Williston (North Dakota)

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Williston is a city on the Missouri River, near the northwestern corner of North Dakota, that is now experiencing explosive growth due to an oil boom. It is about 230 miles northwest of Bismarck - the state capital - by car. Williston is the county seat. The 2010 U.S. Census reported that the population was just short of 15,000, but the current population is now believed to be over 30,000.


Williston was founded as a Northern Pacific Railroad stop in 1887 and named for Daniel Willis James. It was chosen over the nearby town of Buford as the site of a turntable which led to its early growth. In 1951, oil was first discovered in the Williston Basin. Williston experienced rapid growth during its first oil boom in the 1980s. After the boom died down, the population shrank to about 13,000. Geologists recently discovered 4.3 billion barrels of recoverable oil in the Bakken Formation. The Three Forks Salish Formation also contains recoverable oil. With these recent discoveries, Williston is experiencing another oil boom and has rapidly increased in size. While the rest of the country remains in a recession, Williston boasts a strong economy, one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, plenty of jobs, and the highest wages in North Dakota.

Despite the recent growth, Williston still maintains a small town atmosphere. Most residents are friendly and will happily give visitors directions.

Williston news and weather.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

US Highway 2 runs east-west, intersecting with Interstate 29 in Grand Forks and Interstate 15 in Shelby, Montana.

US Highway 85 runs north-south, intersecting with Interstate 94 west of Dickinson.

By plane[edit]

  • Sloulin Field International Airport. U.S. customs service is available to handle private flights from Canada.
    • Delta Airlines has nonstop service to Minneapolis/St. Paul.
    • Great Lakes Airlines, [1]. Offers daily, nonstop flights to Denver and Dickinson.
    • United Express has nonstop service to Denver.

By train[edit]

Get around[edit]

Basin Cab1804 2nd St W Williston, ND 58801 (701) 577-1957



  • 4 Bears Casino.
  • Fishing at Cottonwood Lake, north of town for pike and perch.
  • Hunting.
  • Birding.
  • Gaming, Williston State College Foundation Gaming located at DK's Lounge, The River's Edge, The New 4-Mile Bar, Travel Host Lounge, Super 8 Lounge, Whispers, P-Nuttz and The Sports Den.
  • Skunk Hollow Shooting Range (drive 5 miles south of Williston on Hwy 85, turn left onto gravel road and follow signs). Well-known by the locals, Skunk Hollow not only offers a rarely crowded shooting range, but also excellent hiking, hunting, and fishing opportunities. 2 miles from Cut Bluff, the site of a campsite used by Lewis and Clark.
  • Catch the latest movie at Grand Theatre211 Main Street +1 701-572-2232.
  • Lake Park Drive-In TheatreHighway 85 North +1 701-572-9137. One of the few drive-in theaters remaining in America. Shows begin at dusk.
  • Little Muddy Canoe Trail (east of Williston & North of 1804), toll-free: +1-800-615-9041. Thompson site and White Bridge are the access points. The trail is six miles long and travel time is 1.5-2 hours.
  • Million Dollar Lanes Bowling1804 2nd Ave. W +1 701-572-3344.
  • Putt-a-round Mini-golf3721 2nd Ave. W +1 701-572-1818.
  • Spring Lake ParkNorth on Highway 85 +1 701-577-5141. Enjoy swinming, fishing, playground equipment, walking trails, and fireworks on the 4th of July
  • Thunder Valley Go-Cart Track (west of town on Highway 2),  +1 701-770-0222.
  • Williston Skate ParkCorner of 2nd Ave. & 11th Street (located in Harmon Park),  +1 701-577-5141. Skateboarding, rollerblading, and biking
  • Williston Municipal Golf Course (west of Williston on 26th Street),  +1 701-774-1321. 9 hole course featuring a clubhouse, practice range, and trap range.
  • Eagle Ridge Golf Course (north of Williston on Highway 2),  +1 701-572-6500. Featured in the top 100 golf courses of America, this 18 hole course boasts a clubhouse, practice range and Italian restaurant
  • 78th Annual Band DayMain Street. May 8th, 2010. Parade starts at 10:00am with bands from all over. Concerts and vendors are set-up in Harmon Park for an afternoon of music enjoyment and family fun.


Due to the recent oil boom, labor is needed in Williston. Jobs are easy to find, wages are the highest in the state, and the companies offer great benefits.

  • Job Service of ND: 422 1st Ave W Williston, ND 58801. 701-774-7900. [3]

Oil-field jobs[edit]

  • Halliburton: 420 Halliburton Drive Williston, ND 58801. (701) 774-3963
  • Schlumberger: 12 East Dakota Parkway Williston, ND 58801. (701) 523-3850
  • Hess: 113 4th Street East Williston, ND 58801. (701) 774-9000
  • Sanjel: 511 22nd Street East Williston, ND 58801. (701) 774-8699
  • Wisco: 4903 2nd Avenue West Williston, ND 58801. (701) 572-2135
  • National Oilwell: 2203 2nd Avenue West Williston, ND 58801. (701) 572-3781
  • Nabors Drilling: 5121 141st Avenue Northwest Williston, ND 58801. (701) 572-1075
  • Black Hills Trucking: 1008 58th Street West Williston, ND 58801. (701) 774-0011
  • Stallion Oilfield Services: 14070 49th St NW Williston, ND 58801. (701) 774-3824


  • McCody Concrete: PO Box 4005 Williston, ND 58801. 701-572-5300
  • Basin Tools: 2619 University Avenue Williston, ND 58801. (701)774-0059
  • Four Seasons Equipment: 5033 Jackson St Williston, ND 58801. (701)651-4150


Downtown Williston offers many shopping opportunities.

  • Hedderich's122 Main St +1 701-572-1412. Offers antiques, locomotive sets, Native American artifacts, and a large selection of used books
  • Books on Broadway12 1/2 W Broadway, toll-free: +1-800-815-2665. Full Line Bookstore, Gift Items, Greeting Cards, Mail Service, Special Orders, Specializing In Regional History & Unique Children's Books & Toys, Coffee Bar
  • JCPenny Department Store403 Main Street, toll-free: +1-800-222-6161.
  • Second Page Books501 Main Street Suite #3 +1 701-770-0968. Tues-Sat 10am-5pm. Almost-New Books: Classics, Fiction and Non-fiction, Large Print, Children's, Audiobooks on Tape & CD, Textbooks and Home School Materials.

Where Every Good Book Deserves A Second Look!

  • Hansen's Unlimited Ceramics & Gifts113 1st Ave. E. +1 701-774-3966. Paint your own pottery to display or use!!
  • Castle Gift Shop313 Main Street +1 701-572-6722. Fenton Art Glass, Crystal, & gifts
  • Cedar Chest201 Main Street +1 701-572-5977. Gifts and items for country-style decor
  • Collector's Corner109 Main Street +1 701-577-5252. Oak Furniture, Parlor Stoves, General Antiques, Collectibles, Furniture Stripping & Refinishing
  • Judy's Cupboard224 Main Street +1 701-572-0616. Kitchen items, Dakota made prducts and gift registry available
  • Larry Lynne Antiques10 West Broadway +1 701-572-3586. Hours: Monday-Saturday 11a.m. to 5p.m. or by appointment Quality antiques at affordable prices. A general line of furniture, glassware, pictures, etc.
  • Silver Dollar Antiques10 1st Ave East +1 701-774-8951. Hours: Tuesday & Wednesday, Friday & Saturday 11a.m. to 5p.m. Glass, Depression Glass, Pottery, "Special Things" BUY & SELL




The oil boom in Williston has resulted in a severe housing shortage. Many oil companies have contracted with area hotels to provide rooms for their workers, leaving little to no availability for travelers. Any attempts to book a hotel room in Williston on short notice will prove to be difficult or impossible.

Note: Most motels are either clustered downtown or near the airport at the northern limit of town.

Stay safe[edit]

North Dakota has one of the lowest crime rates in North America, and Williston has one of the lowest of North Dakota. Most residents do not lock their doors, and in wintertime many people leave their cars running in parking lots as they run their errands.

Violent crime and rape are rare, and usually occur due to the influence of alcohol. However, women should use common sense when walking alone near bars at night. Most residents and police officers will pull over and offer rides to people walking at night or in the winter. The biggest threat are drunk drivers. If needed, the police can be reached at 701-577-1212.

Go next[edit]

Routes through Williston
ShelbyMalta  W US 2.svg E  RayMinot
Qu'AppelleFortuna  N US 85.svg S  AlexanderBelfield

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