The state capital of Montana, Helena, is situated between Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park and was established in 1864. With a population of 31,500, Helena is the county seat of Lewis and Clark County. Helena was the site of a gold rush and was thus named “Queen City of the Rockies” . There is rich history in Helena, and you can uncover it at the many museums and historic sites or even aboard the Last Chance Tour Train! For the outdoor enthusiast, there are many opportunities in Helena! The city has over 75 miles of trails that start in its downtown. It was because of this that the International Mountain Biking Association named the city a ride center. Also, Rand McNally and Geocaching.com awarded Helena the “Best for Geocaching” title! Additionally, Helena offers unique shopping experiences, art galleries, local microbreweries, and great restaurants!
If you’re looking for an opportunity to make your kids happy, a stop at the Great Northern Carousel is sure to put smiles on their faces! The carousel is a hand-built menagerie carousel. The carousel has lots of history! Many of the 37 animals and one chariot were hand-carved by Ed Roth of Long Beach, California. They were also hand painted by Bette Largent of Spokane, Washington. The mechanism and the spinning tub were built by Todd Goings of Marion, Ohio, and Mary Harris, a local artist, created the original glass artwork depicting different landmarks and scenery. The Great Northern Ice Cream Company is connected to the carousel. They offer homemade ice cream and fudge! There even is a gift shop that offers gifts, toys, and collectibles. Also attached to the carousel is the Exploration Works Science Center. You and your kids are sure to enjoy this unique attraction!
The Meadowlark Music Festival is an annual festival that supports local non-profits. The festival provides outdoor music, dancing, local food, vendors, games, and family activities! This year, the Meadowlark Music Festival raised money for the Friendship Center. The Friendship Center is the only shelter in the county that provides a safe haven and support for anyone who has experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking. Be sure to bring a chair and enjoy some great music all while supporting a local cause!
Satisfy your sweet tooth and stop by the Park Avenue Bakery! This bakery has been a part of Helena for 25 years and offers breads, desserts, breakfast, lunch, and coffee. For breakfast, try a ham and cheese croissant, bearclaw, sausage roll, cream cheese danish, or a cinnamon roll. And their lunch menu features soup, pizza, salad, and stromboli! Park Avenue Bakery even offers coffee, such as lattes, espressos, Italian sodas, hot chocolate, and cappuccinos. And of course we can't forget to mention the homemade cakes, brownies, pumpkin bars, lemon bars, and tortes. Make your next stop the Park Avenue Bakery and see why this bakery is so popular!