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Holter Museum is a cultural hub of the city, hosting regional, national, and international art exhibits in downtown Helena. Educational programs at the museum include classes and workshops for all age levels. Too steep and long to be considered easy, the trail does provide a challenge, but the views are worth it. Businesses and storefronts span both sides of Last Chance Gulch, which some locals may refer to as Main Street. Cathedral Room at Lewis and Clark Caverns. With rotating exhibits covering all areas of science and technology, ExplorationWorks is a science museum dedicated to having a fun time.
Other ways to engage with ExplorationWorks include summer camps, community groups, and educational workshops. They include a classic cave tour; a beginner-friendly Paradise tour; and a guided Wild Cave expedition, which explores the underground for hours. Today, the area is still rich with culture, and serves as the heart of a charming downtown district. The city grew from a mining camp, known as Last Chance Gulch, which still exists downtown today.
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Near downtown and the Old Governor's Mansion, the twin spires of the Cathedral of Saint Helena have overlooked the city for over a century. The Capitol is open seven days a week with more limited hours on the weekends. Admission is always free to appreciate the art, though donations are welcomed.
Interpretive s and information enhance a stroll through the area, and the moment you step on the brick walkway, it feels like stepping into the past. The prosperous area of Helena known as Last Chance Gulch is where the city got its start. This popular carousel has been spinning since and features a wild menagerie of hand-carved animals, including grizzly bears, cutthroat trout, and bighorn sheep. Centennial Park is a sprawling date ideas Helena MT space filled with many family- and canine-friendly attractions just north of downtown.
One of the most popular routes, the Traille to the summit for dramatic views. The capital city is also a major tourism destination to enjoy the Montana Great Outdoors. Helena, the state capital of Montana, traces its roots back to the s Montana Gold Rush. It's one of the most elaborate cave systems in the Northwest and is only available for exploration via guided tour.
The adjacent Pioneer Cabin is the oldest registered domicile in the city and available for public tours. A recently renovated visitor center at the state park is also open throughout the year, and offers information on the complex geology and history of the area. Adjacent to the State Capitol and hard to miss, with large sculptures on the lawn, the Montana Historical Society proudly celebrates the state's rich heritage.
Several aesthetic features intersperse this vehicle-free downtown area, including historic buildings, statues, and a retired Trolley Car. Shopping and dining add to the entertainment on both sides of the pedestrian mall. The museum's collection comprises several hands-on exhibits, as well as a dedicated discovery area for children five and under. Miles of hiking trails wind throughout the area, and surrounding picnic areas encourages visitors to enjoy lunch with a view.
The Historical Society hosts the incredibly detailed Montana's Museumfeaturing several exhibits and galleries. One specific family series not to miss is the weekend TinkerLabswhich offers a science experiment for the whole family to enjoy. Family-friendly events add extra community appeal to this educational space. Mount Helena is an iconic landmark of Helena and the flagship natural attraction of the city. Rotating displays at the museum relate to expressions in modern culture, and permanent installations encompass a wide variety of art forms.
The park also features a simulated rock-climbing boulder, which invites exercise for all ages. It's the oldest intact piece of Helena's early history. The outdoor plaza at the entrance of ExplorationWorks is also appealing, including next-door access to the Great Northern Carousela favorite for birthday parties and children's events.
We may earn a commission from affiliate links. The hard-to-miss Mount Helena backdrops the entire city, and provides miles upon miles of hiking trails to explore. Surrounding the city limits, iconic Montana landscapes, like Gates of the Mountains, named by Meriwether Lewis, entice visitors for bigger adventures.
At the same time, patio seating tends to attract adults and dinner connoisseurs. Specific areas of interest within the capitol include the Old Law Library, the Capitol Rotunda, and the many pieces of statehood paintings and art that adorn the entire facility. Several different trails cater to all abilities at Mount Helena, and it's not the only spot in town for hiking.
And a sense of grandeur is immediately imposed on anyone who visits. Surrounded by manicured hillsides and stately neighborhood buildings, the State Capitol has proudly overlooked Helena for over years. A large portion of the museum is also dedicated to the history and daily lives of the region's indigenous populations. The museum hosts numerous events throughout the year, including family trivia nights, fall art walks, and artists' speaker series.
Note: Some businesses may be temporarily closed due to recent global health and safety issues. Tours include a guided narration about the history and dramatic geology of the area.
A universally accessible playground and bicycle pump track can also be found at Centennial. South of Sixth Street, Last Chance Gulch is a landscaped pedestrian mall and an exceedingly popular place to stroll around. A posted map is available at either park's trailhe, though it helps to have a GPS app when visiting for the first time and or when executing a big hike.
The museum's vast collections comprise thousands of artifacts. Admission is free.
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Popular permanent exhibits include a Charles M. Russell Gallerycollections detailing Lewis and Clark's interactions with Montana, and an immersive look into the Montana frontier and its past pioneers. But the sheer architectural presence of this place of worship has always been a defining feature.
Boat tours are a popular means of experiencing Gates of the Mountain and are available throughout the summer. It was damaged in a earthquake, and this Gothic cathedral has seen ificant restorations and improvements over the years.
Meriwether Lewis coined the name during the Corps of Discovery expedition in reference to how the Missouri River meets limestone cliffs at this stunning wilderness area. With trailhe on the neighborhood hillsides above Reeder's Alley, the park encompasses over acres and several miles of hiking trails.
The museum also offers free Explore Kits available for teachers. And adjacent to the city park, a 17,square foot Skate Park accommodates skateboards, rollerblades, and scooters. Another route to the top includes the incredibly steep Powerline Trail that traverses the same elevation in 0. A network of hiking trails sprawls above the cave system and provides popular outlets for exploring when the cave system is closed for the season.
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Whether looking to dive into the culture, history, or outdoors, Helena offers it all, often in a single day. The " Paws Park " dog park is a popular place to visit within Centennial, providing two separate areas for big and little dogs to play independently.
Here, inprospectors found gold in the gulch and began the city's modern history. For extra-special occasions, the entire art facility can also be rented out for group events. Numerous educational and social events are also facilitated by the Historical Society every month, including guided tours of the nearby Old Governor's Mansion.
Special summer miniature-train tours also depart from the Historical Society. Just across the canyon, Mount Ascension Park provides a similar network of elevated hiking trails. Baseball fields and abundant lawn space comprise much of the park, connected by a trail system lined with various fitness equipment.
The Trail is approximately 1. Any visitor can attend public services at the cathedral, and guided tours are available during the week between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The cathedral's vast collection of stained-glass windows are reason enough to visit, and simply walking around the exterior of the property along the manicured green grass is a fun way to take in the beauty of the building. The three different tours offered by the park cater to different comfort levels. Serving as the state capital sinceone year after Montana received its statehood, the city is rich with history around every turn.
Water spigots, benches, and easy obstacles intersperse throughout the dog park. These ranger-led walkthroughs take place between May and September. The real beauty and craftsmanship of the Capitol is found within the interior, however, and any member of the public is welcome to tour the space during daily operating hours. This area of town also hosts a vibrant nightlife scene for evening entertainment.
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With buildings and architecture dating back to the s, Reeder's Alley in the southwest corner of downtown presents a fully immersive look into Helena's past. Twenty miles north of Helena and managed by the Helena National Forest, Gates of the Mountain is steeped in history and natural beauty.
The tall dome and "Lady Liberty" perched on top give the capitol building extra presence, and the granite columns alongside the Greek architecture help lend a sense of importance to this now historic building. Today, the historic Reeder's Alley is now also filled with modern storefronts, including a restaurant, office space, and the Visit Helena Montana office. Places like the sterling State Capitol and downtown Pedestrian Mall are within a short commute, with nearby museums and hiking trails also in the area.