Welcome to Billings, Montana! Located between the Rocky Mountains and the wide open plains of eastern Montana, Billings is Montana’s largest city and a hub for the agriculture, energy and healthcare industries.
The city is a thriving metropolitan area and home to more than half a million people. It continues in the tradition of its original nickname: the Magic City, due to the rapid rate of seemingly growing overnight into the state’s largest distribution center. The most distinguishing features are sandstone canyons known as the Rimrocks (or Rims), which were formed by the Yellowstone River. These natural features provide a great view for the many trails and walkways that residents and visitors enjoy regularly. Visitors will appreciate the many adventures and opportunities that Billings has to offer, including the famous Yellowstone National Park (nearby), the Custer Battlefield Museum and the Rimrock Opera. Whether you enjoy kayaking, theaters, fantastic shopping, exploring wineries, casinos or adventure such as cliff-diving, Billings has something for everyone.
Billings has an interesting history. This western town was named after Frederick Billings, the president of the Northern Pacific Railroad (whom by the way, never even stayed overnight there). Long before Mr. Billings sent his iron horses out that way however, the area was mostly populated by migratory tribes such as the Sioux, Cheyenne, and Crow. Once the rail industry staked its claim, the population grew exponentially, which lead to its elevation to city status in 1885.
The land was perfect for raising cattle, and sugar beets were also introduced into the area due to advancements in land irrigation. A refinery was built in 1906 and some 30 years later, equipment was added that enabled the pulp to become a food source for various livestock. When oil fields, coal, and natural gas were unearthed early in the 20th century, the city became a hub of energy and industry. Post-WWII, the medical and financial sectors rapidly developed, as well as the cultural aspect of Billings as a center for the region. During the 70’s and 80’s, downtown came into its own with high rise buildings and shopping centers springing up, fed by the interstate that was blazing its way through the state.
Interested in more history while you’re visiting? Check out www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g45086-s410/Billings:Montana:Museums.And.Attractions.html.
If you are a nature enthusiast, you will enjoy Pictograph Cave State Park – Located about 6 miles south of Billings. This site is made up of 3 sandstone caves (Pictograph, Middle, and Ghost). Pictograph Cave displays 106 drawings in all, ranging in age from an estimated 200 to 2000 years old. It is recommended to bring binoculars to see as many as possible, as well as the area’s scenery, birds, and other wildlife along the 1/3-mile paved trail loop. There are also many other artifacts on display such as bone and stone tools and weapons, jewelry, and other artisanal items. See stateparks.mt.gov/pictograph-cave for more information.
Love an afternoon at the zoo? Check out ZooMontana: a 70-acre park located on the western edge of town that is home to nearly 100 animals which are divided among the Asia Region, North American Region, expansive indoor Living Wall exhibits (animals from South America, Africa, & other areas), and The Barn (domesticated animals). There is also a beautiful one acre botanical garden with native and exotic plants. Canyon Creek is an additional highlight as it meanders peacefully through the grounds. For more details, visit www.zoomontana.org. Visitors who are looking for arts and architecture sites, the Moss Mansion Museum and Yellowstone Art Museum would be of interest. Find more information at www.mossmansion.com/event and www.artmuseum.org.
Heading to Billings?
We hope this has been helpful in connecting you to Billings, or frankly any place in the Midwest, from southern Texas to northern Minnesota. Get started on your next adventure by buying your next bus ticket to the Billings now. And thanks again for riding Jefferson Lines! We hope you have a fantastic day, no matter where your journey takes you.