Helena travel guide

Helena Tourism | Helena Guide

You're Going to Love Helena

A former gold camp during the Montana gold rush, Helena is a vibrant state capital with beautiful Victorian architecture and a relaxed atmosphere that you'll be hard-pressed to find in any other seat of state government.

While the gold rush is long gone, there's plenty to do in Helena today besides take in the history. An internationally renowned ceramics center, the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts, calls Helena home, and many amazing natural areas surround the town. These offer unique opportunities for hunting, mountain biking, and skiing.

Helena is an underrated gem. All seasons offer fantastic adventure in Helena. Come and be surprised by one of the most storied cities west of the Mississippi.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Helena

1. Incredible Architecture

Helena was once the wealthiest city in the world thanks to the gold rush, and its historic inhabitants invested heavily in beautiful buildings for private and public enjoyment. The city has many sites on the National Register of Historic Places, and abounds with fine examples of Victorian architecture. The Gothic Cathedral of St. Helena is especially popular with visitors.

2. Unbeatable Outdoor Adventures

Helena sits at the bottom of Mount Helena, which provides plenty of sporting opportunities in both summer and winter months. People come from all over the world to take advantage of world-class skiing, mountain biking, hiking, and horseback riding in the area.

3. Laid-Back Atmosphere

While Helena has the architecture of a state capital, it's got the population of a town, allowing guests to make the most of their stay without the stress of traffic. In fact, nearly 1 in 10 Helena residents walks to work each day, well above the national average.

4. Interesting Museums

As the state capital, Helena is home to a number of fascinating museums, many of which depict the city's beginnings in the gold rush days. Art and handicraft museums also earn top reviews from satisfied guests. Top museums include the Holter Museum of Art, ExplorationWorks, and the Montana Historical Society.

5. Last Chance Gulch

The Last Chance Gulch was the source of much of Helena's historic wealth, and today, the area is home to fascinating shops, museums, and jewelry stores.

Where to Eat in Helena

Helena has many restaurants serving both locals and visitors. The region is known for foods such as steaks, chili, and Mexican food. However, you'll find cosmopolitan cuisine in Helena as well, with Creole, Mediterranean, and Japanese restaurants spread throughout town. Some of the most popular restaurants in town include Bullman's Wood Fired Pizza, Staggering Ox, Lucca's, and Toi's Thai Cuisine. The average price for a meal for two at an inexpensive restaurant in Helena is $30.

When to visit Helena

Helena in March
Estimated hotel price
$85
1 night at 3-star hotel
Helena in March
Estimated hotel price
$85
1 night at 3-star hotel

Helena's climate varies from the mid-80s in July to below freezing in January. But, both winter and summer can be great times to visit if you come prepared. The most comfortable weather can be found in May, June, and September. Those hoping to get some skiing done should plan for severe cold, and those hoping to explore the region in summer should stay hydrated.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Celcius (°C)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Helena

Plane

Helena Regional Airport (HLN) sits just three miles from downtown. Flights connect to Salt Like City, Minneapolis, Denver, and Seattle. There is no airport shuttle, but many hotels offer free transportation, and taxis can be called as well. The cost of a taxi depends on the destination, but will usually cost around $15.

Car

Helena sits at the confluence of the Interstate 15 and the US-12. Additionally, the US-12/287 runs southeast from Helena.

Bus

There is a Greyhound station in central Helena on Montana Avenue, not far from the High School. Popular routes include Boise, Idaho from $147.50, and Billings, Montana from $80.

Airlines serving Helena

United Airlines
Good (2,854 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (4,393 reviews)
Lufthansa
Good (2,179 reviews)
KLM
Good (355 reviews)
Air France
Good (403 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (3,061 reviews)
British Airways
Good (1,439 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (1,219 reviews)
Iberia
Good (924 reviews)
TAP AIR PORTUGAL
Good (549 reviews)
Finnair
Good (703 reviews)
Alaska Airlines
Excellent (2,643 reviews)
JetBlue
Good (1,298 reviews)
Aeromexico
Good (817 reviews)
Japan Airlines
Good (469 reviews)
Korean Air
Excellent (255 reviews)
Copa Airlines
Good (512 reviews)
Qantas Airways
Good (180 reviews)
Virgin Atlantic
Good (344 reviews)
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Where to stay in Helena

Last Chance Gulch - famed for its role in the Helena gold rush, Last Chance Gulch is a unique and historic area with many interesting shops and restaurants. Lovers of gems, as well as antiques, will find this area especially alluring.

Popular Neighborhoods in Helena

Reeder's Alley - another historic region, Reeder's Alley features original brick buildings from the late 19th century, which now house restaurants, an antique shop, and the Montana Heritage Commission. The area is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Treasure State - this neighborhood is a must during Christmas time. It is known as the best area of town to see Christmas lights, and the city's historic architecture complements the twinkling displays beautifully.

Where to stay in popular areas of Helena

How to Get Around Helena

Public Transportation

Helena is served by the Capital Transit System, which features two bus lines, red and blue. Fares are affordable, running at $0.85 one-way or $2.60 for an all-day pass.

Taxi

Two taxi services can be found in town, and it is generally easy to find a ride. Expect to pay between $10 and $14 for a three-mile trip.

Car

Helena is very easy to navigate by car. The city streets are mostly laid out in a grid, with some exceptions around the golf course and airport areas. You can expect to rent a compact car for about $45 dollars per day, and Avis and Europcar outlets can be found in town.

Car hire agencies in Helena

Hertz

Hertz

Alamo

Alamo

Budget

Budget
Find car hire in Helena

The Cost of Living in Helena

Shopping Streets

Helena is generally an affordable city to visit, especially for a state capital. Shopping areas include the Last Chance Gulch streets, which have many gem stores and souvenir shops. Additionally, there is a Macy's, and several other big-name retail centers can be found in town.

Groceries and Other

Helena has a number of local and national grocery stores spread throughout town, including Safeway, Thriftway, Pan Handler, and Real Food Market & Deli. Prices will vary depending on where you shop, but average costs run about $2 for a pound of apples, and about $2.13 for a loaf of white bread.

Cheap meal
$21.34
A pair of jeans
$63.22
Cappuccino
$6.33
Other popular cities in Montana