Best Things to do in Helena, Montana: Sitting between Yellowstone & Glacier National Parks, Helena is the perfect destination for a relaxing break before heading to your next stop.
From its rich history, vibrant culture, picturesque landscapes, and a plethora of adventurous activities, this capital city has something to offer everyone.
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Whether you’re on a romantic retreat, a family vacation, or a solo getaway, Helena won’t disappoint.
The ultimate list of the best things to do in Helena (this charming capital).
Sneak a peek into history at Montana State Capitol #1
More than a hundred years old, this stately building features exquisite Greek architecture. It is home to the Montana State Legislature. You can see the ‘Lady Liberty’ in the front, elevating the majestic look of the structure.
The interiors are as impressive as the exterior. You’ll find numerous artworks adorning its halls, along with the Old Law Library & the Capitol Rotunda.
You can take a self-guided tour that’ll lead you through the building, making you familiar with its history & significance.
Visiting with kids?
Enjoy the scavenger hunt for a fun family outing.
Hike at Mount Helena City Park #2
Seeking some outdoor adventure?
Head to Mount Helena City Park.
A popular attraction of the capital, this park is sprawled over 600 acres & is home to several hiking trails. Hike up the popular 1906 trail to be rewarded with stunning views from the summit.
The path is steep but the views are worth the effort. Regardless of the trail you choose, you can find beautiful wildflowers, ponderosa pines, and limestone cliffs in this splendid city park.
Step back in time at Reeder’s Alley #3
If you wish to know about the early history of Helena, this is the perfect place. The buildings in this area date back to the 1870s which is reflected in their architecture. The alley was built by Louis Reeder, a stone mason in the 1870s.
The structure is steeped in history where you can learn about the lives of miners, the construction techniques of the era, & the lives of men & women who came to Helena in search of their fortune.
You’ll find interpretive signs & information enabling you to imagine how it would have been to live here during that time.
Take a stroll in the Last Gulch Area #4
This is one of the top things to do in Helena. Several years ago, gold was discovered here which attracted many people to settle in this city.
Today, the area represents the vibrant culture of this bustling city.
You’ll find shops selling souvenirs such as statues of miners, a beautiful mural dedicated to Montana women & a restored street car. If you wish to get more excitement into your trip, the nightlife here is pretty lively too.
You can also check out the Downtown Pedestrian Mall for a fun shopping spree. There is no dearth of entertainment options in this bustling place.
Be awed by the architecture at St. Helena’s Cathedral #5
You’ll have to crane your neck to view the top of this 230 feet high Cathedral. This 107-year-old building was inspired by the neo-Gothic Votive Church of Vienna.
It features a pipe organ, stained glass windows, limestone statues, and handcrafted bells, making it an impressive place to explore. You can attend the daily mass or even take an official tour offered during the summer.
With such awe-inspiring architecture & beautiful greenery around, it transports you to another place altogether.
Offering a unique experience, this is one of the most unusual things to do in Helena, MT.
Picnic at Spring Meadow Lake State Park #6
Sit beside the serene waters of this sparkling lake soaking in the stunning view of Mount Helena. A popular option amongst families, this lake offers an array of activities including swimming, skating, fishing, and hiking around the area.
If you’re visiting during summer, you can also enjoy boating on this exquisite lake. There are numerous picnic areas surrounding the park for a pleasurable outing.
If you’re lucky, you may even spot some wildlife.
Visit Montana’s Original Governor’s House #7
Built in 1888 by an entrepreneur William Chessman, this stately mansion offers a peek into Helena’s history from the 1900s. It is a three-story high Queen Anne mansion that hosted the governor & relatives in 1913.
Today, this antique house is run by the Montana Historical Society which provides guided tours from May to September. You’ll find furniture & the decor style from the era, making for an intriguing visit.
If you have some extra time on your hands, visit the nearby Montana Museum to know more about the capital’s fascinating history.
Have fun at ExplorationWorks #8
Can science be fun?
It always is at ExplorationWorks.
There are several interactive exhibits that you’ll love to explore. If you’re traveling with family, head to the weekend TinkerLabs and participate in a science experiment with the entire family.
The center also organizes summer camps & educational workshops regularly. Don’t miss to check out the Great Northern Carousel which features a menagerie of hand-carved animals such as bighorn sheep, trout, grizzly bears, and more.
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Q. Is Helena MT worth visiting?
As the state capital, Helena offers numerous opportunities to learn about the city’s history. It also provides a plethora of outdoor activities too such as hiking, swimming, boating, fishing, etc.
Q. How far is Glacier from Helena?
The road distance from Helena to Glacier National Park is approximately 242 miles.
Q. Can you see the Northern Lights from Helena?
You can view the Northern Lights from The Sleeping Giant which is just 30 miles from the capital.