Montana is a unique place, with unspoiled nature and friendly small towns. Our Big Sky State covers 147,138 square miles of these United States and our 1 million people don’t take up much of that land, making it easy to have misgivings created about Montana. At Great Falls Montana Tourism, we know about most of the misgivings about Great Falls, Montana’s 3rd largest city, with just under 60,000 residents. Let’s have some fun, and see what our team thinks the 7 greatest lies are about Great Falls, Montana.
It will take a month to travel to Great Falls, and most of it will have to be done on horseback.
This lie covers a lot of Montana! Great Falls truly is very accessible. You can access Great Falls, by car, bike, pick-up or foot, using Interstate 15, State Highway 200, and State Highway 89, through Kings Hill Scenic Byway. You can book a flight and fly in direct from Denver, Minneapolis, Chicago, Phoenix, Seattle, Las Vegas, and Salt Lake City. Getting to Great Falls, Montana’s Basecamp for Art & Adventure will be a lot shorter than you think and you will find yourself enjoying our art and outdoor adventures shortly upon arrival!
I will need to sleep in a tent.
Although you can sleep in a tent in Great Falls, or the Little Belt Mountains, or the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, you can also stay in one of the 2,200 rooms within Great Falls’ lodging facilities. You are encouraged to have breathtaking experiences by day, and as the day comes to a close, enjoy the relaxing hospitality Great Falls offers. Savor your stay with fine dining and a diverse live music scene.
I will need to compete with the wildlife for food.
This is only true if your hunting or fishing here. The culinary experience in Great Falls is one we are very proud of. With restaurants that provide locally and regionally sourced food, you will find menu’s around town to fill your belly with food as diverse as your moods. Great Falls is home to Montana’s Best Burger, Montana’s Best Coffee Shop, Montana’s Best Irish Pub, and Montana’s Best Tiki Drink. Our Great Falls Food takes center stage annually during Great Falls Montana Restaurant Week – the largest in Montana!
There is no culture in be found.
Great Falls is Montana’s Basecamp for ART & adventure. If you are more into enjoying the history, culture and art side of a community, Great Falls has quite a bit to enjoy. Great Falls is Montana’s Museum Capital, we become the Western Art Capital of the World for one week in March during our signature event, Western Art Week. In June, Great Falls plays host to the Lewis & Clark Festival and Kilt o’the Falls Celtic Festival and Highland Games. In the heart of the Basecamp is the Mansfield Center for the Performing Arts, where you can find Broadway performances, Great Falls Symphony performances, music and comedy performances, and all varieties of dance performances. The downtown streets are lined with Galleries and the first Friday of each month showcases a variety of art while strolling from location to location during First Friday Artwalk. The University of Providence Performing Arts has productions throughout the year.
The kids would be bored if we visited Great Falls as a family.
Kids have a variety of interests and Great Falls has a little something for nearly each one of them. In the summer, we have the Electric City Water Park! This has a flow rider, a lazy river, two water slides, and a little kids play area. It also has plenty of trees for parents to relax under and concessions to keep the family hydrated and full of fuel to play. In the winter, Montana’s First Ski Hill, Showdown, is a quick trip out of the Basecamp into the Little Belt Mountains. Any time of the year – the Children’s Museum of Montana engages kids in play that is educational. Great Falls has a trampoline park, an amazing toy store, a rock-climbing center, a local candy shop, a ceramic and canvas painting studio, and kid-friendly exhibits at our museums.
I could spend a few hours in Great Falls, but an entire weekend is a stretch.
This, honestly, couldn’t be further from the truth. If you truly only have a few hours, at least try to take in all 5 of the falls. A weekend in Great Falls could be all Art, it could be all Adventure, it could be a mix of both Art & Adventure or it could be consumed by one of our signature events. Some great ideas to fill your itinerary include having brunch, with Mermaids, or with signature Mimosas, or with Irish Flare. You could also grab a lighter breakfast at Montana’s Best Coffee Shop. Take the River’s Edge Trail to Giant Springs State Park where you can find North America’s Largest Natural Spring next to the world’s shortest River. The spring flows at 156 million gallons a day, and the Roe River flows 200 feet before meeting up with the Missouri. Embrace your inner explorer and walk through the 25,000 square foot interpretive center that commemorates the tenacity of the men and woman on the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Float past the White Cliffs of the Missouri River, hike along the Dearborn River in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex and get up and close personal with Steamboat Mountain. Immerse yourself in the scenery at Smith River State Park, walk through the mining history of the Sluice Boxes State Park, hike in and see Memorial Falls in the Little Belt Mountains, learn about the humanitarian artist Charlie Russell, gain genuine insight to our first people’s independent spirit at First People’s Buffalo Jump, take a trolley ride through the history of Great Falls, stop and smell the flowers in Gibson Park before visiting the friendly geese and swans who reside in the pond at Gibson Park. Hike in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark on the Sulpher Springs loop of the River’s Edge Trail, and explore the old townsite of Maroney. Test your expert mountain biking skills on the Mayhem Trails of the River’s Edge Trail. Walk the suspension bridge to The Great Falls, and have a picnic on Ryan Island. Experience live music all over Great Falls, enjoy some craft brews at one of our microbreweries, where many of the ingredients are locally sourced or tap into some of the craft cocktails available. We could fill a week for you, if you wanted. Great Falls is full of unique, genuine Montana, experiences.
Great Falls has all four seasons and in the Winter, you will need a jacket. The geography of Great Falls ensures the seasons are experienced to the fullest. Great Falls sits on the banks of the Missouri River, nestled by the east slope of the Rocky Mountains, and surrounded by the Little Belt, Big Belt, and Highwood Mountain Ranges. Yes, the wind blows when the weather changes, and snow and rain fall to support our Agriculture industry. Our snow doesn’t stick around too long in town because of the chinook winds off that Rocky Mountain Front and the summer temps stay pretty comfortable overall. Check out the average temps by month for Great Falls and you will see the climate encourages you to be outside – skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, hiking, fishing, biking, bird watching, or enjoying a bevy of other outdoor adventures!
We hope you enjoyed debunking some myths with us. If you have questions about Great Falls, please reach out to our Great Falls Montana Tourism Team and ask. We want to make sure you make the most out of your visit to Montana’s Basecamp for Art & Adventure.