15 Best Things to Do in Bismarck, ND

15 Best Things to Do in Bismarck, ND

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With an area of 90 km square and a population of approximately 72,000 people, Bismarck is officially the capital city of North Dakota. The city of Bismarck is the quintessential combination of an urban landscape with the perfect ambiance and presence of nature.

The amalgamation of political and socially significant history with beautiful art and culture is also another landmark of Bismarck. The city is loaded with historic monuments, mansions, parks and buildings.

Simultaneously Bismarck is also a paradise of nature’s bounty with its beautiful rivers flowing, green valleys to walk around and lush vegetation at the nature parks.

Along with this the city is filled with amusement parks, galleries, nature parks, shopping malls, historic towers to amuse the people.


A Walk At The Chief Lookings Village


Why not start the journey with a swift walk at the lap of nature? The Chief Lookings Village is a historic and scenic beauty filled walking area located at North West Burnt Boat Drive at Bismarck.

This place is beautifully located among long stretches of green valleys and lush vegetation all around with the river crossing nearby. One can have simple walks with the family at this scenic masterpiece or go to watch and capture a perfect sunset view.

Hiking is another outdoor activity performed at the Chief Lookings Village quite often. All together this walking area is a nature lover’s paradise.

Take A Tour Of The State Capitol

State Capitol in Bismarck
Randall Runtsch / Shutterstock.com


Located at the Boulevard Avenue, the State Capitol is one of the most spectacular government buildings in North Dakota. The entire area is breath taking in itself with numerous statues and monuments, a huge green ground for visitors, workers and tourists.

For those willing to see the building, regular tours are provided and self-guided tour brochures are also highly available for convenience. The top floor of the building has an observatory to get an astounding view of the entire surrounding area and the skyline of Bismarck.

The architecture of the State Capitol is a treat to watch with its statement Art Deco style, the wooden work in and around the building is another example of fine art. The observatory is located at the 18th floor. The main hall and ground floor halls are filled with beautiful paintings to observe.

Have Fun At The Dakota Zoo


The Dakota Zoo is one of the most sought after locations in Bismarck. It was first inaugurated in 1961 with a whopping number of around a100 different animals and 40,000 visitors.

At present the fame of the zoo has ended up in it housing above 600 animals signifying above 125 different species in an area stretching to over 90 acres of land. The Dakota zoo is active with more than 150,000 visitors turning up every year!

There are indoor learning centers to learn about the animals and reptiles, there are petting zoos to interact with the animals; even a bee hive is present for the visitors to witness the process.

Apart from beautiful white Bengal tigers and other species of tigers, there are huge creatures like bison, camels, reindeers, mountain lions, wolves, baggers, sloths, otters, pumas, musk deer and what not! There is something for everyone at the Dakota Zoo.


North Dakota Heritage Center And State Museum

North Dakota Heritage center and state museum
Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com


The heritage center and state museum is like a short summarizing point of entire Bismarck and North Dakota. Located at 612 E Boulevard Avenue the area has four galleries that sum up the entire art history and culture of North Dakota.

The museum is filled with endless artifacts, specimen, higher technology displays, beautiful galleries and indulging exhibits. A spectacular amalgamation is what the Northern Lights Atrium is.

The Pembina River Plaza at outdoors hosts up geological specimens from history. After all the knowing and getting awed one can relax and get some refreshments at the James River Café. Apart from this one can always buy memorabilia from the Museum store.

Get Informed At The Gateway To Science


Gateway to Science is one of the finest science museums / science centers in North Dakota. It is the perfect center for entertainment and knowledge that go hand in hand, for visitors of all ages, from toddlers to adults.

This is a perfect place for visitors with a family and children. There are many exhibits, hands, experiments and many guides to talk you through the center. There are different rooms for kids of different ages filled with science activities.

There are brain teasers that even grown adults may take time to solve! There are areas dealing with sound waves, the human brain, magnetic equipment that is bound to keep you hooked.

Have Fun At Keelboat Park

Keelboat Park
Kwanchanog Noiinwong / Shutterstock.com


Once you land at the Keelboat Park you are bound to get a strong taste of the American history, heritage and culture there. The whole area is like a water spot with the river running beside and the center of attention is the massive keelboat kept safely as a heritage symbol.

Keelboats have a long history in the American lifestyle, much before modern ships and cruises these were used to transport goods and people. Especially in this route of the Missouri River the use of keelboats were massive.

You can take rides from here and click all the pictures you want of the beautiful view or the historic monument and boats. Kids are even allowed to go around it and play.

See The Beauty Of Belle Mehus Auditorium


This is one of the most regal auditoriums in North Dakota. The auditorium is named after a piano teacher Belle Mehus in Bismarck.

The very exterior of the building is a mixture of art deco and classic European architecture while the indoors are extremely spacious and comfortable with a deeply classical ambiance.

It is constructed in the form of a gallery with a beautiful chandelier which makes the entire area golden. This auditorium is even listed in the National Register of Historic places. Endless array of shows occur with complete variety from Beethoven to Italian operettas to “Birth of a Nation’.

Let The Superslide Amusement Park Amuse You


After all that informative touring it is time to have some free and unleashed fun and for that there is hardly any place better than the super slide amusement park.

Located just next to the Dakota Zoo, this place has such fun rides that you might have to stay the night here! The staff is extremely friendly and pretty accommodating.

There are swings, miniature golf, bounce houses and endless water games at the pool, huge slides to jump into the water.

Even restrooms are available for relaxation for all. There are jumping rooms, get wet games and even climbing wall adventures. Get ready with your juice bottles to go spend a fun filled day there!

Camp Hancock State Historic Site


This site is located at the Main Street in Bismarck. The Camp Hancock State Historic Site is known for till date preserving many of the military installations which were established in the form of Greenly Camp years ago in 1872 for constructing the North Pacific Railroad.

It is astounding to see how some of the log headquarters still stand up tall on the site with the help of several modifications and enlargement.

The site is practically where Bismarck had begun and to date the grounds manage to look breath taking with their brick red classic architecture and the beautiful locomotives kept as valuable artifacts.

The 1894 weather station can still be witnessed too. While standing here one must feel like they have shifted in time to the olden times.

Taste The Waters With The Lewis And Clark Riverboat Cruises


The Lewis and Clark riverboat cruises can safely be called the best passenger vessel in upper Missouri Area. The best way to spend some days must include the plans of taking a nice ride at these cruises! Everything about the ride is beautiful.

The landscape is breathtaking with green valleys for as far as the eye goes and the beautiful river to surf through. And if you plan to choose the time of sunset to ride then the treat doubles because the sunset view almost becomes ethereal as said by tourists themselves.

The cruises are extremely well equipped with sitting areas and tables for convenience and guides help you with information. Audios of history of the Missouri river too are played for a bit of information to add to the scenic beauty.

Sit By The Missouri River

Missouri river
John Brueske / Shutterstock.com


After all that hustle simply sitting by the Missouri river is something one would automatically want to do. Or if you want you can take a peaceful drive by the river too. The area around the river has a beautiful railroad bridge and extremely scenic views.

It is a perfect place for couples to sit by and watch soothing sunsets. The area also has beautiful sculptures surrounded by it. The river is one of the most peaceful streams in North Dakota, extremely shallow at the beginning and providing perfect position for families and individuals to enjoy all sorts of activities.

One can even go and take a nice swim or dip at the river for fun. Apart from the scenic beauty another massive area to cover the river is water activities! Yes, the Missouri river is a fine area for all activities like Kayaking, boating, skiing and others. You can simply take your family and have a nice picnic by the river.


Check Out The Former Governor’s Mansion

Former Governor’s house
Plazak, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


From 1893 to 1960 more than 20 executives including their families stayed at the Governor’s house and here therefore there historic lives are on display to the public.

The architecture on the outside is top notch breathtaking with the soft green mansion giving a proper Victorian aura. Everything in the mansion is marked and labeled with information.

There is the basement and a beautiful staircase will lead you upstairs to the classic gorgeous film like environment in which they used to live. All the rooms are public and beautifully arranged for showcasing.

There are areas where the servants worked and the families lived and even the kids played. There are exhibits that showcase the beautiful architectural style and historic, social and political significance of the place.

Find Peace At The Mcdowell Dam Nature Park


This is another peaceful spot at the heart of Bismarck. The McDowell Dam Nature Park is located at the 93rd Street, and loved by the locals and visitors.

This area is a nature stretch and again by the water body hence by default coming with loads of fun filled activities to do. To add on this is a park so there are ample of things for the children to get busy with, there are slides and swings.

Going surfing, boating or kayaking is a major attraction. Another important thing to go for is fishing! Or you can always have a picnic with the family or a quiet sitting session to talk of life.

Hit The Ball At Hawktree Golf Club

Let us get some sports done after all that sitting! What better in the lap of nature than a good match of golf? The Hawktree Golf Club stretches over 7000 yards and above.

The area looks like a piece of heaven, unbelievable large, lush and smooth with water fountains, nice prairie grass, black as well as water bunkers.  

This course is considered as the number one golf course in North Dakota. There is the clubhouse too to come relax and have a sip after a good game.

Go Shopping At Kirkwood Mall


After all that touring, fishing, picnicking and fun filled sightseeing you would surely not want to miss out on your Bismarck shopping. Kirkwood Mall near the Express way and 7th Street is your best bet.

The architecture and ambiance is drop dead gorgeous with numerous coffee shops and restaurants for your refreshments. Fine brands like Bath & Body Works, Victoria’s Secret, American Eagle Outfitters and many more retailers are available here. The mall is well maintained and clean to simply freely walk by and enjoy your trip.