Did you know mermaids have been known to ride BMWs to enjoy the diverse landscapes surrounding Great Falls? We’ve seen them!
Take it from the locals: Your best bet is to catch them in the natural habitat, swimming at the world-famous Sip ‘n Dip Lounge. This ‘70’s tiki lounge is on everyone’s bucket list, having had notable guests like Darryl Hannah and Toby Keith, and been the backdrop for videos from The Black Lillies and Old Dominion.
The rides you’ll experience from your base camp of the Expo grounds will be epic, that’s guaranteed; however, you’d really be missing out if you didn’t make time for Great Falls’ other noteworthy experiences.
Let’s start with food! Montana’s Best Irish Pub, The Celtic Cowboy, is nestled into Great Falls’ historic downtown district. The menu is heavily Irish influenced (obviously) and the Cowboy has indoor and outdoor seating. Eat the greatest burger in Montana at Roadhouse Diner. Co-owner Tara competed on Food Network’s Guy’s Grocery Games—and won! The menu has some staples and featured burgers change out weekly. The meat, buns and potatoes are all locally sourced. Yep! Local Montana beef! More local food is available at Montana’s Best Coffee Shop, Crooked Tree. Beyond the coffee with hand-crafted syrups, the bakery case is full of items made with our local flour. Speaking of coffee, Al Banco has some great roasts you should not miss.
Your taste buds will also be delighted with the greatest local microbrews EVER! The barley for the beer at Mighty Mo Brew Co. and Jeremiah Johnson Brewing is grown within 25 miles of Great Falls, malted right in town, and they brew with pure water. It truly is the most local beer you can get anywhere in the world! Mighty Mo also has pizza for snacking, and all of Jeremiah Johnson’s brews can be enjoyed (and growled) at MT Pints, which also serves burgers made with local beef.
Great Falls is more than great local food; it’s home to Giant Springs, the world’s largest natural spring. The spring flows 156 million gallons of water a day and is a constant 54 degrees. It’s a State Park, so expect to pay a $6 entrance fee for the experience. It is next to North America’s Longest River, the Missouri, and the world’s shortest river, the Roe. It’s quite the trifecta in one location. There are five falls on the Missouri River, four you can be seen today, three you can drive to, and one accessible from the River’s Edge Trail – a 53-mile system that sits on the banks of the Mighty Missouri.
North America’s Largest Buffalo Jump, First People’s, is located a half-hour south of Great Falls and shares the history of the Native Americans. The archaeological finds from the first inhabitants are on display at the visitor center.
Along one of our amazing rides, you’ll see a bit of the mining history of our area. Sluice Boxes State Park, once home to cabins and a railroad, has a great overlook from Kings Hill Scenic Byway; it’s also an amazing area to hike, just in case you’re looking to stretch your legs a bit and give your bum a break. Another great break along the way is Memorial Falls. From the same scenic byway, it’s a short, easy hike along Belt Creek to a 15’ waterfall. You’ll feel just like Lewis and Clark in your adventures! If you need to learn more about the Corps of Discovery, you should know Great Falls is home to North America’s most extensive collection of the Lewis and Clark Expedition at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. The Corps spent 32 days here working to navigate the five falls impeding their journey. It was their longest stay in one location, outside of winter camp.
Another adventurer that called Great Falls home was Charlie Russell. The famed cowboy artist painted the landscapes of the west as it transitioned from the frontier to what is modern Great Falls, and his work lives on in the complex bearing his name, the C.M. Russell Museum Complex. This is where you will find not only his work, but pieces of art from others inspired by the west, Charlie and his wife Nancy’s home, Charlie’s studio and an impressive sculpture garden.
Great Falls also has engaging environmental art—a term we coined for outdoors art installations. The River’s Edge Trail has 27 works of art from sculptures to murals, and even a historic, life-size bear marking some Lewis and Clark history. Our downtown is bursting with murals, two of which are perfect for selfie stops. Make your way to the LOVE mural and the Dragonfly Wings across from Enbar.
The nightlife in Great Falls is remarkable. Enbar is Great Falls’ first craft cocktail lounge and features a variety of Montana distillers for their drinks. Elevation 3330 is a second-floor pub providing cocktail options that billow smoke, and there is a balcony to enjoy the evening air and views of downtown. Elevation isn’t the only lounge that offers a smokin’ drink; KellerGeist's old-fashioned, aptly named "Ghost in the Cellar," plays with infused wood smoke and makes it a must-drink in Great Falls. KGT, as locals affectionately refer to it, could be the world’s smallest bar with the biggest personality—fret none about getting a seat, there is always space outdoors for friends both old and new.
We’ve only just covered the surface of what you can experience in Montana’s greatest dam town. Check out “We’re No Dam Experts,” the #3 Podcast in Montana—it’s all about Great Falls! It’s sure to get you what you need, to make the most of your time in Great Falls for the 2021 Rally. If the podcast doesn’t do it, you can always check out www.VisitGreatFallsMontana.org, email us at Information@VisitGreatFalls.org or get in touch the old fashioned way—call us at 406-761-4436. Honestly, aren’t you just looking forward to experiencing something new and being around people again! We certainly are, and we’re looking forward to seeing you soon in Great Falls!
For more information about Great Falls and the surrounding area, download these PDFs (PDF reader required):
The MOA’s podcast, 200 Miles Before Breakfast, has THREE episodes (so far!) featuring guests from Montana, including Rebecca Engum. The other two feature MOA members Kristian Richardson—who works for the Montana Office of Tourism—and David Fishbaugh, who wrote the article “Working off the top half of your tank,” available right here on the BMW Owners News website.