Minot is a city in the Lakes and Gardens region of North Dakota with about 40,888 people in 2010 Census. Known as the Magic City, it's a significant rail hub (for freight, anyway). However, its location deep within North America and off the Interstate System generally means you don't see Minot if you don't plan on it.

A view of Minot, looking South


The Souris River goes through the middle of town, carving a valley in the middle of flat prairie. The town arose in 1880s as a stop along the Great Northern railway. During Prohibition the city became a nexus for alcohol smuggling. After World War II the city settled down into quiet suburbanation. There's a US Air Force base north of town. You can drive to Canada in just over an hour.

Minot is a rather unusual city, though possessing levels of services similar to much larger cities, it struggles between small-town and cosmopolitan attitudes. Civic growth is not greatly helped by the climate. T-shirts available at the airport have this motto: "Why not Minot? Freezin's the reason!"


It should be noted that while North Dakota is typically associated with a cold climate, the weather actually has its extremes, and Minot reaches temperatures of 90s (sometimes even 100s) in the summer months.

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°F) 21 25 37 55 67 75 82 81 70 55 37 24
Nightly lows (°F) 4 9 19 32 43 53 58 56 46 34 20 7
Precipitation (in) 0.5 0.4 0.8 1.1 2.5 3.6 2.4 2.0 1.5 1.2 0.8 0.4

   Data from NOAA (1981-2010)

Get in

By plane

Minot International Airport (IATA: MOT) is served by daily nonstop jet service on Delta Air Lines from Delta's hub at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport. It also has daily nonstop jet service to Denver and Houston on United Airlines, and weekly nonstop jet service to Las Vegas and Phoenix-Mesa on Allegiant.

By car

Minot's location towards the center of the continent places it well off the beaten path for travelers. Most commonly, visitors are passing by. Often they are taking the scenic route west through Montana (or coming from that direction). Also, many Canadian tour buses bound for points east (Minneapolis, Chicago, etc.) will cross into the US through Portal, and stop in Minot for fuel and a quick bite.

The major routes through the city are US 2 (east-west), US 83 (north-south), and US 52 (northwest-southeast). US 2 intersects with Interstate 29 in Grand Forks, US 83 intersects with Interstate 94 in Bismarck, and US 52 intersects with Interstate 94 in Jamestown. Successors to 83 and 52 also intersect with the Trans-Canada Highway.

By train

Freight rail service to Minot is provided by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Canadian Pacific Railways.

By bus

A local company provides road transportation to and from Grand Forks ($45.05) and Bismarck ($25.80) every day except Wednesdays and Saturdays, and also to New Town ($13) on weekdays.

Primary interstate carrier Greyhound Lines serves none of these cities; though from Grand Forks, Jefferson Lines connects to Greyhound in Winnipeg and Fargo. From Bismarck, Rimrock Stages connects to Greyhound in Fargo and Billings.

Get around

Unless you've brought a bicycle and happen to be in good shape, you aren't getting anywhere in Minot without a car. Some public transit is available at certain times, but for visitors it's more trouble than it's worth.

Car rental

Avis (+1 701 838-7665), Hertz (+1 701 852-0104), and National (+1 701 852-5115) located at the airport. There is a Rent-a-Wreck (838-0098) at a Sinclair gas station three (hilly) blocks south of the Amtrak station. There is an Enterprise location (838-3800) on the south end of town. Enterprise and Rent-a-Wreck will pick you up; Avis, Hertz, and National are oriented primarily towards airline travelers.


Taxi service is also available. Central Cab. +1 701-852-8000

By public transit

Minot City Transit provides service. There is no bus stop at the Amtrak station. Also, there is no common transfer stop between routes. Buses run every hour between 9AM and 5PM, Monday through Friday. Two trips run between 6:55AM to 8:30AM on school days and again between 2:55PM and 4:30PM

Fare is $1.25. Children under 6 pay no fare. Monthly passes for adults are $34.00. Monthly passes for senior citizens and disabled are $26.00.


Stave Church, Scandinavian Heritage Center



Shopping opportunities are ample in Minot. Souvenirs are available at the airport.


Food is pretty cheap in Minot. You're looking at $10 tops per person in most cases, maybe $20 at some of the nicer sit-down restaurants. If you really want to pull out on the stops, it is theoretically possible to spend $50 a plate at a handful of places in town... if you care to.

You will not need a reservation for any restaurant in town. Some restaurants do have private rooms that can be reserved, which are generally for business or political meetings.






Accommodations are easy to find in Minot -- except during the State Fair and Høstfest. Be sure to reserve your rooms well in advance if you're planning to stay during late July and early October.




Stay safe

There is little crime in Minot. Most residents do lock their doors, but in wintertime many people leave their cars running in parking lots as they run their errands.

Probably the most significant danger comes from city traffic. Pedestrians should yield to oncoming traffic -- most people will not stop to let you by, even at crosswalks. Also, drunk and exhibition driving is a risk late on weekends. Stay alert on the roads at those times.


The telephone area code for Minot is 701.

Minot has excellent telecommunications infrastructure; the telephone system is modern, internet access is ubiquitous, and cellular coverage within the city is excellent. Analog and digital PCS, CDMA and GSM networks are available. Coverage in the city and along the roads is excellent. Coverage gaps deep in rural territory are quickly being filled. Local telephone provider SRT is a partner with Sprint and Verizon Wireless, among others. Alltel Wireless also maintains infrastructure in the area; while its native service is based on CDMA technology, it offers a parallel GSM network that some carriers such as T-Mobile US use for roaming. AT&T Wireless now offers limited coverage in the city but not in the surrounding rural areas.

Minot has a web cafe, Broadway Bean & Bagel, on South Broadway. Public Internet access is also available at the Public Library (next to the Amtrak station) and Minot State University (North Broadway). Free WiFi access is available in pockets downtown and around MSU.

Go next

Routes through Minot

Spokane Williston  W  E  Rugby Fargo
Williston Burlington  W  E  Towner Grand Forks
Estevan Burlington  NW  SE  Balfour Jamestown
Virden Jct W E  N  S  Max Bismarck

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, March 25, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.