Tucked away in the foothills of the Rockies, encompassed by mountains and history, lies Montana's capital: Helena, the "Queen City of the Rockies." In 1864, four prospectors (called the Four Georgians) struck it rich in a gulch off of Prickly Pear Creek that they had named Last Chance Gulch. Helena quickly grew from an empty gulch to a bustling city. By 1888 legend has it the city was home to about fifty millionaires.
Today, Helena is a vibrant and active city with a fascinating mixture of past and present. Between the theaters, farmer's market, symphony, fair, and Helena's signature Alive@Five gathering, anyone bored in Helena has only themselves to blame. Even without the events, visitors to Helena can spend many happy hours wandering around downtown. The Four Georgians' Last Chance Gulch has been transformed into the city's Main Street and a beautiful outdoor walking mall, bursting with unique boutiques, restaurants, and coffee shops.
The mining camp became a city under the direction of men with the funds to make things last, and the ornate Victorian stone and brick buildings that populate Helena serve to make it perhaps the grandest and oldest of Montana's grand, old cities. In addition to the spectacular architecture up and down the walking mall, there are a number of other buildings you don't want to miss. The Gothic St. Helena Cathedral and Moorish Revival Civic Center tower over downtown. The Original Governor's Mansion contains twenty rooms restored to their turn-of-the-century elegance, and the Montana State Capitol building features a beautiful rotunda and paintings of momentous Montana events.
The Last Chance Tour Train starts near the capitol outside of the Montana Historical Society's museum and provides hour long tours of Helena, showcasing the spectacular architecture, and the fascinating and often quirky history of this unique city.
For the outdoor enthusiast, Helena presents an array of opportunities. Just a few miles away, the Missouri River flows through Holter Lake, Hauser Reservoir, and Canyon Ferry Reservoir, all perfect for fishing, swimming, boating, water-skiing, and more. Mount Helena City Park offers hiking and biking just south of town. Spring Meadow Park is the perfect place to swim and picnic on a hot summer's day.
Vibrant and dynamic, Helena offers a unique and enjoyable experience for everyone.
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