Things to do in Butte, Montana
FOR INFORMATION ON THINGS TO DO IN BUTTE, MONTANA, VISIT: http://www.buttecvb.com/
Butte is known as the “Richest Hill on Earth,” for its production of silver, gold, and particularly copper.
As you come into Butte, you will see the hills that have endured years of mining operations.
My husband Matt is from Butte, Montana. Butte is also often fondly referred to locally as “Butte, America.” Visitors may overlook Butte as a place to visit, but it is a city full of history as it was one of the largest cities in the west in the year 1900.
Here is my list of the must-sees when you drive through Butte (in no particular order, because I think your personal interests should determine what you see):
1. Trolley Tours. www.buttecvb.com / 800-735-6814
The trolley tour is only available during the summer months, and it is temperature controlled and enclosed. This makes it an easy and comfortable way to visit Butte’s historic sites. Probably the best way to see it all.
2. World Museum of Mining/ Hell Roarin’ Gulch. www.miningmuseum.org / 406-723-7211
I have not personally been able to do the World Museum of Mining, but I think that this is a MUST-see for visitors. We plan on visiting in the summer of 2013, so watch for future blogs on this topic. I have been to the location and it looks like there is a lot to do inside. The mine is open from April – October, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. It is located up on the hill behind Montana Tech. There are underground tours and an underground exhibit. Keep in mind that the underground tours are available only 3 times daily, at 10:30, 12:30 and 3:00, so be sure to visit around those times if you want to do the tour. Discount for seniors.
3. Copper King Mansion. www.copperkingmansion.com / 406-782-7580
Located in up-town Butte, this mansion was designated a National Historic Place in 1971, and is a tribute to the wealthy lifestyle in Butte. There are 32 rooms of antiques, and guided tours are available.
4. Berkeley Pit. www.buttecvb.com / 800-735-6814
The first time I visited the Berkeley Pit, I was in the 8th grade. I may have visited before then and may not remember. Visitors should absolutely make this stop. The pit is a mile and a half across and three miles around, and was once the largest truck-operated open-pit copper mine in the United States. You will marvel at the size of this pit.
5. Mineral Museum. www.mbmg/mtech.edu/museum/museum.asp / 406-496-4414
This museum is on the Montana Tech campus, so it is open year-round to visitors. There are over 1,500 specimens for viewing.
6. Old Butte Historical Adventures. www.buttetours.info / 406-498-3424
This is a family friendly walking tour of the outside buildings and the inside of historic uptown Butte. The tour covers history in Butte from the 1890’s to the 1950’s. Open year round, just call ahead to set up a time. You can visit the jail where Evel Knievel served time, and a 1955 barber shop under a 6-story building. The walking tour takes about 1 1/2 hours to complete.
In the heart of the former Chinatown in Butte, there is a museum that teaches you about the history and culture of the Asian people in and around Butte, Montana. The cost is $5 for adults; $3 for children under the age of 5.
Also keep in mind the Chinese New Years Parade– next date: February 16, 2013, at 3:00 p.m. starting at the Courthouse.
8. Granite Mountain Memorial Overlook. www.butteamerica.com/gmtn.htm / 800-735-6814 / 305 W. Mercury Street, Butte, MT
This is a less known stop in Butte. It consists of an open air plaza that has a beautiful view of the entire valley and the Continental Divide. There are bricks and plaques that commemorate the June 8th, 1917, that took place at this site, that took the lives of 168 people in hard rock mining’s greatest disaster.
9. Our Lady of the Rockies. http://ourladyoftherockies.net / 800-800-LADY
The Lady of the Rockies is a 90-foot statue that sits on a ridge overlooking Butte, Montana along the Continental Divide. It is hard to miss if you look at the top of the mountains. The statue lights up at night, so it is clearly visible on clear nights from most of Butte. The Lady is nondenominational, and is dedicated to women everywhere, particularly mothers. Tours start at the end of May through October, 7 days a week. To make a reservation, call: 800-800-LADY
Visible from a variety of places in Butte, there are fourteen tall, black steel structures that mark the remnants of mines. Eight of the fourteen headframes have been outlined in red lights, which are visible at night.
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Warmest wishes from Big Sky Country,
Alex M. Neill
Montana Vacation Blog