• First Peoples Buffalo Jump

  • Mountain Palace

  • Upland Bird Hunting

  • Fishing in Great Falls

  • Giant Springs

  • Chinese Wall

  • Genuine Montana Brochure

  • Missouri River Breaks

  • Glacier National Park

  • Rivers Edge Trail

  • Kayaking

  • Enjoy scenic views at First Peoples Buffalo Jump
  • Some of the most breathtaking views in North America
  • Upland Bird Hunting outside of Great Falls
  • A successful catch near Great Falls
  • Create family memories at Giant Springs State Park
  • The Chinese Wall in "The Bob"
  • Click here to download Genuine Montana Brochure
  • Missouri River Breaks
  • Glacier National Park
  • Bicycling Great Falls' Rivers Edge Trail near Black Eagle Falls
  • An afternoon of Kayaking near Great Falls

Go Back in Time

This year, the 28th annual Lewis & Clark Festival provides an amazing weekend of fun June 16 – 18. Celebrating the legacy of the Corps of Discovery, the festival guarantees a memorable weekend. What I’ve always enjoyed about the Lewis and Clark Festival is that history comes alive; from the re-enactments, the blackpowder cannon on Saturday morning, and the friendly and lovable Newfoundland dogs on hand. This is the perfect summer weekend for families, history buffs, and anyone interested in the art and culture of the American West. 

To truly experience Montana’s Basecamp for Art & Adventure during the Lewis and Clark Festival, arrive on Thursday. View the new exhibit Bison: American Icon, Heart of the American West, at the C.M. Russell Museum. This exhibit features more than 1,000 Northern Plains Indian artifacts. In perfect conjunction with the Lewis and Clark Festival, this exhibit highlights why Great Falls is a preferred destination for art under the Big Sky. Cap off your evening with live music from Too Kool at the Celtic Cowboy, the perfect spot to settle in, relax, and enjoy the best in Irish cuisine. 

Friday morning, prepare for the festival with a visit to the world-renowned Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, home of North America’s largest and most extensive collection of artifacts, information, and media on the Corps of Discovery. At 6 pm, head over to Gibson Park for the festival kickoff in Gibson Park, this is where you will find a genuine bluegrass concert featuring Laney Lou and The Bird Dogs, and The Farm Hands performing live in the band shell. Tickets for this concert are on sale at Mansfield Box Office or at the gate. 

On Saturday, begin your day at the Great Falls Farmers Market, the largest farmers market in Montana. Beginning at 7:45am and conveniently located next to Gibson park, you’ll find the best in farm-raised produce, one-of-a-kind crafts, and delicious eats only found in Great Falls. An exciting treat for children are the pony rides! After you’re done strolling the market, a quick 5-minute walk puts you in Gibson Park and in the middle of the fun for another fun-filled and exciting day, with the festival beginning at 10 am Saturday. Free admission to all events in the park include the famous Black Powder Opening, Native American Dancers and Drummers, Native Lodge Tipi Encampment, Children’s Discovery area, Historic Firearms, Buddy (the Newfoundland dog), Council Lodge with historic presentations, and Live Music throughout the day in the band shell. Throughout the day, you can experience history first-hand through story-telling and historical re-enactments.

Luminaria Walk

After the festivities Saturday, stay in Gibson Park for the Luminaria Walk. This treasured event features music, food, and fun along a 1-mile stretch of the River’s Edge Trail. 1,000 glowing, decorated bags will light the trail path from Gibson Park, across the Central Avenue West Bridge, beyond the Federal Courthouse through West Bank Park. The Luminaria walk begins at 7 pm and continues through the night. This is an enjoyable event that lets you stroll along the banks of the Missouri River at your leisure. I’ve enjoyed this walked several times, and the beauty of the evening sky, the sound of live music, the multiple pieces of art and the feeling of community make this an anticipated event!

To end the day, change the scenery and head over to the Sip n Dip Lounge to experience Montana’s best tiki drink, the legend herself Piano Pat, and Mermaids swimming in the mid-century modern pool.  

Sunday, as the festivities continue, celebrate the heritage of the Corps of Discovery with the River Boat Cruise to Gates of the Mountains. This bucket-list excursion includes round-trip transportation, dinner, and River Cruise with members of the Corps! Sit back and relax on the motor coach bus that will provide round-trip transportation and listen to Lewis and Clark Scholar, Don Peterson as he provides background and history of the area. The Gates of the Mountains is a spectacular site as referenced in the journals by Meriwether Lewis:

Suddenly, there loomed before them towering rock formations unlike any they had ever seen. From both sides of the river, limestone cliffs rose to a spectacular height of 1200 feet. In many places, the rocks seem ready to tumble on us. At each bend in the waterway, great stone walls seemed to block passage, only to open like gentle giant gates as the expedition drew near. I shall call this place: ‘Gates of the Mountains.'”

This will be an exciting weekend you can only experience in Great Falls, Montana! Make your plans now to watch history come alive in the heart of Montana.

A one-of-a-kind slice of Americana

The crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd, and the energy pulsating through the park. It’s not really summer until your first baseball game, and the Great Falls Voyagers, who boast the best record in the Pioneer league, open their season on June 21st with fireworks! This is an event you want to attend, with pre-game tailgating with Pepsi and STAR Radio, giveaways throughout the game, and post-game fireworks, the opening game portends the great season ahead of the Voyagers! This year, the Voyagers will play 38 home games, where Centene Stadium has only good seats to watch the action! Fireworks fly again during the game on July 4th in celebration of Independence Day.

The Voyagers, named after the famed Mariana Incident that sparked the decades-long interest in UFOs, have been making summers memorable in Great Falls since 1969. In August 1950, General Manager Nick Mariana was touring the stadium when he suddenly saw two bright lights in the sky. Mariana grabbed his movie camera and began filming as the objects moved across the sky. An official Air Force investigation concluded that the two objects were not “birds, balloons, or meteors.” We’ll never know for sure what they were, but one possibility is that they were extraterrestrial Voyagers.

Playing in Centene Stadium, the Voyagers enjoy a 3,200-seat grass field stadium boasting the only luxury suites in Montana! Renting a luxury suite for your party, summer event, or office picnic is the perfect way to enjoy the game. Each luxury suite includes a full catering menu, private bathrooms and staff and indoor/outdoor seating! Centene offers comfortable seating throughout the stadium and a full concession bar with 45 Montana microbrews in a family-friendly setting that is true Americana. 

Buy your game tickets now to ensure you’re in the center of it all in the heart of Montana.

To compliment the excitement of a Voyagers home game, using Great Falls as a basecamp to art and adventure all summer, experience the new exhibit Bison: An American icon at the CM Russel Museum. After a night at the ballpark and the day at Montana’s best museum, settle into the Celtic Cowboy, Montana’s Best Irish Pub, where live music is played all summer and the food will fuel your ability to soak in local culture, and experience what makes Great Falls the preferred destination for authentic Montana memories. Book your room now to ensure you’re in Great Falls for an amazing summer!

VOYAGERS HOME SCHEDULE

Game Day Gates First Pitch Opponent
June 21 6 pm 7 pm Helena Brewers
June 22 6 pm 7 pm Helena Brewers
June 25  12 noon 1 pm Missoula Osprey
June 26  6 pm  7 pm Missoula Osprey
June 29 6 pm  7 pm  Helena Brewers
June 30 6 pm  7 pm  Helena Brewers
July 4 6 pm  7 pm  Missoula Osprey
 July 5 6 pm  7 pm  Missoula Osprey
July 8 6 pm 7 pm Billings Mustangs
July 9 12 noon 1 pm Billings Mustangs
July 10 6 pm 7 pm Billings Mustangs
July 12 6 pm 7 pm Orem Owlz
July 13 6 pm 7 pm Orem Owls
July 14 6 pm 7 pm Orem Owls
July 15 6 pm 7 pm Grand Junction Rockies
July 16 12 noon 1 pm Grand Junction Rockies
July 17 6 pm 7 pm Grand Junction Rockies
July 18 6 pm 7 pm Grand Junction Rockies
August 3 6 pm 7 pm Idaho Falls Chukars
August 4 6 pm 7 pm Idaho Falls Chukars
August 5 6 pm 7 pm Idaho Falls Chukars
August 6 12 noon 1 pm Idaho Falls Chukars
August 7 6 pm 7 pm Ogden Raptors
August 8 6 pm 7 pm Ogden Raptors
August 9 6 pm 7 pm Ogden Raptors
August 18 6 pm 7 pm Helena Brewers
August 19 6 pm 7 pm Helena Brewers
August 22 6 pm 7 pm Billings Mustangs
August 23 6 pm 7 pm Billings Mustangs
August 24 6 pm 7 pm Billings Mustangs
August 29 6 pm 7 pm Helena Brewers
August 30 6 pm 7 pm Helena Brewers
September 2 6 pm 7 pm Missoula Osprey
September 3 12 noon 1 pm Missoula Osprey
September 4 6 pm 7 pm Billings Mustangs
September 5 6 pm 7 pm Billings Mustangs
September 8 6 pm 7 pm Missoula Osprey
September 9 6 pm 7 pm Missoula Osprey

 

 

History comes alive in Great Falls

Sunday, June 25 at 1-2:30pm and 3-4:30pm, the 7th annual Waking the Dead tour will highlight the history and legacy of Great Falls, and the people that built Great Falls. The tours, in honor of Paris Gibson, are a unique part of what makes Great Falls a preferred destination for history buffs. Every story is painstakingly researched for authenticity and accuracy to ensure each person’s legacy is respectfully honored. When available, family members are the tellers of the stories!

The Waking the Dead tours invoke the history, legacy, and tradition of Great Falls, and its importance in the development of Montana and the culture of America. This year’s tour features the graves and stories from city founders, movie stars, sportsmen, and heroes.

Each ticket includes a free book with histories of each person featured in the tour, and participants have the option of walking the length of the tour, or enjoying a hay ride as the stories are read. Graves to be featured in this year’s tour are: Paris Gibson read by Channing Hartelius; Whitman ‘Vinegar’ Jones read by Warren Kukay, Great Grandson; Ed Shields (former Sheriff and Mayor) read by Bill Zins, Great Nephew; Charlie and Nancy Russell read by Bill Bronson and Mary Jane Bradbury; Josephine Trigg (Great Falls Librarian), read by Karen Conway; Edwin Norris read by Dirk Larsen; Royal Caufield (WW1 Veteran) read by Mike Winters; Robert Vaughn read by Cory Larsen; William Ulm read by Greg Kinder; Donald Goodman Holt (World champion bull rider) read by Austin Haney; Mary Little (Great Falls entrepreneur) read by Shelby Smith; HP Rolfe (surveyed Great Falls) read by Ken Robison; and George Montgomery read by Elliot Merja, Nephew. 

Tickets are on sale at the Great Falls Public Library, Great Falls Park and Rec, and Kaufman’s menswear. Tickets are limited to 270, and seats fill up fast. 

On Friday and Saturday evening before the tours, enjoy a Great Falls living legend with the musical styling of Piano Pat at the world-famous Sip n Dip Lounge. Pat is the perfect way to kick off your weekend in Great Falls, which will include the Great Falls Farmers Market on Saturday morning. June is the perfect time to experience the Great Falls business and historic districts through the walking tours developed by the Great Falls Historic Preservation Council. 

Book your room now to experience the best in Great Falls history, both living and dead. The legacy of Great Falls is the history of Montana!

The Weekend of a Lifetime Happens in July

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds perform during Air Power Day at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Oct. 21. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson)





Great Falls is your basecamp for adrenaline-pumping adventures this summer. On July 22nd and 23rd, the US Air Force Thunderbirds Jet Demonstration Team will perform. In celebration of the Montana Air National Guard’s 70th anniversary, the flight over the falls show will feature the elite Thunderbirds, who have the privilege and responsibility to perform for people all around the world, displaying the pride, precision, and professionalism of American Airmen.

In every hour-long demonstration, the team combines years of training and experience with an attitude of excellence to showcase what the Air Force is all about. The sharply choreographed, drill-style ground ceremony kicks off the demonstration by showcasing the attention to detail and esprit de corps that defines our enlisted members. As the jets take to the skies and fly only a few feet from wingtip to wingtip, the crowd gets a glimpse of the awesome skills and capabilities that fighter pilots possess. The solo pilots integrate their own routine, exhibiting the capabilities of the F-16 Fighting Falcon – the Air Force’s premier multi-role fighter jet.

Millions of people have witnessed the Thunderbirds demonstrations, and in turn, they’ve seen the pride, professionalism, and dedication of hundreds of thousands of Airmen serving at home and abroad. Each year brings another opportunity for the team to represent those who deserve the most credit: the everyday, hard-working Airmen voluntarily serving America and defending freedom. This pride will be on full display at the Montana Air National Guard ramp, and you won’t want to miss seeing the Thunderbirds in Montana. Beginning at 10 am, the airshow will feature stunts, races, and tricks not seen in Montana in recent years, and action that gets your blood pumping.

Ponds at Gibson Park

 

After the airshow, head into scenic downtown Great Falls, less than 15 minutes from the airshow to experience the best in Montana hospitality at Montana’s best Irish Pub. Enjoy a famous bison burger, a pint and authentic Irish music, then walk off your meal with a stroll through downtown to experience the best Urban art in the state. Take your time at Gibson Park, located in the heart of downtown, visit the geese, take in the sculptures and easily access the River’s Edge Trail. Along the 57 miles of trail, you will find 22 innovative works of art, all 5 of Great Falls’ water falls, the scenic views of the Missouri and that vast Big Sky Montana is famous for.

Come in a day ahead of the Thunderbirds show and experience stock car racing at the Electric City Speedway. On Friday, July 21st, the Electric City Speedway will host the Late Model Clash #2 and Street Stock Special. With so much excitement you can’t fence it in, prepare to watch drivers from the region race along a custom track overlooking the Missouri River. It’s the perfect way to begin your action-packed weekend in Great Falls. 

Great Falls Turf Club Horse Racing

Just like the Kentucky Derby, you can bet on the ponies during the horse racing at Montana ExpoPark. For 2 days, July 22nd and July 23rd,  horse racing takes center stage beginning at 1 pm each day, the Great Falls Turf Club hosts jockey’s and horses from around the northwest to bring the thrill of live racing to the fans.

No trip to Great Falls is complete without a trip to the World Famous Sip ‘n Dip Lounge – the bar GQ ranked as #1 bar worth flying for. While at the Sip ‘n Dip, relax with Montana’s Best Tiki Drink while you watch Montana’s ONLY LIVE Mermaid show, and sing along with Piano Pat, a staple in the live music scene in Great Falls.

With all this action, take some time to unwind at Giant Springs State Park. Giant Springs was discovered by the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1805 and is one of the largest freshwater springs in the country. The springs flow at a rate of 156 million gallons of water per day and the water stays at a temperature of 54 degrees. This is also the site of the Roe River, once listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s shortest river. Dip deeper into the Lewis and Clark Expedition at the Interpretive Center, which houses North America’s most extensive display of the entire expedition.

The breathtaking landscapes surrounding Great Falls will certainly renew your spirit before you head home, and the memories you create will provide stories to share for a lifetime. Book your room today; these events will draw people from around the country to Great Falls for an action-packed weekend. 

Great Falls Museum Consortium Sunday Sampler

Great Falls Montana is ready for the annual Sunday Sampler, an event geared to highlighting our world-class museums (Great Falls has more museums per capita than any other city in Montana!), museums from around Great Falls will open their doors on April 9th 2017 for the Great Falls Museum Consortium Sunday Sampler. The participating museums include the CM Russell Museum (voted Montana’s best museum), the Children’s Museum of Montana, First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park, Galerie Trinitas, The History Museum, the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, Montana Museum of Railroad History, Paris Gibson Square Museum, Malmstrom AFB Museum, and the Ursuline Centre. Each museum will offer free admission to any visitor that enjoys Great Falls’ unique culture and history. The museums represented in the Consortium represent an adventurous, independent, and energetic aspect of the spirit that runs through the culture of Great Falls, Montana. All museums will be open from 12-5pm, and most will have special activities planned; call for more information. Explore as many of each museum at your leisure, and include plenty of time to enjoy the breathtaking scenery, the alluring ruggedness, and the untamed spirit of the West as you walk along our 60 miles of River’s Edge Trail. The Great Falls Museum Consortium is delighted to host this event. Let your Adventures Begin!

An 18 Image Tour of Great Falls Montana on Instagram

We love it when free-spirited adventures explore Great Falls, Montana. We love it even move when they capture their adventures with #VisitGreatFalls! Enjoy this quick tour of Great Falls, Montana from the perspective of those who embrace our breathtaking landscapes and share them on Instagram!

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#MTYPSummit #VisitGreatFalls

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Thanks everyone for a great weekend! #mtypsummit #visitgreatfalls

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#VisitGreatFalls . . . . #mtyoungprofessionals #MTYPSummit

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How about that sky earlier? #bigskycountry #visitgreatfalls #greatfallsofthemissouri #justatypicaldrivehome

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And some people complain about reachy problems…you go girl @thehiline #visitgreatfalls #downtowngreatfalls #406

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Kayaking the Missouri near Great Falls, MT. #visitgreatfalls #greatfallsmt

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Boardwalks = 💛🍂 | #exploremore

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The #RiversEdgeTrail was looking lovely this week with a coating of snow. #visitgreatfalls

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Sunset over the Mighty Mo, Great Falls. #centralmontana #visitgreatfalls

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#livegreatfalls #sunset #bigsky #spring #visitgreatfalls

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Eighth Avenue Sunset // #MNTphotography406 #MNTsunsets

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Follow us on Instagram @VisitGreatFalls and share your adventures using #VisitGreatFalls!

Great Falls: One of the Best-Kept Travel Secrets in Montana

Offering incredible access to what Montana is famous for—that unpopulated wilderness and world-class fishing—the town of Great Falls provides a genuine Montana experience along with a healthy dose of arts, entertainment and Native American history. It sounds too familiar, but this is truly a destination where no matter your interest, you can find something worthwhile and memorable to do.

Here, you can star gaze without the interference of city lights. You can play golf in the summer, then return to go skiing in the winter. You can enjoy river sports and amazing day trips, and you can visit a quirky local bar that GQ Magazine called the No. 1 bar on Earth worth flying for. Great Falls can be your base camp for exploring the state, from Glacier National Park to Yellowstone National Park and beyond. From Great Falls, no destination is more than 3.5 hours away.

“Great Falls is a nice blend of outdoors and big city, with live music, monthly art walks, and great restaurants,” says Scott Reasoner, general manager for the Great Falls Voyagers baseball team. Throughout the summer, the Voyagers play baseball at Centene Stadium, where you can enjoy fun, weekly promotions and 40 different beers. Reasoner rattles off some of the other local highlights here in Great Falls that he often recommends to friends, including local breweries, the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, and all the things to do and see along the Missouri River.

And if you’re planning a family trip, you can find plenty of things to entertain pint-sized explorers, too. “There’s the Children’s Museum, Flipping Family Fun, the parks and water park, or the library and C.M. Russell Museum Kids Exhibit,” says Jolene Schalper, a musician who plays with Eklegein Jam Band, Eden Bridge, and the 49th Street Blues Project.

This town is bursting with educational and recreational opportunities for both kids and adults. A lot of destinations claim to be best-kept secrets, but Great Falls delivers on that promise time and time again. Here’s a look at some of the best reasons to put the Great Falls area on your travel destination list this year.


Wonderful Water and the Great Outdoors

Stand-Up Paddleboard Great Falls MT
Kayaking on the Missouri River

With its headwaters south of Great Falls, the Missouri River runs right through town, providing terrific spots for kayaking, standup paddleboarding, boating and fishing. In addition, Great Falls is blessed with five falls along the Missouri River.

Craig Madsen, owner of Montana River Outfitters, says the outdoor recreational opportunities in Great Falls are among the best in the state—or the country for that matter. “There is arguably a greater variety of game, fish and birds within an hour’s drive from Great Falls than anywhere else in the lower 48,” he says. “With a river and a trail running through it, one can enjoy a taste of the outdoors without even leaving town.”

Madsen says the opportunity to catch a wild trout on the Missouri River or travel the river by paddleboard or kayak as it flows through town are a couple of those “best-kept secrets” that travelers might not expect in Great Falls. “Not only do we have a great variety of outdoor activities, but the uncrowdedness of our area makes it even more appealing,” he adds.
Exceptional fly fishing has made Great Falls a Montana fly fishing capital, while the Missouri River offers multiple activities, from canoeing to speedboats.
And of course there are the falls. The Great Falls of the Missouri, from which the town derives its name, is actually only one of five total falls that span a 10-mile stretch of the Missouri River near the town of Great Falls. The falls were first seen by explorer Meriwether Lewis (of Lewis and Clark) on June 13, 1805. These falls roar each spring, and create interesting winter ice formations in the winter. The five falls of the Missouri include Black Eagle Falls, Rainbow Falls, Colter Falls, Crooked Falls and The Great Falls. As quoted by Lewis, the Great Falls are “the grandest sight I ever beheld.”

“Great Falls is all about being outside, regardless of the season,” says Mayor Bob Kelly. “If you like to do anything outdoors, from hiking to hunting, snowmobiling to snowboarding, rodeo to road races, you need to visit us in Great Falls.”


An Epicenter for Spectacular Parks

First People's Buffalo Jump
Great Falls is home to two fantastic state parks. One is the First People’s Buffalo Jump State Park, home to one of the largest North American prehistoric bison “pishkuns,” which are cliffs where Native Americans forced buffalo to their death during hunts. It is one the most significant Native American heritage sites in North America—without question. Another must-visit state park is Giant Springs State Park, full of breathtaking beauty and the world’s shortest river, the Roe River, which is only 201 feet long. The park has one of largest freshwater springs in the world, with water flowing at a rate of 156 million gallons of water each day, and it’s the most-visited state park in all of Montana.

While most of Montana can claim “outdoor recreation” as a great feature, not every city has a park-and-trial system quite like the River’s Edge Trail in Great Falls. Traversing the 57-mile urban trail along the Missouri River is an absolute must-do in Great Falls, says local historian Norma Ashby. The trail connects city parks, the downtown area, the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and Giant Springs all along the river. You can hike and bike this trail in warm weather, or explore in snowshoes during the winter.

Becky Nelson, River’s Edge Trail board member, shares a few of the trail’s most important stats: “The trail system is more than 57 miles long and over 21 miles are paved in asphalt or concrete,” she says. “There are 22 miles of single track trails along reservoirs east of town, with 19 trailheads, 15 bridges, six tunnels and 13 underpasses.” You can see freshwater springs and a trout hatchery, fish and access motorized or non-motorized boat launches. In addition, travel past hilltop gazebos and a baseball stadium, playgrounds and public art, horseshoe pits and tennis courts—all without ever leaving the trail.

City parks can be found throughout town, 57 of them in fact, including two golf courses, Eagle Falls and Anaconda Hills, and one of the top five skate parks in the northwest United States. The free Riverside Railyard Skate Park comprises 27,000 square feet and ‘bowls’ whose largest depth is more than nine feet. At Electric City Water Park, Mitchell Pool is the state’s largest heated outdoor pool. Kids love the winding 20-foot slides and bodyboarding in deep channels. Soccer fans enjoy Siebel Soccer Park too, Montana’s top soccer facilities, with 15 fields across 65 acres.

Electric City Water Park
Anaconda Hills Golf Course Great Falls MT

Also in Great Falls is Gibson Park, named for the city founder Paris Gibson. Located between the historic downtown and the river, Gibson park features lush landscape architecture and trees, plus a bike and walking path and a new play area. Picnic tables, a busy band shelter and feeding water birds entertain summer visitors. More bird-watching opportunities await you in Great Falls at Benton Lake Wildlife Refuge and further outside of town at Freezeout Lake, home to breathtaking spring migrations.

Other amazing parks to visit outside of Great Falls but within easy driving distance include Glacier National Park, where drastic landscape changes characterize the dramatic eastern entry for this popular Montana park. Another park, the Waterton Lakes National Park, is connected to Glacier and is one of Canada’s national parks. It’s offering free admission in 2017.

Finally, encompassing more than 1.5 million acres, Bob Marshall Wilderness is a hiking-and-backpacking paradise, where the ‘Chinese Wall’ is a gorgeous, 22-mile-long escarpment and part of the Continental Divide, averaging more than 1,000 feet tall.


Exploring the Arts in Great Falls

CM Russell Museum Great Falls MT
Music in the Park Great Falls MT

Great Falls is rich in arts offerings, from live music and entertainment to special events. “Our community has museums and interpretive centers that beautifully depict the history and character of the region,” Mayor Kelly says. “Our symphony has hosted Yo-Yo Ma, Midori and Itzhak Perlman.”

Home to 10 distinct museums, Great Falls is Montana’s Museum Capital. Works of art by the late resident and artist Charlie Russell capture the spirit of Great Falls and the surrounding area, and the C.M. Russell Museum has been called Montana’s “museum worth traveling for.”

“One of the greatest painters the country has ever known, [Russell] lived the history of the West,” says Mark Robinson, the museum’s marketing director. “It’s almost like recorded history. His house and studio are still part of the museum complex, and he was the highest-paid artist of his time; one piece sold for $5.6 million.”

The 25,000-sq.-ft. Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center contains North America’s most extensive depiction of the expedition, with interactive displays and special attention to their portage around this area’s many waterfalls. “The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center hosts approximately 50,000 people per year, making it the most popular museum/interpretive center in central Montana,” Nelson says.

Paris Gibson Square Great Falls, MT
Paris Gibson Museum of Art fills a historical building with contemporary art, and is the home of the Great Falls Trolley. Round out your museum visits at the Children’s Museum of Montana, Malmstrom Air Force Base Museum & Air Park, The History Museum, and Trinity Gallery at the University of Great Falls.

Great Falls’ rich tapestry of music and culture includes Metis Indian Fiddlers, Blackfeet drummers, blues, and Irish and world-class symphonic music. Enjoy Municipal Band summer concerts in Gibson Park, and world-class performances at the intimate Mansfield Center for the Performing Arts, home of the Great Falls Symphony. In the heart of downtown, ‘The Mansfield’ offers shows, productions, concerts, and performances, year-round.

“We have a pretty tremendous nightlife, from Broadway plays to local theater groups to more non-traditional expressive entertainment,” local musician Schalper says. “Our art scene is very powerful, too. Our First Friday art walk has classics to western to contemporary art…and most venues include live music.” Great Falls also has a number of local microbreweries that support live entertainment, she adds.


Eats, Drink and Be Merry

Sip and Dip Great Falls MT
Speaking of microbrewies, local eateries and bars have garnered enormous praise from various outlets. Celtic Cowboy has been named Montana’s best Irish pub, and Crooked Tree Coffee and Cakes was named Montana’s best coffee shop.

But the Sip ‘n Dip Lounge has received the biggest kudos. “It’s a step back in time to an authentic 1960s tiki bar,” says Sandra Johnson-Thares, the lounge’s general manager. “It’s retro and cool.”

That’s a bit of an understatement for a bar that GQ Magazine called No. 1 bar on Earth worth flying for and a bar that came in second in the 2016 National Trust for Historic Preservation’s tournament of America’s favorite historic bars. Here, Piano Pat has been the pianist and organist for 45 years, and mermaids swim around in the hotel pool in front of the window in the bar. On Tuesdays, you can see Mermen instead of Mermaids, and any day of the week you can order a Fishbowl, which Delish.com called Montana’s best tiki drink. Retro and cool, indeed.


Special Events

Great Falls hosts a number of noteworthy events each year, including one of the most treasured Western art auctions and events in the world. In March, around Charlie Russell’s birthday, Great Falls becomes the Western art capital of the world during Western Art Week. Thirteen shows display works by more than 700 artists and numerous events engage art lovers. Original oil paintings, bronzes, photography, furniture, sculptures, and jewelry are only the beginning of diverse art displayed. Locations all through town host art shows, and people fly in from across the globe.
“There are auctions all over the place, and we get work consigned to us from galleries and private owners,” Robinson says. “The artist community is growing all around us, and in the city. Certainly Charlie Russell is an inspiration for that and artists come from all over. It’s a giant celebration of all things Western.”

Another event every June, the Lewis and Clark Festival, draws thousands of attendees to Great Falls. “Along with a bluegrass concert, Native American dancers, tipi encampment and cooking buffalo, there are children’s educational programs,” Nelson says. “In conjunction with the festival, the River’s Edge Trail co-hosts a Luminaria Walk. [Local school children] color the white bags [before] we scoop sand inside with a candle.” The free family event is a three-mile walk with music along the trail and 1000 luminarias glowing in the dark.”

You can get a taste of Montana’s ranching and agricultural heritage during the Montana State Fair each summer. From the Big Sky Pro Rodeo Roundup to country music performances and horse racing, this action-packed event includes games, rides and festival food, too.

Finally, each January the Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit Finals takes place. Celebrating 38 years, in 2017, it includes terrific horsemanship, and crowning of Miss Rodeo Montana as well as a Kiddie Rodeo and lively Cowboy Auction.


Winter Fun

Showdown Ski Resort near Great Falls MT
Winter is a great time to enjoy outdoor activities here. With easy access to the Rocky Mountain Front, Teton Pass Ski Resort features amazing access for the best back-country and side-country skiing, with rare continuous verticals.

The nearby Little Belt Mountains and Showdown Ski Resort feature some of Montana’s most consistent natural snow, and is Montana’s first ski hill. Down the mountain, Silver Crest Ski Trail is one of the only mixed-use winter sport areas in Montana. Nordic skiers, snow-shoeing enthusiasts, snowmobilers and dogsledders all enjoy their travels through these highly accessible U.S. Forest Service lands.

During wintertime the local hockey team, the Great Falls Americans, plays at the Great Falls IcePlex, and when the pond freezes at Gibson Park, you can find skaters perfecting their craft, whether it’s hockey, or figure skating, you will find kids of all ages enjoying the pond.

From natural beauty to manmade fun, make plans to explore Great Falls, Montana’s best-kept secret. Download or request our visitor guide today.


Great Falls Winter Fun

Showdown Ski Resort near Great Falls MTWinter is a great time to enjoy outdoor activities here. With easy access to the Rocky Mountain Front, Teton Pass Ski Resort features amazing access for the best back-country and side-country skiing, with rare continuous verticals.

The nearby Little Belt Mountains and Showdown Ski Resort feature some of Montana’s most consistent natural snow, and is Montana’s first ski hill. Down the mountain, Silver Crest Ski Trail is one of the only mixed-use winter sport areas in Montana. Nordic skiers, snow-shoeing enthusiasts, snowmobilers and dogsledders all enjoy their travels through these highly accessible U.S. Forest Service lands.

During wintertime the local hockey team, the Great Falls Americans, plays at the Great Falls IcePlex, and when the pond freezes at Gibson Park, you can find skaters perfecting their craft, whether it’s hockey, or figure skating, you will find kids of all ages enjoying the pond.

From natural beauty to manmade fun, make plans to explore Great Falls, Montana’s best-kept secret. Download or request our visitor guide today.

Great Falls Special Events

Great Falls hosts a number of noteworthy events each year, including one of the most treasured Western art auctions and events in the world. In March, around Charlie Russell’s birthday, Great Falls becomes the Western art capital of the world during Western Art Week. Thirteen shows display works by more than 700 artists and numerous events engage art lovers. Original oil paintings, bronzes, photography, furniture, sculptures, and jewelry are only the beginning of diverse art displayed. Locations all through town host art shows, and people fly in from across the globe. “There are auctions all over the place, and we get work consigned to us from galleries and private owners,” Robinson says. “The artist community is growing all around us, and in the city. Certainly Charlie Russell is an inspiration for that and artists come from all over. It’s a giant celebration of all things Western.”

Another event every June, the Lewis and Clark Festival, draws thousands of attendees to Great Falls. “Along with a bluegrass concert, Native American dancers, tipi encampment and cooking buffalo, there are children’s educational programs,” Nelson says. “In conjunction with the festival, the River’s Edge Trail co-hosts a Luminaria Walk. [Local school children] color the white bags [before] we scoop sand inside with a candle.” The free family event is a three-mile walk with music along the trail and 1000 luminarias glowing in the dark.”

You can get a taste of Montana’s ranching and agricultural heritage during the Montana State Fair each summer. From the Big Sky Pro Rodeo Roundup to country music performances and horse racing, this action-packed event includes games, rides and festival food, too.

Finally, each January the Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit Finals takes place. Celebrating 38 years, in 2017, it includes terrific horsemanship, and crowning of Miss Rodeo Montana as well as a Kiddie Rodeo and lively Cowboy Auction.

From natural beauty to manmade fun, make plans to explore Great Falls, Montana’s best-kept secret. Download or request our visitor guide today.

Eats, Drink and Be Merry

Sip and Dip Great Falls MTSpeaking of microbrewies, local eateries and bars have garnered enormous praise from various outlets. Celtic Cowboy has been named Montana’s best Irish pub, and Crooked Tree Coffee and Cakes was named Montana’s best coffee shop.

But the Sip ‘n Dip Lounge has received the biggest kudos. “It’s a step back in time to an authentic 1960s tiki bar,” says Sandra Johnson-Thares, the lounge’s general manager. “It’s retro and cool.”

That’s a bit of an understatement for a bar that GQ Magazine called No. 1 bar on Earth worth flying for and a bar that came in second in the 2016 National Trust for Historic Preservation’s tournament of America’s favorite historic bars. Here, Piano Pat has been the pianist and organist for 45 years, and mermaids swim around in the hotel pool in front of the window in the bar. On Tuesdays, you can see Mermen instead of Mermaids, and any day of the week you can order a Fishbowl, which Delish.com called Montana’s best tiki drink. Retro and cool, indeed.

From natural beauty to manmade fun, make plans to explore Great Falls, Montana’s best-kept secret. Download or request our visitor guide today.

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