With its abundance of outdoor recreation opportunities, from alpine lakes to hiking trails to ski resorts, Montana is the type of destination where the rain can significantly impact your itinerary.
While it’s difficult to do a lot of Montana-specific activities when it’s pouring out, there are still plenty of ways to have fun when the weather is not on your side.
To make sure you don’t feel stuck in your lodgings, we have provided a list of the best things to do in Montana when it’s raining.
1. C.M. Russell Museum, Great Falls
The C.M. Russell Museum pays tribute to Montana’s great cowboy artist Charles M. Russell. The museum displays his collection of work through a number of permanent and temporary exhibits, as well as giving insight into his life and character.
If you happen to be in Great Falls on a rainy day, a visit to this museum and art gallery is a great way to have fun, learn a lot, and keep dry! Though you are free to explore the museum at your own pace, the museum also runs guided tours.
The museum is open most days of the year, though the hours vary between winter and summer. Admission is $14 for adults, with discount prices available for seniors and students, and active military members and their families are admitted for free.
2. Spotted Bear Spirits, Whitefish
Another ideal way to spend a rainy day in Montana is by visiting a distillery. There are several to choose from across the state, with one of the best being Spotted Bear Spirits in Whitefish.
The tasting room is open from Tuesday through Sunday, 4 p.m. through 8 p.m. Each person over 21 can sample two cocktails in the tasting room, and there is a long list of drinks to choose from on the menu, including those made with vodka, gin, and coffee liqueur.
The distillery is also offering tours of its production facilities. Admission costs $20 per person and tours run for an hour.
3. Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, Great Falls
The Lewis and Clark Expedition was significant to Montana’s history, and there’s no better way to pay tribute to the Corps of Discovery and learn more about this important event than to visit the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Great Falls.
The museum resides on the side of a rocky cliff near the Missouri River—a waterway that was instrumental in the expedition.
It exhibits several interesting artifacts and displays, including maps that were available at the time, and tells the story of the Plains and Northwest Indians.
Admission is $8 for adults over 15, while children can enter for free. The museum is open all year round with varying hours from season to season.
4. Museum of the Rockies, Bozeman
Montana has a rich paleontological legacy, serving as the site of several previously unearthed dinosaur fossils. There are museums all over the state that are part of Montana’s Dinosaur Trail, but the most famous is Bozeman’s Museum of the Rockies—a must for dinosaur fans, whether it’s raining or not.
The museum is a division of Montana State University and is home to one of the few mounted Tyrannosaurus rex skeletons in the country.
You’ll also find a nearly complete Allosaurus skeleton from the Jurassic period, plus several other non-dinosaur-related exhibits, including Enduring Peoples, Paugh History, and Explore Yellowstone.
The museum is open year-round, except for New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, from 9 a.m. through 5 p.m. Admission is $18 for adults with discounts available for various groups, and members and children under five can enter for free.
5. Norris Hot Springs, Norris
When it’s raining, it’s best to stick to activities that take place indoors. But in the case of Norris Hot Springs, you’re already wet! This popular water destination is around an hour from Big Sky, just south of Three Forks.
Visiting a hot spring like Norris is a particularly good idea when it’s cold, as the mineral water is heated. Along with a large pool, there is live music every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Performances are family-friendly, with most ending before midnight.
The hot springs are open Thursday through Sunday, 10 a.m. through 10 p.m., and private soaks are also available by reservation on Monday and Wednesday. Admission for adults is $10, with discounts offered for seniors and children.
6. Montana Historical Society Museum, Helena
There’s so much history to absorb in Montana, and the Montana Historical Society Museum in the capital city of Helena is the best way to do it.
This indoor museum chronicles the fascinating history and culture of the state and displays numerous artifacts and works of art, including those by the famed cowboy painter Charles Russell.
Featured among the permanent exhibits is a look into what Montana was like at the time of Lewis and Clark, and how locals lived in Montana throughout different periods of the past.
Entrance fees are only $5 for adults and $1 per child, with families able to enter for $12. The museum is open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. through 5 p.m.
7. Moss Mansion Museum, Billings
Moss Mansion was built in 1903 by Preston Boyd Moss and his wife, Martha Ursula Woodson Moss.
Designed by the New York architect Henry Janeway Hardenbergh, the mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and remains open as a museum and tribute to the Moss family, who remained there until the 1980s.
There are a number of surprisingly modern amenities in the turn-of-the-century house, which remains as it was a century ago. Inside, you’ll find heated indoor plumbing, an early rotary telephone, and electric bells for the servants.
Both self and guided tours are available, and the house is open seven days a week. Self-guided tours are $12 per adult while touring the house with a guide comes at the slightly higher price of $15 per adult.
8. Glacier Distilling Company, Coram
Another distillery that’s definitely worth checking out on a rainy day in Coram is Glacier Distilling Company. Lying in the foothills of Glacier National Park, the distillery offers a tasting room that is open seven days a week from 12 p.m. through 8 p.m., no reservations required.
There’s a healthy list of drinks to choose from in the tasting room, and the distillery also runs tours Wednesday through Saturday in summer, for which online reservations are required.
At $35 per person, tours include a guided tasting, tours of the distillery, and a souvenir glass.
9. Old Montana Prison and Auto Museum, Deer Lodge
The Old Montana Prison and Auto Museum complex house a total of five museums on the premises, so you could easily spend a whole rainy day getting lost in the local history here. The museum is open seven days a week, 9 a.m. through 4 p.m.
The biggest attraction is the Old Montana Prison, which offers guided and self-guided tours through the eerie penitentiary complex. Ghost tours are also offered at night for those who dare …
Guests will also have a chance to explore the Auto Museum, Frontier Montana, Yesterday’s Playthings, and the Powell County Museum. Entrance fees are $18 for adults, $10 for kids aged 7 to 15, and children under six can enter for free.
10. Missoula Art Museum, Missoula
For art buffs, the Missoula Art Museum should definitely be on your rainy-day itinerary. Featured in the permanent collection is Native American Indian Art, as well as a variety of touring exhibitions.
In total, there are eight exhibition spaces, plus a library, education center, and information lounge.
The best part about the Missoula Art Museum for those on a budget is that entrance is entirely free! The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. through 5 p.m.
Guided tours are available on Saturdays during June, July, and August.
11. Conrad Mansion Museum, Kalispell
The Conrad Mansion Museum is a signature piece of Kalispell’s history. The mansion was constructed in 1895 and remains intact, offering guests a look into the life of the Conrad family of pioneers.
There are guided and self-guided tours of the 26-room mansion available, with varying open hours between the seasons.
On the guided tour, guests will learn about the impact that the Conrad family had on Kalispell, and be taken through the endless facts relating to the mansion’s many captivating rooms.
Admission is $20 for guided tours and $15 for self-guided tours, with discounts available for seniors and children.
12. Cathedral of St. Helena, Helena
No matter your religious beliefs, a tour of the Cathedral of St. Helena offers an insight into a rare piece of European-inspired architecture and culture in Montana’s capital city.
There is no charge for tours of this spectacular building, and you can also view it without a guide if you have less than 10 people at your party. You are free to look around when the cathedral is open, from Monday to Friday, 6:30 a.m. through 6 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. through 6 p.m., and Sunday from 7 a.m. through 3 p.m.
As the cathedral is a place of prayer, it’s important to always be respectful and refrain from taking tours during mass.