It happens every year. We find ourselves 5 months into winter and the novelty of fresh snow starts to fade. We welcome back the extra hours of daylight and celebrate the promise of spring. A few warmish days and we’re all ready to ditch our snow shovels for the season and bury our winter boots in the back of the closet. But then, another cold front rolls in and our excitement about stew and sweater season isn’t what it used to be. In times like these, we need a few reminders about all the wonderful things Helena has to offer this time of year. Here are some of our favorites that have been known to cure even the toughest cases of spring fever!
Local Ice Rinks
Helena has two charming little ice rinks located at Cunningham Park and Lincoln Park. Pack a thermos of hot cocoa- (don’t forget the marshmallows!) and spend time gliding across the ice with your dearest ones. Although these two rinks are unattended and are BYOGear, they are maintained with love and designed for memory making.
Ice rinks are open from dawn to dusk. They are flooded in the mornings, weather permitting, so please avoid using the ice while it is freezing.
Cunningham Park : 1234 Floweree St.
Lincoln Park : 1800 N Roberts St.
Cross Country Skiing
Cross country skiing is an excellent way to get a dose of much needed fresh air and sunshine in the winter months. It’s low cost and super fun for the whole family! Helena has great options for trails that are both right here in town or just one beautiful 20-minute drive to MacDonald Pass. Everyone will feel refreshed and uplifted after even just a short nordic excursion.
Finding and renting gear is easy as can be. Just give The Base Camp a quick call and let them know what you need. They love to get folks outfitted and snow-ready for whatever adventure awaits!
The Base Camp offers:
A selection of classic, skate and rugged touring metal edge Nordic skis for a snowy winter adventure. A great lineup of Alpina and Rossignol skis, boots, bindings and poles for adults and kids
MSR and Atlas womens, mens and kids sizes for mountain trails or groomed tracks
They also have snowshoes!
Check out some of these cross country skiing spots to see what best suits you and your crew!
Great Divide Ski Area
There are so many reasons to love Great Divide. This beloved ski area offers 100+ trails with 5 chairlifts and spans 1,500 acres. It’s mostly sunny skies, filled with cheerful snow lovers and is super family friendly. Whether you’re just teaching your little ones to ski or you’re an advanced powder chaser, this place has you covered with mild slopes, a great park and plenty of wide-open bowls. Check out the GD website to learn more about lessons and rentals, full or half-day passes. Be sure to hit up the Friday Night Under the Lights special and start the weekend out right!
Sledding! Great exercise, gleeful downhill giggles, and fresh air galore. There are many great spots to hop in your sleds and sail down the snow but here are a few of the most popular:
Guad Hill at Carroll College (this link will take you to a specific annual event but also has all you need to know about sledding in this sweet, locally-loved spot!)
Broadwater Hot Springs
Broadwater Hot Springs is a go-to when you’re looking for a place to relax and restore. There are multiple pools varying in size and temperature- from a tiny, refreshing cold plunge and piping hot tub to a spacious not-too-hot and not-too-cold pool where parents can soak on cement benches lining the perimeter while their kiddos swim and play. Fun adult beverages are served poolside and the restaurant offers a delicious pub-style menu. Plus, it’s in town! Make a day of it and head home relaxed and happy.
Great Northern Carousel
The Great Northern Carousel is one of Helena’s most remarkable little gems. The carousel is made up of 37 different animals hand-carved by a renowned Walt Disney World carver. The local attraction is extra special because riders and visitors can see and feel all of the love, care and fine craftsmanship it took to create such a beautiful experience for all who make it in. It’s truly a wonder to behold!
Exploration Works is a great option when the weather is too frigid to be outside and everyone is going stir-crazy! Get minds and bodies engaged in interactive activities and captivating exhibits that change throughout the year and center around science, technology, engineering, and math. Watch your child’s senses light up as they explore new things in a safe, fun and educational environment.
Holter Museum of Art
Take time to slow your pace and immerse yourself in the world of art. The Holter Museum of Art is Helena’s largest museum and has played a huge role in the heart of the downtown community for ages. Your visit might mean you get to quietly meander through several thoughtfully curated exhibits. If you are in the company of young ones, you may choose to visit the E.L. Wiegand Creativity Center aka “The W”. This newly renovated community space welcomes anyone who may feel inspired to create- either at a moment’s notice or while attending a more formal event. Check out this video to get a better sense of the Holter community and some of their wonderful offerings. Don’t forget to pursue the gift shop where you just might find the perfect gift or treasure to take with you!
Flying Giant Adventure Park
Trampoline jumping! Ropes climbing course! Endless bars to scale! If you have young ones needing to expend some seriously pent-up energy, head on over to Flying Giant Adventure Park. Kiddos will leave tired and happy and there’s even a “soft play” area for little ones under the age of 6.
Bowling at Sleeping Giant Lanes
Do we even need to mention that bowling is fun for the whole family? Slip into those slick and stylish shoes and get your game on. There’s a reason folks have been doing this for years to bond over a little friendly competition. Also a great place to host parties and gatherings to celebrate a special occasion!
The Myrna Loy
Tucked into a quaint little side street in Helena’s eclectic Rodney Street neighborhood, you’ll find a sturdy stone building that once housed local prisoners in the late 1800’s. Since then, the entire Helena community has worked hard to transform the space into a dazzling scene offering arts education experiences, special community recitals and workshops, grants to working Montana artists, support and celebration of Montana filmmakers, artists, musicians, and performers. Many talented musicians and performers grace the Myrna stage regularly and the cozy cinema provides a space where movie-goers can enjoy indie films. The fact that beer, wine, and freshly made snacks are available definitely adds another special element of fun!
Check out upcoming live performances or view current film listings here.
Within the walls of one of Helena’s most iconic granite buildings, you’ll find a thriving community made up of talented Helena actors and enthusiastic theatre-goers. These live performances are so well delivered that they often become the talk of the town. Kid-friendly offerings occur a few times a year and new shows more geared toward adult audiences take place every few months. Courage, creativity and connection abound when Grandstreet’s stellar performances transpire in this intimate setting. Arrive with excited anticipation and leave with fresh inspiration! Tickets usually sell out pretty quickly so be sure to check on shows in advance whenever possible!
Need a creative and memorable project but don’t want to spend time gathering supplies and cleaning up, (especially if there’s glitter or slime involved)? The Painted Pot has you covered! Open 7 days a week and walk-in friendly, this creative studio offers paint your own pottery, glass fusing, and canvas painting. It’s a great place to chat with your loved ones as your original masterpieces take shape. Check out their website to find out more about the process and what classes and events are available.
Ah, so many great activities to keep you warm and entertained this season. We hope you’ll embrace this last little slice of winter as much as we do by getting out into the community even when it’s cold and snowy!