12 Best Things to do in Fergus Falls Minnesota (in Winter!)

Looking for an unexpected winter weekend getaway destination in Minnesota? Visit Fergus Falls! This small-ish town is in popular Otter Tail County, known for its beautiful lakes and small towns, in northwest Minnesota. In winter, the area is home to great cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing, snowmobiling and has an incredible food scene. Plan your winter weekend getaway with these fun things to do in Fergus Falls Minnesota!

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Where is Fergus Falls, Minnesota?

Located about 175 miles northwest of the Twin Cities and 60 miles southeast of Fargo, Fergus Falls is the perfect destination for a weekend getaway. The town is part of Otter Tail County which is known for its lakes and year-round outdoor recreation.

Overview map showing Fergus Falls northwest of the Twin Cities in Minnesota.
Fergus Falls is located 175 miles northwest of the Twin Cities, Minneapolis and St Paul, in Minnesota.

Where to stay in Fergus Falls

There are a lot of cabins and hotels in Fergus Falls to choose from. Here are two options that stand out!

AmericInn Fergus Falls

If you want to stay close to town, the AmericInn Fergus Falls is a great option. The rooms are clean and comfy, a hot breakfast is included, and the location is convenient. The indoor pool and hot tub are great for the whole family and reserved for adults only later in the evening.

Check pricing and availability for other hotels in Fergus Falls Minnesota here.

Cozy Apartments in the Heart of Downtown Fergus | Fergus Falls, MN

This adorable Airbnb apartment is a great alternative to a hotel in Fergus Falls. The space is light and bright, with a full kitchen and wifi. The apartment sleeps up to four adults with one bedroom and one pullout couch.

Best Winter Things to Do in Fergus Falls Minnesota

1 | Snap a photo with Otto the Otter.

One of the best things to do in Fergus Falls Minnesota is take a picture in front of the Otto the Otter statue.
Otto the Otter stands 40 feet tall in Grotto Park, Fergus Falls.

No visit to Fergus Falls is complete until you snap a photo with Otto the Otter! This 40 foot statue is located in Grotto Park, not far from downtown Fergus Falls. 

What’s the deal with the Fergus Falls otter? It’s a fun way to honor the fact that the town is the “seat” of Otter Tail County.

2 | Enjoy a delicious breakfast or lunch at The Fabled Farmer.

Interior of The Fabled Farmer has a brick wall, wood floor, metal chairs for a farmhouse feel.
The Fabled Farmer has modern farmhouse decor and a menu featuring locally sourced ingredients.

If you love delicious, locally sourced food, The Fabled Farmer is for you! This adorable and cozy restaurant is tucked away along an alley near downtown Fergus Falls. They serve breakfast and lunch. The menu features savory breakfast bowls, a breakfast sandwich, roasted potatoes, fresh juices and more. 

Pro Tip: If you love carrot cake, be sure to grab a slice! They’ll make it to-go if you want to take it with you.

3 | Explore the trails at Maplewood State Park.

Me hiking the Hallaway Hill trail at Maplewood State Park in the snow, with prairie and hills on both sides of the trail.
The Hallaway Hill trail at Maplewood State Park winds through prairie and forest to a beautiful overlook.

Located about 30 miles north of Fergus Falls, Maplewood State Park has lots of winter fun! Choose from snowshoeing, winter hiking, and cross-country skiing. The park has eight lakes, prairie and a series of forest-covered hills with sweeping views of the surrounding area. In fall, the namesake maple trees turn vibrant colors of red, orange and yellow. 

If you’re short on time and want a great view in winter,  hike the Hallaway Hill Trail. The park map says this is 2.5 miles but my watch read it as just under 2 miles. There is a moderately steep, but short, climb to the top where there is a nice view of the frozen lakes below. Unless there has been recent snowfall or you plan to go off-trail, snowshoes are not necessary as the trail has regular traffic to pack down the snow.

Pro Tip: Snowshoes are available to rent at the Maplewood State Park office. 

Cross-country skiers can explore the 1.25 mile Cataract Lake loop trail. This trail has some hills but is considered beginner-friendly.

Minnesota State Parks require a day or annual pass to visit. Passes can be purchased online or at a park office. Have you joined the Minnesota State Parks passport club yet? Read about here.

Read my complete guide on what to wear for winter hiking here!

4 | Cozy up by the fireplace at Outstate Brewing.

Honestly, this brewery wasn’t on my radar when I planned my trip to Fergus Falls. When I unexpectedly had some spare time between stops, we stumbled upon this cozy brewery tucked away behind the businesses in downtown. 

What an awesome space! The interior of Outstate Brewing Company’s tasting room is lined with rustic wood, a crackling fireplace and tons of natural light coming in through the wall of windows. They have a nice selection of classic brews, unique flavors and hard seltzers. If you can’t decide, order a flight of beers and try several – it’ll be served on a wooden canoe-shaped tray! While you’re there, enjoy some Ole & Lena’s pizza or order from their menu of appetizers. 

In warmer weather, there is a large outdoor patio along the river, strung with twinkling lights and with plenty of firepits. 

5 | Go shopping on Lincoln Avenue.

The Market is a home decor and gift store in downtown Fergus Falls MN.
The Market is located in downtown Fergus Falls and is a great place for gifts and home decor.

One of the best things to do in Fergus Falls, especially in winter, has to be shopping! Lincoln Avenue has all the small town Main Street vibes. Find great gifts, home decor, personal care items, specialty grocery products and even fun Minnesota-inspired goods at The Market. It is nearly impossible to leave the store without purchasing something!

Around the corner, Creative Handmade Goods features handmade items from over 40 local makers and small businesses. Don’t miss their impressive selection of personal care products made with environmentally friendly and sustainable ingredients. 

Fun Minnesota-themed soaps at Creative Handmade Goods in Fergus Falls.
Locally made Minnesota-inspired soaps at Creative Handmade Goods in Fergus Falls.

Book lovers won’t want to miss Biffley’s & Bookmark!

Pro Tip: There is a small storefront where you can find a woman who makes custom woven items. If you see her working inside, knock and ask if you can see her work. It’s incredible!

6 | Grab dinner at Zen’s Steak and Seafood.

Bar at Zen Steak and Seafood in Fergus Falls
Zen Steak & Seafood restaurant also has a full bar.

Located near the shops along Lincoln Avenue, Zen’s Steak and Seafood is a treat! This restaurant is known for its hand-cut steak and seafood menu items like the bacon-wrapped scallops.

Pro Tip: Make a reservation or plan to go early. Zen’s is popular, especially on weekends!

7 | Catch a show at the Fergus Falls Center for Arts theater.

The lighted sign outside of the historic Fergus Falls theater.
The lighted sign twinkles at night outside of the historic Fergus Falls theater.

Warm up on a winter evening at the Fergus Falls Center for Arts. This theater has reinvented itself many times through the years. Today, their event lineup includes traditional theater, musical acts, and more! The musical tribute series is a fun way to learn about the creative influences and evolution of a band or musician. 

8 | Have some outdoor winter fun at Glendalough State Park.

Clouds reflected in a stream next to a cross-country ski trail at Glendalough State Park.

Just outside of Fergus Falls, Glendalough State Park is a great place to spend a winter day outdoors. Whether you are visiting with kids or just a kid at heart, make a stop at the sledding hill to the left as you enter the park. For hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, head towards the Trail Center in the Lodge Area of the park. 

From here, cross-country skiers can choose from the 1.4 mile Beaver Pond Interpretive Trail (easy), 2-mile Lake Emma Trail (intermediate), and the 3.3-mile Annie Battle Lake Trail (easy). Also from this Trail Center, hiking and snowshoeing is available on the first 2-miles of the Annie Battle Lake Trail. For more of a challenge, snowshoe the 1-mile hilly Sunset Lake Trail accessible from a separate parking lot off of the main park road. 

Pro Tip: Cross-country skis, snowshoes and sleds are available for rental at the park office. Check the hours for the park office in advance. 

9 | Sip some craft beer and play board games at Fergus Brewing Co.

Fergus Brewing Co tasting room
Fergus Brewing Co’s tasting room has tons of natural light and two outdoor patios.

Enjoy some laughs over a board game at Fergus Brewing Company! The inside of their tasting room is light and bright with tons of windows. Outside, if the weather is warm enough, are two different patio spaces. 

On the beer menu, you’ll find a selection of IPA’s, lagers, ales, and hard seltzers as well as some unique brews. A couple of standouts were the Lady’s Kisses barrel-aged imperial stout and the Dinner Daze sour ale with blueberry and cake mix. If you can’t decide, try a flight or ask one of the friendly bartenders for a taster!

Pro Tip: Grab some of the free popcorn and sprinkle it with your favorite seasoning – they have several to choose from!

10 | Have a meal in a historic train station.

Martini at Dining Car 423 inside a renovated historic train station.
A prohibition-era cocktail at Dining Car #423 restaurant in Fergus Falls.

Have you ever dined inside a renovated historic train station? Dining Car #423 is located inside a beautifully restored National Pacific Railway station. It’s even listed on the National Register!

The cocktails are just as beautiful as the interior of the building! The drink menu features local craft beers, martinis, whiskeys and prohibition-era cocktails. For food, there’s something on the menu for everyone! If you can’t decide, try sharing an assortment of appetizers. The Greek spring rolls are delicious!

The dining area and bar are intimate spaces, perfect for a cold winter evening. In warmer months, there is outdoor seating available as well.

11 | Hike a section of the North Country National Scenic Trail.

Me standing in front of the North Country Trail sign in Fergus Falls in winter.
The trailhead for the North County Trail located in Delagoon Park in Fergus Falls.

Along its 4800 miles, from North Dakota to Vermont, the North Country National Scenic Trail goes right through Fergus Falls. The trail is designed for multi-day backpacking as well as shorter day hikes in sections. 

There are several trailheads and access points for the North Country Trail to choose from in Fergus Falls. Find one close to town in Delagoon Park with views of lakes and wetlands. If you want a more rural hike, use the trail map linked here to choose another trailhead just outside of Fergus Falls. 

12 | Get a taste of Scandinavia at Kafe Toäst.

Comfy chairs and coffee tables at Kafe Toast in Fergus Falls.
Kafe Toäst is a Scandinavian-inspired cafe with a cozy, inviting atmosphere in Fergus Falls, MN.

One of the best Fergus Falls restaurants is Kafe Toäst, a Scandinavian-inspired cafe. The food is phenomenal! The menu features traditional toasts, like the frikkadiller toast which is topped with swedish meatballs, as well as homemade lefse, pastries and more. The breakfast sandwich is delicious, topped with cheddar hashbrowns and caramelized onions. 

The atmosphere and wait staff are very friendly. It feels like you’re at a friend’s house! 

Enjoy these fun winter things to do in Fergus Falls

Fergus Falls may not be on your radar for a winter weekend getaway, but it should be! 

This trip was in partnership with Shrpa and Visit Fergus Falls. I am under no obligation to write a favorable review of my experience.

Related content to read next:

What to Wear for Winter Hiking: A Prepared Girl’s Guide

13 Two Harbors MN Winter Activities (for Outdoor Lovers!)

Check out my Minnesota travel page for even more inspiration and tips!

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Cross country ski trail on a small lake, me in front of the North Country Trail trailhead and a martini in a historic train station.

10 thoughts on “12 Best Things to do in Fergus Falls Minnesota (in Winter!)

  1. This Big Wild World says:

    Ha ha, yes we have those sorts of trails too – miles and miles of them through our National Forests. I try to share about trails and experiences that are more accessible for all skill levels. Mountain lions are no joke! I’ve heard we have them in Minnesota but they are rarely spotted.

  2. This Big Wild World says:

    Minnesota does have a strange affection for oversized statues! This is definitely one of the cuter ones 🙂

  3. This Big Wild World says:

    Thanks, Susanna! I agree – winter hiking is wonderful and so peaceful. Fergus Falls has a great combo of outdoors fun and places to warm up with great food and drinks. Hope you visit someday!

  4. This Big Wild World says:

    Ha ha fair question! The term falls has gotten me a few times here in Minnesota. We have tons of waterfalls but sometimes the term “falls” refers to what I might describe as “rapids”. There is an actual waterfall in Fergus Falls at the site of the Broken Down Dam.

    Yes, who doesn’t love an oversized statue of an adorable animal?!

  5. Tranquil Trekker says:

    This area sounds so cool! It looks pretty too! I don’t think I could ever move back “east”. A cross-country trail of only 1 – 2 miles seems so short! 🙂 (Granted, I’m used to trails in the National Forest that are in the middle of nowhere, often aren’t groomed, sometimes require a 4×4 to reach them, are potentially stalked by mountain lions, etc. :))

  6. Karen says:

    One of my favorite things about Minnesota is the larger than life statues in so many of the cities. I can’t believe this one has an otter. So cute.
    Sounds like a wonderful place to be in winter with all the good outdoor things to do and the warm, cozy things to do inside too.

  7. Susanna says:

    Winter hiking is one of my favorite activities, and Fergus Falls looks like such a great place to enjoy winter hiking and a nice cocktail after to warm up! Otto the otter is pretty cute too! Hopefully, I can visit sometime!

  8. Josy A says:

    Wait, is there no waterfall in Fergus Falls? I was totally expecting a frozen waterfall when I saw the title. You made it up with a GIANT OTTER! And the foodie and drink options all sound great… But I feel like they should have a waterfall too!

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