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As the capital city of The Big Sky State, Helena has quite a role to fill, but in a way befitting such a massive state, Helena pulls it off—in its own kind of small town way. If you think about it, it’d be strange for a state with such a rugged pedigree as Montana to have a polished, modern city for its capital. With its gold mining roots very apparent (especially in Reeder’s Alley, one of the oldest parts of town) it’s not hard to imagine Helena as a gold-fueled wild west outpost—definitely appropriate because that’s how things ‘round these parts got their start.
These days, you’ll find a host of ways to keep you busy around here. It’s a particularly excellent destination for anyone looking to get outside—with scores of trails, parks, lakes, and, of course, mountains all with their own siren call for anyone with a pair of hiking boots to come get a little muddy. If you’re feeling a bit more of an indoorsy trip, worry not! Helena has a surprising amount of architecture and art to explore (along with some fantastic 19th and early 20th century historical sites worth checking out).
But whichever way you choose to explore, you’re bound to work up an appetite. If you need to curb said appetite between meals, check out one of the microbreweries (or the distillery, if the mood takes you) you’ll find around town. And when it comes food, you’ll find a smattering of fancier bistros serving up contemporary American, Italian, Greek, and other international favorites within a sea of casual American eateries and Mexican pitstops. While it might not have the gastronomic prowess of other capital cities, you don’t come to Helena for that. What do you come here for? Well, walk outside and look up at the big ol’ Montana sky.