Best Attractions in Billings Montana 2024 1
|

Best Attractions in Billings Montana 2024

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Greetings Internet Stranger! I’m Stella Jane, author of the travel guide Get Lost, and welcome to the best attractions in Billings Montana. Montana’s nickname is Big Sky Country for a reason.

And even in Billings, which is the largest city in Montana, you’ll have an opportunity to experience how large the sky can get. Especially if you’re from a big city, like I am, it’s a wonderful chance to experience the majesty of nature.

But perhaps you are a hardened soul who thinks the majesty of nature is literally only for the birds. Then you can still enjoy the other best attractions in Billings Montana! There’s freaky contemporary art, freaky craft beer, and freaky obscure cinema. Let’s all get freaky, Montana-style!

best attractions in Billings Montana

Morning: Swords Parks

Montana is famous for its sweeping vistas, and I promise you can appreciate them from Billings. You can appreciate them even if, like me, you don’t know how to drive! Just head on over to Swords Park!

You can go for a hike or ride your bike around here. (I also don’t know how to ride a bike, so I speak not from experience here. However, I promise I do know how to walk. Sort of.)

Swords Park is acres of the craggiest nature you’ll ever see. That’s because it’s located on top of the Rimrocks. I promise I’ll tell you all about the Rimrocks as well as…

Three Fun Facts: Swords Park

best attractions in Billings Montana
1) Where Should I Fuel Up Before Swords Park?

The Northern Hotel doesn’t give free breakfast, but fortunately, they have a yummy retro-style diner called Bernie’s where you can carbo-load before our hike! You’ll feel like you’re being sweet-talked by the cutest beau in school while you’re here. Maybe he’ll even pin you before breakfast is over.

Bernie’s does a tasty traditional breakfast, but I suggest getting the elk sausage with your eggs. It has a rich flavor that will bring that special Montana zazzle to your breakfast. You’ll almost feel ready to go hunt down some elk yourself, so you can make your own artisanal sausage.

best attractions in Billings Montana
2) What are the Rimrocks?

The Rimrocks are majestic limestone formations that surround Billings like a ring of fire. I mean they are literally reddish rocks, but it sounds more poetic to say they are a ring of fire. Johnny Cash would agree with me.

Swords Park is on top of the Rimrocks, so it’s one of the best attractions in Billings Montana because of the spectacular views it offers of Billings, which some people call the Paris of the Middle of Nowhere.

These rocks are over 85 million years old, which is probably older than my grandmother. They go back to dinosaur times, so if you want to amuse yourself, stroll around the Rimrocks and make velociraptor noises at imaginary enemies.

There probably won’t be anyone else around, since it’s such a large area and there aren’t that many people in Billings.

best attractions in Billings Montana

OK, I lied. This bunny might be there. But she won’t stick around for long if you make dino noises at her, like I did.

best attractions in Billings Montana

That’s right, bunny! You better run!

best attractions in Billings Montana
3) How Do I Get to Swords Park?

Learn from my terrible mistakes, Internet Stranger! Google seemed to tell me that it was possible to walk from downtown Billings to Swords Park. Yet I could not figure out how to do it. I got to the Rimrocks and tried to walk up to Swords Park, but the path was not where Google said it would be.

I did see one young lady jogging ahead of me until she vanished into thin air. I could not see which path she followed. It’s possible she was a ghost. Eventually, I totally gave up on walking to Swords Park and decided to head down to the bottom and call an Uber to the park.

But some of the paths were too steep to walk down, so I had to slide down on my butt. This is why I say I only sort of know how to walk.

best attractions in Billings Montana

Some of you might wonder if it’s worth it to go to the Rimrocks or Swords Park if it’s so tough and you might run into a ghost. I say it is worth it because you get views like this. Cower before the might of the Big Sky!

best attractions in Billings Montana

Afternoon: Explore the best attractions in Billings Montana, Duh

Billings is a small city relative to other US metropolii, but it’s still the largest city in Montana. That makes it a hub for all of Montana’s cultural activities.

So some of the best attractions in Billings Montana include fantastic movie theaters, museums, restaurants, and public art. I’m going to take you to all of it! But first, lunch!

best attractions in Billings Montana
1) Lunch at Uberbrew

Like many US cities, Billings has become a great place to taste craft beer. But Uberbrew is the only place I saw in Billings that serves both craft beer and yummy eats. I like that you can get two half servings of different beers.

I started with their Playa del Montana Milkshake IPA. (It’s funny because there are no beaches in Montana! This craft brewery’s jokes are almost as good as mine!) This is a fruity IPA, so I think it would be a good choice for someone who thought most IPAs were too bitter.

Then I got a Japanese saison beer that had Japanese hot pepper and green tea. Who knew a beer could be spicy? Where does he get these wonderful toys?

For food, I recommend the sausage with grilled onions because it’s a simple and delicious pairing with the creative beers. I couldn’t resist the beer cheese soup. Hell yeah, you can get beer cheese soup in America! USA, USA, USA!

best attractions in Billings Montana
2) Big Dipper Ice Cream

Big Dipper Ice Cream is as Montana as it gets. (They have two other locations in Missoula and Helena.) I love the name because what better place to see the Big Dipper than Big Sky Country?

Big Dipper has won tons of awards, and it’s even been featured on Good Morning America, so don’t pass up the chance to try some. I personally plan on sampling every award-winning ice cream in these United States. Such is my dedication to science.

Big Dipper has many creative flavors from Mexican Chocolate to Espresso Heath, but I recommend the Huckleberry. It’s the most local flavor. There’s nothing that makes me think of Montana as much as the huckleberry, unless it’s sliding down some 85 million year rocks on my backside.

best attractions in Billings Montana
3) Yellowstone Art Museum

The Yellowstone Art Museum was surprising to me in many ways. First of all, it’s located in a former prison. (They literally have a sign outside that saying “From Captives to Captivating”, which is a good joke that I’m sure the ex-convicts would laugh at.)

Don’t be too weirded out by the fact that you’re enjoying fine art in a former prison. The sign assured me that only one execution took place in the prison. (OMG, MAYBE IT WAS THE GHOST JOGGER?)

best attractions in Billings Montana

The Yellowstone Art Museum also surprised me because I think of Montana as being kind of a conservative state, so I wasn’t expecting to find a museum entirely dedicated to abstract contemporary art. But there was abstract yarn art.

best attractions in Billings Montana

An abstract sculpture garden…

best attractions in Billings Montana

And what looks like an abstract portrait of Stanley Tucci as a child. Keep in mind that the art on display changes frequently, so except for the sculpture garden, the works you see will probably be different. But I’m sure it will be just as fascinating.

best attractions in Billings Montana
4) Art House Cinema and Pub

The Art House Cinema and Pub is a crazy cool place to catch obscure films and documentaries. When I was there, I saw a film called Framing John Delorean which was part documentary and part reenactment of real events with Alec Baldwin and other actors playing John DeLorean and himself.

If you’ve ever wanted to know the bonkers backstory behind the car in Back to the Future, check the film out. Spoiler alert! It involves a lot of cocaine.

The Art House Cinema also sells adult beverages, so feel free to indulge. I saw one lady in her 70s buy an entire bottle of Chardonnay at the concession stand to split with her man-panion, and I want to be her when I grow up.

best attractions in Billings Montana
5) Wander and Enjoy Life!

Before you head back to your hotel to freshen up, stroll around Downtown Billings and enjoy the beauty of this former railroad town.

There aren’t many cities in the US that have this many early 20th century buildings for your enjoyment. You can use this map of a self-guided Billings walking tour to help you get started finding the best attractions in Billings Montana

best attractions in Billings Montana

Look at this gorgeous building from 1919! Was it a luxury hotel? An office building for a railroad baron? No, it was a warehouse! Just a warehouse for storing goods!

This warehouse is about a jillion times prettier than my apartment, and unlike the goods stored in the warehouse, I actually pay rent and am a human being.

best attractions in Billings Montana

And here’s the Carlin hotel, which was where a sting operation was located. This operation wasn’t for just any penny-ante criminal. It was for the actual mayor of Billings and he was busted for violating Prohibition.

I would totally watch a show about the Treasury Department tracking down Prohibition violators in Billings. It could be called Billings Billings.

Any television producer who wants to take that idea, I give it to you for free. And all I ask is ten percent of the gross.

best attractions in Billings Montana

Finally, one of the best attractions in Billings Montana is definitely the painted signal boxes. You can find them all over the city. There’s no map of them that I can find, but I think it’s more entertaining and serendipitous to try to find them on your own.

Some of them look like the Rimrocks. If you look carefully, I am actually in that painting, sliding along on my butt.

best attractions in Billings Montana

Whereas some look like psychedelic cats. I told you that Billings was full of real cool cats, and this is my proof!

Which signal box will be your favorite? I can’t wait to hear about it!

best attractions in Billings Montana

Evening: Dinner at Ten

Just because Billings used to be a railroad town doesn’t mean the only food in town is some smushed cheese sandwiches. There are plenty of options for fine dining.

Now, you might be looking at my heading above and wondering why I am demanding that you have dinner at Ten. And why don’t I specify whether that should be ten in the morning or ten at night?

Well, Ten is actually the name of a restaurant! In fact, it’s the fine dining restaurant at the Northern Hotel, where we are staying and where we enjoyed a fine breakfast earlier this morning.

If you’re staying at the Northern, this is extremely convenient because you can eat and drink your fill and then just crawl into bed afterwards without even needing to step outside.

best attractions in Billings Montana

Ten specializes in amazing steaks, so you might want something light to start for an appetizer. However, I had heard that the bone marrow was their best app, so I couldn’t resist trying it.

If you enjoy the rich taste of bone marrow, which I definitely do, this is a must-try. (I know that looks like a massive portion in my photo above, but remember that it’s mostly bone.)

best attractions in Billings Montana

Ten has other main courses, but, as I mentioned, it’s famous for its steak. I suggest getting one of the steaks that specifically mentions it’s made with Montana beef. I mean, you’ve come all the way to Montana, why not immerse yourself in local culture?

You get to choose whatever starch you want with your steak, I obviously chose the roasted potatoes, which you can tell from my photo above. Billings really is a steak and potato city, and I mean that as a compliment.

best attractions in Billings Montana

The dessert menu at Ten changes, so I can’t guarantee that this dessert, my key lime pie, will be on the menu. But I can almost guarantee it will be tangy and delicious if you get it!

best attractions in Billings Montana

Where to Stay?

One of the best reasons to visit a smaller city like Billings is that you can live like a princess on a secretary’s budget. My most recommended hotel in Billings is the uber-classy Northern Hotel. It was built back at the turn of the century to be the most modern hotel in Billings.

Of course it burned down because old buildings tend to do that, but it was rebuilt in 1940 and it has stood in Billings ever since as “the most luxurious hotel in Montana”.

A hotel of this caliber would cost about twice the price in my hometown of NYC. After all, But at the Northern you get fresh free coffee every morning, an insanely helpful staff, and a free ride to the airport even at 4:30 in the morning on the 4th of July. (I know this because I did need a ride to the Billings airport at 4:30 in the morning on the 4th of July.)

If you’re looking to dive into a great price on the Northern Hotel, visit here!

And if it’s out of your budget, but you still want to experience the budget-friendly wonders of Billings, explore amazing deals on cheaper hotels in Billings.

Check the best deals on Billings hotels by moseying over here.

This search engine will help you find the best places for your taste and budget so you can really enjoy your day of the best attractions in Billings Montana

best attractions in Billings Montana

That’s the best attractions in Billings Montana

What do you think are the best attractions in Billings Montana? Is that 70-year old lady living her best life by spending her afternoon day-drinking at the movies? And was that jogger really a ghost? Please email me at stellajane@aroundtheworldin24hours.com and let me know all about it!

Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just head here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY spend 24 hours with the best best attractions in Billings Montana.

Enjoy a day of what to do Jackson Hole Wyoming. Experience the best Yellowstone tour from Jackson Hole. Go for a day of what is there to do in Billings MT. Why not have a wonderful Boise walking tour? Have fun with the best Boise ID attractions. Look into the best hotels Boise ID.

Best Attractions in Billings Montana 2024 2

Similar Posts

2 Comments

Comments are closed.