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A choice destination for its proximity to natural wonders and historic sites, Billings is a city in southern Montana on the Yellowstone River. Sheltered by sandstone bluffs to the north and the river to the south, the city is Montana's Trailhead, with paths winding through the best of Big Sky Country. Billings' connection to the authentic historical west adds a regional spark to area attractions, events, cuisine and hospitality.
Things to do in Billings
Take a leisurely stroll along the Yellowstone River, cast a line or go rafting on the longest free flowing river in the lower 48 states. Hop in a vehicle for a scenic drive along the rimrock bluffs; the views that make up Billings are something else—from 500 feet above. Discover history on Kelly Mountain overlooking the city, or the secrets Boothill Cemetery has to offer. Stop by the historic Moss Mansion in downtown, hear the story of one of Billings' oldest families and how the city was built. If you prefer museums for history lessons, check out the Western Heritage Center, which has an interactive history of Billings and the region. Trek through the Pictograph Caves, located five miles south of Billings in Pictograph Cave State Park and its interpretive center to see evidence of habitation dating back 2,000 years. Downtown Billings is ideal for shopping and dining, with one-of-a-kind businesses as well as familiar brands. Looking for something to do with kids? Zoomontana is the only zoo and botanical park in the state, with over 100 animals in 58 species. Kids can also wile away hours at the Wise Wonders Children's Museum, or at Reef Indoor Water Park, the largest indoor water park in the state. For the 21-and-over vacationer, Billings has the only self-guided, walkable brewery tour in Montana. This unofficial yet well established “brewery district” includes six breweries and two distilleries within a 1.5-mile radius in the downtown area.
Day trips from Billings
What better way to start a day trip than with a drive on one of America’s most famous scenic byways? If you’re headed for Yellowstone, take the Beartooth Highway to get to the national park. Views of glacial lakes, forested valleys, waterfall and wildlife will have you scrambling out of the car for that perfect photo op. At Yellowstone, you’ll find recreation and sightseeing across the gamut. Old Faithful is one of the park’s most popular features, but the park is also home to almost 60 species of mammals, more than 1,700 native plant species and 9 visitor centers and museums. One of America’s most famous sandstone buttes is located 25 miles northeast of Billings. Pompeys Pillar bears the last physical evidence of the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1806, Captain William Clark’s signature on the face of the 150-foot butte. History buffs might also find iconic battle grounds of interest. The site of the Battle of the Little Bighorn is about an hour’s drive from Billings. Garryowen, the registered historic site associated with the battlefield, is a great starting point to learn more about “Custer’s Last Stand.” Crossing the border into Wyoming won’t take you longer than a two-hour drive. The Buffalo Bill Historical Center and Old Trail Town, two attractions befitting of the “Cowboy state,” are around 108 miles south of Billings.
Almost 5,000 hotel rooms are available across Billings, spanning a spectrum of options. Traveling with kids and need in-house entertainment? Look into accommodations with pools or play areas, such as Best Western Plus Kelly Inn and Suites, Big Horn Resort, Rock Creek Resort or Econo Lodge. For a true western experience, stay at M2B Ranch Bed and Breakfast, located a few minutes from downtown. Guests will find first-class hospitality, cowboy cuisine, western music and Buford, the famous longhorn steer. Most hotels, motels, inns and suites provide the basics: a continental breakfast, internet access, fitness rooms and laundry access. Other perks may include onsite or nearby restaurants, conference areas and shuttle and concierge services.
Transportation in Billings
Direct flights to Billings Logan International Airport is available in nine cities: Minneapolis/St.Paul, Salt Lake City, Denver, Las Vegas, Portland, Phoenix, Seattle, and seasonally to Chicago and Los Angeles. The airport terminal is within walking distance of downtown Billings, though ground transportation options are also available. Local hotels often provide options for shuttle service; call the hotel for details. Non-hotel shuttle forms of transport include cabs, local fixed route transit, bus and charter services. Within the city, the Metropolitan Transit System (MET) operates a fleet of 25 buses on 17 fixed routes, and 15 vehicles for complementary paratransit service.