Billings (Montana)

Travel Guide North America USA Western United States Montana Billings

edit

Introduction

Billings is the largest city in Montana, USA. It is located in Yellowstone County, with an estimated 100,000 people. As a destination in itself, Billings does a significant amount of convention business and is also the host to various regional events such as music festivals, athletic contests, rodeos, and outdoor activities. Billings hosts the largest hospitals in a 500-mile radius, as such the medical profession is a major source of employment in the area. Billings also is a frequent overnight or meal stop for westbound visitors to Yellowstone National Park, as it is the last major city for visitors going to the park via the Beartooth Highway.

Top

edit

Sights and Activities

  • Custer Battlefield Museum, Garryowen, Montana, ☎ +1 406 638-1876. Summer 8AM-7PM; 9AM-5PM. All of the locations associated with the Battle of the Little Bighorn, known as Custer's Last Stand $5 adults, 12 and under free.
  • Lake Elmo State Park, 2300 Lake Elmo Dr, ☎ +1 406 247-2940, e-mail: twalters@mt.gov. Daily, 5AM-10PM. 64-acre reservoir is a popular swimming, boardsailing, non-motorized boating, and fishing area. $5 per vehicle Memorial Day to Labor Day.
  • Moss Mansion Historic House Museum, 914 Division St. (Exit 450 from I-90 to 3rd Avenue North,a one-way street leading directly to the Moss Mansion. Parking is available on Yellowstone or Clark Avenues.), ☎ +1 406 256-5100, e-mail: tours@mossmansion.com. change seasonally, check website. Preserved house of the Preston Boyd Moss family. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and was designed by New York architect Henry Janeway Hardenbergh. Adults $7, Seniors (62 & over), Students & Military Personnel $5, Children 6-12 $3, 5 & under Free.
  • Museum of Women's History, 2822 3rd Ave N # B3, ☎ +1 406 248-2015, e-mail: info@museumofwomenshistory.org. Mon, Tues, and Thurs from 1PM-4PM. Exhibits feature women from all walks of life, all professions, all ethnic groups and perspectives locally and internationally. Free.
  • Pictograph Cave State Park, 3401 Colburn Rd, ☎ +1 406 254-7342, e-mail: jkostrba@mt.gov. Change seasonally, check website. A prehistoric archeological site with 2000 year old cave paintings. $5 per vehicle.
  • Pompeys Pillar National Monument, about 25 miles east of (From Interstate 94, use exit 23, or access from State Highway 312.), ☎ +1 406 875-2400, e-mail: info@pompeyspillar.org. 9 to 6 May through Sept. The only remaining physical evidence of the Lewis and Clark Expedition $7.00 per vehicle.
  • Yellowstone Art Museum, 401 N 27th St., ☎ +1 406 256-6804, e-mail: artinfo@artmuseum.org. Tues, Weds, Sat 10-5; Thur, Fri 10-8; Sun 11-4; Closed Mon. Contemporary and historical art from Montana and the Rocky Mountain region. $6 adults, $3 students, children 6-18, under 6 free.
  • Western Heritage Center, 2822 Montana Ave., ☎ +1 406 256-6809.
  • ZooMontana, ☎ +1 406 652-8100.

Top

edit

Events and Festivals

Holidays

  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and sometimes referred to as MLK Day) is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King's birthday, January 15. The holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The earliest Monday for this holiday is January 15 and the latest is January 21. King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Labor Day is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend. It is recognized as a federal holiday. Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.

Sport

  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.
  • The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) in North America, contested since 1903 between the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion team. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff, and the winning team is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. As the series is played during the fall season in North America, it is sometimes referred to as the Fall Classic.

Top

edit

Weather

Billings has a hot-summer humid continental climate, closely bordering on semi-arid (Köppen Dfa/BSk), with dry, hot summers, and cold, dry winters. In the summer, the temperature can rise to over 37.8 °C (1 to 3 times per year), while the winter will bring temperatures below 0 °F or -17.8 °C on an average of 17 to 18 nights per year. The snowfall averages 55 inches or 1.40 metres a year, but because of warm chinook winds that pass through the region during the winter, snow does not usually accumulate heavily or remain on the ground for long: the greatest depth has been 0.84 metres on April 5, 1955, after a huge storm which dumped 4.22 inches or 107.2 millimetres of water equivalent precipitation as snow in the previous three days under temperatures averaging -2.9 °C.

The snowiest year on record was 2014 with 2.63 metres, topping the 1996-97 previous record of 2.51 metres. The first freeze of the season on average arrives by October 4 and the last is May 7. Spring and autumn in Billings are usually mild, but brief. Winds, while strong at times, are considered light compared with the rest of Montana and the Rocky Mountain Front.

Due to its location, Billings is susceptible to severe weather. In most cases, severe storms travel fast at 25 to 30 miles per hour. The first recorded tornado to touch down in Billings was on June 2, 1958. On June 20, 2010, a tornado touched down in the Billings Heights and Downtown sections of the city. The tornado was accompanied by hail up to golf ball size, dangerous cloud-to-ground lightning, and heavy winds. The tornado destroyed a number of businesses and severely damaged the 12,000-seat Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark.

Top

edit

Getting There

By Plane

Billings Logan International Airport (BIL) is the largest airport in Montana and has flights to/from Seattle, Portland, Las Vegas, Oakland, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, Denver and Chicago. There are also flights to smaller places in Montana, including Glasgow, Lewistown, Miles City, Sidney and Wolf Point.

By Car

  • From the west - I-90 connects Billings with Bozeman, Butte, Missoula and Idaho.
  • From the south - I-90 from Wyoming. U.S. 310 also comes north from Lovell, Wyoming.
  • From the east - 10 miles east of Billings, I-94 joins I-90 from Miles City, Glendive and North Dakota.
  • From the north - U.S. 87 connects Billings with Roundup.

By Bus

  • Jefferson Lines, 1830 4th Ave N, ☎ +1 406 245-5116. Jefferson Lines travels primarily on I-90 (Spokane-Missoula-Bozeman-Billings & Billings-Gillette-Rapid City) on two separate routes and I-94(Billings-Fargo). Passengers transfer in Fargo, Rapid City, Butte and Spokane to get to additional destinations.

Top

edit

Getting Around

By Car

Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.

For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.

By Public Transport

MET Transit, toll-free: +1 406 657-8218, e-mail: METTransit@ci.billings.mt.us. MET has 9 lines that provide service on weekdays and Saturdays with additional lines running during peak hours on weekdays. Weekday service 5:50AM–6:40PM. Saturday service 8:10AM–5:45PM, except for a one-hour lunch period. There is no service on Sundays and major holidays. Fares - Regular: $1.25; Seniors (62+), Medicare, Disabled: $0.50; Children 5 and under: Free. Long Beach Transit also offers a 10 Ride Ticket for $10. Transfers - Free. Must have exact fare for driver.

Top

edit

Eat

  • The Mustard Seed, 1340 W 15th (at the intersection of 15th and Grand Ave.), ☎ +1 406 259-1400. Pan-Asian restaurant chain.
  • Shanghai Village, 2926 2nd Ave N, ☎ +1 406 245-6887. Nice Chinese restaurant in the downtown area.
  • Juliano's, 2912 7th Ave N, ☎ +1 406 248-6400. M-F 11:30AM-2PM; W-Sa 5:30PM-9PM. Original American food with European and Asian influences from chef Carl Kurokawa. Features a nice outdoor patio. Lunch items $7-9; dinner $14-25.
  • Walkers American Grill and Tapas Bar, 2700 1st Ave N, ☎ +1 406 245-9291. Dining room hours: Daily 5PM-10PM. Tapas Bar/Lounge hours: M-F 4PM-11PM, Sa 5PM-11PM, Su 5PM-10PM.. Excellent locally-owned restaurant serving seasonal American and international cuisine. Main courses $11-25; tapas $5-9.
  • Q Cuisine, 2503 Montana Ave. The Q is an upscale, contemporary dining experience. It is sort of a place one might never expect to find in Montana. Key Lime Martini and the chef's ever-changing ravioli are recommended. $10-25.
  • Pappy's Cowboy Cookout (Western Romance Company) (I-90 and Pryor Creek Rd), ☎ +1 406 348-2048. This is an adventure to get great cowboy cooked food and BBQ cowboy style. People and guest from inside and out of state come back just for the food. The Dutch oven dinner is perfect for events and outdoor cookouts.

Top

edit

Drink

  • Montana Brewing Company, 113 N Broadway, ☎ +1 406 252-9200. Local microbrewery.
  • Yellowstone Valley Brewing Company, 2123-B 1st Ave N, ☎ +1 406 245-0918. Brewhouse Garage Pub M-Sa 4PM-8PM. Local microbrewery featuring live music.
  • Angry Hanks Brewery, 2405 1st Ave N, ☎ +1 406-252-3370. 4PM-8PM. Microbrewery located downtown in an old gas station. $3.
  • Canyon Creek Brewing, 3060 Gabel Rd, ☎ +1 406 656-2528. 2:00PM to 8:00PM. Local microbrewery on Billings West End.

Top

edit

Sleep

Early reservations are advised during the peak summer months and during weekends when a major event is scheduled. At most hotels, rates are significantly higher during the summer.

  • Crowne Plaza Billings, 27 N 27th St, ☎ +1 406 252-7400, toll-free: +1-800-588-7666, fax: +1 406 252-2401. This 23 story hotel is the world's largest free-standing brick building. Restaurant, lounge, exercise room, concierge, courtesy shuttle, 24-hr. business centers, dry cleaning, executive levels, full service Starbucks, renovated 2007.
  • C'Mon Inn, 2020 Overland Ave S, ☎ +1 406 655-1100, toll-free: +1-800-655-1170, fax: +1 406 652-7672, e-mail: billingsinfo@180com.net. Resort hotel lodging close to many amenities. Summer rates (Apr-Sep): $73-145, Winter rates (Oct-Mar): $70-141.
  • Dude Rancher Lodge, 415 N 29th St, ☎ +1 406 259-5561, toll-free: +1-800-221-3302, fax: +1 406 259-0095, e-mail: info@duderancherlodge.com. Downtown location, king and queen sized beds, restaurant, coffee makers and coffee in every room, cable TV, microwave and refrigerators in selected rooms, pets allowed. $48-63 double.
  • Historic Northern Hotel, 19 N 28th St, ☎ +1 406 245-5121, fax: +1 406 259-9862. Originally built in 1940, this hotel received a remodel in the late 1990s. Air conditioning, cable TV, restaurant, saloon, exercise room. $89 double; $109-139 suite.
  • Josephine Bed-and-Breakfast, 514 N 29th St, ☎ +1 406 248-5898, toll-free: +1-800-552-5898, e-mail: info@thejosephine.com. Located within walking distance of downtown. The Josephine features Victorian decor with modern amenities. The house includes a library, parlor, and dining room for breakfast, and a wraparound porch. A/C, cable TV, wireless network (wireless network cards are available for rent), complimentary snacks, beverages and liqueur. Well behaved children are welcome. No pets. $65-160.

Top

edit

Keep Connected

Internet

There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.

Post

The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.

Top

Billings (Montana) Travel Helpers

We don't currently have any Travel Helpers for Billings (Montana)

This is version 8. Last edited at 9:48 on Jun 14, 19 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, content of this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License