Nestled in the heart of Southwest Montana, Butte is a charming town that was once the beating heart of the American West. Known as the ‘richest hill on earth’ due to its huge copper deposits, the town was a rich mining town and the largest city west of the Mississippi in the late 1900s.
Today, the town boasts one of the largest National Historic Landmark Districts in the nation with thousands of beautifully preserved Victorian buildings, stately mansions, historical structures, and interesting museums, and galleries.
The town also provides a wealth of recreational activities such as Butte Trolley tours, hiking, mountain biking, boating and fishing, horseback riding, and cross-country and downhill skiing in the winter.
1. World Museum of Mining
The World Museum of Mining is dedicated to the mining history of Butte and aims to preserve the town’s rich history and heritage. Founded in 1963, the museum features several exhibits and displays that tell the story Butte’s mining industry, the equipment used, and the people that lost their lives in mining-related accidents. Visitors can enjoy a guided tour down into the depths of the Orphan Girl Mine, as well as a variety of educational programs, summer camps for children, and field trips with exciting adventures like treasure hunts and more. A gift shop sells an array of souvenirs, books, and toys.
155 Museum Way, Butte, MT 59701, Phone: 406-723-7211
2. Granite Mountain Memorial Overlook
The Granite Mountain Memorial Overlook is a historic site and viewpoint over Butte with spectacular panoramic vistas of the remains of the once-booming mining industry, the 10,000-foot Highland Mountains, Summit Valley, and the Continental Divide in the distance. The Granite Mountain played a vital role in the town’s mining industry in the 1900s and was the site of a tragic fire that swept through the area in 1917 and took 168 lives. Today, visitors can learn more about the history of the town via interpretive plaques and can buy a ‘brick ’in support of the memorial. Outdoor enthusiasts can hike the Butte trailhead which winds around the south and west of the Granite Mountain Memorial site and connects the Top of the World trail to the restored historic mine site of Mountain Con Park.
1000 George Street, Butte, MT 59701, Phone: 406-723-3177
3. Copper King Mansion
© Copper King Mansion
Copper King Mansion is a privately-owned mansion that was built by William Andrews Clark in 1884 and owned by the Cote family, who still manage it today. Also known as the W. A. Clark Mansion, Copper King Mansion was built in the Romanesque Revival Victorian style by Clark, known as one of Montana's three famous Copper Kings, who developed Butte into a flourishing city. The elegant mansion features 34 rooms with beautifully preserved detailing, such as frescoed ceilings, hand-carved woodwork, stained glass windows, and antique furnishings. Other notable features of the mansion include a grand ballroom, a quaint chapel, a billiard room, and a fully stocked library. Visitors can enjoy guided tours of the mansion or spend the night in the bed-and-breakfast section of the house museum.
219 W Granite St, Butte, MT 59701, Phone: 406-782-7580
4. Headframe Spirits
© Headframe Spirits
Headframe Spirits is a locally owned and operated micro-¬distillery in the heart of uptown Butte that produces high-quality spirits and manufactures distillation equipment for other distilleries. Established in 2010, the distillery is based in the historic Schumacher Building and has won numerous awards for their small-batch, micro-distilled spirits such as gin, whiskey, and vodka. Visitors can tour the distillery on guided tours and sample some of the spirits produced in tasting sessions throughout the week.
21 S Montana St, Butte, MT 59701, Phone: 406-299-2886
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5. MBMG Mineral Museum
© MBMG Mineral Museum
The MBMG Mineral Museum is an educational institution based on the campus of Montana Tech that is dedicated to the geology and minerals of the Butte and Montana region, as well as the area's mining history. The facility houses a collection of over 1,300 specimens of rocks, minerals, and gems, including a 400-pound smoky quartz crystal and a 27.49-ounce gold nugget found in the Highland Mountains in 1989. Notable attractions at the museum include the Earthquake Studies Laboratory, and the Fluorescent Room, which contains minerals that radiate vibrant shades of blue, orange and pink when exposed to ultraviolet light. The museum offers a variety of educational workshops and field trips, and lectures. For all ages.
1300 W Park St, Butte, MT 59701, Phone: 406-496-4414
6. Our Lady of the Rockies
Our Lady of the Rockies is a 90-foot statue resting on top of Continental Divide that is dedicated to women around the world. Constructed as a project of love by resident Bob O’Bill in 1979 after promising the Virgin Mary he would create a statue in her image she helped cure his cancer-stricken wife, the statue stands 3,500 feet above the town and is lit at the base at night. The statue is the third largest statue in the United States and stands to honor the contributions of all women in the world.
5970 Montana 2, Butte, MT 59701, Phone: 406-782-1221
7. Berkeley Pit
The Berkeley Pit is a former open-pit copper mine measuring a mile long and half-a-mile wide and is over 1,700 feet deep. The open-pit is filled with 900 feet of highly acidic water that causes chemicals and heavy metals like arsenic and zinc to seep into the surrounding rocks. More than 290 million tons of copper ore has been extracted from the pit by 1980 and the richness of the minerals found earned Butte the nickname of being the ‘Richest Hill on Earth.’ Although an environmental hazard, the pit draws tourists to view its vast chasm which can be seen from a viewing platform high above the hole.
Butte, MT 59701
8. Dumas Brothel Museum
© Dumas Brothel Museum
The Dumas Brothel Museum is dedicated to telling the story of the Dumas Brothel, a bordello founded in 1890 by French Canadian brothers Joseph and Arthur Nadeau, and the only surviving, three-story Victorian brothel in the country today. Named after Joseph’s wife, Delia Dumas’ maiden name, the Dumas Brothel was popular with the men working on the copper mines in Butte and continued operating until 1982 when prostitution was made illegal. Visitors can explore the brothel’s rooms on guided tours.
45 E Mercury St, Butte, MT 59701, Phone: 406-351-9922
9. Historic Clark Chateau Museum & Gallery
© Historic Clark Chateau Museum & Gallery
The Historic Clark Chateau Museum & Gallery is a beautifully preserved mansion built in 1898 for local copper magnate Charles Clark, the eldest son of the famous Copper King W.A. Clark. Constructed over ten years between 1898 and 1899, the mansion is set on Broadway Street and is two houses built by the Clarks, the other of which is set on Granite Street. The 26-room mansion is now a house museum and arts center and houses an impressive collection of artifacts, art, and literature documenting the life and times of Charles Clark and his famous family.
321 W Broadway St, Butte, MT 59701, Phone: 406-565-5600
10. Covellite Theater
© Covellite Theater
The Covellite Theater is a community center that hosts a variety of events and functions throughout the year. Built in 1896 as the First Presbyterian Church, the building features striking Gothic architecture, detailed sandstone, and granite stonework, high vaulted ceilings, and giant timber trusses, creating a spectacular space for all types of events. The theatre can accommodate up to 300 people and has an elegant lounge area with a full-service bar, and ample indoor and outdoor space for weddings, graduation ceremonies and more.
215 W Broadway St, Butte, MT 59701
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11. Butte-Silver Bow Public Library
© Butte-Silver Bow Public Library
The Butte-Silver Bow Public Library is an education-focused institution on Broadway Street that offers a wide range of services. The library houses an impressive collection of reading and research material, including large-print books, fiction, and non-fiction books, audiobooks, eBooks, and audio-visual titles. The Children’s Library is packed with all kinds of materials for children of all ages, including books, audiotapes, videos, and DVDs, and hosts storytimes and special events for younger library users. The library is open to the public daily and offers services such as access to the Internet, word-processing, printing, and research.
226 W Broadway St, Butte, MT 59701, Phone: 406-723-3361
12. Piccadilly Museum of Transportation
© Mariusz Blach/stock.adobe.com
The Piccadilly Museum of Transportation is dedicated to the preservation and celebration of what many consider to be the golden age of automobiles. Filled with incredible vehicles and memorabilia from all over the nation, the museum’s permanent collection consists of rare finds collected over the span of 25 years from over 100 countries. Visitors to the Piccadilly Museum of Transportation can see these items up close for free, many of which were collected by Roy Alan Carson. Peruse highway and subway marker exhibits, comb through old-school license plates, or peek into the body of a vintage car, all in this one memorabilia museum on West Broadway.
20 West Broadway, Butte, Montana 59701, Phone: 406-723-3034
13. Mother Lode Theatre
© Mother Lode Theatre
Located in the heart of Historic Uptown Butte, the Mother Lode Theatre is an elegant and fully equipped performing arts center that presents a calendar of performances throughout the year, as well as conventions and conferences. Built as the Temple Theatre in 1923, the building was converted into the Fox Theatre during the Great Depression and later renamed to The Mother Lode in honor of Butte's mining heritage as the 'Richest Hill on Earth.' Today, the theatre is home to the Butte Symphony, the Western States Opera Company, Missoula Children's Theatre, the San Diego Ballet Company, the Community Concert Association, and the Montana Chorale. The 106-seat Orphan Girl Theatre children's theatre was added in 1997 and offers an artistic and culturally enriching space for the children of Butte.
316 W Park St, Butte, MT 59701, Phone: 406-723-3602
14. Casagranda's Steakhouse
© Casagranda's Steakhouse
Based within the historic Bertoglio Warehouse dating back to 1900 in the heart of Uptown Butte, Casagranda's Steakhouse and Guido's Bar is an elegant restaurant and full-service bar serving highly acclaimed cuisine and fine wines in a stylish setting. Boasting traditional steakhouse décor with elegantly dressed tables, dark wood, and leather accents, and soft lighting, the steakhouse serves a variety of award-winning prime steaks, fresh seafood, and chicken dishes, homemade soups, crisp house salads with house-made dressings, and freshly baked bread. The full-service bar has an extensive menu of fine wines from around the world, which can be enjoyed by the glass or bottle, craft beers on tap or by the bottle, and handcrafted cocktails. Casagranda's Steakhouse and Guido's Bar is open for dinner only, seven nights a week.
801 Utah Ave, Butte, MT 59701, Phone: 406-723-4141
15. M&M Bar & Cafe
© M&M Bar & Café
M&M Bar & Café is a long-standing establishment in Butte that was first opened in 1890 and operated as a 24-hour café serving miners coming off their shift with a bountiful breakfast at any hour of the day or night. The café became a cigar store during the Prohibition Era with a discreet speakeasy in the back room that sold liquor and in the 1940s was beautifully restored to its original glory with Art Dec elements, vintage décor, and an eye-catching neon sign. Today, the café is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and continues to serve delicious, made-from-scratch all-day fare and fresh coffee.
9 N Main St, Butte, MT 59701, Phone: 406-299-3998
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Attraction Spotlight: World Museum of Mining
Founded in 1963, the World Museum of Mining came into existence near the end of the days of mining in Butte, Montana. Butte was thought of as the home to one of the most productive copper mines that ever existed in the world through one hundred years of hard-rock mining. The purpose of the Mining Museum is the preservation of Butte's history, as well as its cultural heritage and legacy of rich mining.
One of only a handful of museums found throughout the world located on the site of an actual mine yard, the World Museum of Mining includes fifty exhibit buildings that display countless artifacts. The museum is located at the Orphan Girl Mine and features sixty-six exhibits within the mine yard. Visitors could easily spend anywhere from a few hours to a whole day discovering the unfolding story of the mine. From exploring the Orphan Girl Mine's depths to the streets of Hell Roarin' Gulch, visitors to the mining museum will almost be able to picture the blackened faces of the miners and hear their sighs of exhaustion at the end of a workday.
The World Museum of Mining offers two different tours of the underground mine. The 65 Foot Level Tour last between forty-five and sixty minutes. During the tour, guests have the opportunity to listen to tales of miners who worked in the Orphan Girl Mine, feel the rock, and view the mine equipment. Thousands of people worked in the mine below Butte at the height of the city's mining boom. Unlike almost any other tour, the Underground Mine Tour just may be the most realistic tour visitors will ever experience, offering a look into mining underground. The 100 Foot Level Tour of the underground mine lasts about an hour and a half. This tour takes visitors 100 feet down to the original shaft station, as well as one of North America's few exposed veins open to the public, the Orphan Girl vein.
Hell Roarin' Gulch, a replica of a mining town from the 1890's, features fifteen historic buildings and around thirty-five structures constructed with old materials by numerous volunteers who worked hard to create the World Museum of Mining from the 1960's to 1980's. These buildings are filled with many period artifacts. The re-created town also includes many buildings that were brought to the museum as original, complete, structures.
Original structures of the Orphan Girl Mine Yard can still be seen at the mining museum, including the Hoist House, where original equipment and other exhibits are displayed, and the headframe measuring at 100 feet in height. Visitors have to the chance to learn about the history of the Orphan Girl, and explore the workings of its headframe, including the Lorry rail car and the ore bins. There's also the opportunity to climb into the very cages that once held about six or seven miners at a time for their descent down the 2700-feet deep mine shaft.
155 Museum Way, Butte, Montana, Phone: 406-723-7211
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