Located at the northwest edge of the Yellowstone River Valley, with the striking rimrocks, sandstone cliffs, cutting through town, Billings, Montana is an ideal place to get outdoors and explore. You'll find numerous parks and trails, many along the Yellowstone River.
Visitors can also check out a variety of historic and cultural attractions, including the Western Heritage Center and Moss Mansion.
Pictograph Cave State Park's rock paintings are just outside of town and Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument where the Battle of the Greasy Grass, the Native people's name for the battle, took place.
The Rimrocks, 200- to 500-foot-high sandstone cliffs, slash through the Billings landscape. Combine these landmarks with the rushing Yellowstone River and Montana's big sky and you'll find a stunning place to spend time enjoying outdoor recreation and natural beauty.
A round of golf is one popular way to savor the surroundings. Walking, hiking, and biking trails, like the Swords Park Trail and the Dutcher Trail, are found in parks and neighborhoods all around Billings. The Yellowstone and other local rivers are perfect for rafting and fishing.
Four Dances Recreation Area is Bureau of Land Management area bordered by the Yellowstone River known for hiking and wildlife watching.
Housed in a grand old Romanesque library building, this regional history museum offers collections and exhibits that focus on the Yellowstone River Valley and the northern High Plains region, including northern Wyoming and far-western North Dakota.
Kids will have a great time exploring the Western Heritage Center's many hands-on experiences, where they'll learn about Native Americans, the railroad, and the Yellowstone River. This Smithsonian-affiliate museum offers special and traveling exhibitions as well as exhibits that include artifacts from their permanent collection.
You'll see animals from both North America and Asia at this Billings zoo. The mammals, birds, and reptiles on display include some you might see during your time in Montana's outdoors, like bald eagles and river otters. There are also some ZooMontana animals that you wouldn't necessarily want to encounter in the wild, but still wish to see up close, such as grizzly bears, wolves, and Siberian tigers. ZooMontana sprawls over 70 wooded acres, with a lovely creek passing through the complex.
This grand sandstone mansion, built in 1903, is open for one-hour guided tours. Occupied by the prominent Billings' Moss family for many decades, the stately home preserves the original fixtures, furnishings, and architectural details and is a wonderful example of upscale Billings life in the early 20th century.
Get going in the morning and refresh yourself in the afternoon with a visit to Billings' coffee and tea houses. Downtown Billings is home to some great coffee and tea. Almost every block has at least one coffee or tea shop and you’ll find fantastic shopping, restaurants (many offering breakfasts), art galleries, and historic points of interest.
Located near the airport, this museum also focuses on the history of Montana and the Northern Plains. Exhibits cover such topics as Native Americans, the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the railroad, and settlement of the region. Their collection includes numerous North Plains Indian artifacts such as beadwork, tools, and weapons.
Take in a Festival
Billings hosts several major events throughout the year, many with an agricultural focus. In August, MontanaFair celebrates agriculture in the historic tradition of fairs with farm animal competitions and contests to determine the best-baked goods, crafts and more. There's a huge carnival and fair food galore. Entertainment stages provide music and variety acts for all ages. Night shows and Pro Rodeo competition round out the offerings. Held at MetraPark in Billings, MontanaFair begins the second weekend in August.
Also in August, you can take in the music at the Magic City Blues Festival, Montana's urban music festival.
In October, Billings hosts the NILE, Northern International Livestock Exposition, and the HarvestFest. HarvestFest, held in downtown Billings, takes place the second weekend of October and celebrates the season with a rich diversity of arts and crafts, fresh produce, mums, pumpkins, pies, and fall farmers’ market produce. There is live entertainment, a Pumpkin Pie baking contest, and free crafts and activities for all ages.
Hang out at Riverfront Park
Riverfront Park, located along the Yellowstone River, offers open lawns for playing or picnicking and trails where you can stretch your legs and take in the scenery. In addition to the river views and wildlife, you can enjoy the park's two tiny lakes, Josephine and Cochran.
Walk the Brewery District
Billings has an informal downtown brewery district which includes six breweries, two distilleries, and a cider house, all within easy walking distance. Use an online map to guide you from place to place and identify historical points of interest too.
Peruse Art at the Yellowstone Art Museum
The Yellowstone Art Museum in downtown Billings, Montana, is the largest contemporary art museum in the state. The museum's emphasis is on contemporary art from the northern Rocky Mountain and northern Plains regions. The permanent collection has over 7,500 objects, including both artworks and pieces in the archives.
Experience Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
You can look over the grassy fields and recall the bloody conflict between the US Army and the Lakota and Cheyenne people. The battle is often referred to as "Custer's Last Stand." The monument memorializes the US Army's 7th Cavalry and the Lakotas and Cheyennes in one of the Indian's last armed efforts to preserve their way of life.
On June 25 and 26 of 1876, 263 soldiers, including Lt. Col. George A. Custer died fighting several thousand Lakota and Cheyenne warriors. You can visit the museum, see the battlefield, and visit the Custer National Cemetery.
Check out the Pictographs
Pictograph State Park is the place to learn about the prehistoric people that inhabited the area. A loop trail allows visitors to view the rock paintings, known as pictographs. There are over 100 pictographs and the oldest rock art in the cave is over 2,000 years old. The park and visitor's center is open daily.