14 Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Billings, MT

Written by Brad Lane
Updated May 4, 2023

As a resident of Montana from 2018 to 2023, Author Brad Lane spent time visiting and writing on Billings.

Billings is on the banks of the Yellowstone River in south-central Montana. It's Montana's largest city, with over 100,000 residents. Far from crowded, though, Billings is known as Montana's Trailhead, and Big Sky landscapes and public spaces surround the city, catering to hiking, mountain biking, and several sightseeing opportunities in nature. The city itself is backdropped by magnificent sandstone cliffs known as the Rimrocks.

View over Billings, Montana from Rimrocks
View over Billings, Montana from Rimrocks

It's not just the rugged and wild scenery that makes Billings a popular destination of the region; an abundance of things to do draws visitors from across the state. And the tourist attractions of Billings embody the culture and wide-open spaces of the American West.

Alongside numerous sidewalk patios and local shops, popular downtown places to visit include Western Art museums and historic theaters. Downtown is also the epicenter for big community celebrations, including parades, art walks, and a weekly "Alive After 5" concert series throughout the summer.

For more ideas on places to visit, read our list of the top things to do in Billings.

1. The Rimrocks

The view from Four Dances Recreation Area
The view from Four Dances Recreation Area | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

The Rimrocks are a defining geological feature of Billings. This long wall of sandstone cliffs runs across the northern edge of town and is a favorite spot for sightseeing, sunset watching, and in-city recreation.

Deposited by an ancient inland seaway and slowly carved over millions of years by the Yellowstone River, these scenic "rimrocks" are a striking backdrop. Numerous trailheads and parking areas are available to explore these outstanding symbols of the city.

Zimmerman Park is a popular after-work escape on the northwest side of town, offering an easy way to catch a view atop the Rimrocks. Alongside casual observation, Zimmerman Park is also a popular place to go mountain biking and trail running. Bolted climbing routes also entice rock climbers to the area.

Zimmerman Trail on the west side of Billings
Zimmerman Trail on the west side of Billings

Farther east, Swords Park and Phipps Park offer more Rimrock trails to explore. From atop these northern Rimrocks on clear days, visitors have a great view of the Yellowstone Valley, including the Beartooth Mountains.

On the east side of Billings, the newly expanded trail system at the Four Dances Special Recreation Management Area offers more cliffside views of the Yellowstone River. Primarily operated by the Bureau of Land Management and only open to foot traffic, Four Dances provides interpretive information about the area and is arguably the best place to catch a blazing sunset in Billings.

Visitors should be advised that rattlesnakes share the space with trail users at all Rimrock locations. Summer temperatures may also be dangerously high by the afternoon.

2. Moss Mansion

Moss Mansion
Moss Mansion | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

The Moss Mansion was built for the entrepreneur Preston Boyd Moss and his family. It was constructed in 1903 and is now on the National Register of Historic Places. It's also a symbol of early history and development in Billings, and the interior and many of the original furnishings and decorations of the home have been well-preserved.

Self-guided and docent-led tours of the mansion are available throughout the year. Tours are only available in winter by appointment. The museum also hosts several celebrations, including the SpringFest artisans fair and Haunted Moss in autumn. The mansion's calendar of events typically has something every week throughout the summer and shoulder seasons.

Address: 914 Division Street, Billings, Montana

3. ZooMontana

Grizzly bear at ZooMontana
Grizzly bear at ZooMontana

The non-profit ZooMontana is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. It's not a typical zoo experience at ZooMontana, which exclusively features natural habitats and animals adapted to the region. Its menagerie includes grizzly bears, gray wolves, and great horned owls.

Many of the animals at ZooMontana were no longer fit to live in the wild and have been given a second chance at this zoo. And the facility's mantra has an emphasis on quality, not quantity when it comes to animal care. Natural barriers, including ravines and cliffs instead of cages and concrete walls, add to the wildlife habitat feel of ZooMontana.

The low price of admission makes ZooMontana very popular for family outings. Families also enjoy the special programs and events offered by ZooMontana, including hosted birthday parties and holiday events like Boo at the Zoo in October.

Address: 2100 Shiloh Road, Billings, Montana

4. Pictograph Cave State Park

Pictograph Cave State Park
Pictograph Cave State Park

Pictograph Cave State Park is a scenic five-mile drive southeast of Billings. It's one of the best state parks in Montana and encompasses 23 acres and three caves filled with archaeological wonder. Approximately 30,000 artifacts have been recovered from Pictograph, Middle, and Ghost Caves within the park, including a robust collection of over 100 cave paintings (some over 2,000 years old).

A less-than-a-mile interpretive trail connects all three caves at the park, and while much of the remaining cave art is visible to the naked eye, visitors are encouraged to bring binoculars to enjoy the pictographs better. Plaques and other educational resources sit at the entrance to the cave to help visitors better understand what they're seeing. Restrooms and picnic spaces are also available at this day-use park.

Address: 3401 Coburn Road, Billings, Montana

5. Yellowstone Art Museum

Yellowstone Art Museum
Yellowstone Art Museum | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

In the downtown district of Billings, the Yellowstone Art Museum (YAM) primarily highlights artwork from the northern Rocky Mountain and Northern Plains regions. With a permanent collection of over 7,300 works, YAM features regularly rotating exhibits curated by local artists.

Visitors enjoy YAM in numerous ways, including a self-guided tour throughout the facility. The museum also hosts an array of educational programs ranging from children's activities to adult education classes. Every First Friday of the month, the museum features live entertainment and extended evening hours. Other events at the museum include Yoga at the Yam, an annual Art Auction, and YAM Free Days throughout the year.

Alongside the colorful and eye-catching halls of the main museum, YAM also encourages visitors to check out the open-to-the-public Visible Vault, where they store everything that isn't on display.

Address: 401 N 27th Street, Billings, Montana

6. DanWalt Gardens

DanWalt Gardens
DanWalt Gardens | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

DanWalt Gardens is one of Billings' best-kept secrets. It's on the southeast side of the city and features beautiful gardens for the public to enjoy. With something new always in bloom between April and October, the gardens proudly display a collection of annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees, as well as ornamental statues and hardscaping.

DanWalt Gardens is a popular place to visit for a contemplative moment in the day. It's also popular for bigger events and photoshoots, with reservable space available. Everyone is welcome to bring their camera to the gardens, but professional photographers with equipment need to schedule shoots in advance.

Address: 720 Washington Street, Billings, Montana

7. Dive into Regional History at the Yellowstone County Museum

Further insight into the region's history is found at the Yellowstone County Museum near the Billings Logan International Airport. This acclaimed museum has over 5,000 square feet of display space and artifacts, including pioneer wagons, rare firearms, and other objects of Montana's early settlement.

The Ghost Dance exhibit at the museum features attire, instruments, and relics from Indigenous cultures of the region. Other popular permanent exhibits include rooms dedicated to sidesaddles, Montana prehistory, and Plains Indian art. The museum also has a regular rotating exhibit schedule, ensuring something new to see with each visit.

The museum is right next to Billings Logan International, and visitors access the facility like they're driving to the airport. Free parking is available, and admission is also free, although donations are appreciated. The Yellowstone County Museum is open Monday through Saturday and closed for holidays and the month of January.

Address: 1950 Terminal Circle, Billings, Montana

8. Dehler Park

Dehler Park is another public space near downtown that is popular with sports fans. It features a multi-use stadium that is well utilized during the summer baseball season. It's home to the Billings Mustangs, an independent baseball team and part of the Pioneer League. The Mustangs always put on a fun game the whole family enjoys.

The season typically spans from May through September, or longer depending on how the post-season goes. Some of the competition includes the Missoula Paddleheads, the Great Falls Voyagers, and the Glacier Ridge Riders. Special-themed games often occur, including fireworks nights and prize giveaways.

The field at Dehler Park is home to the American Legion Baseball League and Montana State University Billings athletics. These amateur and collegiate leagues also play home games during a similar season, offering a game to check out almost every other night throughout the summer.

9. Western Heritage Center

Western Heritage Center
Western Heritage Center | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

The Western Heritage Center proudly preserves the stories and history of the Yellowstone River Valley and Northern High Plains. Over 35,000 artifacts comprise the collection of this nationally accredited museum. Guests are encouraged to explore the exhibits on their own, with guided tours available.

The current museum is housed within the historic 1901 former Billings Library. It features regularly rotating displays ranging from indigenous cultural artifacts to wildlife and biology research. The museum also hosts numerous community programs, including a High Noon Lecture Series and historic walking tours.

The Western Heritage Center is open Tuesday through Saturday, with more limited hours in the winter. Admission is free for members and five dollars for guests. Students and seniors receive a discount.

Address: 2822 Montana Avenue, Billings, Montana

10. Riverfront Park

Riverfront Park
Riverfront Park

Riverfront Park is on the banks of the Yellowstone River, providing a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of the city nearby. It's popular for family get-togethers and quick lunch breaks in nature. The park has reservable picnic pavilions, hiking trails, and plenty of parking.

Much of the park is centered around Lake Josephine, with other activities like horseshoe pits and sand volleyball lining the shore. And with such proximity to the river, the park is also a popular spot to access the water for boating and fishing.

Two Moon Park is another popular public space managed by Yellowstone County Parks, located farther upstream on the Yellowstone River. The paved Dutcher Trail extends from Two Moon Park to the 13-acre Coulson Park.

Address: 8001 South Billings Boulevard, Billings, Montana

11. Lake Elmo State Park

Roger's Pier at Lake Elmo State Park
Roger's Pier at Lake Elmo State Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

This state park centers around the shores of Lake Elmo and encompasses over 120 acres on the north side of Billings, within city limits. Hiking the 1.2-mile trail around the lake is a popular thing to do at this state park, as is fishing from Roger's Pier, which extends over the water.

Playground equipment, a swimming beach, and picnic tables surround the lake. On the west banks, a 200-acre off-leash dog park is popular with pet owners. Boating is also a frequent activity at the park, with only non-motorized boats allowed.

Address: 219 Rolling Hills Drive, Billings, Montana

12. Downtown Billings

Babcock Theatre in downtown Billings
Babcock Theatre in downtown Billings | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

For sidewalk patio meals and unique local shopping opportunities, the downtown district of Billings continues to grow into a cultural hub of the Greater Yellowstone region. Tourist attractions like the Yellowstone Art Museum and the Western Heritage Center are downtown, as well as performance venues like the historic and newly renovated Alberta Bair Theater.

Numerous other venues are scattered throughout downtown, offering live performances in music and comedy, as well as book readings. And a live music soundtrack is provided every Thursday in the summer with a weekly Alive After 5 street fair celebration.

Downtown Billings hosts several other signature events of the city. Home to a festive St. Patrick's Day Parade, downtown also celebrates the fall season with an annual HarvestFest that features the finale of the summer's Farmers Market. And ArtWalk Downtown occurs on the last Friday of every other month.

The historic district surrounding Montana Avenue is home to the most things to do at night. This heart of downtown has several nightlife activities, including late-night places to eat.

13. Day Trip to Bighorn Canyon Recreation Area

Devil's Canyon overlook in Bighorn Canyon Recreation Area
Devil's Canyon overlook in Bighorn Canyon Recreation Area

A big appeal of Billings is its proximity to prominent Montana landscapes. And one of the biggest landscapes in the state is found within an approximately two-hour drive to Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area. This sightseeing opportunity is a must-visit for amateur and professional photographers alike.

The National Recreation Area centers around the 70-mile Bighorn Lake straddling state lines between Montana and Wyoming. The magnificent canyon walls surrounding the lake offer a stunning view. Popular things to do here include boating, hiking, and photography.

Visitor resources, including campgrounds, are found in Fort Smith, Montana, and farther south in Lovell, Wyoming. It's advised to fill up on gas before venturing into the remote landscape.

14. Day Trip to Yellowstone National Park

Morning Glory Pool in Yellowstone National Park
Morning Glory Pool in Yellowstone National Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

The world-famous Yellowstone National Park is accessible from Billings with an approximately four-hour drive. Hydrothermal features like fumaroles, hot springs, and geysers help define the wonder of Yellowstone — the nation's first national park.

The Beartooth Highway is a National Scenic Byway that offers an extremely scenic approach to Yellowstone from Billings. The route delivers visitors to the northeast entrance of the park. The byway really begins in the mountain town of Red Lodge, 60 miles from Billings, and spans another 60 miles to the park.

The Beartooth Highway is seasonally open throughout the warmer months, and it's truly a route not to be rushed through. Stunning vistas of the Absaroka and Beartooth Mountains rise along the drive, especially as drivers top the 10,947-foot Beartooth Pass. The scenic roadway is a popular snowmobile route during the winter.

The best hiking trails in Yellowstone are a good place to start exploring the two-million-acre park. Other popular things to do include things like fly fishing, wildlife observing, and spending the night under the stars. The best campgrounds in Yellowstone facilitate these overnight experiences in nature.

Map of Attractions & Things to Do in Billings, MT

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More Cities in Montana: Two hours west of Billings, the university city of Bozeman also has major natural appeal near the border of the Custer Gallatin National Forest. On the western half of the state, the city of Missoula is a prominent stop along the I-90 corridor and includes access to wild and awesome places like the Bitterroot Mountains and the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area. For a great mountain getaway, the northern city of Whitefish features front-door access to Whitefish Mountain Resort and Glacier National Park.


Exploring Yellowstone National Park: A four-hour drive from Billings, the two-million-plus-acre Yellowstone National Park offers amazing recreational activities throughout the year. While winter is predominantly focused on cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling, the summer and shoulder months are particularly nice to explore some of the Best Hiking Trails in Yellowstone. For a place to spend the night and extend the trip, the Campgrounds in Yellowstone offer spacious tent sites and places to park an RV.