Holidays

 

Billings might be an old-fashioned, family-friendly town, but there are still a handful of restaurants open on Thanksgiving Day. For many, a breakfast run to Denny’s is a tradition in itself, but the favorite chain also dishes up some tasty holiday fare. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the full menu is available as well as seasonal specials.

There’s also the local Cracker Barrel, another breakfast staple in town that will be dishing up some delicious Thanksgiving fare. Whether you stop by for grits, eggs and sausage in the early morning or make it a laid back Thanksgiving with dinner at the “CB,” you can bet every dish will be delicious.

A Local Twist

The Montana Club features scratch-made dishes with Montana flare, and it’s a must for any visitor (Thanksgiving or not!). Committed to providing a friendly, family approach to the holidays, the local chain is open “until late” and is regularly known for their steaks, BBQ and seafood. However, on the holiday, they up the ante with homemade favorites and sides.

Montana Sky serves their regular breakfast and dinner menus, while the upscale Ten restaurant plans to be open if enough reservations roll in (so make yours today!). Always call the day before to confirm openings at these locations, just to play it safe. (And if you get into a pinch, you can always count on the local IHOP).

 

 

Billings boasts a variety of tricks and treats throughout October, from the MSUB Halloween Hall-Wide with a free carnival, trick or treating, cupcake walk and mini golf to the Trick or Treat at Rocky Mountain College for safe, fun trick or treating at the Anderson and Widenhouse Halls. Check out these options if you’ll be spending the witching season in Montana:

  • Downtown trick or treat: Downtown Billings offers a free community trick or treat Halloween night with a variety of businesses handing out goodies. Activities, contests and giveaways take place throughout the district.
  • Monster Mash at HRDC: The hosts of the downtown trick or treat have their own special Halloween party in the morning with fun games, goodies and more.
  • Spooktacular at Beartooth Harley Davidson: The whole family is welcome, including pets, for costume contests (there’s one for pets, of course!), plenty of food and prizes.
  • Boo at the Zoo: Check out ZooMontana’s annual Halloween festivities at this “Merry, not Scary” day. Kids can come in costume for the noon parade, trick or treating, mad scientist show featuring some local four-legged residents, and games. It’s a fun, safe Halloween alternative for all.
  • Candy Jam at Elevation Church: The popular free annual event is known for generous candy giveaways, gift card prizes, bounce houses, carnival food, live music and special surprises.
  • Scheel’s Trick or Treating: Prizes, trick or treating, games and thrills are a staple at Scheel’s this time of year.
  • Shiloh Methodist Church Trunk or Treating: Safe trick or treating is available as you go trunk to trunk. With coffee for parents, it’s a popular Halloween night option.

Try one or all of these favorite Billings Halloween picks!

 

 

 

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.