With a grand state capitol, a long list of museums, natural landmarks and art galleries, there are plenty of things to do in Helena. Whatever your reason for visiting Helena, there’s sure to be something to delight you and your loved ones.
Tourist Attractions And Visit In Helena Montana
The Helena Symphony and Grandstreet Theater make this city a top destination for the fine arts. Check out their performances and take a tour of the building when you’re in town.
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There are plenty of places around Helena that are perfect for hiking. Hike on the National Forest trails for stunning views of the surrounding mountains and wildlife.
If you’re a photographer, you’ll love the bright purples, yellows, pinks, and blues that bloom in this region during spring and summer. You can get amazing shots of the wildflowers with a simple point and shoot or your camera on a tripod.
If you love watching rodeos, then you’ll want to head to the East Helena Rodeo in July. Tickets are only $6 and the event is rich in local flavor.
Great Divide Ski Area
If skiing is your thing, then you’ll be pleased to learn that the Great Divide ski area is only 20 minutes from Helena. It’s open earlier than other local ski spots and offers a variety of equipment rental options so you can skip carrying all that weight during your trip.
Montana Historical Society Museum
The Montana Historical Society Museum is a great way to learn about the history of this state and the people who call it home. It’s filled with historic artifacts and displays that tell the story of how Montana became the state it is today.
The city’s historic pedestrian-only Last Chance Gulch is one of the most popular places to walk around, with shops and eateries spread across both sides. Take the time to stroll along Reeder’s Alley, too – it’s a charming place to discover the area’s history and culture.
Whether you’re taking a road trip to Glacier National Park or spending a week touring the state’s capitol, Helena has plenty of things to do for travelers of all ages.
Gates of the Mountains #1
Located about 20 miles north of Helena, Gates of the Mountains is an incredible place to visit and explore. Named by Meriwether Lewis when the Corps of Discovery surveyed this region, Gates of the Mountains is home to stunning limestone cliffs that tower over the Missouri River from both sides.
There are several different ways to see Gates of the Mountains, including hiking, boat tours and picnicking. Hiking is the most popular way to explore, and you can find plenty of trails that wind throughout the area.
You can also take a boat tour, which will provide you with a great view of the majestic cliffs that jut out from the Missouri River. Tours are available in the summer and can be done on a variety of boats, such as the Canyon Voyager or the Sacajawea.
If you plan on hiking in Gates of the Mountains, make sure to bring your water. This area is quite dry, and since it is void of lakes, you will need to carry plenty of water with you.
|Address||Mountains PO BOX 9786. Helena, MT|
|Office Phone||(406) 458-5241|
Cathedral of St. Helena #2
If you love visiting cathedrals, then this is a must-see place to visit. This cathedral was built during the late 1800s and has a stunning neo-Gothic design with a pair of twin spires that soar into the sky.
The building was modeled after the Votive Church of the Sacred Heart in Vienna, Austria. It features 59 stained glass windows designed by F. X. Zettler Firm of Munich, Bavaria that depict scenes from the Bible.
It also has white marble altars and hand-carved oak pews. The interior of the cathedral is incredibly beautiful, and is a must-see when you’re in Helena Montana. The cathedral was largely funded by local philanthropist Thomas Cruse and was completed in 1924.
It was damaged during the 6.2 earthquakes in 1935, but it was repaired and is still used today. You can see the cathedral on a tour, but you’ll need to call ahead. It’s a great place to learn about the history of Helena, and is a must-visit when in Montana.
|Address||530 N Ewing St, Helena, MT 59601, USA|
|Opening Hours||6:30 am–6:30 pm|
Montana State Capitol #3
Whether you’re a history buff or just a fan of beautiful architecture, the Montana State Capitol is definitely worth visiting and exploring. This neoclassical building is home to the Montana State House of Representatives and Senate, as well as the Montana Supreme Court.
This historical landmark was built in 1896-1902 and is one of the most beautiful capitol buildings in the country. It features a copper dome, and murals by artists Charles Russell and Edgar Paxson.
The Capitol also has a flag plaza, featuring the flags of various Indian nations. This is a nod to the Native Americans who made their home in Helena and helped shape the state’s history.
The Montana State Capitol serves as a powerful symbol of Montana’s past and as a bold promise for the future. Its architecture and artwork are inspiring to see and can help you gain a deeper understanding of the state’s rich culture and history.
|Address||1301 E 6th Ave, Helena, MT 59601, USA|
Montana Historical Society Museum #4
The Montana Historical Society Museum, also known as “Montana’s Museum,” is a great place to learn about the state’s history. It has a variety of exhibits on topics like wildlife, Lewis and Clark, Native American history, paleontology, and local art collections.
This is a popular Helena tourist attraction that has plenty of history to share and is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon in this historic town. It has a sizable gift shop and offers tours that last one hour for $4.
Another excellent Helena tourist attraction is the Great Northern Carousel, a classic horse-drawn ride that’s perfect for kids and adults alike. It features 37 hand-carved animals and is a fun activity for the entire family.
If you’re looking for more outdoor activities, Mount Helena provides miles of hiking trails to explore. The area is also home to a beautiful lake, Spring Meadow Lake, that is perfect for swimming, boating, and fishing. If you’re in Helena during the winter, you can go skiing and snowboarding at the Great Divide Ski Area, a few minutes north of town.
|Address||225 N Roberts St, Helena, MT 59601, USA|
|Opening Hours||10 am–4 pm|
Great Northern Carousel #5
Located in Helena’s Great Northern Town Center, this carousel is a family-friendly attraction that has become a beloved part of the city. Alan Nicholson, the developer of the town center, had always loved carousels and he was inspired to build this one specifically for the community, with Montana’s distinct spin.
It’s home to 37 hand-carved animals that include bison, grizzly bears, dinosaurs, otters, bighorn sheep and more. It also features custom stained glass running boards depicting Helena area landmarks and many Montana-native animals.
The carousel is open 365 days a year and is accompanied by a Painted Pony Ice Cream Parlor and gift shop. They offer a wide selection of the renowned Wilcoxson’s Ice Cream with 24 flavors to choose from.
For those who prefer to spend their time outside of the city, Spring Meadow Lake State Park is only a few miles away and is open year-round for camping, swimming, wind-surfing, water-skiing or fishing. During the winter, you can even go ice sailing on Holter or Hauser Lakes.
|Located in||Great Northern Town Center|
|Address||989 Carousel Way, Helena, MT 59601, USA|
|Opening Hours||10 am–7 pm|
Mount Helena #6
Helena, the state capital of Montana, is a major tourist destination that reflects its rich history with landmarks and sites that remind visitors about its mining past. The city is also a great destination for hiking, with Mount Helena towering above the city and providing miles of trails to explore.
You can climb to the top of this 1,667-meter high mountain, which is a short drive from downtown, to enjoy panoramic views of Helena and its surroundings. To get to the summit, you can follow a series of trails through verdant forests and flower-filled meadows, with craggy cliffs and limestone caves scattered throughout.
Alternatively, you can try your hand at a little bit of skiing or cross-country at the MacDonald Pass Ski Trails. These trails are groomed by the Last Chance Nordic Ski Club and can be accessed through the Helena National Forest.
When you’re done soaking up the scenery, don’t forget to sample some of Helena’s famous microbreweries, with plenty of beer choices to suit every taste and style. A glass of huckleberry ice cream will finish off the day in true Helena fashion!
|Address||Helena, MT 59601, United States|
|Elevation||5468 feet5468 feet, 1667 meters|
|Prominence||468 ft, 143 m|
Lewis & Clark Brewing Company #7
Lewis & Clark Brewing Company is a great place to visit in Helena Montana. It offers a wide variety of beer and serves as a great venue for concerts and other events. Owner Max Pigman started the business with a passion for home brewing and a background in real estate technology.
He bought the Sleeping Giant Brewing Company in 2001 and renamed it to Lewis & Clark Brewing in 2005. After operating at their original location under the Brewhouse restaurant for nine years, Pigman decided to move his burgeoning business into a remodeled complex of buildings that date back to 1887.
This expansion was a major undertaking, with Pigman and his team spending over three years renovating the space. The new location is a two-story structure that can fit more than 525 people inside.
It also has an outdoor patio that can accommodate 600 people, allowing for plenty of space to host a variety of music and other events. The brewery has experienced a lot of growth since opening, with sales growing between 15 and 20 percent last year.
|Service options||No delivery|
|Address||1517 Dodge Ave, Helena, MT 59601, United States|
|Opening Hours||12–11 pm|
Original Governor’s Mansion #8
The Original Governor’s Mansion is a stately Queen Anne-style structure that has served both private and public roles throughout Helena’s history. It began as a home for William Chessman and his family, and was later purchased by the state of Montana in 1913 to serve as the first official governor’s mansion.
In the twentieth century, nine Montana governors and their families occupied this historic house. After being restored in 1969, it is now a museum administered by the Montana Historical Society. Today the home is open to the public for guided tours.
Tours are offered year-round, except during the winter. On the first floor, visitors can take in the original soaring ceilings and intricate Victorian style woodwork. The first floor also includes a large circular dining room, an elegant living area and a spacious kitchen.
On the second floor, the governor’s bedroom and his family’s bedrooms are furnished with antiques and period furniture. The third floor has a ballroom, which was used for entertaining guests. The third floor’s maid’s room and other rooms were remodeled during the Stewart’s administration.
|Address||304 N Ewing St, Helena, MT 59601, United States|
|Architects||Cass Gilbert, Chandler C. Cohagen|
|Added to NRHP||28 April 1970|
|NRHP Reference Number||70000357|
FAQs about Helena Montana
What are some interesting facts about Helena Montana?
Helena, Montana is the state capital and was founded during a gold rush in 1864. It has a population of around 30,000 people and is located in the western part of the state. The city has a rich history, including being the location of the infamous Last Chance Gulch, and is surrounded by beautiful natural scenery.
Why is Helena important to Montana?
Helena is important to Montana because it is the state capital and the center of government and politics in the state. It is also a hub for business, education, and healthcare, and serves as a gateway to the outdoors with its proximity to national parks, forests, and other recreational areas. Additionally, Helena has a rich cultural and historical heritage that attracts tourists and contributes to the state’s overall identity.