Bismarck North Dakota
Railroad bridge crossing the Missouri River
Cannonball concretions at the North Dakota Heritage Center
Native American culture at the United Tribes International Powwow
Old photographs covering the walls at Peacock Alley
Fall foliage surrounding railroad tracks next to the Missouri River
Fourth of July celebration at the North Dakota State Capitol
Military and Native American history at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park
Admiring earthlodges at the Mandan Indian Village in Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park
A small, friendly and historic state capital
About That History
Explorers Lewis and Clark were among the first to visit Bismarck when they paddled up the Missouri River in 1804. Learn more about North Dakota’s history by visiting the North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum or the Art Deco-style capitol building with a 19-story tower that is among the state’s tallest. History buffs should also consider visiting the town of Buckstop Junction for a dose of pioneer spirit, or the Camp Hancock State Historic Site to see artifacts from the 19th century.
Nature and Outdoor Sightseeing
For a city so small, Bismarck has a surprisingly large zoo with over 600 animals. The Dakota Zoo is on the east bank of the Missouri River, adjacent to the Riverwood Golf course, which also is a great place for an outing when the weather is nice. If you want to get on the water, try a riverboat sightseeing trip, or rent a kayak and take your own self-guided tour. Paddle upriver to Keelboat Park, or downriver to Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park. Further afield is McDowell Dam Nature Park, which is great for hiking and picnicking, or go birding on the Bismarck-Mandan Birding Drive.
Experiencing the Local Culture and Cuisine
If you’re interested in tribal culture, attend the United Tribes International Powwow, an annual dance and drum competition in September that attracts thousands of participants. You can also see artwork by tribal artists at the United Tribes Art Gallery. If food’s your thing, seek out the traditional knoephla, chicken and potato soup with dumplings. Try the signature ribeye served in the historic downtown Patterson building. Scour menus for locally sourced food like bison, walleye, rabbit and venison sausage. Thirsty? Try one of many local breweries such as Laughing Sun.
The capitol building in Bismarck is the only one in the United States that is asymmetrical.