Helena Travel Guide

  • Last Chance Gulch Mall
    Last Chance Gulch Mall
    by melissa_bel
  • Colorful Murals Mark Downtown Helena
    Colorful Murals Mark Downtown Helena
    by TooTallFinn24
  • Trolley Car in Downtown Helena
    Trolley Car in Downtown Helena
    by TooTallFinn24

Helena Highlights

  • Pro
    melissa_bel profile photo

    melissa_bel says…

     Small town but it's the capital with all the advantages it implies. Great outdoors close by... 

  • Con
    montana40 profile photo

    montana40 says…

     Bizarre street layout, water quality problems 

  • In a nutshell
    mrclay2000 profile photo

    mrclay2000 says…

     Great Capital City - Perfect Kick-Off for Yellowstone or Glacier 

Helena Things to Do

  • Walk North Ewing Around the Old...

    Helena ha many stately mansions and homes. Many of the older mansions are centered around the North Ewing Street which also is home to the Old Governor's Mansion. Some of the homes are still occupied as single family homes and parking near the old mansion is a good place to start a walk of the area. The most famous of the homes in the area is of...

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  • Walk the Trolley Block on Last Chance...

    The pedestrian mall on Last Chance Gulch has several streets christened by different names. The Trolley Block is named in respect after the trolleys that once graced the streets of Helena. It was the third street that I came upon on that cool Sunday morning in Helena. Back in 1883, the Northern Pacific Railroad located in Helena. With the arrival...

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  • Power Building on Power Block

    Walking around downtown Helena early on a Sunday morning I came on a magnificent building at the corner of Sixth and Main Street. Engraved above the front entrance were the words power buidling. Apparenty because of the size and grandeur of the six story Power building the entire block came to be known as the Power block. The building was built by...

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  • Algerian Shrine Temple

    Driving past the Helena Cathedral we came upon a building with a definite Moorish look and what appeared to be a tall minaret. I told my wife that I was going to stop the car to take some pictures. Upon getting close enough, lettering on the building informed me that it was the Civic Center. I left Helena, Montana believing that all major city...

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  • Atlas Block in Downtown Helena

    Several of the streets that occupy downtown Helena have been given a name and wayfinding signs The Atlas block is so named because of a grand building with a uniquely ordained roof message. Samuel Jones was a businessman who owned an insurance company and wanted to convey the concept of how getting insurance would protect individuals from the...

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  • Cathedral of Helena:

    We were totally unprepared for a church of this beauty and height in Helena, Montana. The Cathedral of Helena standing over 240 feet high with its two great towers is both impressive to look at from above the town as well as up close.The cathedral was part of a long term effort in the town of Helena to build a magnificent cathedral. The effort...

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  • Last Chance Wagon Ride Dinners

    My family and I traveled to Helena, MT and while we were there made reservations at Last Chance Wagon Ride Dinners. It was a great evening that started off with a horse drawn wagon ride up into the mountains. When we arrived we were shown around the small cabin and tee-pees where dinner would be served. After a few stories and some beautiful...

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  • Montana Historical Museum

    For those interested in Montana history, this is the place to go. From Native artifacts to painting, from firearms to tools used in mining, farming, ranching, from gems to costumes, this Museum covers a lot of grounds. The cow head skeleton gracing the entrance, is the work of a Native artist. There is also a Library and research center.Opening...

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  • Ride The Last Chance Tour Train

    Ride the Last Chance Tour Train and experience Helena's colorful past. From its beginning, spurred by the discovery of gold in Last Chance Gulch to the present. You'll hear wonderful stories as you sit back, relax and enjoy the ride through the "Queen City of the Rockies". Operating season Memorial Day week-end through September 15th.

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  • State Capitol Building

    Ever heard the saying, "Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes right to the bone?" That is the best way I can describe Montana's state capitol building in Helena. No, I don't have a picture to prove it (camera broke on my trip...), but take my word for it. The outside of the building is really pretty and nice! The inside, however, is painted this...

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  • St-Helena Cathedral

    I would have really liked to spend more time into this cathedral! Modelled after the Dom of Cologne and the Votive Church of Vienna, this gothic style cathedral is a beauty! You cannot miis it! The twin spires are 230 feet high.The building was open for Christmas of 1914. When I was there, there was a very important funeral about to begin so, we...

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  • The strange story of the Goddess of...

    Like many capitols in the US, Helena has its Lady Liberty atop the building but the story of how it got there is really strange. During the "Capital fight", the people responsible for the plans ran off with all the papers and records. During construction, a statue of a Goddess of Liberty arrived from back East with no indications about who ordered...

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Helena Hotels

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Helena Restaurants

  • Downtown Sports Bar

    I had the chance to visit this place twice while on a short stay in Helena. The Quarry Bar and Grille is attached to the Holiday on the northern part of Last Chance Gulch. It has a big nice patio where meals are served weather permitting. It is set up primarily as a sports bar and on my Sunday morning visit I could see staff from the local...

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  • Bustling With Activity in the Morning

    It's early Sunday morning and most of downtown Helena is still asleep. However one of just a small handful of restaurants that is bustling with activity indoors and outdoors is the Hub. An impressive crowd for a place that has been open less than two years from what I was told. The place is a local coffee house that provides not only coffee but...

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  • My local favorite

    I walked in and felt at home. My girlfriend's deceased mothers picture is on the wall, over a booth, art from the my family decorates the interior. I was introduced to all the employees who are friends of the family.Okay, the service - excellent! My coffee cup never went cold or empty and the food came quick, despite the reputation of hour-long...

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  • On North Last Chance Gulch

    Well.... there are a lot of them! Unfortunately, I don't remember the exact name of this place but it was towards the end of N. Last Chance, beofre the "Atlas House".On this chilly November afternoon, a good coffee and homemade muffin was perfect! And the reds inside the room where particularly warming. Really good chocolate chip muffins!

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  • Mexican Restaurants-3

    Most popular Mexican Restaurant in town. People either love it or hate it, but no doubt it is the most busy and lively in town. Get there early or wait in line. Packed most nights. Has full liquor license, while the other places have either no liquor or only a beer/wine license. Fun patio dining in the summer. I think that the other Mexican places...

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  • Mexican Restaurants-2

    Real Mexican ownership, surprisingly good Mexican food, especially for a place that is attached to a gas station.Decor leaves a lot to be desired (Moose head with Sombrero is featured prominently, as well as lots of Corona posters) but this is actually the best-tasting Mexican food in the area!Terrific prices and you can feel comfortable bringing...

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  • Mexican Restaurant Review-1

    Good little Mexican restaurant, off the beaten path, small local character. Small restaurant with very nice ambiance. Quiet.Very good prices. Great Chimichanga. Best Mexican food served by white people I have ever had!

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  • Best alternative restaurant

    Benny's is the only place where you can get unique and unorthodox fine dining. You can actually get vegetarian meals and there isn't a single steak on the menu.If you like a more citified restaurant and are tired of the endless succession of dead-animals-on-the-wall places, Benny's is the best!On the other hand, if you are a "red meat and potatoes"...

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  • Swankiest Eats

    Modern restaurant with retro western theme. Quite classy.This is Helena's newest fine dining restaurant. You have to have reservations. Unlike most Helena restaurants, the help here can be a little snotty, but they probably can afford to be because the place is full almost every night. Baseball Cut Top Sirloin is the best deal on the dinner menu,...

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Helena Shopping

  • by MTMomKate Written Jun 16, 2003

    Lots of stores in this mall with great Montana gear -- places like the Nature Trail, Dillards Montana Shop, and Leslies Hallmark.

    What to buy: Neat Montana tees and foods and great stuff from local restaurants (Montana City Grill sauces).

    What to pay: Really depends -- great gifts and no sales tax

    Related to:
    • Women's Travel
    • Seniors
    • Budget Travel

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Helena Local Customs

  • by MontanaNative Written May 14, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Contrary to the tip shared by native mt, most Montanans are open minded friendly folk! Your sexual orientation will not dictate your reception here in Helena. Present yourself as you would in any community- clean, friendly, inquisitive, and respectful, and I'm sure you will receive similar treatment. One tip: if you are planning on dressing in the 'local style', please lay off the designer Indiana Jones hats, nice slacks, and fly fishing shirt- you will stick out like a sore thumb! No one from Helena dresses like that!

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Family Travel
    • Gay and Lesbian

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Helena What to Pack

  • Bring Layers!

    Dry mountain climate can change 40 degrees in any 24 hour period. Bring both the tank top and the parka! Seriously. It can be 90 degrees one day, a cold front roll in and be 40 degrees the next morning. In my lifetime we have had 100 degrees in August and we have had SNOW in August. Ditto for June. (Plus an infamous 1959 snowstorm on the fourth...

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  • Layers are key!

    Waterproof luggage is key if you're going to be outside, otherwise, whatever suits your fancy. Dress light and always bring layers. IT can be hot one minute and freezing the next. Never leave without your camera. You never know when there will be a beautiful picture waiting to be taken. Bring tarps for camping just in case it pours!

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  • Helena Hotels

    18 Hotels in Helena

    285 Reviews and Opinions

Helena Off The Beaten Path

  • Guardian of the Gulch Fire Tower

    As with many other places in the Western United States fire was a constant threat to the buildings and homes of Helena Montana. After a series of fires in town fire towers were placed strategically around town and manned twenty four hours a day. This particular tower, is the only surviving fire tower in Helena, and was constructed in 1876. The...

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  • High, high, UP in the sky ...

    My quaint cabin home east of Helena is one of my top two favorites. It's so beautiful ... the sky, the Montana type "blues", the quiet ....It's very cozy and romantic...Don't drink and drive there.Drink by your cabin's fireplace with someone you care about.

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  • Getting to Helena

    From Billings, there 2 ways to get there. Either take I-90 past Bozeman then the 287 north to Helena or, a another scenic route (89) north by the Crazy moutains and Castle Moutains and then 12 west. like we did. This is a picture of the Crazy moutains at sunset. Both are really worth the ride.

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Helena Favorites

  • Blue Skies and Mountains

    In my opinion, the most important activity in Helena would be anything in the Great Outdoors! For most of us who live here we don't realize how lucky we are to be able to see blue skies and mountains surrounding us until you go elsewhere and realize that it's not like this everywhere. Being able to drive a few minutes and be in the woods or at the...

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  • Helena has so many things to...

    Helena has so many things to offer the tourist! You can go only a few miles out of town for water-skiiing, snowskiing, boating, hiking, camping, etc., in some of the most beautiful country in the world! We have a cultural community of many artists, museums, historical landmarks, and so much more! Built along Helena's historic 'Last Chance Gulch',...

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  • You must visit the Montana...

    You must visit the Montana State Historical Society which has quite a nice collection of Charlie Russell's work in it.We have a very lovely state capitol building as well. Since I've only lived here for 3 months, I don't have too many 'memories'. However, my first visit to Helena was in 1961 when it was still sort of 'rough and wild' and I really...

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