The capital city of Montana, Helena has a starkly different feel from many of the other cities and towns in the state. Far from a tourist hotspot, the quiet city often avoids the hustle and bustle of crowds of travelers. As such, it’s a peaceful destination where you don’t have to share the most famous attractions with masses of people.
Though not designed for tourists, Helena has plenty of landmarks and points of interest that make it worth visiting. The town features an authentic Western vibe rather than a gimmicky novelty atmosphere, owing to its rich mining history, and has preserved entire districts of historic buildings.
For those who love the great outdoors, there are 75 miles of pristine trails nearby. Helena is also within driving distance of both Montana’s national parks: Glacier and Yellowstone.
The city is definitely one to add to your Montana itinerary and is worth staying in for a few days rather than just driving through.
There’s a selection of quality accommodation options in town, including a few comfortable bed and breakfasts that will make you feel right at home.
In this article, we will take a look at the best bed and breakfasts in Helena, as well as the activities you will find nearby.
Travel Tips for Staying in Helena
The closest airport to Helena is the Helena Regional Airport, which is serviced by Alaska, United, and Delta Airlines, offering direct flights to Seattle, Salt Lake City, and Denver. However, there are also international airports within driving distance, and many visitors fly to a nearby location and then rent a car to take them to Helena.
The Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport is the closest major airport to Helena and offers flights to more than 30 locations, both around the U.S. and internationally. This may be the best option for visitors to Helena who are coming from overseas or far-flung areas of the country.
A public bus service operates within Helena between 6:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. weekdays and is run by City Transit. The company also offers a route from Helena to the East Valley, running from 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays. Children under six can ride the bus for free while an all-day pass can be purchased for $2.60.
There are also several car rental services based in Helena, including Budget Car Rental, which operates out of Helena Regional Airport.
Summer tends to be the best time to visit Helena as the weather is often mild and dry. Visiting between May and September reduces your chances of having your itinerary impacted by snowfall. And while summer is the busiest time in Helena, the capital doesn’t tend to receive the vast amounts of tourists that other Montana cities do.
Like other Montana destinations, Helena emerged from the days of the state’s gold rush born from the 1864 strike at Last Chance Gulch.
The city eventually became the state’s favorite location for millionaires, and after opulent Victorian buildings and other marks of prosperity were constructed, it was soon elected as the capital city of Montana.
You can discover the fascinating story of Helena’s mining beginnings by strolling through the historic buildings still standing in town and visiting local museums and landmarks.
With buildings dating back to the 1870s, Reeder’s Alley is the best place to start learning about the city’s past. The laneway is marked by the Pioneer Cabin, which is the oldest registered home in the city.
Today, Last Chance Gulch serves as the bustling Main Street of Downtown Helena. Here, you’ll find charming specialty stores lining a landscaped pedestrian mall, along with more historic buildings and a retired trolley carriage.
The Montana State Capitol is arguably the city’s most famous attraction. The seat of political power in Montana, the building is a stunning example of neoclassical architecture and was erected between 1896 and 1902. You can visit the Capitol for free and witness the numerous works of art inside.
Other notable examples of architecture to look out for in Helena include the Cathedral of St. Helena, which was inspired by the Votivkirche in Vienna, and the Original Governor’s Mansion.
Those who are interested in seeing the cultural sights of Helena should pay a visit to the Holter Museum of Art. Located downtown, the museum is renowned around the state for its five exhibition galleries containing contemporary works by local artists.
If you’re visiting Helena with kids or have a sweet tooth yourself, a visit to the iconic Parrot Confectionery in the heart of the city is a must. The candy store is 100 years old and sells more than 130 types of sweets. It also boasts a soda fountain containing a variety of flavors crafted from passed-down recipes.
Visiting a brewery is a rite of passage for travelers in Montana, and you’ll be spoiled for choice in Helena. The Blackfoot River Brewing Company and the Ten Mile Creek Brewery are conveniently located in the middle of town, and the Lewis and Clark Brewing Company is only a short distance away.
There are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors while in Helena. Hiking fans will love Mount Helena City Park, which boasts miles of trails sprawled across 600 acres. Follow the 1906 trail to the peak of the mountain for unrivaled views of the city.
List of the Bed and Breakfasts in Helena
The Carolina Bed & Breakfast – Helena – $$
The Carolina Bed & Breakfast is one of Helena’s premiere lodgings. The turn-of-the-century home in the city’s historic heart still boasts the original leaded glass and woodwork of a bygone era.
The property blends the historic with the convenient, boasting amenities such as a laptop workspace and air conditioning in rooms with period furniture.
There’s a daily full breakfast served to all guests, who also have access to free parking, toiletries, and housekeeping.
The Carolina employs a professional chef who serves a buffet-style breakfast featuring fresh fruit, baked pastries, specialized entrees, and eggs and bacon to order. Guests can opt to eat privately or join other travelers in the communal dining room.
All guest rooms have their own private bathroom, premium bedding, and luxury linen, complimentary beverages, and robes.
Oddfellow Inn & Farm – Helena – $$
Offering an idyllic terrace, manicured garden, and a fine-dining restaurant, the Oddfellow Inn & Farm is a unique bed and breakfast in Helena providing premium accommodation and a family-friendly farm atmosphere.
Children will love seeing the farm animals while adults will appreciate the farm-to-plate fresh produce at the bistro.
Some rooms at the inn have their own fridge and kitchen facility, while all guests are offered a continental or buffet-style breakfast. There are also options for glamping and independent accommodation in a small cabin from May through October.
The inn is conveniently located a short distance from several local points of interest, including Mt. Helena, Spring Meadow Lake State Park, the Lewis & Clark County Fairgrounds, and the Montana Wild Education Center.
The Sanders – Helena’s Bed & Breakfast – Helena – $$$
Conveniently tucked away in the heart of Helena, The Sanders is a charming bed and breakfast offering guests a private and relaxing escape in a friendly atmosphere.
There are seven suites available, each with its own unique allure, plus plenty of on-site amenities, such as free parking, a concierge service, a library, and free Wi-Fi.
A complimentary breakfast is available to all guests and there’s also microwave and fridge access upon request. Guests are offered free newspapers, a garden, a picnic area, and daily housekeeping at the smoke-free property.
The Sanders is a stone’s throw from some of Helena’s best attractions and landmarks. The Cathedral of St. Helena is less than a five-minute walk away, while the Holter Museum of Art, the Montana State Capitol, and the historic Reeder’s Alley are all less than 20 minutes from the bed and breakfast.
The Barrister Bed & Breakfast – Helena – $-$$$
Just minutes from the Helena Regional Airport, shopping opportunities, and a range of cultural and historical sites, The Barrister Bed & Breakfast offers five comfortable rooms and a communal lounge with a cozy fireplace.
An ideal place to recharge after a day of exploring Montana’s capital city, the bed and breakfast is known for its helpful and welcoming staff.
In addition to a free full breakfast, the bed and breakfast offers a picturesque terrace, garden, picnic area, and grill. There’s complimentary parking, including wheelchair-accessible parking, as well as a free 24-hour shuttle that offers transport to the airport.
Guests have access to free Wi-Fi, newspapers, and a library. Plus, the 24-hour front desk is the perfect place to get the tour and ticket information you need for planning your Helena itinerary.
Montana Inn – Helena – $-$$$
Set in a heritage Victorian house with 29 unique rooms, the Montana Inn provides quality accommodation in a central Helena location.
There are five guest rooms on the premises, three of which have a private bathroom. Guests also have access to the shared great room, where you’ll find cable TV and a game table.
Rather than a served breakfast, the Montana Inn offers a fully stocked kitchen, so guests have the freedom to make their own meals whenever they feel like it. There’s also a workout room, storage room, and complimentary bicycle that guests can use to explore the grounds and surrounding area.
Animal-lovers will be able to spot deer, magpies, squirrels, rabbits, and ravens from the property, with some suites even offering pristine views of the wildlife.
Elkhorn Mountain Inn – Clancy – $-$$$
Tucked away at the base of Elkhorn Mountain, the Elkhorn Mountain Inn offers homely rooms with several convenient amenities. The Cathedral of St. Helena, Reeder’s Alley, the Montana State Capitol, and the other must-see sights of Helena are only minutes away.
The property serves a delicious continental breakfast, and also boasts a convenience store and a lobby with a microwave and 24-hour hot coffee.
Additionally, you’ll find a conference room with fax and copy services, which are helpful for visitors traveling on business. There’s free Wi-Fi in every room, plus ironing facilities, a complimentary daily newspaper, and a hair dryer.
For an additional $10 per night, guests can have their pets stay with them at the bed and breakfast. There are also ATM and banking services which can make life a little easier during your travels.
Helena has a perfect bed and breakfast option for every traveler. We’ve picked the most suitable accommodation for every style, whether you’re looking for a budget stay or a romantic escape.
List the Bed and Breakfast which is most suitable for…
- Best Luxury Bed and Breakfast in Helena: The Sanders – Helena’s Bed & Breakfast
- Best Boutique Bed and Breakfast in Helena: Oddfellow Inn & Farm
- Best Cheap Bed and Breakfast in Helena: The Carolina Bed & Breakfast
- Best Family Bed and Breakfast in Helena: Montana Inn
- Best Romantic Bed and Breakfast in Helena: The Barrister Bed & Breakfast