Long X Visitor Center

Right there in the middle of one of the nation’s largest oil plays is a vibrant art community.  Artists and musicians abound.  The Long X Visitor Center in Watford City gives you a sample of the books, music, and artwork found in the region. (Is it strange that 150 years ago, the Long X was associated with a grueling, long cattle trail?) 


For us, at Beautiful Badlands ND, we owe a big thank you to the Long Visitor Center and the Long X Arts Foundation. If you visit the big log cabin lodge on Watford City Main Street, you’ll see why.

We put up a dozen or more Beautiful Badlands ND images in their photo gallery. Different times in the month, we rotate new images to display. It provides a fresh look to repeat visitors.art at the long x visitor center

The first night was a great experience.  It was a Hygge! A casual friendly evening to escape what seems to be a never-ending winter. People wandered through and some even bought our prints. Wonderful!


Hygge! What Is It?

Hygge (pronounced hue-guh, not hoo-gah) is a Danish word used when acknowledging a feeling or moment, whether alone or with friends, at home or out, ordinary or extraordinary as cozy, charming or special. (www.hyggehouse.com)

Thanks to Jan, Sandy, and Val, the Hygge is a growing success.  About three dozen people stopped in for casual conversation, a book review and the opening of the Beautiful Badlands ND exhibit.  They talked about a new historical book about the area, Called to the Prairie.

Then came the hearty hot meal, just right to warm spirits on an extremely cold, windy and stormy night. (Highways blew shut after that event, no travel was advised later on.)

Long X Visitor Center

The Long X Visitor Center in downtown Watford City is just what it says it is, a place for visitors.  The main floor is the help floor with books, maps, and friendly directions.   The structure looks like a mountain lodge and sits at a prominent corner in town with a wrap-around porch.  Inside is the treasure many people don’t know about. 

Start at the Top

It’s the top floor that is the “Wow” factor.  The Pioneer Museum of McKenzie County Exhibits vary, from the last lynching in North Dakota to a “modern” kitchen of 100 years ago.  The staff has magical powers to be able to pack so much into such a little space, and still make it a comfortable experience.  The Pioneer Museum is dedicated to the pioneer men & women, we are here to tell their stories.

In the lower level

life of a well at the Long X visitor Center

One piece of a large display explaining how oil is drilled in the Bakken.

Take the elevator or stairs to the lower level and there you’ll get a complete education on how and why Watford City is in the center of one of the nation’s biggest oil finds – the Bakken.  You’ll see diagrams and models of how oil from two miles below the surface is drilled and pumped.  It’s the most informative collection of the oil drilling process I’ve ever seen.

And of course, off to the side is the Longhorn Room where the Beautiful Badlands exhibit is this month. There, you will find metal prints of prairie patina and larger framed prints for sale. You’ll find unframed matted prints for very low prices upstairs, next to where Val or Sandy are perched.

art work at the Long X Visitor Center

Tired of sameness, nothing to do?

Every week, we run into people who say there’s nothing to do here; they just stay home and play video games or watch TV.  We shake our heads. That’s sad. Why not investigate? There are gems such as the Long X Visitor Center, and the other amazing places in Medora, Williston, Dunn Center, Dickinson, and Bowman.

Come on in!

long x visitor center pioneer museum

Art and history in one place in the surprisingly sophisticated Long X Visitor Center and Pioneer Museum.

So, don’t just bypass Watford City on the four-lane bypass. Turn in to town to eat, shop and of course wander through that big 2-story wooden building on the corner. Buy some books, artwork, and photographs of the Beautiful Badlands.

What are your thoughts about the Long X Visitor Center? Leave your comment below.

We’re planning a St. Patrick’s Day food survey of the region.  Where do you find an Irish meal in Western ND or Eastern MT?  Leave a comment here, or on our Facebook page. And while you’re there, go ahead and click “follow.

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