07 Jul Top 10 Summer Activities in Billings, Montana
Billings, Montana, has your ticket to summer, with concerts, outdoor festivals, sporting events and more. Plus, Montana’s only walkable brewery district and some of the best restaurants and shopping around. Voted Outside magazine’s “Best Town Ever,” Billings boasts amazing adventure and outdoor recreation for all ages and thrill levels. Here are some Billings events to catch:
1. Summer Concerts. Outdoor concerts are big in Billings when the weather is warm. On Thursdays, Alive After 5 concerts in historic Downtown Billings and St. John’s Summer Concert Series feature amazing regional musicians. Headlining musical and comedy acts will make tour stops in Billings all summer long.
2. Find the Small Town Appeal (in a big city!). There aren’t many places where you can experience the best in urban living and small town county fairs all in the same day. Billings hosts weekly farmer’s markets as well as tons of craft and food fairs including SummerFair, an annual outdoor craft fair supporting the Yellowstone Art Museum. And, at MontanaFair
in August, you’ll find classic rides and carnival treats, rodeo, motocross, concerts, horse racing and more. Hit the urban vibe with a stop at one of Billings’ great restaurants, featuring everything from high-end, fine dining at places like TEN and Lilac
to the world champion burgers at downtown’s Burger Dive.
3. Montana’s Only Walkable Brewery District. Downtown Billings is where you’ll find some of the best local brews Montana has to offer — and all within walking distance of each other. Walk to all six breweries, two distilleries and a cider house, the newest addition to the tour, while you also enjoy dozens of art galleries, local shops and museums along the way. Many of the breweries also have fantastic outdoor patios, so you can be “outdoorsy” while you relax and unwind with friends and fantastic food and drinks.
4. It’s a beautiful route into Yellowstone National Park. Beartooth Highway has been named “the most beautiful drive in America” by Charles Kuralt, “On The Road” television correspondent, as well as by countless publications around the world. This famous gateway to Yellowstone National Park leaves visitors speechless at Mother Nature’s stunning beauty. Just 60 minutes southwest of Billings, this scenic pass is open Memorial Day through Labor Day, weather permitting, so summer is the time to take in this scenic route.
5. Montana’s Trailhead for Adventure. With nearly 26 miles of paved and gravel trails, plus bike lanes throughout the city, Billings is a bike and walk friendly community. Enjoy the views from Swords Rimrock Park Trail or Four Dances Natural Recreation Area and then head west to explore the wild landscape surrounding Zimmerman and Phipps Parks. And, bikes are available for rent if you don’t want to bring your own.
6. History is Literally at Your Feet. When you walk in and around Billings, chances are you are walking right into history. Learn about the early days of Billings at the Western Heritage Museum and the Moss Mansion, designed by famed architect Henry Janeway Hardenbergh. Celebrate a Billings icon, Yellowstone Kelly, a warrior, scout and veteran of three wars. The new Interpretive Site is right in town at Swords Rimrock Park and is scheduled to open September 2017. Venture out a bit farther and take a step back in time by exploring Pompeys Pillar, offering some of the only remaining physical evidence of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Not to be missed, Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument will give you a glimpse into the devastating fight of Custer’s Last Stand.
7. Where the Wild Things Are. Looking for something special to do with the kids? ZooMontana is it. Spend the day exploring the zoo’s 70 acres that feature regional and exotic animals such as bears, tigers, wolves, takin, red pandas, a free-flight aviary and more. And, if you’re looking for a true wild west experience, summer is rodeo time in Billings. Catch a night rodeo and see the area’s best ropin’ and ridin’.
8. A Culture All Its Own. Billings has always enjoyed a vibrant arts scene highlighting the best in Native American and Western culture. Shop and enjoy works of art at area galleries and Yellowstone Art Museum. Really emphasize the area art scene with a visit during ArtWalk. The Annual Crow Fair Celebration Powwow & Rodeo includes parades, a four-day powwow, a rodeo and horse races. The largest Native American event in Montana, and one of the biggest powwows in the country and known as the “Tipi Capital of the world,” Crow Fair attracts more than 50,000 spectators and participants from the around the world. Go even further back in time with a visit to Pictograph Cave State Park where prehistoric hunters left
imprints on local caves that can still be seen today.
9. Test the Waters. Take the family fishing, enjoy a leisurely walk, explore biking trails — Yellowstone River is a must when in Billings. The longest free-flowing river in the lower 48 states is a true natural gem that begs to be explored. Head a bit further out to Big Horn Canyon National Recreation Area and enjoy a day boating surrounded by breathtaking cliffs. Or, if you’re looking for a wild ride, enjoy nearby whitewater rafting. You can rent boats, rafts, kayaks, canoes and standup paddle boards in Billings and head out for a great day on the water.
10. Sports for All. Baseball lovers should check out the Billings Mustangs at Dehler Park. The Mustangs are the farm team for the Cincinnati Reds and Dehler Park was recently awarded the Best of the Ballparks, Rookie Level, by BallparkDigest.com. Join in one of Billings many races including the Soaked Fun Run, Beat the Heat 5k with local law enforcement, the Yellowstone Kelly Mountain Man Triathlon and the Montana Marathon. Or, watch the best in Montana take each other on in a variety of summer sports during the Big Sky State Games.