What are some of the best things to do in Butte, Montana?
After all, when you think about the city of Butte, Montana, what normally comes to mind?
Well the city of Butte began as a gold and silver mining camp. However during the turn of the century and with the development of electricity and the industrialization of America, it resulted in the area being in a huge copper boom.
It is also the county seat of Silver Bow County in Montana.
The city stretches out to be about 718 square miles wide. And according to the 2010 census, it has a population of just a little over 33,000. Which makes it the fifth largest city in the state of Montana.
Butte is also the site of various historical events that involve the mining industry and active labor unions and Socialist politics. The most famous of which includes the “Labor Riot of 1914”. Another historical event that is famously known throughout the country is the “1917 Speculator Mine Disaster”, which is the largest hard rock mining disaster in world history.
However as time passed, the city had changed quite a bit.
Even though Butte is considered a mining town, it has since changed with the times to become something more. Here you can find many companies calling this place home as well as the city containing one of the largest National Historic Landmark Districts in the United States.
Aside from that however, the city of Butte is filled with countless amounts of things for you to see and do.
From things like the “World Museum of Mining” to the Berkeley Pit or even checking out the city’s Uptown Historic District. The city of Butte definitely won’t disappoint you.
Which is why if you are wondering what exactly you are able to do in the city of Butte, Montana, then I got you covered.
In this post we’ll be detailing all the best things to do in Butte, Montana.
So if you’re ready, lets get started!
- Things To Do In Butte, Montana
- World Museum Of Mining
- Visit The Our Lady Of The Rockies
- Visit Copper King Mansion
- Take a Butte Trolley Tour
- Visit Berkeley Pit
- Check Out the Mai Wah Museum
- Visit The MBMG Mineral Museum
- Check Out The Dumas Brothel Museum
- Visit The Historic Clark Chateau Museum & Gallery
- Play At Ridge Waters Water Park
- Visit The Piccadilly Museum of Transportation
- Pay Your Respects At The Granite Mountain Mine Memorial
- Go On A Historical Walking Tour
- Check Out The Montana Folk Festival
- Visit The Butte Brewing Company
- Check Out The Mother Lode Theater
- Visit The Ringing Rocks
- Visit The Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park
- Visit Butte, Montana
Things To Do In Butte, Montana
In no particular order, here are the best things to do in Butte, Montana.
World Museum Of Mining
Like we said earlier, the city of Butte has a long history dealing with mining around the surrounding areas.
Which is why here in this city, you can find one of the best museums around that detail the history of how mining came to be in this town as well as the surrounding areas.
And that museum is called the “World Museum Of Mining“.
It is here where you can find various kinds of exhibits that showcase mining at its finest.
For instance, you have one exhibit called the “Hell Roarin’ Gulch”, where you can see a re-creation of an old mining town with over 15 intact historic structures and about 35 buildings constructed from old materials by the many volunteers who helped put this place together.
Another awesome exhibit is the “Mineral & Rock Room” where you can see all the amazing minerals and rocks that were found when people were still mining underground for precious things.
Not only that, but the museum also offers a tour where you can look at a real live mine. The tour lasts for about an hour and allows you to wear a hard hat while you go into either a 65 foot or 100 foot underground mine to see how miners back in the day did their work.
Overall it is a fantastic place to learn all about the history of mining as well as see exactly what miners had to deal with back in the day. This is an experience you will remember for years on end.
Visit The Our Lady Of The Rockies
Would you believe me if I told you that there was a giant statue of Mary on the top of a mountain?
Here in the city of Butte, you can find a statue of the Virgin Mary, set high above on a hillside mountain top over looking the city. And it is called the “Our Lady By The Rockies“.
The statue was created back in 1979 and took six years to complete. It was then lifted in four sections by a Nevada Air National Guard Helicopter Team and reassembled on the top of the mountain.
This statue is a landmark statue that is a memorial to women all around the world. In fact, it was only made possible with the help of people from various different religions and background collaborating over a six year period.
Because of this amazing statue, you can find various tours being offered to take you up the mountain top to see this statue up close and personal. The tours are typically around 2 and a half hours long depending on the weather and leaves from the city of Butte in both summer and fall.
Aside from the statue however, you can also find a small gift shop in the Butte Plaza Mall that sells many bookmarkers, prayer cards and other religious items as well.
So if you are a very religious person or just wants to see something extremely amazing, then you should definitely think about doing this tour as the experience will be unbelievable.
Visit Copper King Mansion
If you want to see what being a mining tycoon can get you, then you have to visit this place.
The Copper King Mansion is a mansion that belonged to William A. Clark, who was one of the most successful mining owners of all time. He was widely considered the “Copper King” because he was one of the wealthiest men in the entire world during that time.
This mansion which is a 34-room Victorian style Mansion costed around $500,000 during that time which was almost unheard of. And it is open for tours for most of the year which allows people to see exactly what the inner workings of one of the richest men in the world was like.
Inside this mansion, you can find amazing woodwork, stained glass windows, beautiful chandeliers and even magnificent furnishings all around the house.
The guided tours of the mansion are only available seasoning around the times of May through the end of September at designated times. However this place also serves as a bed and breakfast which is open all year long and has five different rooms for you to enjoy. Interestingly enough, you can even stay in the master bedroom where the owner Clark slept or even in rooms that belonged to his kids or butler.
It’s one of the most beautiful mansions you can find in the city of Butte and offers a historic take on how things were like back many years ago.
Take a Butte Trolley Tour
As you know, the city of Butte is filled with many fascinating things.
Which is why the Chamber of Commerce for the city decided to provide a tour that’ll showcase the city in the best manner possible. This way visitors will be able to see the city in its entirety and learn all about what this city has to offer.
The tour is by a trolley and lasts for about 2 hours. Visitors will be guided by a local expert who is narrating the entire journey, highlighting the city’s many interesting mining and cultural history that started way back during the 19th century.
Along the way, you’ll pass by many popular attractions like mansions or public buildings. For instance, some of the things you’ll see along the way includes the magnificent Copper King Mansion or even Dumas Brothel which is the longest running brothel in the United States. You’ll also be able to tour the World Museum of Mining, Montana Tech university, and the Berkeley Pit, where you can get out of the trolley and go visit the viewing platform nearby.
If you are interested in doing this tour, you’ll have to get tickets online as they don’t do them in person. But that’s a pretty easy thing to do as you’ll just go on the website to get it.
So if you want to see the city of Butte in all its glory and hear about all the fascinating history and culture that it contains, then this tour is definitely up your alley.
Visit Berkeley Pit
If you want to see one of the most contaminated places on Earth, then you have to visit the Berkeley Pit.
This pit which is actually located on the outskirts of town use to be an open pit copper mine. It stretched to about 1 mile long by half a mile wide, which means it was a really big mine.
However when the pit closed down back in 1982, the water pumps in the nearby mine were turned off and the groundwater slowly started to fill the pit. In fact, even today the water is still continuously rising, although at a slow rate. It is now about 150 below the natural groundwater level.
The problem with this however is that the water in this pit is extremely toxic. It is acidic with heavy metals and toxic chemicals leach from the surrounding rock. It was estimated that during the year of 2020, the pit water will rise so much that it’ll start to flow back into the surrounding ground waters and will pollute Silver Bow Creek, which flows into other rivers nearby.
Plans to prevent this from happening are in the works and to make this one of the largest Superfund sites around.
But aside from that, visitors who come to see this pit is able to do so by going to a nearby viewing platform. There you’ll be able to see the pit in all its glory from a safe distance without getting in any harm.
The pit is only available to visit during the months of May through September and will require a small fee, but it is totally worth it for the experience you are going to get.
Check Out the Mai Wah Museum
One of the most fascinating and interesting thing you could see and do here in the city of Butte is to simply visit the Mai Wah Museum.
This museum is dedicated to teaching people about the educational, charitable, and scientific purposes, including research and public education about the history, culture, and conditions of Asian people in the Rocky Mountain West.
For instance, some of the things you can see includes the building of the Mai Wah Noodle Parlor and the Wah Chong Tai Comapny Buildings, which are shown above. The Mai Wah museum is actually located inside these buildings. Currently the museum is displaying many special exhibits like the “Heritage Across America” and the “Digging Butte’s Chinatown” which has an impressive collection of many things for you to see and learn.
And just like many other attractions in this post, the museum is only open from the months of June to September, however it does let visitors come in all year long as long as you give them a notice before hand.
So if you want to see some really great history and see how Asians use to live in a particular area, then this place is definitely the place for you.
Visit The MBMG Mineral Museum
If you love looking at various types of rocks or minerals, then one place you have to visit is the “The MBMG Mineral Museum“.
The MBMG Mineral Museum is an educational institution that is located on the base of the Campus of Montana Tech.
This museum has some of the finest rocks and minerals from all around the world. In fact, you can find that it currently has over 13,000 specimens with over 1,000 of which are on display.
Some of the things you can find inside this museum includes things like meteorites and special rocks and minerals which were found in the state of Montana. For instance, they found a beautiful 400 pound smoky quartz cluster and a large 27.49-ounce gold nugget that were found in the mountains just south of Butte.
Aside from that, you can also find various attractions for you to see and do. From things like an Earthquake Studies Laboratory to the Fluorescent room which contains minerals that radiate vibrant shades of colors when exposed to ultraviolet light.
But the best thing about this museum is that it is absolutely free! Which means you won’t have to break the bank in order to see some really cool things.
No matter how old you may be, this museum is definitely a place where you can get excited over seeing some really awesome minerals and rocks.
Check Out The Dumas Brothel Museum
If you have a passion for brothels or just want to see a really cool brothel museum, then one place you must visit is the “The Dumas Brothel Museum“.
The Dumas Brothel Museum was the longest running brothel in the United States. However as time passed, it has since been turned into a museum.
This museum is dedicated to telling the story of the Dumas Brothel, which was a bordello that was founded back in the year of 1890 by French Canadian brothers Joseph and Arthur Nadeau. In fact, it is the only surviving, three-story Victorian brothel in the United States currently.
Back in the day when this brothel was still running. it was especially popular with men because most of whom were on the fields working the copper mines here in this city. It continued operation all the way until 1982 when prostitution was made illegal.
Visitors who come here to explore can go on a guided tour where you can explore all that this brothel has to offer. From all the different rooms to the materials and furniture used during the times, it certainly makes for a fantastic experience.
So if you want to see something truly historic or just want to see how an inner workings of a brothel was like, then you should definitely find some time to check out the Dumas Brothel Museum.
Visit The Historic Clark Chateau Museum & Gallery
As you know, the Copper King who we talked about earlier in this post, was a very rich man.
And that money has passed down to his kids who many of whom lived some very lavish lifestyles.
In fact, the eldest son “Charles Clark” had this beautiful preserved mansion built for him back in 1898. It took over 10 years for them to construct this amazing building. And as a result, it is one of the most beautiful buildings you can see in the entire city of Butte.
Then mansion is officially called “The Historic Clark Chateau Museum & Gallery“, where you’ll find that the mansion is set on Broadway Street and is actually two houses built by the Clarks, with the other one being set on Granite Street.
This mansion has since been turned into a museum and inside you can find a variety of different things for you to see and explore. For instance, in this 26-room mansion, you can see things like art, artifacts, paintings, and even a literature documenting the life and time of his life and his powerful family.
Overall it is a fantastic place to visit where you can see and learn so much about the history and lifestyle of the Clarks. It’ll truly make you think about just how rich people were as well as what money could get you back then.
Play At Ridge Waters Water Park
One of the best things you can do during a hot sunny day, is to simply go visit a waterpark.
And here in Butte, Montana, there is no place better than visiting Ridge Waters Waterpark.
This waterpark has so many things for you to see and do.
For instance, this waterpark will feature the longest lazy river in the entire state of Montana. Not only that, you can also find things like a diving board, water basketball goal, water volleyball, climbing wall, gusher jet, 2 slides, aqua arch and more for people to play and enjoy.
Aside from being a theme park, you can also find that they have a regular swimming pool too where you can do laps back and fourth to give yourself some good old exercise.
The only downside about this park is that it is only open during certain months of the year. Most commonly it’ll be closed during the winter but will be open during the summer season.
So if you want to beat the heat and find something fun to do while also cooling down, then visiting the Ridge Waters Waterpark is definitely something you must do. It’s fun and exciting and you will have a blast playing for hours on end.
Visit The Piccadilly Museum of Transportation
Do you love automobiles? What about really old auto memorabilias?
If so, then you have to make sure to pay a visit to one of the best transportation museums around the state called “Piccadilly Museum of Transportation“.
Piccadilly Museum of Transportation is a museum that celebrates and preserves the golden age of motoring through its various collections of antique memorabilia.
It is here where you can find a large public showcase of transportation memorabilia gathered from over 25 years by several individuals who have traveled to over 100 countries around the world.
For instance, some of the exhibits here that you can see includes things like highway and subway markers, license plates, vintage cars, advertising art, and assorted petroliana from around the world.
But the best part about this museum is that it is totally free to enter. Although they may ask you for a small donation to help keep the museum in viewable condition.
For those of you interested in visiting this museum, just know that they are only open during the times of Memorial Day through October 1st. Any other time of the year, you’ll have to make an appointment ahead of time if you want to view this amazing museum.
Pay Your Respects At The Granite Mountain Mine Memorial
One of the most saddening things about working as a miner is that you’ll have to worry about all the dangers that come with the job.
In fact, one of the most saddening incident occurred during the date of June 8, 1917 at the Granite Mountain Shaft. It was there that 168 miners lost their lives due to a horrific fire that occurred. It was considered to be the worst disaster in metal mining history.
Which is why the city decided to build the Granite Mountain Mine Memorial which is dedicated to those miners who lost their lives during that horrific day.
It is here where you’ll be able to learn about that day as well as remember those who lost their lives. It also provides a view of the amazing Continental Divide, and an eagle’s view of what is left of the old mining industry that made this place so famous back in the day.
It might not be the attraction you were thinking off, but it is still a great place to visit as you’ll be able to see and learn so much about the history of one of the worst mining accidents to have ever happened.
Go On A Historical Walking Tour
One of the best things to know about the city of Butte, Montana is that it is filled with all kinds of history and culture. After all, this place has a nickname which people call “The Richest Hill On Earth”.
Because of this, one of the best things you can simply do while visiting this city, is to simply go on a walk.
There are many areas for you to see and explore as many of the areas are pretty historic and hold a lot of valuable information and history about them.
But walking alone might sound pretty boring and lonely, which is why the people have Butte decided to start doing tours to help people get acquainted with this city.
In fact, you’ll find that these family-friendly tours cover many different decades from the 1890’s all the way to the early 1950’s. The tours provide a fascinating glimpse into the past with many stops for you to see. For instance, you can see things like the Rookwood Speakeasy Hotel which was built back in 1912 and features a stained glass skylights and hardwood moldings. Or you might even see the famous Hotel Finden which has some rooms in a historic tower from 1924 and more.
There are three different types of walking tours for you to choose from, with each of them lasting anywhere from 2 to 2 and a half hours long.
Do know that if you are interested in doing this type of tour, that it is strictly walking only. They do not have any accommodations for people with a handicap. And you’ll have to be use to walking numerous steps and even face an uphill elevation which can even reach a mile high. So please consider this before you book this tour.
Other then that, it is a fascinating tour where you’ll have real locals guide you through all around the city. They’ll be able to tell you all the history behind certain areas as well the culture around the place. Definitely makes for one heck of an experience.
Check Out The Montana Folk Festival
If you ever happen to be visiting the city of Butte, Montana during the month of July, you might happen to catch one of their biggest events happening during that time.
That event is called the “Montana Folk Festival“.
The Montana Folk Festival is an amazing festival where locals and tourists all alike come flocking over to enjoy some good performances as well as some tasty food.
In fact, you’ll be pleased to know that over 200 of the nation’s finest musicians, dancers and craftspeople all descend onto this area to showcase their talents. They have stages like a dance pavilion for participatory dancing, a family stage with performances appealing to children of all ages, and even a Montana folklife stage.
In addition to all the performances, there are also many different themed festival areas. They include the Montana Folklife Area, the Family Area, two Festival Marketplaces and the Festival Food Courts. You’ll find that over 30 food and beverage vendors will come here to serve ethnic and festival food representing the cuisine of natives and immigrants in the region. With festival favorites like kettle korn, funnel cakes, fresh-squeezed lemonade, huckleberry shakes and more are all available for you to buy.
But the best part about this festival is that it is completely free for everyone to visit. Which is great because there are so many amazing things for you to see and do here.
The festival usually lasts only 3 days long. So if you ever have the time and are in the area when this event is happening, this is one of the best things to do here in the city of Butte, Montana.
Visit The Butte Brewing Company
One of the best things you can do when visiting a new city is to simply try out some of their local brew.
And here in the city of Butte, Montana, there is no place better than Butte Brewing Company.
This company has a long history with this city as they have been brewing amazing drinks since 1875. Although they did close for a time during the 1960’s, it has since reopened and become better than ever.
It’s a fun, family-friendly place that serves some really amazing beer to drink as well as some tasty foods. Their beers even has some really fun names like the “OreDigger Ale”, which is their starter beer and is low on mal and hop character, light on the palette and leaves no aftertaste. Or you can try their “Green Monster Ipa”, which is a hop blasted IPA that takes it to the limit.
Or if beer isn’t to your liking, you can simply stop here for some amazing pizza and salad.
Whatever it is, the atmosphere here is extremely enjoyable and the locals around here are all so nice and engaging.
Coming here is like an experience as you will definitely have the time of your life drinking, eating and chit chatting with all the people around you.
Check Out The Mother Lode Theater
If you love looking at shows and performances, then one place you must visit is a place called “The Mother Lode Theater“.
This theater was originally built back in 1923 and was called the Temple Theater. It was than renamed into the “Fox Theater” during the Great Depression but has since been renovated with a $4 million dollar renovation to help bring it up to date with modern times. It has also changed its name to be called “The Mother Lode Theater” in honor of the city’s deep mining heritage as the “Richest Hill on Earth”.
You can find that this theater seats about 1202 people and is a popular place for many types of performances. From local to regional and even national touring productions all will come to this building to perform.
They are always putting on shows to see with many different performances happening all throughout the year. In fact, some of their past productions includes shows like “Fame”, “Once”, “Barefoot In The Park”, “The Doo Wap Project”, and “Forbidden Broadway”.
Not only that, but this museum also added another section into its building called the “Orphan Girl Theater”. This 106 seat theater offers a really artistic and culturally enriching experience for the children of Butte.
So if you happen to have some spare time and want to watch some truly amazing performances, then I would highly suggest you to visit the “Mother Lode Theater”.
Visit The Ringing Rocks
If you really want to see something truly interesting and cool, then you definitely have to check out a site called “The Ringing Rocks“.
Although it isn’t necessarily located in the city of Butte, Montana, it is still really close by being only a few minutes drive away. It’s located about 18 miles east of the city and is definitely a must see attraction if you ever get the chance.
When you come here, you’ll see that there are a set of rocks here which might make you wonder why you are even here in the first place. However the rocks here are special in that they are a unique type of rock where if you tap them lightly with a hammer, they will produce a nice chime sound similar to that of a bell.
It is actually believed that the ringing is a combination of the composition of the rocks and the way the joining patterns have developed as the rocks have eroded away,
Visitors who come here are encouraged to bring a hammer and lightly tap on the rocks to produce some truly beautiful sounds to hear.
Fun Fact, this is only the second known ringing rocks formation in the United States, with the other one being located in Pennsylvania.
Overall it is a really awesome phenomenon and one you really have to experience for yourself to truly understand.
Visit The Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park
Do you love looking at amazing rock formations? How about exploring a State Park?
If that sounds like you, then you would definitely love visiting “The Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park“.
This state park is not actually in the city of Butte, but is a very close drive away. It’s located about 42 miles away by car from the city of Butte which makes for a perfect day trip event to do.
The Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park is one of the largest known limestone caverns in the Northwest. It is also Montana’s first State Park featuring one of the most decorated limestone caverns on this side of the country.
Inside you can find the walls and ground being filled with spectacular stalactites, stalagmites, columns, and helictites are all being electrically lighted and safe to visit. Plus the best part about this is that this cavern is naturally air-conditioned which makes exploring this place very enjoyable.
Visiting this cave does require a tour to be booked, and will also require a short hike up to the opening of the caves. But it is all worth it once you see the caverns as it is simply so beautiful and will definitely be the highlight of your visit.
So if you love rock formations as well as exploring different kinds of caves, then this should be right up your alley.
Visit Butte, Montana
Overall, the city of Butte, Montana is a fantastic place to visit if you ever have the time. You’ll find that the city has quite a bit of things for you to see and do.
So hopefully this post about the “18 Best Things To Do In Butte, Montana” was able to help you out in some sort of way. This way if you ever find yourself visiting the city of Butte, Montana, you will know exactly what things you are able to do for some fun.
Also, if you’re going to be visiting the state of Montana anytime soon, you might be interested in some of my other Montana posts:
Or you can check out all my blog posts by clicking this link.
Hope you have a safe and fun trip~