Innovation keeps history fresh here along the Missouri River. A mural alley, new museum exhibits 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.
sitting bull portrait mural wall
Credit: Ryan Donnell


Art Alley 

The perfect spot for a photo op in Bismarck is a formerly dull alley now peppered with colorful murals. Find it between 5th and 6th streets.


Rent bikes from 701 Cycle and Sport to see Bismarck on two wheels. Cycle through nearby Steamboat Park or Sertoma Park, both riverfront.

fort abraham lincoln state park
Credit: Ryan Donnell

Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park

Explore the post from which Lt. Col. George Custer rode out to Little Bighorn, and see his re-created house (12 miles southwest of town). Journey further back in time at the park's On-A-Slant Indian Village, which houses 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 riverboat at sunset
Credit: Ryan Donnell

Lewis and Clark Riverboat

Take a sunset cruise down the Missouri River on an old-fashioned riverboat. The two-story vessel continues the tradition of steamboating on the river, the primary pathway west before railroad expansion.

north dakota heritage center
Credit: Ryan Donnell

North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum

Brush up on your state history here. Learn about North Dakota's early inhabitants (hint: they're prehistoric), Native American populations and economic influence. Make sure to look for Sitting Bull's portrait, infamously slashed by police during an invasion of his home. 

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. Tours available year-round. Plus, an arboretum trail, statues and memorials dot the grounds.

Eat and Drink


Local ingredients shine in French- and Italian-inspired dishes such as cavatelli with sausage at this downtown restaurant. 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. Adults only except for All-Ages Sunday Family Fundays.

axe throwing laughing sun brewing company
Credit: Ryan Donnell

Laughing Sun Brewing Company

Don't axe this item from your itinerary. Sip an I Heart ND golden ale while trying your hand at throwing a tomahawk, ninja star or spear at a wall target. Bismarck's first craft beer taproom also offers live music and events such as trivia nights.

Little Cottage Cafe

Fluffy French toast. Crispy bacon. Superb knoephla. Add cheap prices and friendly service, and it's easy to see why locals love this tiny diner.

lüft rooftop bar guests
Credit: Ryan Donnell

LÜFT Rooftop Bar

End the night with a cocktail and city view. This chic spot is draped in greenery and has firepits for chilly evenings.

Peacock Alley

Black-and-white photos at this eatery in the former Patterson Hotel celebrate famous politicians who have stopped in through the decades. Dinners of hanger steak, salmon and ribs are excellent.

Pirogue Grille

Walleye, bison and house-made venison sausage are staples at this chef-owned spot. Locally inspired entrees change with the seasons.

Stonehome Brewing Company

Come to the craft brewery for the Capital Hill Cream Ale or River Otter Red, stay for the stone-baked pizzas.

Terra Nomad

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

the toasted frog fried cheesy pickles
Credit: Ryan Donnell

The Toasted Frog

A meal at this downtown staple must start with the Fried Cheesy Pickles: dill spears wrapped in Havarti and wonton paper.


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.

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