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Montana is a land of wide-open spaces and abundant outdoor recreation for travelers who love nature and wildlife. But it is also home to some exciting and manageable cities that pack in everything from art to craft beverages, historic homes, and entertainment performances. For example, Billings is a great destination to be along the Yellowstone River and have access to lots of local attractions. Here are 10 top things to do when you add Billings, Montana to your itinerary.
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Visit Pictograph Cave State Park
One of the most unique places you can visit during your time in Billings is Pictograph Cave State Park. This cave system features a loop trail where you can see cave paintings that date back thousands of years. Come here to go for a hike, enjoy a picnic lunch, and explore the visitor center to learn more about the historical significance of these caves. Make sure to see the Pictograph, Middle, and Ghost caves while you’re here and also see if there are any park-sponsored talks or hikes going on during your visit. Peak season is between May and September, but the park is open throughout the year with more limited hours. The interpretations of these cave paintings are still up to debate, so it’s fun to take your own guesses as to what they all mean.
Hike or Bike the Rimrocks
The city of Billings is surrounded by the Rimrocks, a stunning natural area that has several trails spanning approximately 18 miles. This is a popular area among hikers and mountain bikers, and there’s something for everyone on the trails that range from easy and paved to steep and along the cliff edge. The Rimrocks features sandstone cliffs up to 500 feet high, and popular sections include Swords Park and the Chief Black Otter Trail. You’ll be rewarded with scenic views and also have access to rock climbing areas up here.
Explore the Yellowstone Art Museum
For your arts and culture fix, head to the Yellowstone Art Museum to learn about art from the northern Rocky Mountains and Plains regions. There is a permanent collection of art here that includes over 7,500 pieces, and a favorite area to see is the Montana Collection. The museum is closed on Mondays but open the other days from 10am to 5pm, with extended hours on Thursdays and the first Fridays of each month. The adult admission price is $15, and you can take a docent-led tour to learn more about the museum and its artwork.
Watch a Mustangs Baseball Game at Dehler Park
It’s also fun to catch a baseball game at Dehler Park when you’re in Billings, as this is where the Billings Mustangs play. The Mustangs are a minor league baseball team, and you can cheer them on while enjoying tasty stadium food and beer. It is a multi-use stadium that also hosts games for Billings American Legion baseball and Montana State University baseball. The stadium has been open since 2008 and has also been used for concert performances in town.
Sample Wine at Yellowstone Cellars & Winery
There’s also a great winery in town called the Yellowstone Cellars & Winery worth visiting in Billings. Here you’ll find a wine cellar, tasting room, and event space that hosts music concerts and other events. The winery’s tasting room and onsite deli are open to the public on Sundays from 1-6pm, Mondays through Thursdays from 1-9pm, and on Fridays and Saturdays from 1-11pm. It offers free wine tastings during all open hours, or you can purchase a glass for $6-7 each. Come and enjoy the open-air patio and delicious gourmet cheeses, pizzas, and flatbreads while sipping Montana wine.
See a Show at the Alberta Bair Theater for the Performing Arts
Lovers of arts and culture will also want to check out the Alberta Bair Theater in Billings, which was originally opened as the Fox Theater in 1931. This venue has hosted a wide variety of plays, musicals, concerts, and other performances over the years. It draws in big-name acts that are suitable for every type of audience. Check out the venue’s website before your trip to Billings to see what’s happening on stage.
Enjoy a Float on the Yellowstone River
Another fun activity that you can do while staying in Billings is to take a float down the nearby Yellowstone River. Popular starting and ending points are Riverfront Park and Josephine Park. This is also a popular river for fly fishing and taking a dip during warm summer months. There are local guide companies that will set up you with a float down the river and take care of all of the transportation and logistics for you.
Walk Through DanWalt Gardens
Another nice place to visit when you’re in Billings is the DanWalt Gardens. This is a beautiful venue for workshops, weddings, and just taking a casual stroll. Visit between Mother’s Day and the first fall freeze between 9am and 6pm, especially to see the colorful irises in early June and the hibiscus flowers in August and September.
Tour the Moss Mansion Historic House Museum
Also make a point to check out the Moss Mansion Museum, which is a historic building that dates back to 1903 and was the home of entrepreneur Preston B. Moss. Inside the home, you can see impressive furnishings like marble fireplaces and hand-painted ceilings. Come here to take a one-hour guided tour and learn about this prominent Billings family and also what life was like here for the upper class in the early 20th century. Self-guided tours are available between noon and 3pm Tuesdays through Sundays for an admission fee of $12 per adult.
Sample beer from the Local Breweries
Billings is also home to quite a few excellent breweries that serve up local beer and offer a fun and welcoming environment for visitors. Billings has a walkable brewery district where you can explore several brew spots on foot, including Yellowstone Valley Brewing, Überbrew, Billings Depot, Carter’s Brewing, and Angry Hank’s. Other local spots to check out nearby on your self-guided beer tour of town are Thirsty Street Brewing and Montana Brewing.