Billings Blog

 

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.

 

Billings’ Grand Escape Room puts you in a real escape game perfect for small groups. The goal? Get out of a locked room in under an hour by uncovering clues and solving riddles. You have to work together to escape, and it’s a challenge for all ages. Perfect for team building, friends and couples, you have to think fast and unorthodox if you want to get out in time.

Themes and escapes change regularly. Try the Diner Disaster where you have to figure out why the staff of a diner mysteriously up and left to the Abandoned room where a scientist has gone AWOL. Prices start at just $17 per person depending on scenario.

Getting Out

Anyone 13 and under must have an adult accompanying them, and the only thing you need to bring is your imagination. The Grand Escape Room is available to rent for private events, and gift certificates are available. Anyone in Billings on business, or with a corporate retreat, can find fantastic team-building and bonding at this unique experience.

All escapes are safe and secure, and there’s a private area to store your belongings as you plot your big break. Will you be able to solve the mystery and get out in time?

 

 

 

Reserve your table for two at one of Billings’ most romantic restaurants. Lilac is a polished eatery featuring New American fare like Montana beef tartare, French onion soup and green tea noodles with poached prawns. On their brunch menu, you’ll find Irish turnovers, zucchini cake French toast and croque madames.

TEN is a fine dining restaurant at the Northern Hotel by executive chef Nick Steen. Here, you’ll discover starters like crab cakes, scallops and a charcuterie board. Beef cuts raised in Montana include the flat iron, New York strip and tomahawk. Bison osso bucco, pork belly and scallop pasta are sheer indulgences.

Intimate Dining

Jake’s is a traditional, wood-paneled steakhouse that’s a Billings staple. The dinner menu features dueling shrimp, a selection of steak cuts, and the option to add Alaskan crab, boursin cheese sauce, and the secret “great topping” to any entrée.

The Rex is a historic establishment serving bacon wrapped hot links, deep fried mushrooms and calamari rings and tentacles on the appetizer list. For entrées, try the Montana raised buffalo rib eye, lobster tail or Alaskan king crab, or the stuffed chicken breast. Special Valentine’s desserts can be found at most restaurants, making this a truly unique V-Day.

 

You might think of Billings as a steak and potatoes kind of city—and it is, especially when you add in some authentic south-of-the-border spices! There are some prime Mexican restaurant choices in the area, like Guadalajara, the gourmet Mexican restaurant known for their super quesadilla, fajita salad and traditional tostadas.

Sarah’s Mexican Food is a local hot spot, featuring reasonable prices and fresh flavors. The tiny, family-owned establishment has built an incredible following, thanks to delicious dishes and friendly staff.

Heat Things Up

January in Billings can be cold, but it’s nothing Dos Machos can’t handle. Try their strong drinks and legendary sides, like a spicy margarita paired with a Mexican pizza or Mexican omelet. The Dos stir fry with beef and chicken always satisfies, and the bowl of pork chile is just what you’re craving on a chilly night.

From the Torres Café to Don Luis Restaurant, you’ll find fresh salsa, homemade guacamole and unique dishes that blend genuine Mexican fare with touches of Montana. Everyone has their favorite, like the Border Boyz with their epic enchilada platter, stuffed taquitos and lil’ Mexi meals. Where will you start your gastro journey?

 

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.