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Small Business Saturday is a shopping holiday between Black Friday and Cyber Monday designed to drive business to locally owned stores throughout the country. This kind of support has a direct impact on the growth of our communities and helps keep businesses local.
In this guide, we introduce you to several small businesses in North Dakota’s capital city of Bismarck. A recent Bankrate survey found 61% of holiday shoppers plan to shop on Small Business Saturday. Whether you’re a foodie, window shopper or adventure seeker, here’s a taste of what you can find in one of North Dakota’s most interesting towns.
To get a feel for Bismarck’s past, consider stopping at the Bismarck Antique Mall on Main Avenue. Billed as the “largest antique store in Western North Dakota,” the mall is home to more than 20 dealers selling vintage goods ranging from mugs, clocks and vases to sports memorabilia and more.
Shoppers looking for an eclectic, even trippy shopping experience should look no further than Many Visions. This apparel and accessories art collective works with dozens of artists to create beautiful, bright and often psychedelic clothes, rugs, hats and more.
If you’re looking for a more classic gift shop, Punky’s Bath & Gift Shop offers clothing, bath products, perfumes, candles, home decor and more. Punky’s bath bombs are especially popular, but they work with vendors both locally and nationwide to provide gift options for everyone on your list.
Around the corner from Punky’s is Ferguson Books & More, an independent bookstore offering the largest number of used books in the region. The store also offers a book trading program and hosts occasional author signings.
A five-minute walk down the street brings you to the aptly named DallasLee Boutique & Down Home General Store. If you’re looking for goods unique to North Dakota, Down Home provides everything you need. From foodie gifts in the general store — like jam, homemade coffee blends and local popcorn — to the jewelry, clothes and other accessories for sale in the DallasLee Boutique section, you’ll find it all here under one roof.
Eat and drink locally
Right off E. Main Avenue, the Pirogue Grille has been using local bison to create classic American cuisine since 2005. Those looking for a fine-dining experience will appreciate the expansive menu and spirits list.
Prefer a more relaxed, family-friendly dining experience? The unique Space Aliens Grill & Bar is on the other side of town. As its name implies, the theme here is colorful aliens and space decor. You can even bring the whole family to enjoy an out-of-this-world arcade experience at the restaurant. A more adult arcade experience can be found at The CraftCade. Here, you’ll find a whole bar filled with retro arcade games, a self-pour craft beer wall and New York–style pizza — a rarity in North Dakota.
The down-home American feel throughout Bismarck’s food scene continues with restaurants like the Broadway Grill & Tavern — whose menu features bison and beef burgers, steak and surf and turf. Bistro 1100, which was once a carriage house located in the middle of E. Front Avenue, offers a mostly American menu with several surprise twists — including sesame-crusted ahi tuna, spicy chicken tortellini, pizzas cooked in a wood-burning oven and even vegetarian and gluten-free options.
Beer lovers will find a lot to love about Bismarck. You can start with classic craft beer made from local hops at Bismarck Brewing, located on the north side of town. A short drive to N. 12th Street takes you to Stonehome Brewing, offering over a dozen beers on its menu and just as many pizza options. For your grand finale, Laughing Sun Brewing is considered by many to be the best brewery and live music venue in Bismarck. While you’re here, enjoy some delicious BBQ before challenging your crew to a friendly round of axe throwing.
Whether you’re a nature lover or a history buff, you have plenty of attractions to visit in Bismarck. One of the most popular is the Dakota Zoo. Home to 600 animals over 90 acres, you could spend an entire day just exploring the park. Another kid-friendly venue worth checking out is the Super Slide Amusement Park, home to a mini-golf course and plenty of rides to enjoy. Keep in mind that hours may vary during the spring and fall seasons.
Those looking to explore Bismarck’s historical sites can start at the very modern Capitol Complex. You can opt for a guided tour or stroll the grounds on your own. From there, head to the former governor’s mansion, a beautiful example of Victorian architecture, and Buckstop Junction, a perfectly preserved historical site dating to the 1800s.
If you’re looking to spend time outdoors, McDowell Dam Nature Park — located 5 miles east of Bismarck — offers trails, a swimming area, a playground and 271 acres of land to explore. You can rent paddle boats, canoes and kayaks for a small fee. Keelboat Park includes a riverfront walk and some locally-made sculptures created by United Tribes Technical College students. Just off Burnt Boat Drive in north Bismarck, Chief Looking’s Village offers beautiful views of the Missouri River and hiking trails with markers that tell the story of North Dakota’s first inhabitants.
Source: Google Maps
The bottom line
When you shop local, you’re supporting small businesses in your community and in those you visit, helping those communities continue to thrive. You can still earn rewards, but you’ll end up with unique experiences and products that aren’t mass-produced.
Bismarck has plenty to offer on Small Business Saturday and beyond. Whether you’re looking for local bison burgers, craft beer or history — or if you just want to shop for distinctive gifts in independently owned shops — Bismarck has plenty of excellent small businesses to discover.