Life in the Basecamp is like playing a game of Choose Your Own Adventure. And the best part is, it’s easy enough to get from Point A to Point B that you can choose your own adventure every ‘dam day:
Begin with a lazy brunch at Tracy’s before picking up an iced chai to-go from Electric City Coffee. Spend the afternoon slow strolling through Downtown’s specialty stores, antique shops and many boutiques. Chat with the store owners. Enjoy a late lunch at 5th & Wine and finish your day with a craft cocktail from Enbär.
Wake up early and enjoy the orange and pink sunrise while sipping locally-roasted Morning Lite coffee from your back porch. Pull on your hiking boots, pick up a fresh açai bowl from Purple Gold Food Truck and drive the 40 minutes (there’s never traffic) to Sluice Boxes State Park. Hike for a few hours, enjoying some of the best Montana views and eating lunch on your hike before turning around. Stop by Mighty Mo Brewing Co and enjoy a pint of locally-brewed beer before heading home and having the best night of sleep ever.
Start your day right with some of America’s best doughnuts from Hempl’s Bakery for the family and a latte from Broadwater Coffee for yourself. After wrangling your kiddos into real clothes (always pack layers, the weather here is temperamental), hop in your car and drive the (probably) 10 minutes to the C.M. Russell Museum, where you will inevitably try to teach them about the significance of Western Art but will settle for them playing in the children’s area. Spend your afternoon getting some fresh air at Gibson Park. Stop by Candy Masterpiece on your way home to sugar ‘em up before a well-deserved nap time crash. Pro-tip: pick up a few books from the Great Falls Public Library to read together before nap time.
You might be one of these or none of these, or you might be all of these. But rest assured whatever you’re looking for, some variation of it exists in Great Falls, and probably in a much better way than you can even imagine.
Eat and Drink
Discover the culinarily unexpected in Great Falls! Living in the Basecamp not only means quick access to rivers and mountains, but also locally-sourced produce, grains and meat. Many, if not most, Great Falls bars and restaurants source locally whenever possible. Whether it’s lentils and legumes grown 10 miles west of Great Falls in Ulm, grass-fed beef raised on McCafferty Ranch at the base of the Little Belt Mountains, or one of the many other local sources of wholesome food, Great Falls has it going on when it comes to that which sustains us. Check out some of our Eat & Drink offerings!
Entertainment and Culture
You might already know that Great Falls is the Museum Capital of Montana, but that’s not all. From colorful murals to life-size painted buffaloes that “roam” the city to the Great Falls Symphony and more, your creative side won’t be left unsatisfied in Great Falls.
Unleash your artistic spirit exploring famous Western artwork at the C. M. Russell Museum. Learn about President Thomas Jefferson’s Western expansion at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. Delve into local history at First People’s Buffalo Jump State Park and The History Museum. Take a watercolor class at the Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art. Let the children release their inquisitive spirit at the Children’s Museum of Montana. The Great Falls Symphony will be music to your ears. Adventure awaits!
From country western to city chic to business casual, whatever your style, you’re sure to find it at one of Great Falls’ many shops and boutiques. Plus, we love our thrift stores – we’re all about reducing, reusing and living sustainably.
Shopping is centered Downtown, but stores to meet your every need are scattered around – you’re almost guaranteed to never be more than a 10 minutes drive from your next purchase. Which is convenient when you suddenly need, who knows, the latest ranching gear from North40 Outfitters or the cashmere top you saw on Blue Rose ’s Instagram Story!
The Great Outdoors
What do you think of when you hear the word “Montana”? If you imagine crystal blue lakes surrounded by tall pines and snow-capped mountains… you’re just about right. They don’t call Great Falls “Montana’s Basecamp” for nothing. Our prime location in Central Montana gives easy access to all of the beauty and adventure this place has to offer.
Outdoor options abound in and around Great Falls. River’s Edge Trail spans the length of Great Falls and beyond. There are 57 parks maintained by the City of Great Falls. See more on Great Falls Parks.
If you want a little more adventure, hop in your car and enjoy a drive to one of the many trails and hikes in the surrounding areas. The most common surrounding hikes you’ll find are River’s Edge Trail, Ryan Dam Loop, Sluice Boxes State Park and “The Bob” (what we call the Bob Marshall Wilderness). See more on Hiking in and around Great Falls.
Showdown Montana is where the locals ski. The oldest continually operating ski area in Montana is owned by the same family, the Willett’s, who opened it over 80 years ago. 1,400 vertical feet of mountain are waiting for you with fresh powder every season. Ski on, friends.
Public parks and public libraries rank right up there with quality schools and jobs when it comes to thriving communities. That’s why the Great Falls Public Library offers childrens’ and adults’ programs, education and entertainment resources, and our own beautiful little Library Park, as well as in-person and online services. The Great Falls Public Library has been a gathering place since 1889, and continues to provide community connection, education, art and fun to Great Falls culture. The Great Falls Public Library is here for you, check it out!
Here in the Basecamp, we love our parades. The annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the Fourth of July Parade, the Christmas Scroll – any opportunity to get Downtown and celebrate with our community is an opportunity you can bet we’ll take.
Montana State Fair
Every summer, Great Falls Hosts the Montana State Fair, attracting thousands of visitors from around the state and beyond.
Don’t miss these Must Haves!
- The Viking
- Fresh squeezed lemonade
- Deep fried Oreos
- And so much more!
While we’d love to spend all year outdoors, it can get a little chilly here (have you ever felt -30 degrees?). There’s plenty to do inside as well here in the Basecamp.
Here’s our Short List of must-dos that don’t require being outside: