Home of more places named after otters than you’ve ever imagined, this historic and beautiful town is a must for your next vacation. Full of scenic natural sites, birding trails, and yurt camping possibilities, Fergus Falls has everything a nature-lover could ask for.
There are plenty of golfing and fine dining opportunities for adults. And with several museums and historical sites like the old Phelps Mill and the creepily enormous twentieth-century mental hospital, there’s a site to see for everyone in your family! Come along and discover 17 of the great things to do in Fergus Falls, Minnesota.
The Best Restaurants in Fergus Falls, MN
1. Car #423
Get your tastebuds on board for the first of many great things to do in Fergus Falls. Car #423 is the place to go in Fergus Falls for a high-end, fancy-schmancy meal. Ideal for date nights, classy birthday parties, and other celebrations, this place is sure to impress. Their artisan appetizers and entrees are not only delicious but also beautiful to behold. Their desserts are divine, and their wine, craft beer, and cocktails list is unmatched.
2. The Fabled Farmer
This community-focused restaurant serves breakfast and lunch items made from locally-sourced produce and fresh-baked goods. Think of The Fabled Farmer as the perfect brunch locale and don’t leave without sampling their famous fresh juices or snacking on their scrumptious gluten-free breads and pastries.
3. The Socials Bar and Grill
If you’re on the hunt for a burger and fries, this is the place for you. Visit The Socials if you aren’t on a diet and you’re looking for some all-American tavern food. If their 30+ burgers and sandwiches aren’t quite what you’re in the mood for, odds are their pizza selections, wings, or Southwest chicken quesadilla will do it for you. And don’t worry–if you are on a diet, after all, they do have salads, too.
4. Mabel Murphy’s
Half Irish pub and half steak-and-seafood joint, Mabel Murphy’s has it all. With everything from burgers to fish and chips to prime rib and king crab legs, this restaurant is sure to satisfy the whole family–no matter how many or how picky the family members may be. This is a great place to take kids to try something new or stick to the familiar.
5. The Viking Cafe
The Viking Cafe is a wonderful family restaurant with a classic hole-in-the-wall feel. Serving American comfort food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it’s another great choice for when the family can’t all agree on one place to go. Kids will enjoy the familiar, delicious food options here.
Interesting Natural Sites in Fergus Falls, MN
6. Pine to Prarie International Birding Trail
Whether you’re a seasoned birder or just interested in seeing what you can see, the Pine to Prarie International Birding Trail is chock full of breathtaking scenery and beautiful birds all year round. Spot them with your binoculars if you can, but either way, you’re sure to hear the clicking beat of the Yellow Rail, the twittering calls of the Red- and White-Winged Crossbills, and the songs of Mourning Warblers.
7. Pebble Lake Golf Course
If golf is your game, you can’t visit Fergus Falls without hitting a few balls as the Pebble Lake Gold Course. Another scenic beauty, the rolling terrain, and tree-lined fairways of this course provide interesting challenges and a satisfying golfing experience for golfers of all experience levels.
8. Glendalough State Park
Next on our list of great things to do in Fergus Falls is a trip to Glendalough State Park. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to camp in a yurt? A yurt is a round, semi-permanent tent-like structure used for camping–kind of like a fancy, circular tent. Glendalough State Park has both tent camping and yurt camping options, so you can experience either or both as your heart desires.
Glendalough State Park is also a gorgeous canoeing location, with a whole chain of lakes to explore. Other amusements at this state park include bird watching, hiking, biking, sandy beach swimming, and heritage fishing where you can experience fishing for large panfish, a different process than regular fishing.
Interesting Historical Sites in Fergus Falls, MN
9. Phelps Mill County Park
Originally called the Maine Roller Mill back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Phelps Mill was an important part of Otter Tail County.
If you visit this historical site, you can hear all about how a woman named Geneva Tweten and a committed of caring ladies restored the mill to its former glory after World War II. While it’s no longer in operation, all of the original equipment is still inside and it remains an important landmark for the community.
10. Regional Treatment Center
Once home to over 2,000 patients, this antique hospital is one of the largest hospitals ever built so long ago. It housed patients with chemical dependencies, mental illnesses, and developmental disabilities in the 1890s and early 1900s. The Regional Treatment Center employed over 420 people at a time.
Unfortunately, the building was closed in 2005, so indoor tours are not currently available. But the grounds are open to the public and worth making a stop to see during your time in Fergus Falls.
11. A Center for the Arts
Up next, take in a show at one of the great things to do in Fergus Falls. A Center for the Arts was built in 1921 and originally ordained the Orpheum Theatre. Both traveling troupes of players, as well as local performers, grace this stage year-round.
Rich twentieth-century history, the story of the theater itself is as interesting as the plays you can still see performed on it to this day. You’ll have to visit to find out more!
The Best Places to Shop "˜Til You Drop in Fergus Falls, MN
12. Creative Handmade Goods
Support small businesses and get ahead on your Christmas shopping all at the same time! With handcrafted goodies made by over forty different local artists, you’ll be hardpressed to narrow down your favorite items. When you visit Creative Handmade Goods, you might just have to buy a little bit of everything. And you may or may not be planning to share anything.
13. Torii’s Tangles to Treasures
For more creative gift ideas, visit Torii’s Tangles to Treasures, a weaving studio and gallery. Watch wool being spun into yarn and yarn being woven into fiber products! You can even buy souvenir wool or yarn to share the experience with friends and family back home.
The shop’s owner, Victoria Hanna, can usually be found weaving, knitting, or embroidering, and would love to answer all your questions about fiber art. To thank her for the cool art history lesson, be sure to purchase some of her beautiful wool work before you go!
Exciting Things for Kids to Do in Fergus Falls, MN
14. Otter Tail County Historical Museum
Regionally recognized as one of the best local history museums in all of Minnesota, the Otter Tail County Historical Museum is a must-see spot for all ages. Experience dioramas and full-sized period rooms depicting what life was like in the old days, and listen to the sounds of horse-drawn carriages, farm animals, and steam engines to submerge you and your loved ones in the 1890s when life was simpler.
The gift shop is well-stocked with handmade jewelry and gift items, themed souvenirs to remember your experience at the museum, and fun games to keep the kids happy and busy on the drive home.
15.Otter Cove Children’s Museum
The Otter Cove Children’s Museum is home of the Otter Romp, a delightful indoor playground for kids. It’s designed after the Ottertail River and the local landscape of Fergus Falls. After romping around there, kids can visit the miniature town, which features all of the essential shops and businesses like a dentist, veterinarian office, grocery store, bus station, cafe, and even a bookstore.
If you’ll be around for a while, check out the art and STEM classes the Otter Cove Children’s Museum offers for both children and adults.
16. Prairie Wetlands Learning Center
If the great outdoors and the chance to see live animals is more appealing to your kids than visiting a museum, check out the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center. This center is run by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and it provides lots of environmental education opportunities. With presentations about everything from historical prairie life to how present-day waterfowling works, there’s sure to be something to interest both kids and adults.
17. Otto the Big Otter Attraction
Last but not least on our list of great things to do in Fergus Falls is to visit Otto the Big Otter Attraction. You can hardly visit a place where everything is named after the fun-loving, adorable little animal without meeting Otto the Otter himself. This forty-foot-long “little” critter was actually built by a group of high schoolers in the 1970s as part of the city’s bicentennial celebration. He’s made metal that rings when you tap on it.
Wrapping Up Things to Do in Fergus Falls
From unique shopping, great restaurants, fun kid friendly activities and attractions for all, Fergus Falls, Minnesota has something for everyone. Now that you’ve read all about the highest highlights of Fergus Falls, where will you begin your vacation?
- About the Author
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Born in Madelia, MN, to a now 5-generation Minnesota family, Ryan’s MN roots go deep.
A painter by day, Ryan founded Life in Minnesota in 2013 with his wife Kelly to chronicle their musings on everything Minnesota. Ryan and Kelly are raising their 7 kiddos in Maple Grove, MN.
When he’s not shuttling his kids around to hockey practice, you might find him in the shop working on his leatherwork. Undoubtedly, there will be a family trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area every summer, and of course weekends at Grandpa’s cabin up north in the summer.