A wonderful location for not only meetings and group events, the 14-square-mile capital city of Helena is also a family-friendly destination bursting with outdoor recreation and cultural attractions.
Helena's history dates to the time before the Lewis and Clark expedition, but was founded in 1864 after the discovery of gold in the nearby Prickly Pear Valley. The discovery of gold led to a booming time in the city's history; in fact, by the late 19th century, about 50 millionaires lived in Helena, more millionaires per capita than any other city in the world at that time. The city's history is very much a part of its present, seen in such attractions as the Mansion District, home to late 19th-century Victorian culture; and Last Chance Gulch, a historic outdoor shopping mall located in a former gold-miningclaim.
Additional Helena attractions that celebrate the city's heritage include the Montana Historical Society Museum collects, preserves and interprets fine art and artifacts from Montana and the surrounding region. The museum houses more than 50,000 regional artifacts, including a celebrated Native American artifact collection specializing in Blackfeet, Sioux and Salish materials. A second celebrated historic site, the Original Governor's Mansion served as the official governor's residence from 1913 to 1959. The stately Queen Anne mansion is open daily for guided tours. Helena's Grandstreet Theatre, housed in a former church and library, is home to the longest-running community theater in Montana.
Known not only for its historical depth, Helena is also recognized for its many cultural attractions. The downtown Holter Museum of Art specializes in contemporary and regional artwork and rents out gallery space for private functions.The Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts is devoted to the field of ceramics and clay art. Celebrated for its striking setting against the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, impressive collection and dynamic arts community, the Archie Bray Foundation is one of Helena's most unique sites.
Helena is also home to a variety of unique eateries serving international fare. Specializing in authentic Italian cuisine, Lucca's is an intimate, 15-table restaurant located on the north end of Last Chance Gulch. On Broadway specializes in seafood, steaks and fresh-made pasta in its classic and contemporary offerings, while Benny's Bistro serves locally grown produce and Montana raised meats, as well as a wide selection of tapas ranging from minted pea ravioli to shrimp and grits. Helena's Mediterranean Grill weds European, Middle Eastern and African flavors and features a beautiful interior that resembles an outdoor Mediterranean alley. Finally, the Windbag Saloon & Grill, a local favorite since 1978, is housed in a colorful Italianate-style building that dates back to 1882.