Helena was founded in 1864, and just like many other communities in Montana, it was founded as a mining town.
With the boom caused by the gold rush, Helena earned the title of “Queen City of the Rockies.”
The state’s opulent architecture, plethora of museums, and historic landmarks provide a genuine window into the city’s vast and varied history.
In short, the town is the ideal setting for an adventure.
Helena also has a thriving cultural district with a full calendar of events, unique shops, art galleries, fantastic local bands, fantastic restaurants, local microbreweries, and an incredible trail network.
You will find this place fantastic whether you are a culture aficionado or searching for a heart-pounding encounter.
There are several miles of unexplored hiking and biking routes if you are an adventure lover.
In addition to the hikes, you will also find buildings with hundreds of years of history all across the city.
From history to adventure, to just about anything you can think of, Helena has a lot in store, and here are the best things to do in the city.
Things to do in Helena
1. Montana Historical Society Museum
The Montana Historical Society Museum is a must-see attraction for tourists interested in learning about the state’s culture and history.
Located next to Helena’s State Capitol, the museum was founded in 1865 and has been protecting the history and culture of the people of Montana
Furthermore, the museum preserves the area’s archeological, historical, and ethnological items while telling the story of the Montanan people through its displays.
In fact, from prehistoric to present times, the history of the region is chronicled in this museum. It starts with a sizable collection of fossils, including many mammoth heads.
Native American artifacts, including clothes, tools, and information about their lives, are the subject of another section.
There are also numerous firearms, tools, and household goods in the section on early settlers. Over the years, various homes have been portrayed.
Overall, you will find four permanent displays, specialist, and traveling exhibits, and a sizable collection of archived exhibits with thousands of conserved items available for online exploration.
Address: 225 N Roberts St, Helena, MT 59620, United States
2. Helena Historic District
Do you love to visit historical buildings? If yes, then Helena’s historic district is just the right place.
Spreading over 430 acres, Helena Historic District is one of the earliest still-existing pioneer mining villages.
Helena was the site of extensive gold mining operations in the 1850s.
The district is situated on the North Fork of the Trinity River, and for more than 80 years, Helena served as the main supply hub for the mines on the Trinity River and its forks.
The Helena Historic District consists of two significant areas. Hauser Boulevard, Flowerree Street, Madison Avenue, etc serve as the general boundaries of the first neighborhood, while Neill Avenue and others generally define the perimeter of the second area.
Take a walking tour to get a better view of the district and visit different buildings in the district.
Address: Helena, MT, United States
3. Historic Downtown Pedestrian Mall
You must experience the historic pedestrian mall if you are a shopping freak. You do not even need to be a shopping freak to love it here.
The mall was built in two stages between 1973 and 1977. Phase I covered Main Street’s southern end to Broadway, while Phase II covered Broadway north to Sixth Avenue.
A few unique art galleries, few microbreweries, and entertainment venues are available to guests.
The pedestrian mall also offers cultural events, festivals, and concerts on the weekends, and it’s always a terrific place to buy and eat.
In addition to the festivals, there are also numerous stores, eateries, and cafes.
So, Helena’s Walking Mall won’t let you down if you’re looking for live music, a leisurely stroll, window shopping, or a bite to eat.
Address: E Main St, Charlottesville, VA 22902, United States
4. Montana State Capitol
Open every day, the state capitol of Montana is a large and stunning structure with lovely grounds on the outside and excellent inside artwork.
The first-floor information desk is where tours begin.
In addition, the first-floor information desk also has self-guiding tour brochures and a children’s scavenger hunt led by Lewis and Clark’s brave Newfoundland, Seaman.
There is also a self-guided tour brochure that can be used while exploring this magnificent building.
The well-known Russell mural of Lewis and Clark at Ross Hole in the House of Representatives chamber is not to be missed.
Many well-known Paxson paintings are displayed right outside the House chamber.
You can even visit the Montana State History Museum, which is directly across the street.
You should stay for at least an hour or two to take a leisurely stroll through recent and historic Montana.
Address: Helena, MT, United States
5. Last Chance Ranch, Helena
One adventure and meal experience you shouldn’t miss in Helena is the last chance ranch.
On 80 acres of magnificent forest, there is the private property, Last Chance Ranch.
Some activities waiting for you include bird viewing, photography, and hiking along the storied 1870 route.
A bus trip takes you to the Last Chance Ranch’s entrance to start your evening. From there, take a horse-drawn bus to the ranch’s dining area in the woods for dinner.
Furthermore, the journey to the Lodge in the wagon, which is drawn by horses, takes around 30 minutes.
Keep a watch out for animals along the trip, including deer, antelope, eagles, and other birds.
When you arrive at the Ranch, your salad is waiting for you at your table. With potatoes, the main dish will be a slow-roasted prime rib that will melt on your lips.
Your dinner will be served in a stunning wooden pavilion with a wraparound deck.
Similarly, a cup of “Cowboy Coffee,” cooked in a sizable coffee urn over a wood fire, can be enjoyed in addition to everything else.
Following dinner and dessert, you head to the campfire, where your host, the ranch owner, will sing and tell stories.
This experience is amazing and unforgettable, whether it’s a birthday or a wedding anniversary.
Address: Helena, MT, United States
6. Blackfoot River Brewing Co
Located in Downtown Helena, Blackfoot River Brewing is a fine establishment that offers a unique selection of hand-crafted beers, and a fun atmosphere.
This brewery has been operating for around two decades, giving it some experience in the microbrew industry.
Come by and sip your favorite beer or try something new; the selection varies daily.
Similarly, they only use traditional ingredients specially combined for each variety of beer when they produce handcrafted beer.
If you visit the taproom and want to experience the downtown vibe but aren’t sure which beer to get, be sure to order a sampling platter. The Blackfoot also offers growlers to go.
There’s also an outdoor patio on the second story with fantastic views of the surrounding mountains and the iconic downtown skyline.
The Taproom operates 2 – 8 pm from Monday through Thursday. While it opens from 12- 8 pm from Friday to Sunday.
So, visit the taproom to enjoy a friendly company, a welcoming environment, and excellent beer!
Address: 66 S Park Ave, Helena, MT 59601, United States
7. Cathedral of St. Helena
Do you appreciate architectural masterpieces or just want a quiet place to think and meditate? Then the Cathedral of Saint Helena should be on your list.
Located in the Montana mountains, this magnificent structure is an example of European art.
Similarly, it is one of Helena’s most significant structures and a fine example of Gothic Revival architecture.
Here the building and service transport you back in time! It feels as though you are medieval era.
While the building does have an exquisite outside, what really makes a visit worthwhile are the inside walls. The walls are decorated with incredibly awesome glass-stained tall windows.
In fact, the German-imported stained glass windows are stunning to look at. It is a really quiet and pleasant environment to be in, just like most cathedrals.
If you get an opportunity to hear the church’s pipe organ at mass, or if there is a scheduled musical performance, you will appreciate it.
Hearing air flowing through the pipes in a naturally reverberant building like this is an amazing experience.
The church is accessible to the public, so visit!
Address: 530 N Ewing St, Helena, MT 59601, United States
8. Reeder’s Alley
Helena is home to quite some historic districts, buildings, and reeder’s alley is one of such.
Just southwest of downtown Helena, Reeder’s alley has attracted a lot of locals and visitors since the late 1800s.
The property serves as a vital link to the region’s early colonization, providing insights into the lives of miners, the Chinese influence, historical construction methods, and the lives of regular people who came to the area in search of their fortune.
The National Park Service has classified Reeder’s Alley’s structures as part of a historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Today, Reeder’s Alley is home to a fantastic restaurant, a caterer, numerous offices, and non-profit organizations.
The historic Pioneer Cabin is open for guided and self-guided tours throughout the day in the summer months, while The Alley is accessible at all times.
9. Kindrick Legion Field
If you need to catch a baseball game, visit Kindrick Legion Field.
The Helena Brewers are a minor league baseball team, and they play at the Kindrick Legion Field. The field is a great place in Helena to see the American Legion and AA baseball.
Furthermore, the field features a vintage grandstand with all the standard baseball game features and a breathtaking view of Mount Helena City Park and Big Sky sunsets.
The Helena hometown teams’ hats, t-shirts, and hoodies are available in the American Legion Baseball souvenir shop, which also sells beer and wine.
Address: 1300 N Ewing St, Helena, MT 59601, United States
10. The Spokane Bar Sapphire Mine
Open all year round, the Spokane Bar Sapphire Mine is home to sapphires of every color.
Geologists who were surveying the Missouri River area in the early 1900s gave the Spokane gravel bar its name. The Spokane Hills, which are made of Spokane shale, may have even been the source of the name.
The hue green-blue sapphire can be encountered most frequently. However, the most popular shade of sapphire is blue, while red sapphire is one of the most valuable gemstones.
Address: 5360 Castles Rd, Helena, MT 59602, United States
11. Mount Helena City Park
Regardless of the season, climbing Mount Helena is a great afternoon activity.
The park is a 620-acre park in Helena, which rises 5,468 feet above sea level and towers 1,300 feet above Helena.
The park is located outside of the city on a slope.
There are several miles of hiking paths available, and some stunning views of the city and surroundings.
Similarly, the enormous stone “H” on the hillside that can be seen from all across the city is also located in the park.
The hike is super easy (less than an hour up) but extremely rewarding with a practically 360⁰ view of Helena.
Address: Helena, MT 59601, USA
12. Gates of the Mountains Boat Tours
A beautiful family or personal activity you should do in Helena is to go on a boat tour.
The Gates of the Mountains are tucked between Yellowstone and Glacier National Park.
Gates of the Mountains boat tours run a marina with 150 private docks, a public boat ramp, and tour boats that take about 30,000 guests on excursions each year.
The 120-minute boat tour begins at the Marina, which is located between Helena and Great Falls.
You’ll cruise through stunning terrain.
The tour’s greatest draw is the never-ending landscape, which includes wooded hillsides, untamed rock formations, and the tranquil beauty of the enduring Missouri.
The boat tour, in short, is crammed full of historical knowledge about the Mann Gulch Fire, the Lewis and Clark expedition, the collapse of Hauser Dam, and the area’s natural heritage.
Address: 3131 Gates of the Mountains Rd, Helena, MT 59601, United States
13. Centennial Park, Helena
Whether you want to have a picnic or some athletic activities in Helena, this is the place to go.
Centennial Park is a sizable, beautifully maintained area home to a variety of activities suitable for both children and dogs.
The park features a skate park, soccer and baseball fields, a dog park, picnic tables, a playground, and stationary fitness stations.
Additionally, there are some outstanding pedestrian walkways that are connected to trails that go all the way out to Spring meadow Lake State Park.
You can bring anything you want to play, like running, biking, basketball, baseball, football, and frisbee.
So, if you want to find inexpensive things to do around Helena, this is a fantastic place to go.
Address: 1200 N Last Chance Gulch, Helena, MT 59601, United States
14. Parrot Confectionery Store
Since 1922, The Parrot has been a family-run establishment in the heart of Helena.
Located right along Last Chance Gulch, entering the Parrot is like stepping into another period.
In fact, the Parrot is not only filled with delicious scents, but it also exudes a sense of innocent nostalgia thanks to its running jukebox, long soda fountain with a line of red stools, and snug booths that beg you to sit and take it all in.
The establishment combines a chocolate shop, an antique soda fountain (with a bar), and a small restaurant into one.
Furthermore, the store has a reputation for producing high-quality hand-dipped chocolates using up to 10 tons of chocolate a year and using only fresh, natural ingredients.
The Parrot uses recipes created by its original owners to produce a variety of 130 different kinds of candies.
People’s favorites include almond butter toffee, chocolate-covered caramels, parrot-shaped candies that resemble turtles, and other mouthwatering creams, nuts, and chews.
Whether you want to feed your sweet tooth or just grab something to eat, this place is great.
Address: 42 N Last Chance Gulch, Helena, MT 59601, United States
15. Helena Civic Center, Helena
Come enjoy the 1,925-seat Auditorium Theatre and the 15,000-square-foot ballroom exhibition space in the structure.
On Neill Avenue, there you will find this Moorish Revival structure known as the Helena Civic Center.
This Moorish Revival-style edifice, which served as the Algeria Shrine’s administrative center, is a popular destination for tourists to take pictures, so be ready for some shots.
Furthermore, the 1,925-seat Auditorium Theatre and the 15,000 square foot Ballroom exhibition hall are the two main facilities in the Helena Civic Center.
You also can reserve the Auditorium and ballroom separately or jointly for an event.
The Ballroom facility has a catering kitchen with a walk-in refrigerator and a mezzanine overlooking the ballroom on the second floor.
Address: 340 Neill Ave, Helena, MT 59601, United States
16. Holter Museum of Art
If you’re a fan of a well-curated collection of pottery and art, then the Holter Museum of art will excite you.
The museum was established in 1987 and is housed in a refurbished old industrial structure with a contemporary annex.
Since then, the museum has expanded significantly thanks to a successful capital campaign in 2002, which added 6,500 square feet to create a vibrant 17,000-square-foot institution.
The 17,000-square-foot exhibition space of the museum displays all forms of modern and historical art.
In fact, the Holter is one of the most interesting and engaging in Helena’s public spaces. The art is usually exceptionally good, sometimes sublime but always contemporary and relevant.
Additionally, the museum shop features the creations of local authors, craftspeople, and artists.
They also offer between 15-20 rotating exhibitions each year, cutting-edge art education for people of all ages, community-based activities, artist residencies, talks, receptions, and more.
The Holter Museum is a wonderfully open and welcoming space, so make sure to visit.
Address: 12 E Lawrence St, Helena, MT 59601, United States
17. Original Governor’s Mansion, Helena
Located close to the holter museum of art, the history of the Governor’s mansion in Helena is not just the history of a structure but also the history of the people who lived there.
The first governor’s mansion in Montana was constructed in 1888 by Helena businessman William Chessman, as a representation of his riches and power in the city.
Furthermore, the mansion is built in the Queen Anne style and has a lovely wraparound porch. Between 1913 and 1956, nine governors of Montana resided there.
The well-preserved brick home and its charming period chambers are today well-liked tourist destinations.
It is also used for public events and is open for tours on specific days that change depending on the season.
Address: 304 N Ewing St, Helena, MT 59601, United States
18. Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park
Would you like to take a tour of one of North America’s most ornate limestone caverns?
The first and most well-known state park in Montana, Lewis & Clark Caverns, contains one of the Northwest’s most ornate limestone caverns.
These breathtaking caves, which are lit by electricity, are filled with stalactites, stalagmites, columns, and helicities and are naturally air-conditioned.
An above-ground self-guided nature walk offers chances to comprehend the surrounding environment.
Even though Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park is primarily visited by people on cave tours; however, there is more to the park than stalactites.
There are several square miles of parkland, campground, several picnic spots, and a beautiful drive with overlooks up to the Caverns.
The final section of the tour pays off with breathtaking picturesque vistas of the beauty of the mountains and canyons.
The park is open all year round.
Address: 25 Lewis & Clark Caverns Road, Whitehall, MT 59759, United States
19. Helena Ice Arena
Put on your skates and visit the 41,000-square-foot Helena Ice Arena’s rink.
The 2002-opened Helena Ice Arena provides skate rentals, hockey clinics, leagues, public classes, and sessions for people of all ages.
In fact, this is undoubtedly a terrific venue for parties and families to have a day of fun.
The Helena Ice Arena hosts both male and female adult hockey leagues in addition to open public skating, laser skating, figure skating, youth hockey, and novice hockey.
So, come watch the Junior A hockey team from Helena. Rent a heated private skybox with a view of the ice.
The snack bar also provides access to food and drinks.
Address: 400 Lola St, Helena, MT 59601, United States
20. Lewis & Clark Brewing Company
If you’re seeking something to do at night, then Lewis and Clark brewing company won’t disappoint.
The brewery’s name and, in many ways, the brewing style are both influenced by the great explorers (Lewis & Clark).
The business is committed to giving beer lovers hand-crafted, unpasteurized brews.
The brewery & Tap Room is open daily from noon to 11 p.m.
With nine flagship year-round beers and at least three rotating brews, they offer at least 12 beers on tap.
You can also buy growlers and cans to carry LC with you everywhere you go.
Additionally, this is the place to be if you’re seeking something to do at night! Every Wednesday through Saturday, there are activities with live music.
Address: 1517 Dodge Ave, Helena, MT 59601, United States
21. Myrna Loy Center
One of the most outstanding minor arts groups in the West is located in Helena, and Myrna Loy center is evident of that.
This is just the right place if you want to attend a live theater, a movie, or a concert. You could check out original artwork in the Jail House Gallery,
The facility bears the name of Myrna Loy, once known as Montana’s First Lady of Film and who passed away in 1993.
Furthermore, the center is housed in the historic Lewis & Clark City Jail, built of granite in 1894, which the county and Helena Film Society converted into a thriving arts center.
The building’s stunning stone walls and huge oak doors nevertheless preserve its historic character.
The Myrna Loy Center’s goal is to uplift Central Montanans’ artistic spirits by showcasing culturally significant films and performances.
The Myrna Loy Center houses a gallery three large theaters: and an auditorium that can host plays, movies, concerts, meetings, and dancing.
Additionally, there is also a screening room, and a 50-seat digital projection theater perfect for watching movies, lectures, and small performances.
Address: 15 N Ewing St, Helena, MT 59601, United States
22. Kleffner Ranch
With breathtaking views of the Elkhorn Mountains in the distance, Kleffner ranch is a historical site in Helena.
The ranch is a beautiful historical barn with dark wood floors and gorgeous chandeliers.
In short, the ranch is ideal for a wedding!
Early in the evening, the area by the stream is magnificent, and the barn offers beautiful lighting and a homey, welcoming atmosphere for an unforgettable reception.
In addition to hosting weddings, Kleffner Ranch is a well-liked venue for other special occasions like corporate events, family reunions, and religious gatherings.
Address: 305 Mt Hwy 518, East Helena, MT 59635, United States
23. Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts
If you want something to do on an afternoon, then a stroll around the Archie Bray foundation is the perfect thing.
Located 3 miles from Helena’s center, the Archie Bray, foundation for the Ceramic Arts is a public, nonprofit educational institution.
Brickmaker Archie Bray, a philanthropist and ardent supporter of the arts, founded it in 1951.
This area is so rich in creativity, inspiration, and learning! It combines a museum, a ceramics-focused art school, an abandoned brick factory, and a shop selling ceramic artwork.
The ancient old brick kilns are still there, despite the fact that it has grown over time.
Similarly, you are free to explore the grounds and find artists using their talents and artistic gems.
Even if you aren’t a potter, you’ll enjoy exploring this “campus” with its many hot locations to see ceramic works and enormous ancient beehive kilns.
In fact, exploring the grounds and finding the numerous hidden and obvious aesthetic gems, as well as the ruins of the brick factory, is one of the most enjoyable things you can do here.
There is also a gallery where you may buy items made by living artists and international artists from all around the world.
Stay around sunset to get some great open views of the structures and experience the Big Sky’s ever-changing. magnificence.
In addition to the gallery and gems, they also hold workshops, lectures, and exhibits are held throughout the year.
Address: 2915 Country Club Ave, Helena, MT 59602, United States
24. Great Northern Carousel, Helena
The Great Northern Carousel may just be the ideal excursion if you’re seeking a unique Montana family outing.
This exceptional hand-carved work of art includes 14 rounded boards with beautiful carvings from Helena and stained glass pieces in addition to 37 sculpted animals.
In fact, the carousel is one of the best you find in the nation.
The Great Northern Carousel is committed to providing kids of all ages with safe, enjoyable entertainment.
Big Horn Sheep, Buffalo, Cutthroat Trout, Grizzly Bear, Otter, Bobcat, Mountain Goat, Frog, Rabbit, and Horse are just some of the animals riders can choose from.
Furthermore, after experiencing the experience of a lifetime, indulge in Montana’s greatest handcrafted ice cream, available in over 36 varieties.
There is also a long walking area with eateries and instruments you can play outside.
The best part about the carousel is that it is indoors, so it can be enjoyed regardless of changing weather.
Address: 989 Carousel Way, Helena, MT 59601, United State
25. Montana Blue Jewel Mine
What better way to spend an afternoon in Helena than searching and mining for natural sapphires and possibly other treasures?
While a little hard to find, the Montana Blue Jewel Mine is a hidden gem for anyone passing through Montana.
In fact, one of the top sapphire mining experiences in Montana has always been cited as being at the Montana Blue Jewel Mine.
Beginning in mid-April, the mine invites tourists for the duration of the spring and summer.
As this is an actual mine, all the tools needed to look for sapphires are already there.
You are welcome to utilize the mine’s equipment and purchase buckets of gravel concentrate to take home.
Just bring snacks, appropriate clothing, and some patience, and you’ll have a great time.
Address: 5582 Four Cee’s Rd, Helena, MT 59602, United States
Whether you are a culture aficionado or searching for a heart-pounding encounter, Helena is teeming with a lot to do, so come prepared.