Billings is located on the Yellowstone River, in southern Montana and is the largest city in the state, covering an area of 44.72 square miles and an estimated population of 117,116 residents.
The city is situated 3,126 feet above sea level and is divided by long cliffs known as the Rimrocks. Billings is surrounded by seven mountain ranges: the Absaroka Range, Big Snowy Mountains, Beartooth Mountains, Pryor Mountains, Bighorn Mountains, Bulls Range, and the Crazy Mountains. Because of the magnificent rugged landscape Billings possesses, it is a popular tourist attraction in Montana.
Quick Links: What To Do In Billings, MT
- Moss Mansion
- Riverfront Park
- Pictograph Cave State Park
- Western Heritage Center
- Pompeys Pillar
- Yellowstone Art Museum
- Lake Elmo State Park
The city hosts around 2 million tourists annually, and the residents welcome them warmly and exhibit great hospitality. The city is rich in culture and makes a great tourist spot for people interested in learning about different cultures. Given that it is just a short drive from Yellowstone National Park, many people choose to make a stop at this city.
Besides that, Billings has a lot of great places to visit, making it one of the best vacation destinations for tourists. And if you are wondering what attractions this gorgeous city offers, we are here to make your vacation planning much easier!
Best Things To Do In Billings, MT
1. Check out Moss Mansion
Moss Mansion is a historical museum located in Billings, and it was constructed in 1903. This cultural centre is set out on a 2 acres area and is registered as a National Historic Place. The property is open year-round and offers guided tours of the building. However, in winter, you may need an appointment for it. So, check out their event calendar for the nearest appointment slot.
Interestingly, when Moss Mansion Historic Museum was reported to be haunted, the staff thought it would drive the tourists away. But instead, it ended up resulting in a surplus of visitors. The museum now even hosts a Haunted Moss fair in the fall season. Whether you believe the rumors or not, Moss Mansion has beautiful architecture and is one of the top-rated places to see in Billings.
2. Take a Trip to ZooMontana
If you are interested in viewing wildlife, you should visit the amazing wildlife park called the ZooMontana. It was established in 1992, and it is Montana’s only zoological and botanical park and is set out on 70 acres of land. This wildlife park is a famous tourist attraction in Billings since it hosts 70,000 visitors each year.
Sixteen staff members run this educational facility, and their main aim is to educate people about the wildlife of the Yellowstone ecosystem. ZooMontana is running because of volunteers and donations. Most of the animals in the zoo are rescue animals, and they are given the best care and are provided with all the basic needs.
The property has a variety of animals and is home to nearly 58 species including, alpacas, American badgers, ball pythons, great horned owl, leopard gecko, Canada lynx, and many more. The animals are all kept in a habitat that resembles their natural habitat. So if you are in the area, make sure to visit this amazing facility in Billings.
3. Explore the Rimrocks
If you are visiting Billings for the first time, then put ‘exploring the Rimrocks’ as an objective on your to-do list. It is a rocky geological formation in Montana that overlooks the city of Billings. The Rimrocks has many hiking and biking trails that attract outdoor enthusiasts.
Among these, Rimrocks Trail Head is quite a popular one. It also has many recreational parks that offer hiking and biking areas for visitors. These include the Zimmerman and the Swords Park and are located on the top of the cliffs. The site also has easy parking access.
The Rims offers a breathtaking view of the city as well as the Yellowstone River, making it a great picnic spot. You can drive or hike your way to the top and on reaching the site, just sit atop the cliffs with your family and friends and enjoy the view of a scenic sunset.
4. Visit Riverfront Park
Riverfront Park is located on the banks of Yellowstone River and serves as an ideal picnic area for families. A grill is available on the site for public use, so if you want to have a BBQ lunch picnic in Billings, Riverfront Park is the venue that you are looking for! You can also enjoy fishing and swimming in the Yellowstone River.
It is an excellent place for hikers as well, the Riverfront Park Loop Trail is located on the site, and it is approximately 7 km long and gives an elevation gain of about 8 meters. It is the perfect hiking trail for beginners, or you can just enjoy long strolls with your peers here. The park also offers volleyball courts for the guests. And to top it all off, it provides an amazing sight of the Yellowstone River as well as Lake Josephine.
5. Pictograph Cave State Park
Pictograph Cave State Park is 3500 feet in elevation and covers an area of 23 acres. It is an important archeological site and has been listed as a National Historic Landmark. The oldest rock artwork within the cave is over 2,000 years old. Around 100 pictographs were left behind by prehistoric residents; they also left behind about thirty thousand artifacts. These artifacts included weapons, paintings, and instruments of that time.
The park has hiking trails available and also offers picnic sites to visitors. The park is ADA-accessible as well as pet friendly and has toilets available on site. As a walk-in tourist, you only have to pay a small fee of 4 USD, which makes it a budget-friendly place. This Pictograph Cave State Park offers an affordable yet unparalleled experience to its guests.
Check out the 9 Best Caves In Montana
6. Experience the Western Heritage Center
Western Heritage Center was established in 1971 in downtown Billings. The museum started by showcasing a collection of western artifacts in the building originally known as the Parmly Billings Memorial Library, built in 1901.
WHC offers a great learning experience for tourists from around the world. The property hosts around 8-10 exhibits every year. So if you are in town during that time, we highly suggest visiting the Western Heritage Center at least once.
7. Pompeys Pillar
Pompeys Pillar is a national monument located on the banks of the Yellowstone River. The massive sandstone outcrop stands tall at an enormous height of 120 feet and is a popular tourist site in Billings. This historic site covers an area of 51 acres, and it is open to the public year-round; however, the opening hours vary seasonally.
The entrance fee depends on the number of passengers in a vehicle, and the cost may go down as 7 USD or as high as 20 USD, making it yet another affordable visiting place in Montana. The site is pet-friendly; however, it is a requirement that all animals should be on a leash at all times. The monument offers an exquisite view and is a great tourist spot.
8. Tour the Yellowstone Art Museum
Established in 1964, Yellowstone Art Museum is the biggest contemporary art museum in Montana. This museum, located in downtown Billings is split into two buildings; the main building has the art gallery present inside it and the Visible Vault, which serves as a storage unit for artworks.
The Yellowstone Art Museum has a permanent collection of regional art. The Montana Collection preserves the artistic history of the area and serves as a living artistic heritage. The visitors can also observe the Virginia Snook Collection by the renowned artist and author, Will James.
The art museum hosts many tourists regularly; anyone who is fascinated by historical and cultural artwork likes to visit the Yellowstone Art Museum on their trip to Billings.
9. Take a Stroll in Lake Elmo State Park
Lake Elmo State Park offers plenty of recreational activities and has a little something for everyone regardless of their taste. This 64-acre state park offers paddle boarding, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and swimming. It also has hiking trails available for visitors so that you can enjoy a nice refreshing jog or go on a peaceful stroll to ease your mind. Bird-watching is another common activity done on the site.
It is a pet-friendly property and offers picnic shelters to the public. It also has a playground available for children, making it the perfect place to go for a picnic as a family. The Lake Elmo State Park also features basic amenities like public restrooms, showers, and drinkable water. The park also provides maps so you don’t find yourself getting lost on the property.
Billings is a remarkable city offering a bounty of sites and activities for visitors. The tourist attractions in this city are unlike those found in most cities of the US. It is the perfect vacation destination for solo adventurers and families alike! A true mecca of recreational activities as well as cultural and historical landmarks.
With our list of best picks, we hope that you will spend an exceptional time in Billings and will create wonderful memories on your trip!