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Billings Travel Guide, Montana

Located east of Missoula in Montana, Billings has evolved into a highly populated city since its beginning in 1877. At first it was a trading post, but with the arrival of Northern Pacific Railroad it became a railroad town, a crossroads for the railroads and was given the name of Billings after Frederick Billings, a former president of the Northern Pacific.

From that point on Billings has evolved rapidly into an economic centre due to the economy being based on: agriculture (cattle and grain), energy and transportation. The huge shopping malls, new banks and contemporary business centers, plus beautiful historic buildings in various stages of restoration and the tallest freestanding hotel in the area are only some of the markers of this development.

Besides being an economic center Billings is also a progressive regional medical center, a center for cultural activities and education having a wide range of educational programs, public libraries, Universities and Colleges to choose from. Medical facilities include two hospitals and sixteen clinics.

From the heights of the city in all directions you look, Billings has spectacular views of four mountain ranges: the Snowies, the Beartooths, the Crazy Mountains and the Pryor Range. If you decide to take advantage of the recreational opportunities they offer you will have plenty to choose from: backpacking, canoeing and kayaking, fishing and windsurfing; and in winter: skiing and snow shoeing.

Clark’s Fork Bottom area is also appreciated for its good water and wild fruit and traditional hunting with abundant game. And if you arrived this far it would be a pity to miss the attractions that are in the nearby area, namely the national parks of Yellowstone, Glacier and Grand Teton. They are home to herds of bison and elk, mule deer and pronghorn antelope and here is the only place, in the lower 48 states, where you can see grizzlies and wolves.

If you don’t feel like taking your kids to the national parks, they can have a glimpse of nature and wild animals at Zoo Montana a wildlife and botanical park specialized in natural habitat that covers 70 acres. It boasts northern plains wildlife, Waterfowl red pandas, bald eagles, eastern gray wolves, Manchurian sika deer, great horned owls, the North American river otter, two black-footed ferrets and this is the only place in the world where you can still see Siberian tigers. Here children and not only, can learn about barnyard animals and experience turn-of-the century domestic life. There’s even a Sensory Garden where you can taste, hear, feel and smell native and exotic plants.

Add to those leisure options such attractions as the Avenue of the Sculptures that features an outdoor art show; Yellowtone Art Museum that houses nationally and internationally renowned pieces focusing on regional and western art; the Moss Mansion Historic House Museum designed by the famous New York architect, Henry Janeway Hardenbergh exhibiting early turn-of-the-century life; Western Heritage Center

offers historical exhibits of Yellowstone Valley’s past, educational programs and cultural events.

And when the sun sets, Billing’s evening entertainment includes listening to some of the famous touring musicians playing blues, jazz, reggae, and rock music at “Casey's Golden Pheasant” where the 3,000-square-foot ceiling Mural of Musicians honor legendary musicians.

For those seeking a more thoughtful nightlife, check out the cultural options of the Alberta Bair Theater, the largest fully equipped performing arts theater in Montana; the Billings Symphony and Rimrock Opera Company that produces high quality grand opera in Billings and there are mini-operas geared for children.

Whatever your speed and passion, you'll find just the opportunity to practice sports, enjoy outdoor activities in vast areas full of interesting wildlife and beautiful scenery or simply relax in a cultural environment. Billings has it, all!

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