Butte began as a mining town in the late 19th century; its fortunes were built on the gold extracted from its depths. The city is divided into two major parts: the Historic Uptown Butte and the more modern area known locally as “The Flats.” Here, glean fascinating insights into local history and enjoy mountain scenery and colorful festivals.
Begin your vacation in the old district, which has more than 4,000 historic buildings. Tour the Copper King Mansion, a grand Victorian structure built for industrialist William A. Clark. Stop by the historic Dumas Brothel where working girls entertained the male population from 1890 to 1982. Walk through underground tunnels that the girls and their clients used for escaping from police raids. Visit underground drinking establishments that operated illegally during the prohibition era. At Mai Wah Museum, browse artifacts from Butte’s old Chinatown to learn about the city’s Asian heritage.
To learn what it was like to be a miner, tour the World Museum of Mining, located on the site of a former mine, the Orphan Girl Mine. Put on a hard hat and cap lamp and descend 65 feet (20 meters) for a guided tour of the underground area.
Head into the mountains around Butte for hiking and biking adventures. Embark on a daytrip to some of southwest Montana’s state parks, including Beaverhead Rock and Lewis and Clark Caverns.
Butte celebrates its history and culture at numerous festivals throughout the year. One of the most popular is Evel Knievel Days, honoring the memory of the daredevil entertainer who was born here. Visit Butte during the last weekend of July to see lots of car and motorcycle stunts and exhibitions.
Reach Butte by flying into Bert Mooney Airport, 5 miles (8 kilometers) outside the city. You can also arrive by car, bus or train. A rental car is a good idea if you want to explore some of Butte’s open spaces. The city’s historic attractions and setting make it a charming vacation destination.