Holidays

 

It takes a serious fireworks show to rival the incredible skies of Montana, but Billings and nearby Laurel make a mighty try of it! It’s a full day of fun-filled family activities, with many Billings visitors heading 15 miles west to Lauren for a gathering of 30,000 patriotic revelers. The Thomson Park Parade kicks off the day’s celebrations, and it’s non-stop action until the dusk fireworks show.

Arrive early for a pancake breakfast from 6 – 11 a.m. at Fireman’s Park. It’s just $6 for adults and $4 for kids 12 and under (those under six eat for free). The Chief Joseph Run at 7 a.m. is a great option to take to the streets and trails for a fun run. The Kiddie Parade at 10 a.m. is a sweet gathering at Western Security Bank with no registration required—bring your little ones and join the action.

Grand Traditions

With a new Grand Parade Route, thousands head to the streets to check out the impressive floats, marching bands and classic cars. After the parade, the Food and Craft Fair keeps going until 9 p.m. where you can check out food, craft and beverage vendors.

There’s plenty of entertainment and countless activities throughout the fair, all leading up to the fireworks show at dusk. It’s the biggest extravaganza in Montana. Will you be there?

 

 

Give the dad in your life a Father’s Day he’ll never forget at the Montana Brewing Company. Award-winning beer includes the Fat Belly Amber, Sandbagger Gold, Whitetail Wheat and Sharptail Pale Ale. Don’t forget the classic Custer’s Last Stout. You’ll find the perfect pint to pair with some of the best and biggest gourmet fare in Billings.

Established in 1994, the company quickly became one of the most popular restaurants in Billings for locals and visitors alike. Their Wood Fired Nachos have been voted as the best in Billings, covered with a blend of cheeses, black beans, olives, green onions, salsa and sour cream. Add chicken for extra juiciness, and get the roasted garlic and brie if you’re still craving more cheesiness.

What to Order

The Brew Chip is a must for a starter; which is Montana-style poutine with fries smothered in bacon, cheddar cheese, green onions and sour cream. Local favorites include the Chicken Strip Basket and cod Fish ‘n’ Chips. A separate mac ‘n’ cheese menu is sure to satisfy, from the Bayou Mac to the Rocky Crab Mac.

A big burger, pasta and sandwich menu offers all the comfort food you can manage. Check out the Pub Burger with green chili jalapeño pesto and pepper jack or the Hickory Burger with BBQ sauce, cheddar and bacon. Montana Brewing Company is the ultimate destination for every dad. Which brew will you try first?

 

 

 

The luck of the Irish can be found in beautiful Billings, starting with the annual parade hosted by the Downtown Billings Association in collaboration with Hooligan’s Sports Bar and Grill. The 35th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Celtic Street Fair features Irish heritage clans from around the state, and it’s a full day of Celtic traditions, flair, beer and food. Everyone is encouraged to wear green and/or kilts for this family-friendly event in downtown.

All proceeds benefits Downtown Billings Alliance programs, and Hooligan’s takes to the street on 1st Avenue North for live entertainment all day long. This is also where you’ll find the Irish Beer Garden and arts and crafts vendors. Food vendors are peppered throughout Broadway, and the Family Stage on 2nd Avenue features kid-centric entertainment like balloon making and face painting.

Other Avenues to Celebrate

The St. Patrick Co-Cathedral in Billings hosts special events and a St. Patrick’s mass during the holiday weekend. The church was established in 1905, and a school was established a few years later. Today, all are welcome for church events, and of course, St. Patrick’s Day weekend is an especially popular time to visit.

Various pubs and restaurants around Billings are offering lucky menu items, pints and more. Check out The Pub Station, Pug Mahon’s Irish Pub and the Montana Brewing Company. As the only official Irish pub in Billings, Pug Mahon’s is a favorite and offers Bookie sandwiches, Irish stew, corned beef and cabbage soup, and shepherd’s pie.

 

The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend in Billings comes with many options to celebrate. A number of local organizations including the Black Heritage Foundation, Coalition for American Renewal, Service for Peace and a variety of churches are hosting social justice events throughout the month, including the January 17th Service Day at the Friendship House from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Enjoy a plated dinner and entertainment at the Billings Food Bank in the evening for just $25. You’ll find interfaith programs hosted by local churches at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church on January 16th, which leads up to the big peace march on January 17th at the Courthouse lawn starting at 6:15 p.m. The brisk walk is followed by a program with keynote speakers at the NOVA Center for the Performing Arts.

How Will You Commemorate?

Watch for non-perishable food drive bins at organizations and businesses in Billings throughout the month of January. All proceeds benefit a local senior center. Nearby, Montana State University is also hosting events during the week leading up to MLK Jr. Day. Equality, diversity, and honoring the work of Dr. King is at the core of every MSU event.

Peaks to Plains Park on the MSU campus offers a bell-ringing ceremony at 9:30 a.m. on January 17th with speakers, blessings and a keynote address. How will you remember the life and works of Dr. King while in Billings?

 

 

Spending New Year’s Eve in Billings is unlike any other, and many vacationers choose to create their own party—usually sipping on a local cider or wine while watching the stars amidst a winter wonderland. However, if you’re craving something a little more social, the annual party in downtown Billings is on schedule (weather permitting!). Up to 8,000 folks gather on Broadway for this quaint countdown.

The Rockin’ New Year’s Eve is also slated, drawing revelers to the Alberta Bair Theater for a traditional party with champagne, countdowns and dancing. Three bands will be performing including the Bucky Beaver Ground Grippers, The Midlife Chryslers, and Ellen and the Old School. Get tickets early directly from the theater.

A Night to Remember

Sports lovers prefer a more laid back New Year’s Eve, like checking out the Billings Bulls hockey game vs. Bozeman Icedogs. The Centennial Ice Arena is hosting, and the game starts at 7:30 p.m. so you’ll have plenty of time to slip into one of the nearby restaurants, bars or parties to end the night.

Most restaurants and bars are hosting a celebration, like Hooligan’s, The Rainbow Bar, Buck’s Bar and The Pub Station. Whether you want a night under the stars, a classic countdown or something more low key, Billings has you covered.

 

Discover Merriment @ the Moss on December 1, where carolers, live music, raffle prizes and beer and wine are poured to complement the season and kick off the holidays. Tickets are available at the Moss Mansion website, and the party goes ‘til 10 p.m. Forever Plaid is also hosting Plaid Tidings on December 1, a special holiday performance at the Billings Studio Theatre.

Visit the Winterfair at Yellowstone Art Museum December 2, a special holiday shopping expedition where you can gain entry for just one dollar. They have handmade jewelry and treats galore, with over 20 artists and the Ravens Café d’Art offering seasonal specialties.

A White Christmas

The Christmas Cabaret offers performances throughout the month, with a wonderful mix of everyone’s favorite tunes from classic to contemporary. Hosted at the NOVA Center for the Performing Arts, shows start throughout the day, making it easy to squeeze this holiday must into your schedule.

On December 10, head to the Black Sheep HDFC MM “Christmas & Chrome” Benefit Dinner where giveaways, silent auctions, and a delectable holiday dinner is served. Bike and leather clothes are on display and for sale from the local Harley shop, and proceeds benefit the Billings Friendship House.

 

 

 

Traveling for the holidays? You’ll feel right at home with a Billings Thanksgiving feast. The Montana Club features a scratch-made feast, just like Mom used to make, from 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. The full, regular menu is available, but most come for the special T-day menu. Get an oven-roasted turkey or prime rib, signature bacon cheddar stuffing, famous brown sugar cinnamon-spiced baby carrots and the fresh whipped real mashed potatoes.

Don’t miss out on the turkey gravy, zesty orange cranberry sauce and selection of soups and salads. Pumpkin pie and pecan pie, served à la mode if you like, demand seconds. The full bar is open, but the Caramel Apple Moscow Mule or variety of Angry Orchard cocktails are always popular picks.

Wining and Dining

You can also check out Montana Sky located at the Crowne Plaza for both breakfast and dinner. Their usual dinner is planned, as well as a few key surprise autumnal dishes. Of course, the Golden Corral buffet is often a popular pick for comfort food in a laidback environment. The local IHOP is also open until the wee hours, if Thanksgiving pancakes are what you’re craving.

For many travelers, cooking up a small picnic basket in their expansive guest room then heading to the great outdoors is a favorite way to enjoy the beauty of Billings this holiday. How will you be celebrating?

 

The Billings night sky is always ablaze with some of the best stargazing in the country, but the Fourth of July really brightens things up! The annual Harvest Church fireworks display takes place at dusk at the Castle Rock Park in Billings Heights. Live entertainment, food vendors, and plenty of space to spread out with a blanket or lawn chairs to watch the show is a local tradition. A family-friendly event, it’s the kind of quaint festival that pairs perfectly with patriotism.

As always, the Laurel’s annual Fourth of July event takes place on the third, a day early, so you can squeeze in as much partying and as many parades as you can! The street dance on First Street is hosted by Jaycees and is open to all ages. Make 2016 a full weekend of experiencing Independence Day the Billings way.

Light Up the Night

The Chief Joseph Run begins at 6am on July Fourth to make sure the weather is cool enough for everyone to enjoy. It’s followed by a pancake breakfast which ends at 9am, and all are welcome to swing by the downtown event for an old fashioned breakfast.

Check out the food and craft fair downtown also on July Fourth, followed by the parade at noon. The Thomson Park fireworks display starts at dusk and is the ideal conclusion to a day of dressing up, indulging and spending time with family.

Dad’s Day in Billings means one thing—it’s time to treat the special man in your life to some seriously prime cuts. Consider booking a table at Montana’s Rib and Chop House for lunch or dinner. Their pork chop sandwich, mussel and fries, and fish tacos prove that they’re not “just” a steakhouse, even though most come here for the New York strip and perfectly aged hanger steak. Snow crab legs and their Shrimptastic Tuesdays are just a couple of specials to check out!

iStock_000049458706_Small

The Rex Restaurant Bar and Grill offers happy hour and an extensive dinner menu with local brews on tap to complement the deep fried mushrooms, jumbo buffalo wings and crab cakes for starters. BBQ combos, like the baby back rib specials and chicken and brisket specials, are sure to satisfy. Just make sure to save room for that Angus beef, rib eye steak and sirloin.

A Savory Sunday

Texas Roadhouse is a classic where you can find pulled pork sandwiches, a 6 oz. sirloin steak dinner, ranger rib basket or grilled pork chop. There’s a kid’s menu featuring hot dogs and mac and cheese, or go for the smokehouse burger for a lunch that always delights.

Jake’s is the wood-paneled steakhouse tradition that locals love. Here, you’ll get stinky cheese pork belly, teriyaki tenderloin tidbits and more–including a huge dessert menu!

For many, the perfect spring break doesn’t include crowded beaches and too many margaritas to go with a sunburn. Spending spring break in Billings is sheer paradise for families, couples and business travelers. The Yellowstone Art Museum has fascinating permanent and temporary exhibitions, and it’s a great place to spend some solo time reflecting or to bring the kids to pepper their break with some history and culture.

Historical and heritage tours kick off at Moss Mansion, and it’s the perfect way to enjoy the spring sun in Billings while learning more about local architecture and history. However, Yellowstone Cellars and Winery is ideal for those who prefer to take it easy on spring break and imbibe on some of the best bubbly Billings has to offer.

A Break Worth Remembering

At Riverfront Park, you can enjoy a picnic and take some stunning photos as the foliage and wildlife come back to life this season. Alternatively, swing by The Grand Escape Room for some great comfort food, drinks and fun for the whole family.

Billings YMCA offers a variety of classes year-round for everyone, and during spring break you can find endless options to keep the kids busy. Explore the stunning mountains, valleys and everything in between with hiking, biking or scenic day drives. Montana’s beauty is all around you, so make the most of it.