- North Dakota
My arrival at the Bismarck airport is seamless, and once aboard the hotel shuttle, I find myself chatting with the friendly driver, who happily takes me on an impromptu tour.
Windows down, the air is fresh, and the late-day sun shines brightly across fields of hay bales and quaint homes. Standing proudly in the distance is the North Dakota State Capitol, a 19-story tower, one of the tallest in the state. We arrive at our destination, the Radisson Bismarck hotel, and after a quick check-in, I’m out the door on foot, excited to explore the city’s growing and energetic downtown.
Shopping in Bismarck
As I meander, local residents pause to say hello, seeming to be aware that I am a visitor here, and eager to welcome me to their city. Exciting new restaurants and shops have popped up in the past few years, while more seasoned establishments have added beautiful outdoor patios. I hear people chat about a fun and distinctive rooftop bar.
The storefronts here are enticing, gleaming and new. The marquee at Soul Interiors’ boasts of “funky, fresh, and unique” home goods, while the sugary smells and bright exterior of Sweet Treats Cupcake Bar and Bakery draw me in.
Stepping inside Lot 2029, I’m happy about their affordable prices, and begin to wonder if my small apartment couldn’t use a fragrant candle or two, a colorfully painted water pitcher, or maybe a beautiful, one-of-a-kind couch (how much is shipping, really?). The racks of vibrant clothing hold just a few of each item, and I’m drawn to the tables of speciality jewellery – cheeky bunny-eared rings, chunky bracelets, statement necklaces. Madonna, the shop’s owner, greets each customer like family, while an adorable mascot (Madonna’s dog) barks in excitement as each guest enters.
I continue my shopping just a few minutes from downtown, at the Kirkwood Mall, home to popular stores like Eddie Bauer, American Eagle and Victoria’s Secret. Upon entering Herberger’s, I immediately find myself searching through racks of beautiful high-end clothing, priced in ranges for all budgets.
Spending the day shopping in Downtown Bismarck
Dinner at Peacock Alley American Grill & Bar
After a great day of shopping, I treat myself to dinner at the historic Peacock Alley American Grill & Bar, located in downtown Bismarck’s famous Patterson building. Photographs of Bismarck’s distinguished history line the walls, along with portraits of U.S. presidents who have visited here. I settle in at the bar, talking with the newly-arrived German bartender, who recommends Mandan’s Salem Sue Stout, a nice roasted malt with a clean finish. The prime beef sandwich is delicious, with juicy meat, fried peppers, portabellas and onions, smothered in provolone cheese. Instead of dessert, I opt for the espresso martini, made with freshly brewed espresso, and perfectly chilled.
One of the many delicious meals at Peacock Alley in Downtown Bismarck
A Night Out at Laughing Sun Brewing Co.
After a satisfying meal, I cross the street to the Laughing Sun Brewing Co., Bismarck’s first brewery, established in 2012. At 8 p.m. on a Wednesday night, the place is packed. I grab the only available seat at the bar, and after contemplating their many delicious home brews, I select a light citrusy beer – the popular 107 Pale Ale. Throughout the night, local Bismarck-Mandan musicians and singers take the stage, part of the “ever-changing, ever-evolving” band, Anonymous Phenomenon.
Sitting in the middle of this spirited crowd, I can’t help but think I’ve found an incredible and surprising jewel to come back and visit. Come see it for yourself!
Enjoying live music at Laughing Sun Brewery in Bismarck