Mores, the French nobleman who founded Medora, and his family.

Dave Bruner's photo Photographing the Little Missouri in the Beautiful Badlands of North Dakota won the Adventure category 17
Theodore Roosevelt National Park - South Unit

Admire the 26th president's contribution to conservation at this national park. The North Dakota Badlands provide a scenic backdrop, and you may spot buffalo, deer, elk, bighorn sheep, wild horses, mule deer and prairie dogs on the loop drive.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park - North Unit

Get spectacular views along the 14-mile scenic drive, which features turnouts with interpretive signs. Self-guided nature trails take you through coulees and breaks. Visit the prairie dog town, Oxbow Overlook and the Edge of Glacier Pullout.

McKenzie County Heritage Park and Pioneer Museum

An original trapper's log cabin, homestead shack, one-room schoolhouse and the original 1915 Schafer Law Office are on the site of the heritage park. You can even see mammoth fossil bones discovered in the area.

Killdeer Mountain Battlefield State Historic Site

An interpretive plaque on site commemorates the July 28, 1864, battle fought here between 2,200 troops commanded by General Alfred Sully and 6,000 Sioux Indians.

Enjoying the Badlands of western North Dakota. 21
Little Missouri State Park

Little Missouri State Park offers a wilderness experience in the picturesque North Dakota Badlands. Bring a horse and explore the extensive trail system (corrals are available).

World's Largest Buffalo

The World's Largest Buffalo Monument towers over the city of Jamestown and the adjacent National Buffalo Museum, live bison herd and Frontier Village.

Devils Lake

North Dakota's four-season recreational area boasts excellent open-water and ice fishing, boating camping and hunting.

Devils Lake, ND 58301
International Peace Garden

The tribute to peace between the U.S. and Canada encompasses 2,300 acres of natural beauty; two pristine freshwater lakes, scenic hiking and driving trails, wildflowers, waterfalls and a large variety of North American birds and animals. 

The control panel of Oscar Zero at the Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile State Historic Site near Cooperstown. 25
Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile State Historic Site

Last remnants of the 321st Missile Wing. It tells the story of the Cold War years in North Dakota. Oscar-Zero Missile Alert Facility is the underground launch site and November-33 Launch Facility is a silo.

Fargo Air Museum

Premier flying museum in the Upper Midwest has historic flyable airplanes, including P-51 Mustang, Duggy - "Smile in the Sky" airplane, TBM Avenger, Corsair, L Birds, PT-19 Fairchild, Pitts Special, Wright Flyer replica, Ag Cat and more.


43 historic buildings and more 400,000 artifacts, including Fargo's first house, Donbrinz Schoolhouse, St. John's Church, Embden Train depot, Houston House, automobile museum, tractor museum, airplane museum and more.

Artwork at Fargo's Plains Art Museum. 28
Plains Art Museum

Accredited fine art museum in the heart of historic downtown Fargo. Includes the Blue Goose Cafe, The Store, exhibitions, performances, special events, tours, classes. 

North Dakota Museum of Art

Three galleries house exhibitions of regional, national and international art. The museum is recognized nationally for its commissioning of landmark works of art anchored in the landscape, history and culture of the Northern Plains.


Pembina State Museum

Discover 100 million years of regional history from the Cretaceous Age to contemporary times in the permanent exhibit gallery. Also features temporary exhibit gallery, museum store and seven-story viewing tower.

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