Fun Things to Do in Helena Montana

Montana State Capital
••• Michael S. Lewis / Getty Images

You won't have any problem finding something fun to do in Helena, Montana's capital city. Whether you're interested in outdoor activities, historic attractions, or arts and culture, Helena has a lot to offer.

  • 01 of 12

    This Montana Historical Society museum is filled with interesting artifacts from the state's past and present. The "Montana Homeland" exhibit provides a timeline of interesting objects that take you through all phases of Montana history. The museum's Mackay Gallery of Russell Art is an excellent collection of paintings, sculpture, and illustrated letters by Charles M. Russell.

  • 02 of 12

    Take a boat tour through a gorgeous river canyon, where you will see interesting geology and a variety of wildlife. Gates of the Mountain was named by Merriwether Lewis in July 1805 during the Corps expedition. Highly recommended.

  • 03 of 12

    There are a number of ways you can tour Montana's State Capitol campus. Self-guided tour booklets are available at the information desk on the first floor of the Capitol. Groups can make reservations to enjoy a guided tour. Scheduled tours are available at the Original Governor's Mansion. If you want to sit back and relax, the Last Chance Tour Train will take you on a trip around the capitol area and past a number of other Helena highlights. The "train" departs from in front of Montana's Museum, on the east side of the Capitol building.

  • 04 of 12

    The Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts is a world-renowned artist residency program. Visitors can check out the Foundation's grounds, artist studios, and galleries on a self-guided tour; tour maps are available in a mailbox in front of the gift shop. There are many interesting things to see as you wander around. The Foundation is located on the site of an old brick and tile factory, you can visit the ruins of the old kilns. You'll discover the work of resident artists in, on, and around the Foundation's buildings and outdoor spaces. Strolling the grounds of the Archie Bray Foundation is a bit like being on the treasure hunt - you never know where you'll discover the next piece of ceramic art, or what it's going to be.

    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • 05 of 12

    This 620-acre park includes miles of hiking trails that take you through a variety of terrain. Most trails lead around the mountain; the Hogback Trail and the 1906 trail reach Mount Helena's summit.

  • 06 of 12

    Helena's Holter Museum of Art focuses on modern and contemporary art. Their collection of Northwest art includes the works of ceramic artists Rudy Autio and Peter Voulkos, as well as other artists associated with the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts. You'll also find paintings, ceramics, and sculpture from many other Montana and Northwest artists. The Holter Museum of Art also features different national and international exhibitions.

  • 07 of 12

    Enjoy a Treat at the Parrot Confectionery

    The Parrot Confectionery, operated by the same family since 1922, is an old-fashioned candy store and soda fountain. In addition to handmade chocolates, the Confectionery serves up homemade ice cream, cherry phosphates, and some awesome chili.

  • 08 of 12

    This Gothic-style cathedral, inspired by the Votive Church of the Sacred Heart in Vienna, Austria, was built around 1910. Guided tours are available by appointment or tour on your own daily year-round 7:15 am - 6:00 pm. Please note, Masses may be occurring.

    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • 09 of 12

    The Tizer Botanic Gardens are divided into a variety of different sections, including a fairy garden, a children's garden, a perennial garden, and a nature trail. You'll find charming sitting spots and a creek winding through the garden, making it a great place to relax and reflect. The Garden is located south of Helena off of I-15.

  • 10 of 12

    Exploration Works, a museum of science and culture, is one of Helena's newest attractions. Located in the Great Northern Town Center, Exploration Works features hands-on and interactive exhibits that focus on such topics as energy, health, and the natural world. Afterward, enjoy a treat at the Great Northern Carousel and ice cream parlor located next to Exploration Works.

  • 11 of 12

    Helena celebrates many special events throughout the year. Here are some highlights:

  • 12 of 12

    Other Attractions Near Helena

    You don't have to venture far from Helena to find many more fun things to do.


    This charming old West town is a hot spot for Montana sapphires.

    Lewis & Clark Caverns

    Tour spectacular caves filled with stalactites, stalagmites, columns, and helictites. Montana's first state park is also one of the largest limestone caves in the northwest.

    Great Divide Ski Area

    Enjoy skiing and snowboarding in the winter and mountain biking in the summer.

    Boulder Hot Springs

    Relax in mineral springs in a gorgeous natural setting.