Sometimes referred to as the "Electric City" because of the many dams and power plants in the area, Great Falls is an authentic Montana town with a rich history. Visitors can learn about how the first American exploration of the area at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, and anyone who wants a taste of arts and culture can head to the Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art or the C.M. Russell Museum. Some of the dams along the Missouri River make excellent picnic spots, but if you'd rather eat out, options in town include Mexican, Texan BBQ, and made-from-scratch burgers.
1.Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center
© Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center
Built into a bluff overlooking the Missouri River, the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center tells the epic story of the 8,000-mile Lewis and Clark Expedition of the early 1800s. The main hall features plenty of hands-on exhibits, and the experience can be enhanced by borrowing a free audio guide. Visitors are also welcome to explore the interpretive trails outside the center, and there's even a trail that goes to the nearby Giant Springs State Park if you have time. Admission is free for visitors under the age of 15, and a discount is offered for groups of 20 or more people.
4201 Giant Springs Rd, Great Falls, MT 59405, Phone: 406-727-8733
2.C.M. Russell Museum
© C.M. Russell Museum
Named in honor of the famous "cowboy artist" who spent much of his life capturing the spirit of the American West, the C.M. Russell Museum is home to one of the largest collections of C.M. Russell artwork in the country. The collection features everything from landscape paintings to illustrated letters to sculptures of all sizes, and the museum regularly hosts temporary exhibitions of pieces by other nationally acclaimed artists. The museum property also features Russell's original home and log cabin studio, and both buildings are filled with period furniture and other items owned by the artist and his wife.
400 13th St N, Great Falls, MT 59401, Phone: 406-727-8787
3.Giant Springs State Park
Giant Springs State Park is home to one of the country's largest freshwater springs, and it offers endless opportunities for outdoor recreation, particularly hiking, fishing, and wildlife watching. The spring water is remarkably clear, and the park also boasts four waterfalls, including the impressive Great Falls of the Missouri. The park is most popular during the warmer months, when the 20 miles of trails are best for hiking and biking, but visitors who come in the winter will likely have the chance to see the trees covered with glittering ice from the water vapor that comes off the springs.
4803 Giant Springs Rd, Great Falls, MT 59405, Phone: 406-727-1212
4.Ryan Dam - Great Falls of the Missouri
The Ryan Dam was built in 1915 to control the flow of water over the Great Falls of the Missouri, and thanks to its scenic beauty, it's now one of the area's most popular picnic spots. Visitors can park right at the base of the falls, and from here, a suspension bridge stretches right over the dam, leading to the picnic area on Ryan Island Park. The bridge and picnic area are open between Mother's Day and Labor Day, and there's also an indoor clubhouse that can be reserved for private events free of charge.
160 Ryan Dam Rd, Great Falls, MT 59404-6006, Phone: 406-268-2324
5.Holiday Village Mall
Established in 1959, the Holiday Village Mall is a two-story shopping center with more than 60 shops and a handful of anchor stores including PetSmart, Hobby Lobby, and Bed Bath & Beyond. It's a great place to stop if you need to do a bit of shopping, and many of the stores have regular sales, which can be viewed on the mall website before visiting. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the entire mall during opening hours, and wheelchairs are available upon request. Other amenities include a small food court, a children's play area, and two ATMs.
1200 10th Ave S Great Falls, Montana 59405, Phone: 406-727-2089
6.Holy Spirit Catholic Parish
© Holy Spirit Catholic Parish
If you're looking for a place to worship while in Great Falls, the Holy Spirit Catholic Parish is a beautiful church that welcomes visitors and new members with open arms. Mass is held seven days a week, and coffee is always available after both the 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. masses on Sunday. The priest is always available for confessions before mass, and friendly conversation with other church-goers is encouraged. Hearing aids can be borrowed if needed, and the mass at 8:30 on Sunday morning has a sign language interpreter for the hard of hearing.
201 44th St S, Great Falls, MT 59405, Phone: 406-452-6491
© Danil Nikonov/stock.adobe.com
Previously known as the North Montana State Fairgrounds, the Montana ExpoPark is a 133-acre fairground with a horse racing track, an arena, and a spacious exhibition hall. It's the proud home of the annual Montana State Fair, which is held during the last week of July, but it also hosts dozens of events throughout the year, including rodeos, trade shows, and livestock events. Tickets for most events can be purchased online or over the phone. If you're in the area, you can also visit the Montana Museum of Railroad History, which is open on Thursday evenings and on Saturday afternoons during the summer.
400 3rd St NW, Great Falls, MT 59404, Phone: 406-399-4143
8.Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art
© Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art
Housed inside a distinctive sandstone building that was built in 1896 to serve as a high school, the Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art is one of the area's most important centers of art and culture. The permanent collection features more than 800 pieces of artwork, including a wide variety of contemporary American pieces, but one of the major highlights is a collection of more than 200 unique sculptures created by Lee Steen. Visitors are welcome to use the on-site ceramic studio, and the museum also regularly hosts art classes and workshops for all ages and skill levels.
1400 1st Ave N, Great Falls, MT 59401, Phone: 406-727-8255
9.St. Ann's Cathedral
With its limestone facade and its imposing spire, St. Ann's Cathedral is one of the most recognizable buildings in Great Falls, and it's worth a visit just to admire the architecture and the statues inside. Construction of the present church was finished in 1907, and the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991. Mass is held at twice on Sunday mornings, at noon on weekdays, and on Saturday afternoons. There are also special masses on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and reconciliation is available on Saturday afternoons and by appointment.
715 3rd Ave N, Great Falls, MT 59401, Phone: 406-761-5456
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10.Cascade County Courthouse
Constructed in the early 1900s, the Cascade County Courthouse is an imposing grey sandstone building built in the English Renaissance Revival style of architecture. All the stone used to construct the courthouse came from quarries within six miles of the city, but the most notable feature of the building is the enormous copper dome on top, which is held up by four granite columns. The building has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1980, and although it's still in use as a courthouse, visitors are welcome to come admire the architecture.
415 2nd Ave N, Great Falls, MT 59401, Phone: 406-454-6873
11.Great Falls Voyagers
© Jeff Lueders/stock.adobe.com
The Great Falls Voyagers are the city's Minor League Baseball team, and if you're a sports fan, attending one of their home games at Centene Stadium might be the highlight of your trip. The team is currently affiliated with the Chicago White Sox, and their season runs between the end of June and the beginning of September. Season tickets can be purchased for all games at Centene Stadium. The stadium can hold up to 4,000 people, and box seats come with food and beverage service. Several concessions can be found throughout the stadium as well.
1015 25th St N, Great Falls, MT 59401, Phone: 406-452-5311
12.Morony Dam and Powerhouse
Only a mile away from the picnic area at Ryan Dam, the Morony Dam and Powerhouse is another impressive feat of architecture on the Missouri River. It was first opened in 1930, and it stands 94 feet high, making for some excellent photo opportunities. The view can be enjoyed from the road, but there's also a small day-use area where visitors can have a picnic. Remnants of an old, abandoned town can be found above the dam, and if you follow the hiking trail below the dam you'll find Sulphur Springs, which is an excellent fishing spot.
Morony Dam Road, Great Falls, MT 59711
© Roadhouse Diner
Owned and operated by a husband and wife team with a passion for good food, the Roadhouse Diner is one of the best burger joints in Montana. All their burger patties are made completely from scratch every few hours, and they serve them on freshly made buns with salad or hand-cut fries on the side. Options range from a classic double cheeseburger to the unique PB&J burger, and there's a build-your-own burger option for customers who want to choose exactly what goes on their patty. There's a new burger special every two weeks, and a made-from-scratch black bean burger is available for vegetarians and vegans.
613 15th St N, Great Falls, MT 59401, Phone: 406-788-8839
14.Fiesta en Jalisco
© Fiesta en Jalisco
Part of a family owned and operated chain of authentic Mexican restaurants spread across Montana and Idaho, Fiesta en Jalisco is the perfect place to go when you're craving Mexican food. The house specialties include chili and a wide variety of steaks served with beans and rice, but there are plenty of other dishes to choose from as well, including burritos, quesadillas, and delicious seafood dishes. Lunch specials are available on weekdays between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., and the children's menu offers nachos, grilled cheese sandwiches, and mini versions of many of the adult dishes.
1220 10th Ave S, Great Falls, MT 59405, Phone: 406-453-5599
15.Big Mouth BBQ
© Big Mouth BBQ
Big Mouth BBQ started out as a little barbecue food truck in 2001, and over the years, it has morphed into a popular barbecue joint serving authentic Texan-style BBQ. Their signature dish is the Cowboy Cocktail, baked beans with meat, sauce, and slaw, but you can also get sandwiches, stuffed baked potatoes, and nachos topped with your choice of meat. If you're dining with a big group, you can even order meat by the pound and choose from an extensive array of sides. Six local beers are available on tap, and there's a selection of bottled beer as well.
1720 10th Ave S #1, Great Falls, MT 59405, Phone: 406-727-7095
15 Best Things to Do in Great Falls, MT
- Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, Photo: Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center
- C.M. Russell Museum, Photo: C.M. Russell Museum
- Giant Springs State Park, Photo: Anthony/stock.adobe.com
- Ryan Dam - Great Falls of the Missouri, Photo: spiritofamerica/stock.adobe.com
- Holiday Village Mall, Photo: Photoboyko/stock.adobe.com
- Holy Spirit Catholic Parish, Photo: Holy Spirit Catholic Parish
- Montana ExpoPark, Photo: Danil Nikonov/stock.adobe.com
- Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art, Photo: Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art
- St. Ann's Cathedral, Photo: encierro/stock.adobe.com
- Cascade County Courthouse, Photo: sherryvsmith/stock.adobe.com
- Great Falls Voyagers, Photo: Jeff Lueders/stock.adobe.com
- Morony Dam and Powerhouse, Photo: Kullathida/stock.adobe.com
- Roadhouse Diner, Photo: Roadhouse Diner
- Fiesta en Jalisco, Photo: Fiesta en Jalisco
- Big Mouth BBQ, Photo: Big Mouth BBQ
- Cover Photo: spiritofamerica/stock.adobe.com