Butte

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Butte is one of the major towns in Montana, with a population of 34,000. In its heyday between the late 19th century and about 1920, it was one of the largest and most notorious copper boomtowns in the American West, home to hundreds of saloons and a famous red-light district.

Understand[edit]

It used to be Montana's largest city, but has dwindled in size and importance along with the state's mining industry. The essence of the town is summed up by the sign on the northern approach from the I-15:

The "greatest mining camp on earth" built on "the richest hill in the world". That hill, which has produced over two billion dollars worth of gold, silver, copper and zinc is literally honeycombed with drifts, winzes and stopes that extend beneath the city. There are over 3000 miles of workings and shafts reach a depth of 4000 feet.

This immediate country was opened as a placer district in 1864. Later Butte became a quartz mining camp and successively opened silver, copper and zinc deposits.

Butte has a most cosmopolitan population derived from the four corners of the world. She was a bold, unashamed, rootin', tootin' hell-roarin' camp in days gone by and still drinks her liquor straight.

Get in[edit]

Butte is right along I-90 between Deer Lodge and Whitehall, and also at the intersection with the I-15 highway.

Bert Mooney Airport is 3 miles southeast of the CBD. Delta, through Delta Connection, is the only airline and has daily flights to and from Salt Lake City International Airport. Be aware that if visibility is too low to land in poor weather, flights may divert to Gallatin Field Airport in Bozeman, MT.

Get around[edit]

See[edit]

Our Lady of the Rockies
  • The most interesting (horrifying?) feature of Butte is the 1,700-foot-deep Berkeley Pit (sometimes referred to by out-of-staters as the "Butte Hole"), the site of a former copper mining operation that is now partially filled with toxic runoff and is listed as a Superfund site. Despite the frightening description, The Pit is an interesting and instructive side trip and should not be passed up.
  • Butte Trolley1000 George Street +1 406 723-3177, toll-free: +1-800-735-6814. Summer hours:Mon-Fri 8AM-6PM and Sun 9AM-4PM.. 2 hour historical tour. Starts and ends at Chamber of Commerce
  • Copper King Mansion219 West Granite +1 406 782-7580, e-mail: . Hours: vary seasonally, check website. 34-room Victorian mansion built as the Butte residence of William Andrews Clark, one of Montana's three famous "Copper Kings". Tours and a bed and breakfast Price: $7.50 adults and $3.50 children.
  • The Mineral Museum. Is on the Montana Tech Campus. 1,300 specimens of minerals from around the world. The Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology Earthquake Studies Office is also located in the Museum, offering the visitor an opportunity to see active seismographs recording real time data from Montana’s seismic network. The Mineral Museum conducts tours, lectures and workshops. Summer Hours: daily, 9AM–5PM (June 15 through September 15). Winter Hours: Weekdays, 9AM–4PM. Free admission.
  • Old Butte Historical Adventures +1 406-498-3424. Walking tours explore the colorful history of Butte, Montana — "The Richest Hill on Earth". 1 and a half hour tours. Adults: $10.00, children under 12: $5.00, seniors over 65: $8.00
  • World Mining Museum155 Museum Way +1 406-723-7211, e-mail: . Hours:Apr–Oct 9AM-6PM; Underground Mine Tours 10:30, 12:30, 3:00. Call ahead, weather may change times.. Located on an actual mine yard, includes reproduction of an entire mining town, plus hundreds of original mine equipment. Plan plenty of time, this is a big museum. Adults: $8.50 museum, $12 underground tours.
  • Our Lady of the Rockies. Our Lady of the Rockies is a 90-foot (27 m) statue, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, that sits atop the Continental Divide overlooking Butte, Montana. It is the second tallest statue in the United States after The Statue of Liberty. The statue was built by volunteers using donated materials to honor women everywhere, especially mothers. The base is 8,510 feet above sea level and 3,500 feet above the town. The statue is lit and visible at night.

Do[edit]

Events[edit]

  • The Saint Patrick's Day celebration is a regional legend. It is the kind of party that parents warn their kids about. Butte is one of those rare places that does not have an open container law. Butte is heavily Irish to this day, and the local heritage extends into the enthusiasm for this holiday. Beer is colored green, and many people flock to the town for drinking and partying.
  • Evel Knievel Days. Fourth weekend in July each year. celebration for the Worlds Greatest Daredevil, various activities each day Price: Free.
  • An Ri Ra Irish Festival. Each year in August. Check website for exact dates.. Celebrating the cities Irish history. Music, dance, vendors and other activities. $25 adult weekend pass.

Skiing/snowboarding[edit]

Buy[edit]

  • Paula's Curiosity Shoppe33 North Main Street +1 406-560-8946. Hours:10AM-5PM. Gift shop

Eat[edit]

Butte is known for the food of its Irish-influenced mining heritage. Pasties are a meat potato and onion mix, enclosed in a semicircle of pastry dough with a crimped edge, served baked smothered with brown gravy. Miners used their helmet candles to heat the self-contained meal down in the shaft below Butte. The crimped edge was used to handle the pastry with dirty hands, then discarded at the end of the meal. (You should go ahead and eat it if you haven't been working in the mine) Pasties are served locally at restaurants with two (Joe's and Nancy's) giving them top billing.

  • Park Street Pasties: Relative newcomer serving traditional pasties, located uptown near the college. 800 W Park St +1 406 782-6400


Butte residents talk about the local variety of fried, breaded pork chop sandwich. Former Butte residents frequently wax nostalgic for Butte pasties and pork chops.

  • Pork Chop John's: Fast food. 8 W. Mercury, uptown. +1 406 782-0812 Monday through Saturday 10:30AM–10:30PM
  • Muzz and Stan's Freeway Tavern (Home of the Wop Chop) Family friendly for lunch. 2001 S Montana +1 406 723-9083


  • Fred's Mesquite: BBQ, steaks and burgers; pricey, but has a nice outdoor deck and good food. 205 S. Arizona (uptown) +1 406 723-4440.
  • Sparky’s Garage II: BBQ. Automotive theme restaurant with great food. 222 E Park St +1 406 782-2301
  • Montana Club: American. 3540 Harrison +1 406 494-1400
  • Spaghettini's: for surprisingly good upscale Italian. Location varies—ask around.


Butte has a selection of fine dining establishments

  • Casagranda's Steakhouse: Steaks and seafood. Sushi night every Thursday. 801 Utah Ave, +1 406 723-4141
  • Uptown Cafe: Good, more upscale American food; very good lunch served cafeteria style. 47 E. Broadway (uptown) +1 406 723-4735.
  • The Derby: Steak house; on the Flat and not within walking distance of any of the hotels. But if you want steak, it's arguably one of the best in town. 2016 Harrison Ave., (on the Flats) +1 406 723-9086
  • Lydia's Supper Club4915 Harrison Ave. +1 406-494-2000. Full-course dinners served with pride since 1946.

Coffee[edit]

  • Venus Rising Espresso House1 S Main St - Center of uptown Butte +1 406 491-4476. Butte's only non-profit coffee house adds more than just feeling good about your purchase. Local goods, free wi-fi/public computer, in-house bakery, light lunches, and an artistic atmosphere are sure to please artists and supporters alike. Open 7 days a week at 7AM
  • The Hummingbird Cafe is uptown and serves good espresso drinks, loose leaf tea, breakfast and lunch. Possibly Butte's best selection of vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and other specialty foods. 605 W Park St +1 406 723-2044
  • For just a drive-through coffee, the best coffee place is Mountain Coffee. They have locations on Montana Street (corner of Montana and Iron) and on Harrison Ave., at the corner of Harvard and Harrison (across Harrison from a Conoco gas station, and across Harvard from a Chinese restaurant.)

Bars[edit]

  • The Party Palace lives up to its billing, with pool and karaoke and cheap beer. It has a reputation for rowdiness among the locals.
  • The Silver Dollar Saloon offers a friendly place for a drink, with a youthful atmosphere.
  • Zeppies, the former Irish Times Pub is uptown, and shares its youthful crowd with the Silver Dollar across the street
  • Maloney's in uptown Butte is where you will find exotic beers, including Guinness.
  • The Cavalier Lounge in the Finlen Hotel offers a dark, more lounge-like feel—chairs, tables, smoking.
  • Hops is in the Butte Best Western Inn down on the Flats, next to the Perkin's Restaurant. Don't let this stop you; they have one of the best bartenders in town and despite the shiny neon casino on one side, it has a pretty nice atmosphere.
  • The Vu Villa is uptown, but a bit west of the main business district on Park Street. It's one of the main student hangouts for Tech and has an attached pizza restaurant with decent pizza.
  • The Metals Bank is a sports bar with a bank vault.

Microbrewery[edit]

  • Quarry Brewing Bar/Tasting 45 West Galena Street. +1 406-723-0245 Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 1PM-8PM. Brewer: Chuck Schnabel. Live music most Fridays.

Distillery[edit]

  • Headframe Spirits Tasting room. 21 S Montana St, +1 406 299-2886

Sleep[edit]

  • The Finlen Hotel, 100 E. Broadway, +1-800-729-5461. An inexpensive and historic hotel, well-located to accommodate walking through the rest of Butte's downtown. Rooms are clean and well-maintained, but be aware that cheaper rooms may actually be located in the motel section, a not-as-historic add-on with much more spartan accommodations.
  • Toad Hall Manor. An elegant, charming bed & breakfast which takes its name from the British children's classic, "The Wind in the Willows". This is truly a wonderful place for a relaxing change of pace, celebration of a special occasion, or a romantic getaway.
  • Butte War Bonnet Hotel2100 Cornell Ave +1 406-494-7800.
  • Super 82929 Harrison Ave. I-90 Exit 127 1 Blk. So Butte, MT 59701-3638 US. Charges extra for more than 2 adults even if it has 2 queen beds. Includes breakfast.

Connect[edit]

Go next[edit]

Routes through Butte
Great FallsHelena  N I-15.svg S  DillonIdaho Falls
Missoula ← Deer Lodge ←  W I-90.svg E  Three ForksBozeman
END  W MT-2.svg E  → Jct S MT-41.svgThree Forks


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