Since its incorporation in 1881, Grand Forks has won awards for being among the safest cities, least stressful areas and best communities for youth, to name a few of its honors. Like other cities in North Dakota, Grand Forks can thank its steamboat and agricultural industries for the city's growth throughout the early 20th century. The city's name is representative of its location at the intersection of the Red River of the North and the Red Lake River. Grand Forks and its neighbor, East Grand Forks, Minnesota, combine to create the Grand Forks, ND-MN Metropolitan Statistical Area, also nicknamed "The Grand Cities." Grand Forks alone has a population of about 50,000, though its metropolitan area includes almost 100,000 people.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
Like much of the Red River Valley, Grand Forks was at one time a huge agricultural center. However, the Grand Forks economy is now more dependent upon health care, food processing, research, national defense, and higher education organizations:
- The University of North Dakota
- Altru Health System
- State of North Dakota
- Grand Forks Air Force Base
- Alerus Financial banks
Several national companies have branches, manufacturing centers or call centers in Grand Forks, including Cirrus Design, J.R. Simplot, Amazon.com, SEI Information Technologies and North Dakota Mill and Elevator.
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
- Downtown Grand Forks is one of the city's oldest areas, with many historic structures and government buildings. Most festivals and markets appear in this area, which is under redevelopment.
- The Near Southside area, south of Downtown, is known for its grandiose old houses, older churches and historic architecture. It is on the National Register of Historic Places. Its Reeves Drive boasts many historic mansions.
- Southern and Western Grand Forks are newer and feature commercial centers, such the Columbia Mall, Grand Forks Marketplace and University Village.
- The University of North Dakota: Founded in 1883, before North Dakota was even a state, this public school has a student body of more than 12,000 people. The school is the largest in the state. It features 89 majors for undergraduates alone, along with professional programs for law and medicine.
- Northland Community & Technical College: This two-year, community college is just across the river from Grand Forks, in East Grand Forks, Minnesota. The school's recent growth has prompted a second campus in Thief River Falls, also in Minnesota, with a combined enrollment of 2,000 students.
- University of Minnesota-Crookston: Just minutes from Grand Forks, this four-year college in the Red River Valley offers North Dakota students another educational option. Its student body of 1,200 is the smallest in the University of Minnesota school system.
- Grand Cities Mall, the city's oldest shopping center, has several small stores and a few big-box stores.
- Columbia Mall boasts 80 stores, including several department stores, making it the area's largest mall.
- The newest mall is Grand Forks Marketplace, a largely outdoor center full of both national chains and independent shops.
- Air travel: Grand Forks International Airport uses Allegiant Air and Northwest Airlines to fly customers to Las Vegas and the Minneapolis area, respectively.
- Public Transit: Both Amtrak and BNSF Railway provide service to Grand Forks. Cities Area Transit, or CAT, is the bus system that operates 12 routes in Grand Forks.
- Highways: U.S. Highway 2 passes east-west through the city. It is an important route to East Grand Forks and Crookston, Minnesota, as well as the airport. U.S. Highway 81 and Interstate 29 also pass through the city.
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
- The Myra Museum: This museum's exhibits span thousands of years, but even better than the displays are the authentic historic buildings on the museum's property. A post office from 1868 and single-room schoolhouse from 1917 are some of the highlights.
- North Dakota Museum of Art: This museum, located on the campus of the University of North Dakota, displays the art of both local and national artists.
- Local music: The community is treated to performances by the Grand Forks Master Chorale, Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra and the Grand Forks City Band throughout the year. Most performances take place at the Empire Arts Center, a former movie theater located downtown, or the Fire Hall Theatre, also Downtown.
- Sports: The University of North Dakota's nearly 20 athletic teams are known as the Fighting Sioux, with a nationally known hockey team. The football team won the 2001 NCAA Division II championship and has continued to do well, having moved to Division I in 2006. Grand Forks residents often attend games.
- Grand Forks Herald
- The Exponent (East Grand Forks newspaper)
- The Dakota Student (UND newspaper)
- WDAZ-TV (ABC), Channel 8
- KFJM 90.7 FM (jazz and folk)
- KJKJ 107.5 FM (rock)
- KSNR 100.3 FM (country)
- KNTN 102.7 FM (news)
- KNOX 1310 AM (talk radio)