Great Falls gets its name from the series of waterfalls that flow through the Missouri River. Humans used the area as a hunting ground as early as 10,000 years ago, and the Blackfeet tribe inhabited the area until the Lewis and Clark Expedition visited the area in 1805. There were no further explorations of the area until 1822, when the famous trapper and explorer Jim Bridges reached the area that is now the site of the city. Great Falls was officially incorporated in 1883; businessmen found it to be the perfect spot to build factories powered by hydroelectricity.
Today, the town still uses the falls to power a good portion of its electricity, earning it the nickname of "The Electric City." Outside of industry, the town has been a filming location for several Hollywood flicks. Several minor league baseball teams have also called the city home throughout the years.
Regardless of your reason for visiting Great Falls, you're bound to enjoy what this city has to offer.
When to Visit Great Falls, MT
If you can't handle the cold, the best time to visit Great Falls is during the summer. At this time of the year, temperatures rise to an average of about 80 degrees during the day and 50 degrees in the evening. With this stellar weather, it's a perfect time to explore the city. You can walk through the historic downtown area for some great shopping or dining, or head over to one of Great Falls' 57 parks and the 40 miles of the River's Edge Trail, which follows the Missouri River. Finding a hotel room in the summer is often difficult, especially during tourist season in July and August. If you're looking to book a hotel at this time, make sure that you check with hotels in advance.
For winter sports enthusiasts, the time between November and February is the ideal time to see Great Falls. If you wish to attend a sporting event, the Great Falls Americans junior hockey team offers affordable and exciting fun. However, the most frequented event is the Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit Finals, where cowboys compete for top honors in barrel riding, steer wrestling, bull riding, bronco riding, and tie-down roping. 65 miles south of Great Falls, you'll find Showdown Montana Ski Area, which provides some of the best skiing and snowboarding slopes in the state. When the rodeo is in town and winter sports are in full swing, hotels are hard to come by, making early bookings a necessity.
In the fall, Great Falls has cool temperatures, although the weather is still comfortable if you wear ample clothing. During this time of the year, the nearby Great Spring State Park is the perfect place to take in the scenic views. Other activities at the park include bird watching, wildlife viewing, hiking, and trout fishing. You can also read some of the placards around the park that explain how the springs formed and how they function today. Some of the water is so pure that it's even bottled for human consumption. Hotels aren't in heavy demand during the fall, meaning you can get a steal on a room whether you book in advance or at the last-minute.
The spring may still feel a tad cold, especially if you live in a warm climate. Therefore, your best bet is to visit some of Great Falls' iconic indoor attractions. The most prevalent indoor attractions are concerts, including those by the Great Falls Symphony Orchestra, the Cascade String Quartet, and the Chinnook Winds Quartet. You can also visit other points of interest such as the Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art, the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, and the Mansfield Center for Performing Arts. Depending on the exhibits or concerts, hotel demand varies. Make sure to check ahead so you get the hotel and room you want.
Below is a chart of the current pricing seasonality of hotels and motels in Great Falls, MT:
Averate Rates by Star Rating
Below we've posted 3 graphs displaying average nightly cost patterns by star rating class in Great Falls, MT. Analyze these illustrations to calculate the cheapest time to book in Great Falls for upcoming travels.
Luxury Hotel Options in Great Falls, MT
Sometimes, a vacation or business trip is made that much better by including a stay at a luxurious hotel. If this sounds like an experience you'd enjoy, head over to the Hilton Garden Inn. Located just two miles from the Great Falls city center, the Garden Inn puts you in proximity to points of interest like Cascade County Historical Society, Showdown Ski Area, the Children's Museum of Montana, and the Pine Mountain Art Company. After you've wrapped up your day or evening on the town, you can head back to your room. Here you'll find wonderful amenities such as free wired and wireless high-speed internet access, a 26-inch LCD television with cable channels, a hair dryer, safe, and work desk to complete any after hours work or emails. On-site extras include an on-site restaurant, a bar and lounge area, a fitness area, an indoor pool, and a hot tub. If you want breakfast in the morning, you can get it cooked to order for a nominal fee.
Budget Hotel Options in Great Falls, Montana
3 Star Average Prices: $110.38
If you're looking for affordable accommodation in Great Falls, Montana, you have plenty of options. Just a half-mile from downtown Great Falls, the Extended Stay America provides all the extras that you wouldn't expect in a budget hotel. One of the best amenities is a fully equipped kitchen with a large refrigerator, microwave, and stove top, so you can cook in your room and save even more cash. Once you're done eating your favorite meal, you can relax while using your complimentary Wi-Fi or watching the flat screen LCD television. You'll also have a work desk to complete any tasks, send emails, and surf the web. Each morning, you can grab something from the free breakfast spread. The Extended Stay America will put you close to the Great Falls Convention Center, the Four Season Arena, Holiday Village Mall, and St. Ann's Cathedral.
Another impressive low-cost option in Great Falls is the Greystone Inn. When you stay here, you're within a short drive or walk from many attractions, including the C.M. Russell Museum, the Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art, and several area parks. Each of this establishment's 44 rooms comes equipped with features such as a flat screen television, a fireplace, work desk, a phone with free local calls, and complimentary wireless internet access. For your convenience, the hotel also offers concierge services, ticketing and tour assistance, use of a nearby fitness facility, dry cleaning and laundry services, and a free safe deposit box.