48 hours in Helena, Montana

Discover Helena's thriving arts community while soaking up its traditional outdoor character
By Beverly Magley

If you're planning a trip to Helena, here's where to stay, what to eat, and the best places to visit.

FRIDAY
Check in at the Sanders ($130; sandersbb.com), a historic bed-and-breakfast mansion close to downtown. A 20-minute stroll brings you to Blackfoot River Brewing Company (66 S. Park Ave.; blackfootriverbrewing.com) for a sampling of microbrews. For dinner, order the Montana-size prime rib at the Windbag Saloon and Grill ($$$; 19 S. Last Chance Gulch; 406/443-9669). Catch a live show or a movie at the Myrna Loy Center (tickets from $7.50; 15 N. Ewing St.; 406/443-0287).

SATURDAY
Tour the renovated Montana State Capitol (closed Sun; 1301 E. Sixth Ave.; montanacapitol.com). Check out original Charlie Russell paintings and sculpture in the Montana Historical Society Museum (closed Sun; $5; 225 N. Roberts St.; montanahistoricalsociety.org) before heading back downtown to the gothic Cathedral of St. Helena (530 N. Ewing St.; sthelenas.org). Stop at the Holter Museum of Art (free; 12 E. Lawrence St.; holtermuseum.org), then eat lunch with the locals at Benny’s Bistro ($; closed Sun; 108 E. Sixth St.; 406/443-0105). Peruse the art galleries along Helena’s main street, Last Chance Gulch, including the A.L. Swanson Gallery (closed Sun; 46 S. Last Chance Gulch; alswanson.com). Walk a few blocks to the Caretaker’s Cabin (212 S. Park Ave.; 406/449-6848) in historic Reeder’s Alley for the Saturday $45 five-course meal (reservations required).

SUNDAY
Drive around the historic Westside Mansion District (maps at the Montana Historical Society; 406/444-2694), then feast on Sunday brunch at the Mediterranean Grill ($$; 42 S. Park Ave.; 406/495-1212). Tour the grounds and galleries at the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts (2915 Country Club Ave.; archiebray.org).

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