Billings, a county seat, is a major trading center for a vast area of southeastern Montana. It was named for Frederick Billings, lawyer, railway promoter, and philanthropist. He was one of the original stockholders of the Northern Pacific Railway and secured the right-of-way for that line to cross Montana. In 1879 he became president of the company. (from Cheney’s Names on the Face of Montana, Mountain Press Publishing Company) Bordered on the north by distinctive rock formations known as rimrocks, Billings was established in 1882 with the coming of the Northern Pacific Railroad. Two years later the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy railroads arrived and further boosted the economy. Today it is a major shipping center for cattle and other agricultural products. Billings is where Montana Territory began, and where your historical and cultural passport to the legendary West begins.
Use Billings as a central point to the best western attractions, events, hospitality, shopping, and cuisine. Regional accommodations specialize in making the road-weary traveler feel welcome and safe. Put up your feet, kick back, and relax at one of the many and varied hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, resorts and historic lodges in and around Billings. The MetraPark is a modern concert, trade show and rodeo arena, surrounded by the fairgrounds, pari-mutuel horse-race track and super barn complex. New Expo Center and Pavilion buildings overlook a relaxing lake park. MetraPark is a stellar entertainment complex, home of the state’s largest event Montana Fair. The Alberta Bair Theater for the Performing Arts is the largest theater between Minneapolis and Spokane. It recently acquired the largest movie screen in that area. The theater presents hundreds of productions yearly, with over half of them performed by national and international professional touring companies. From Broadway musicals to African dance, the Alberta Bair Theater has it all! The Yellowstone Art Museum is a unique and important visual arts center for Montana and the surrounding region.
Founded in 1964 by a local group, it is now a fully-accredited museum. Success has caused the Yellowstone Art Museum, to outgrow its facility; and has recently undergone $6.2 million expansion. The Moss Mansion captures turn-of-the-century life when the Preston Boyd Moss family lived in the 1903 red sandstone structure. Visitors see original draperies, fixtures, furniture, Persian carpets, wall coverings and artifacts during one-hour guided tours. Seasonal exhibits are featured. Designed by the famous American architect, Henry Janeway Hardenbergh, the home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Western Heritage Center: Visit Our Place in the West: Places, Pasts, and Images of the Yellowstone Valley 1880-1940. Discover the past with interactive computers, hands-on exhibits, videos and a theater. Montana’s only wildlife park is nestled in 70 acres of lush Montana green. Follow Canyon Creek along Zoo Montana’s winding nature trail. Then stop and watch the otters play as you discover the native and exotic animals in their natural habitats. Whether you’re looking for bronco busting rodeo action or the relaxation of fishing or hunting, you’ll be in good company around Billings.
Watch Montana’s wildlife by grabbing your binoculars and heading to the plains or hiking in the mountains that surround Billings. Billings is the gateway to Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, Bighorn National Recreation Area, Yellowstone Park, the Yellowstone River and the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness. Here, vast ranches, farmland, and stockyards are situated just outside the conveniences of a modern city. Billings features broad, tree-lined avenues and the metropolitan flavor of Montana’s tallest buildings. Billings is easily accessible by air or interstate highway
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