Butte is one of the major towns in Montana, with a population of 35,000 (2020). 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.
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."
- 1 Bert Mooney Airport (BTM IATA) (3 mi (4.8 km) southeast of the CBD). Skywest operating as Delta Connection, is the only airline offering daily flights to Butte 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, Montana.
Butte is large and businesses are spread out into several sections. You can walk once you get into a section, but a vehicle is needed to get around. There is also a developed bike trail system.
- The Bus, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. County-run bus system. Routes are only on the main city streets.
- Mining City Taxi, ☏ .
- 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 (a federal government program to clean up toxic problems). Despite the frightening description, The Pit is an interesting and instructive side trip and should not be passed up.
- 1 Butte Trolley, 1000 George St, ☏ , toll-free: . Summer hours: M-F 8AM-6PM and Su 9AM-4PM.. 2 hour historical tour. Starts and ends at Chamber of Commerce.
- 2 Copper King Mansion, 219 West Granite, ☏ , email@example.com. 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 $7.50 adults and $3.50 children.
- 3 Dumas Brothel Museum, 45 E Mercury St, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Every other Sat 11AM-6PM. Longest operating brothel in the U.S. (established 1890, shut down for tax evasion in 1982). The building is in poor condition with a long history of financial problems and the contents are likely not original (the site was burglarized soon after a museum in the house closed in 2005). Offering paranormal tours by reservation or check website for events. All that remains of Butte's Red-light District is on display!
- 4 Mai Wah Society Museum, 17 W Mercury St, ☏ , email@example.com. Jun-Sep Tu-Sa 10AM-4PM. In one of the only buildings of Butte's original Chinatown. Butte's Chinatown was once the largest between Minneapolis and Seattle. $8 adults, $5 students, seniors, free for under 5.
- 5 The Mineral Museum, 1300 W Park St (on the Montana Tech Campus), ☏ . Jun 15-Sep 15: daily 9AM–5PM; Sep 16-Jun 14: M-F 9AM–4PM. 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. Free admission.
- 6 Old Butte Historical Adventures, ☏ . Walking tours explore the colorful history of Butte, Montana — "The Richest Hill on Earth". 1½-hour tours. Adult $10, child under 12 $5, senior over 65 $8.
- 7 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.
- 8 World Mining Museum, 155 Museum Way, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Hours: Apr–Oct 9AM-6PM; Underground Mine Tours 10:30AM, 12:30PM, 3PM. 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.
- 1 Butte Cobras, 1700 Wall St, ☏ . See website for current season schedule. Enjoy an ice-hockey game at the Butte Community Ice Center. The Cobras play in the North American Tier III hockey league.
- 2 Eagle's Nest Disc Golf (take MT-2 E 10 miles south, in Sagebrush Flats on west side of road), ☏ . 18 hole disc golf course in a forested area. Mining City Disc Golf Club continuing to make improvements making this a great destination. Free.
- Ice Skating is available at 7 city parks.
- 3 Thompson Park (take MT-2 E 10 miles south), ☏ . Daily May-Oct. Park with 25 miles of trails, picnic areas. Multiple trail options with access to the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail.
- Urban trails have been extensively developed. Use these for leisure strolls to see the scenery, go hiking, biking, or horseback riding. The nearby Beaverhead-Deer Lodge National Forest has a variety of trails also.
- Saint Patrick's Day. 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, ☏ , email@example.com. Each year in August. Check website for exact dates.. Celebrating the cities Irish history. Music, dance, vendors and other activities. $25 adult weekend pass.
- Butte Vigilante Rodeo. Weekend after the 4th of July.
- 4 Discovery Ski Area, 180 Discovery Basin Rd (west of Anaconda), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Nov-Apr: 9:30AM-4PM. For all abilities. Tree skiing, powder bowls, groomed trails, and mogul runs. $50 lift ticket.
- 1 Butte Copper Co., 3015 Harrison, ☏ , email@example.com. Signature item is copper, in many distinct forms from kitchenware to jewelry, to actual copper mineral samples
- 2 Cavanaugh's County Celtic, 131 W. Park St., ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Variety of retail items with an Irish theme
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 Joe's giving them top billing.
- 1 Joe's Pasties, 1641 Grand Ave, ☏ . 7AM-7PM.
- 2 Pork Chop John, 8 W. Mercury (uptown), ☏ . M-Sa 10:30AM–10:30PM. Fast food. 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.
- 3 Muzz and Stan's Freeway Tavern, 2001 S Montana, ☏ . Home of the Wop Chop. Family friendly for lunch.
- 4 Fred's Mesquite, 205 Arizona St. (uptown), ☏ . BBQ, steaks and burgers; pricey, but has a nice outdoor deck and good food.
- 5 Sparky's Garage II, 222 E Park St, ☏ . BBQ. Automotive theme restaurant with great food.
- 6 Montana Club, 3540 Harrison Ave., ☏ . American.
Butte has a selection of fine dining establishments
- 7 Casagranda's Steakhouse, 801 Utah Ave, ☏ . Steaks and seafood. Sushi night every Thursday.
- 8 Uptown Cafe, 47 E. Broadway St. (uptown), ☏ . Good, more upscale American food; very good lunch served cafeteria style.
- 9 The Derby, 2016 Harrison Ave, ☏ . 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. (on the Flats)
- 10 Lydia's Supper Club, 4915 Harrison Ave., ☏ . Full-course dinners served with pride since 1946.
- 1 Venus Rising Espresso House, 113 N Hamilton St, ☏ , email@example.com. M-F 8AM-2PM. 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.
- 2 Hummingbird Cafe, 605 W Park St, ☏ . 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.
- 3 Butte Depot, 818 S Arizona Av, ☏ . A classic dive bar with frequent concerts. Housed in the former Great Northern Railway depot.
- 4 Silver Dollar Saloon. Offers a friendly place for a drink, with a youthful atmosphere.
- 5 Maloney's. In uptown Butte is where you will find exotic beers, including Guinness.
- 6 The Cavalier Lounge. In the Finlen Hotel offers a dark, more lounge-like feel—chairs, tables, smoking.
- 7 The Helsinki, 402 E Broadway St, ☏ . W–Sa 1PM–2AM.
- 8 Hops. 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.
- 9 The Vu Villa. 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.
- 10 Metals Bank. A sports bar with a bank vault.
- Quarry Brewing, 124 W. Broadway (inside Grand Hotel), ☏ . M-Sa 3PM-8PM, Su 3PM-6PM. Brewer: Chuck Schnabel. Live music most Fridays.
- 11 Muddy Creek Brewery, 2 E Galena St. Muddy Creek Brewery is in the heart of Uptown Butte in the Daily Post Building above the Irish Times Pub on the corner of Main and Galena. There are some great beers with wonderful back stories that visitors love. Several of our beers will also be served on nitrogen lending extra richness and flavor.
- 12 Headframe Spirits, 21 S Montana St, ☏ . Tasting room.
- 1 Finlen Hotel, 100 E Broadway St, toll-free: . 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.
- 2 Hampton Inn Butte, 3499 Harrison Ave, ☏ .
- 3 Toad Hall Manor Bed and Breakfast, 1 Green Ln, ☏ . 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.
- 4 Super 8 Butte, 2929 Harrison Ave (I-90 Exit 127 1 Blk. So), ☏ . Charges extra for more than 2 adults even if it has 2 queen beds. Includes breakfast.
- Free RV parking is available downtown at the parking lots near Old Lexington Gardens Park (304 E Granite St). There is nothing to indicate that overnight parking is not allowed. Follow signs for "Visitor & R.V. Parking".
- Take the 15 mile winding drive to Pipestone Trailhead on MT-2 E and take in the gorgeous scenery.
|Routes through Butte|
|Great Falls ← Helena ←||N S||→ Dillon → Idaho Falls|
|Missoula ← Deer Lodge ←||W E||→ Three Forks → Bozeman|
|END ←||W E||→ Jct S → Three Forks|