10 Top-Rated Places To Visit In Great Falls, Montana (2022)
Great Falls is an authentic town of Montana that is known for its rich history and dams. The city has so many dams that locals often refer to it as the “Electric City”. Great Falls is a part of central Montana and is the third-largest city in the State. It serves as a basecamp and also offers access to the northern part of the State. The city is home to freshwater springs, mountain views, beautiful gardens, several state parks, and famous Montana museums. All thanks to the influence of Lewis and Clark and Cowboy Artist C.M. Russell, this city boasts a number of prominent art destinations.
Great Falls is both an indoor and outdoor destination. If you are traveling from Yellowstone to Glacier National Park, you can add this city as a one-two-day stop in your itinerary. Great Falls is also a popular tourism spot in Montana simply for its unpopulated wilderness and world-class fishing. It also provides a genuine experience of Native American history.
10 Top-Rated Places To Visit In Great Falls in Montana
We hope you will love our choicest picks for the popular places to visit in Great Falls below:
1. The C.M. Russell Museum
C.M. Russell (1864-1926) was one of the greatest artists of America who was also known as the cowboy artist. Russell spends a significant phase of his life picturing the spirit of the American West. And for finding the best of this and his work, you can reach the C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls. The museum is home to the most extensive collection of Russell’s artworks, including landscape pictures, sculptures, cowboy paintings, and illustrated letters. A visit to this museum will allow you to explore Russell’s next-door studio and original home. Both of them are full of original furnishings, artwork, period clothing, etc. The settings here will provide you with a glimpse of how Russell and his wife Nancy lived back then.
The C.M. Russell Museum also hosts temporary exhibits for showcasing the artwork of other National and local (famous) artists.
2. The Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art
Art lovers in Great Falls cannot miss visiting the Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art. It is located at 1400 First Avenue North in an 1896 building which initially was Great Falls High School, the first high school in the region. Though today it is a famous museum featuring over 800 pieces of artwork. The most prominent amongst the collection are the 200 unique sculptures by Lee Steen. Besides that, the wide variety of contemporary American pieces is also impressive. The artwork you observe here belongs to local, regional, and international artists. The museum ensures rotating its collection throughout the time, ensuring that you get to observe something new every time you visit.
The museum operates from Tuesday to Saturday, and admissions here are absolutely free.
3. The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center
Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center is a museum located on the cliffside of the Missouri River. A visit here will introduce you to the story of the 8,000-mile Lewis and Clark Expedition during the early 19th century. Inside the center, there is plenty of hands-on exhibits, an educational movie theater, permanent galleries, and a facility for hands-on learning activities. There are a few hiking trails outside the center that go to the nearby Giant Springs State Park. You can also explore interpretive trails outside the center and enjoy the overlooks of the Missouri River underneath. While admission for visitors under 15 years is free, adults require to pay a small fee for exploring the space. The center operates Tuesday through Sunday from 9 am through 5 pm.
4. The Giant Springs State Park
Located on the northwest of downtown Great Falls, the Giant Springs State Park is ideal for outdoor recreation. The Park is home to substantial first-magnitude springs, which is also its central attraction. Its water originates from the snowmelt and constantly remains at 54 degrees Fahrenheit. Giant Spring’s water is exceptionally clean. It even boasts four significant waterfalls, of which the Great Fall of Missouri is the most prominent. For tourism and outdoor recreation, the Park boasts endless options, including hiking, biking, fishing, hunting, picnicking, and wildlife watching. The best time to visit here is during the summer season or, ideally, springs, when every water body is in its full bloom. Or, if you happen to visit here during winters, you will observe glittering ice coming off from the vapors of the spring.
5. The History Museum
The History Museum is often overlooked, but you must consider visiting here when in Great Falls, Montana. It is located along historic Machinery Row, just some blocks away from the River’s Edge Trail. The museum works towards preserving, memorializing, and presenting central Montana’s history, heritage, and culture. It hosts a vast collection of over 10,000 artifacts, along with several photographs. Their exhibit is a mix of permanent collections, rotating exhibits, and visiting galleries. Among them, some of the notables include the Ozark Club exhibit and display of Josef Dvorak’s Miniatures. Exploring the museum further, you will also come across maps from the past 200 years, detailed country records, and homestead records.
6. The Ryan Dam
Located 10 miles from downtown, the Ryan Dam is a hydroelectric dam on the Missouri River. It is a popular afternoon and evening spot amongst the locals of Great Falls. The dam was initially built back in 1915 for controlling Great Falls’ flow over the Missouri River. Both tourists and locals choose to visit here for an afternoon picnic. A parking spot is close to the dam and connects to a suspension bridge. This Bridge stretch right over the dam is leading its way to Ryan Island Park’s picnic area. The picnic area and suspension bridge operate from Mother’s Day through Labour Day and are free for everyone to visit. There even is a historic clubhouse indoor facility with a partially equipped kitchen, restrooms, and a reception hall. Both the picnic area and the clubhouse are handicapped-accessible.
7. The First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park
The First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park is believed to be one of the largest and ancient Buffalo jump sites in North America. As claimed, the indigenous population used the sandstone cliffs here to stampede buffalo, sometimes over 1000 years ago. When in Great Falls, you can visit this Park to spend a day in the glory and beauty of nature. Here you can observe several miles long sandstone cliffs. Or the Park is also home to paths with archaeological information, something interesting to observe. Besides that, you can also visit a 6,000 square foot visitor center to observe exhibits and interact with the tour guides. The First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park is also a popular hiking and mountain climbing place.
8. The St. Ann’s Cathedral
Located in the downtown region, the St. Ann’s Cathedral is a popular place to visit in Great Falls. It is a limestone facade with an imposing spire and Gothic-inspired style building that impresses to no ends. The Cathedral was built in the 20th century using stones quarried from nearby Stockett. While its construction was finished in 1907, it got listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1991. You can visit here to learn about history, admire the architecture, or observe the statues inside. The St. Ann’s Cathedral organizes masses on Sunday mornings, Saturday afternoons, and special masses during the Christmas festivities. It is one popular place to explore for both spiritual and serenity touring when in Great Falls.
9. Holy Spirit Catholic Parish
The Holy Spirit Catholic Parish is a spiritual attraction within the boundaries of Great Fall. It is a beautiful church that hosts masses all through the week. You can be a local and frequent visitor or a new entry; the parish welcomes everyone with open arms and warm hospitability. After the Sunday morning masses, they even offer coffee to all the visitors. For specially-abled visitors, they also offer hearing aids. Or, if you happen to visit during the Sunday mass, a sign language interpreter will be present there for your ease. The Holy Spirit Catholic Parish priest is always ready for encouraging conversations and is quite friendly with visitors of all kinds. Anyone can visit here to find peace and solace despite the spiritual devotions.
10. The Holiday Village Mall
If you are in Great Falls and looking for great shopping venues, visit the Holiday Village Mall. This ultimate shopping destination is a two-level shopping mall with over 60 branded stores, boutiques, restaurants, and other service providers. Even though it has the most branded and high-end stores, they are primarily under discount and sales. Throughout the Mall, they provide complimentary Wi-Fi. Or if you have elderly and disabled people along, they even provide wheelchairs in request. The Mall operates Monday through Saturday from 11 am to 7 pm whereas 12 pm to 6 pm on Sundays. Visitors here can also access a children’s play area, ATMs, food courts, etc. You can reach the Holiday Village Mall at 10th Avenue South and 9th Street South, Great Falls.