Billings Blog

 

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?

 

 

After winding down the country road with sagebrush, junipers and mountain mahogany flanking you, you’ll reach Lockhart Ranch—a sheer oasis that makes you feel miles from Billings. When Caroline Lockhart bought the ranch in 1926, she envisioned 160 acres of an escape for leasing and homesteading. Soon, she owned 6,034 acres and saw her vision come true.

There’s a two-room cabin, old sheds and 20 acres of well-kept grounds. Otherwise, this is purely wild territory. Lockhart modestly added to the landscaping over the years, planting irises, cottonwood trees and hollyhocks. Fences, stone walkways, corrals and an irrigation system give the region some semblance of a homesteading lifestyle.

Go Wild

Today, there’s a blacksmith shop, coops, storage sheds and a garage in the northern part of Cottonwood Creek. The main house, cellar, springhouse, guest cabin and bunkhouses are tucked onto the south side. Known as the Cattle Queen, Lockhart planted ample gardens and cared for a variety of livestock.

Though she relocated to Wyoming in her 80s, the Lockhart Ranch remains with the buildings largely intact. Visitors get a glimpse into the past and Lockhart’s unique lifestyle. Experience the Dryhead Frontier architecture, and start your own hiking, biking or horseback-riding adventure at this National Park destination.

 

 

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?

 

 

Billings might bring to mind classic American meat and potato dishes, but sometimes those meat (and meat alternative) and potato favorites use a tandoori oven! There’s only one Indian restaurant in the entire city, which means they’re serious about representing the oldest cuisine on the planet—and they do so with gusto.

India Grill is a staple in Billings, with a party room perfect for special occasions and corporate gatherings. Catering off-site is also available, and even though this destination is famed for home-cooked, authentic fare, there’s also an American menu to suit every diner. Try the rice specials, like biryani, or the baked to order bread whether naan, roti or paratha is your preferred carb love.

The Spice of Montana

Dinner specials include the India Grill Special for one or two people with papadam, a crispy appetizer, followed by a samosa and tandoori chicken. Next up is the seekh kabob, rice naan and one or two entrees (depending on the number of diners), and your choice of dessert.

Lamb is the star of many dishes, including the Lamb Coconut featuring tender cubes of lamb simmered in a spicy sauce with grated coconut. The Bhuna Ghost Lamb is only for the bravest of diners, extra spicy with ground onions, ginger, yogurt, garlic and a blend of spices.

 

Located at Monad Road and South 19th, Sacajawea is a 10-acre park in a gorgeous destination that’s perfect for family fun and picnics. May is idyllic weather in Billings, and the temptation to spend the afternoon on the playground, playing on the softball field or engaging in a little basketball pick-up is strong. There’s plenty of field space for soccer, rugby and more. You’ll also find the Sacajawea Crafthouse on site, a shaded area designed for gatherings.

Swing by one of the many local restaurants and grocers for a picnic lunch or dinner, and enjoy the great outdoors in Billings. Business travelers often plan corporate events in parks like Sacajawea, and you can reserve a shelter through the city of Billings.

Taking Shelter

Picnic shelters are available on a first-come, first-served basis but can also be reserved in advance. Reservations are available 8 a.m. – 10 p.m. at most parks. However, the crafthouse isn’t available for online reservations. You can reserve this special place in person at the city offices for a $100 refundable fee.

You can also secure an alcohol permit for parties at some shelters and parks including Coulson, Riverfront and Swords. However, alcohol permit applications require an in-person process and a $75 fee. Visit the city offices at 390 North 23rd Street, call 406-657-8371 for reservations, or simply stop by Sacajawea Park and discover one of the most popular parks in the region.

 

 

Montana is known for prime cuts and great steaks, so is it any surprise that it’s also a burger mecca? Start your journey at MOOYAH Burgers, Fries and Shakes, a local chain with delectable vegetarian options, too. The Iceburger is a low carb option, the Black Bean burger is a favorite for vegetarians and meat lovers alike, and the classic Mooyah burger is an American staple that’s made the chain “semi-famous” as they claim!

The Burger Dive is a retro destination with checkered floors and an innovative menu. You’ll want to try the “I’m Your Huckleberry” burger with huckleberry chili sauce, bacon, goat cheese, arugula, and roasted red pepper mayo on a Grains of Montana bun. It just won the World Burger Championship for 2016.

Burger Delights

King’s Hat is a favorite local drive through known for fish sandwiches, Sloppy Joes, and of course burgers. Don’t forget to try their malted milkshakes with scratch-made ingredients. It’s a slight spin on the traditional burger drive through, but well worth checking out.

The Rendezvous Casino and Burger Grill is located within the casino and offers home cooked goodness to increase your odds with Lady Luck. Burgers are just $4, but you may also want to try the chicken fried steak, fried chicken sandwich, or the delicious fish sandwich. In Billings, options are limitless. Where will you fill ‘er up?

 

At the Western Heritage Center, you’ll be treated to traveling exhibits, workshops and lectures, permanent galleries and special events. Personal stories and cultural histories are archived in this beautiful destination, telling the stories of the people of the Northern High Plains, from the Crow to the Northern Cheyenne tribes.. As a tool of understanding and education, free archive access is available to all.

Oral history features include the American Indian Tribal Histories Project, Echoes of Eastern Montana, Yellowstone River Cultural Inventory, and the High Noon Speaker Series. Visit the historic and contemporary photo gallery, and discover a wide range of collections. The photographs collection boasts over 6,000 images from transportation to farming, American Indian culture to public buildings and more.

Plan Your Visit

With new additions and exhibitions, no two visits to the Heritage Center are the same. Discover the Native American Collections Cecil Dunn Collection, highlighting Northern Arapaho beadwork from 1910 – 1926. Regional Native American items showcase clothing, keepsakes and beadwork from a number of local tribes.

Don’t miss the Regional Western Art Collection with original paintings by Billings artists, architectural drawings by famed 20th century architects, firefighting equipment and clothing, and textiles from historical regional collections. Guns and the Harry Frahm Collection featuring an 1831 69 caliber Harper’s Ferry musket is just one gem you need to see.

 

It might only be April, but any time of year is a great one for some “Daisy Dukes” in Billings. The landmark saloon, bar, restaurant and dancehall has it all. Happy hour is Wednesday – Saturday from 4 – 10 p.m., so you can get your favorite pint, cocktail or other preferred libation for a steal. Boasting the best in 80s/90s rock and roll and country, Daisy Dukes has you covered. There are only five places to dance in Billings, and Daisy Dukes is the only place you can enjoy both rock and country every night.

Thursdays are Double D-sized Ladies Nights, and for those who wear their own daisy dukes, the first drink is on the house. There are 25 televisions around the bar and 8 projection screens showing music videos, games and more. It’s a staple for music and dance lovers in Billings.

Tip ‘em Back

Founded eight years ago, Daisy Dukes was an instant hit. Everything from Trace Adkins to Def Leppard plays here, all paired with the best drink deals in town. Both night owls and early birds are catered to with line dancing lessons on Wednesdays, special comedy nights, and the wildest crowds in town.

Home of the largest dance floor in Billings, special events include Hollywood Knockouts, after parties, and holiday shenanigans. Head to Daisy Dukes to get a real taste of country, Billings-style, and discover how Montana parties.

 

Billings is flush with casinos, and The Warden’s Casino is one of the most popular in town. It’s open from 8 a.m. – 2 a.m. every day of the week! Owners Jessie and Dennis Benson are transplants from Minnesota who “retired” to Billings after long careers as prison wardens. Jessie, at just five feet tall, began her work as a typist in a state prison before moving up the ranks to become warden of Minnesota’s maximum security prison.

In their casino, visitors can ask to see artifacts of their previous lives including leg irons, keys and prison locks. However, most visitors come for the games, food and fun! Both The Warden’s Casino and The Warden’s Grand Casino feature the best, latest and, when applicable, the most high-tech games in the industry.

Luck is On Your Side

A clean, professional environment is the foundation of these casinos. Join the Player’s Clubs and gain access to monthly parties and birthday points, or simply sign up for surprise giveaways without joining the club.

Active players are treated to food and beverages including beer, wine and non-alcoholic drinks—all on the house. Snacks throughout the day and lunch during the noon hour are also complimentary. Get free appetizers after work like chili ‘n’ cheese covered fries, hot wings, nachos and mini tacos. Soups, lasagna, sandwiches, sloppy Joe’s, pizza, burritos and more are often on the menu. Who needs Vegas when you have Billings?

 

 

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.