Billings, Montana, Beckons this Fall

Big Sky’s largest city—Billings, Montana—beams with hues of gold, amber, and tangerine in the autumn. In addition to the stunning fall foliage, Billings pops with splashes of culture, art, events, and live music.  Here in "The Treasure State," great Wild West treasures await!
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Billings sits nestled between the Rimrocks, pine trees, and the Beartooth Mountains. The city bustles with enough history, talent, festivals, shows, and recreation for everyone to enjoy.

The cuisine in Billings will take you on a gastronomical adventure with yummy dishes. The breweries, distillery, and wine cellars will quench your thirst after long days of adventuring. This region is the entryway to historic battlefields, Native lands, and the world’s very first National Park—good ol’ Yellowstone. With all this and more, it’s no surprise Montana is called “The Treasure State.” Throw in crisp, fall air and warm colors, and you have the ideal fall destination.

This story was created in partnership with Visit Billings.

Two people mountain biking in Billings, Montana

Photo by Visit Billings

Here is the perfect way to spend three days in Billings:

Day 1: Get to Know Billings

Start your adventure by flying into the convenient Billings-Logan International Airport. Rent a car, or you can take public transportation, as the airport is just 2.5 miles from downtown. 

Journey into the belly of the city: the historic district. Stroll around Montana Avenue and you’ll stumble upon art galleries, antique shops, outdoor retailers, book stores, boutiques, and more. Grab a tasty bite downtown at Stella’s Kitchen and Bakery or McCormick Cafe. Mosey for a few more blocks to the historic 28-room Moss Mansion that made a dashing appearance in the movie Lonesome Dove. Next, stop at the Western Heritage Center, where you can mill about the 35,000 artifacts and art pieces or jet off on a guided historic walking tour.

Photo by Visit Billings

In the evening, indulge in tasting local beer or spirits at Asylum Distillery, Montana Brewing Company, or Uberbrew. For dinner, enjoy decadent dishes and a warm atmosphere at The Marble Table. Then, check out the Billings events calendar for the amazing lineup of live music, festivals, events, and shows. Wind down for the evening at the Babcock Theatre, the newly restored Alberta Bair Theatre, Metra Park, or The Nova Center of Performing Arts Theatre.

DAY 2: Learn and Dine

Inside the Sassy Biscuit near Billings, Montana

Photo by Emily Sierra Photography

Wake up with the sunrise and enjoy a hearty breakfast at The Sassy Biscuit. Head east on I-90 for 47 miles to the Bighorn County Museum. Learn about a poignant moment in American history at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. There is a lot of history in this area to explore, so you’ll work up an appetite. Enjoy a quick bite to eat on the scenic patio of The Custer Battlefield Trading Post.

In the afternoon, take a bike ride or walk at Norm Schoenthal Island River Park. Nearby, the Montana Audubon Center spotlights the area’s native and migratory bird species for visiting birders. You can continue further on a hike or bike ride by linking up trails of the established Billings Heritage Trail System. For a spicier trail, hit up the Zimmerman Park Loop Trail, and find a sandstone boulder to sit on and watch the sun drop down beyond the horizon. 

DAY 3: Saddle up

Horseback riding in Billings in the fall

Photo by Emily Sierra Photography

Start the day off with an 8 a.m. horseback ride with Bitter Creek Outfitters on their 7,000-acre cattle ranch. If horseback riding isn’t your kind of rodeo, head to Pictograph Cave State Park for views of lovely rock cave paintings. Don’t miss the visitor center after strolling around the short loop trail to take in all the fall colors.

Enjoy a brunch or lunch at Bin 119 and then head over to The Yellowstone Art Museum, also known as YAM. (Seasonally appropriate and just as good—and good for you—as sweet potatoes!) This is the largest art museum in Montana and boasts a wide array of collections and exhibits. This museum is a great place to spend some hours if the fall chill gets inside your flannel. Grab a tasty snack at the Raven’s Cafe’ d’ Art to top off the experience.

Spend your last treasured moments in “Montana’s Trailhead” packing away history, cowboy hats, treasures, and souvenirs before heading home. Tilt your cowboy hat to the sky and wave to Billings, Montana a sweet goodbye … until next time. Psst: find more ideas for your return trip here!

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