Stampede 2001

The movie "Fargo," set in the sleepy town of Fargo, N.D., nearly made a killing at the box office.

The movie "Fargo," set in the sleepy town of Fargo, N.D., nearly made a killing at the box office. Now, Microsoft hopes to make a killing of its own in the same town.

Toward that end, Microsoft earlier this year acquired Great Plains Software, a CRM software specialist located in Fargo, for $1.1 billion. The deal will make or break Microsofts ambitious push into the market for small-business applications.

Do you want a piece of the action? If so, book a trip to Great Plains Stampede, an annual partner event in Fargo thats set to kick off on Oct. 3.

Fargo isnt a mecca for conventions or vacations, but theres plenty of local entertainment to keep you busy—when you arent tied up in business meetings. Heres some travel advice for those new to the town.

Lodging: Many local hotels are booked solid, but if you need a last-minute room, dial the Fargo Rosenbluth office at 800-637-8239 or 701-280-5500. Familiar hotel chains litter the Fargo landscape, but we recommend the Ramada Plaza Suites & Conference Center (701-277-9000). Starting at about $95 per night, youll find an indoor pool, exercise room, data ports for Internet connectivity, and other perks that many older or less-expensive hotels lack.

Food & Drink: Familiar restaurant chains like Applebees, Dennys and T.G.I. Fridays are easy to spot in Fargo. Naturally, the folks from Great Plains have a few favorite dining spots of their own. Kim Albrecht, director of PR, highly recommends Luigis (701-241-4200), a reliable choice for Italian food thats located on 42nd street, just north of the Radisson Hotel. Another hot spot is Old Broadway (701-237-6161), a three-story bar and eatery with a dance floor for guests.

Entertainment: Temperatures in October can range from the mid 30s to the low 60s, so outdoor entertainment can get a chilly reception. For indoor action, check out Sports Bubble (701-280-0824), which offers an indoor driving range, golf lessons, an 18-hole miniature golf course, and a simulator featuring more than 25 PGA courses.For dot-com survivors with money to burn, several local bars offer on-premises gambling (see If youre in the mood for arts and theater, check out the Fargo Theatre ( And yes, the local video stores rent Fargo—which did manage to make a killing on video.