Innovation keeps history fresh here along the Missouri River. A mural alley, new horse exhibit and the state’s first brewhouse-pub represent the novel things to check out in this south-central city. Check out our trip guide for ideas on what to do, where to eat and where to stay.

By The editors of
June 14, 2012

Due to possible coronavirus-related travel restrictions, please check destinations' websites for the current status of attractions, events, restaurants and lodgings.


Alley 5.5 Bismarck’s most photographed alley, off 5th Street halfway between Broadway and Main avenues, features colorful murals by local artists.

Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park Lincoln State Park Interpreters in frontier U.S. Cavalry uniforms explain life at this post from which Lt. Col. George Custer rode out to Little Bighorn. See his re-created house at this park 12 miles southwest of town. At the On-A-Slant Indian Village, explore a replica of the earthen mound village where the Mandan tribe lived from about 1575 to 1781.

Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center Lewis and Clark spent more of their epic journey in North Dakota than any other state. Inside a timber-frame building in Washburn, 40 miles north of Bismarck, slick touch screens and displays detail the duo’s expedition. Also on-site is a replica of the explorers’ winter home, Fort Mandan.

Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center
| Credit: Photo Courtesy of North Dakota Tourism/David Borlaug

Lewis and Clark Riverboat Cruises along the Missouri River are expected to resume in 2021.

North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum An interactive exhibit on Dakota, a rare mummified hadrosaur, lets visitors touch a replica of its exceptionally well-preserved scales.

North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum. Photo courtesy of North Dakota Tourism.

State Capitol As the tallest structure in the region—242 feet, completed in 1934—the Capitol earned its unofficial nickname of The Skyscraper on the Prairie. An arboretum trail, statues and memorials dot the grounds.

United Tribes Technical College International Powwow More than 20,000 spectators gather the second weekend in September to watch dancers and drummers representing 70-plus tribes.


The Blarney Stone Irish Pub Stop for a pint or a meal; you'll feel an old-world welcome among the hardwood paneling, small rooms and glowing fireplace of this downtown restaurant.

Butterhorn Local ingredients shine in French- and Italian-inspired dishes such as cavatelli with sausage. Sides include the lovely little crescent bread rolls known as butterhorns.

The Craftcade The retro joint buzzes with 25 vintage arcade games, a pour-your-own craft beer wall, New York-style pizza and Chicago-style hot dogs. Enjoy free games on Sundays.

Kroll's Diner We like local chain Kroll's for all-day breakfasts, kuchen and knoephla. Check out the retro one in Mandan.

Laughing Sun Brewery Bismarck’s first craft beer taproom recently expanded to a second location in Mandan. Both offer a menu with hearty portions of ribs, pork and brisket, plus live music.

Little Cottage Cafe Fluffy French toast. Crispy bacon. Superb knoephla. Add cheap prices and friendly service, and it’s easy to see why locals pack this tiny diner. Little Cottage Cafe's Facebook page

Noodlezip Central North Dakota finally gets pho-and it's excellent. Plus, try other Asian specialties, such as pork buns and vegetable dumplings, in a casual downtown space.

Peacock Alley Black-and-white photos at this eatery in the former Patterson Hotel celebrate famous politicians who have stopped in through the decades. The two-for-$15 lunchtime option is a deal.

Peacock Alley

Pirogue Grille Walleye, bison and house-made venison sausage are staples at this chef-owned spot.

Terra Nomad Minimalist surroundings, gourmet coffee and a vegan-friendly breakfast and lunch menu provide a fresh alternative to the area’s meaty joints.


Radisson Hotel Bismarck Perks at this downtown chain hotel include plush bedding and free Wi-Fi.

Rolling Plains Adventures For hunting and fishing adventures, check out this family-owned, 17,000-acre ranch 25 miles southeast of town. Also available: ATV excursions, cattle drives and horseback rides.

For more information: Bismarck-Mandan Convention and Visitors Bureau