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Great Falls, Mont.: 5 Things We Love

A tiki lounge, Minuteman III balllistic missiles, and the mighty Missouri River are only three of the unusual things that make this plains town worth a visit.

Sculptures in Paris Gibson Square gallery, Great Falls, Mont., image
Photo caption
Lee Steen’s wacky sculptures line a Paris Gibson Square gallery.

Natural beauty, industry, art, and history collide in Montana’s Electric City on the high plains. Area code is 406 except as noted.

1  The mighty Missouri wins oohs and aahs from hikers and cyclists on the River’s Edge Trail, a 48-mile-long path linking parks, museums, birding sites, plant exhibits, and dam overlooks. 2  The shrimp and crawfish étouffée is simmered with love at Goode’s Q and Bayou Grill, where Harold and Larry Goode treat fellow Montanans to the true taste of Cajun country. 761-5855, 3  A deactivated Minuteman III ballistic missile stands sentinel outside Malmstrom Air Force Base Museum. Visitors learn about its 450 siblings slumbering beneath the sod of central Montana, Wyoming, and North Dakota. (A security check, for which you’ll need a photo ID, is required.) 731-2705, 4  Eighty weird but friendly stick figures crafted by Lee Steen from cottonwood branches and metallic junk stand out among scores of other works in the Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art. Admission is free. 727-8255, 5  Since 1964, Piano Pat has tickled the ivories in the Sip ’n Dip tiki lounge as live “mermaids” cavort for patrons. When Pat performs the song “I Love This Bar,” she sings we for I because it’s true. (800) 332-9819,

Photography by Lynn Donaldson

This article was first published in March 2013. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.